An excellent comment from a very depressing story in the Times today called “For Many Poor Students, Leap to College Ends in a Hard Fall.”
Please fix this. You have the resources, and you also have enough experience with low-income students to understand how this happened. Why should a college kid–one even less financially savvy than those with more affluent backgrounds–know that FEMA-type aid would be treated differently in your financial aid calculation? Ditto for a parent receiving down payment assistance from a non-profit aid group. Most kids that age are not able to assess realistically the impact of their choices on their debt, and their debt on their lives. This is more true of those with less sophisticated parents.
Of course, there may be more to the story than that printed here, and the student does bear some responsibility, but the downward spiral of debt, stress, depression, family burdens, outside jobs and declining grades should not be unexpected here. The financial aid errors were a relevant factor. Surely a review is in order.