University of Missouri investigating possible guardian transfers in financial aid loophole

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COLUMBIA, MO/USA – JUNE 9 , 2018: Old Missouri fountain and Tiger Plaza on the campus of the University of Missouri.

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COLUMBIA, Mo. — A spokesman for the University of Missouri’s flagship campus in Columbia says the school has identified fewer than 10 students whose parents may have taken advantage of a financial aid loophole.

At issue is a practice of wealthy parents transferring guardianship of their children to friends or relatives to make it appear they came from poorer backgrounds. This makes the students eligible for more financial aid. The U.S. Education Department is being urged to make changes to close the loophole, which first came to light in Illinois.

University of Missouri spokesman Christian Basi says the school will pull the funding it provides based on need and notify federal authorities if the determination is made that guardianship changes were done solely to take advantage of financial aid.

Basi says no one will be kicked out of school but added that the university is “extremely disappointed.”

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