Forget love and even green cards and in-state tuition. Paula Pant of AffordAnything.org explains on MSN Money why some students get married to save on their college education:
An 18-year-old only child whose parents earn a combined $75,000 a year is classified as middle class and receives limited financial aid. …
If that same 18-year-old made a pact with one of her classmates to get “married-on-paper,” the couple’s income — not their parents’ income — would be the metric that financial aid offices consider. As college freshmen, their combined household income, stemming from part-time work and summer jobs, would probably be less than $10,000 to $15,000 per year. This classifies them as at or near poverty level and renders them eligible for premium financial aid packages.
How long could they pull off this ruse?
According to one of the sources in the article, WhyPayTuition.com:
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) requires an applicant to include parent information unless one or more of the following criteria is met.
1. Age 24 by January 1 of the financial aid award year
2. Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
3. Enrolled in Masters/Doctorate program
4. Married prior to signing and filing the FAFSA
5. Orphan or ward of the court
6. Support legal dependents other than a spouse