I am a student so I’m always looking for ways to get additional funding for my studies. That being said I follow and regularly receive blog posts updates from Scholarships.com in my inbox. This morning’s top story was entitled, “Students Say “I Do” for Lower Tuition. Would You Marry to Keep College Costs Down?” This of course peaked my interest, but first let me give you the gist of what’s going on.
The University of California, which is one of the top schools in the country, charges different tuition rates for in-state versus out-of-state students. Out-of-state students may pay as much as $22,000 more for their education than in-state students. A common solution for lowering tuition costs is for a student to obtain residency in the state in which the student attends college. Unfortunately, for non-Californians there are very strict residency laws and it can take up to 2 years to go through the residency process. A student wishing to become a California resident as to meet three criteria: (1) they must be physically present in the state of California, (2) they must demonstrate an intention to stay in the state of California and (3) they must demonstrate financial independence. While the first two criteria are the easiest for the student to demonstrate it’s the third that causes the most headache. The quickest way for a student to demonstrate financial independence is by getting married. As long as the parents of the students do not claim the married student on their annual income taxes the former out-of-state student will be granted the reduced in-state tuition. Now of course the University of California will not admit to being unaware of some students marrying for reduced tuition costs, but they are out there and sadly many of them have resorted to looking for their spouses on Facebook. Here is the part that really made my jaw hit the floor…this is completely legal!!! And I might add that there are professional student match making services that help students who want to find other students who want a “marriage of convenience” and they’ll even assist with the divorce after the “couple” has graduated from college!!!
I understand that students joined together in a “marriage of convenience” stand to save themselves thousands of dollars on tuition and fees. I understand that these students are simply trying to acquire the best educations they can. I understand that the amount of financial aid appears to be declining and/or more competitive to obtain while the tuition and fees continue to skyrocket, but I ask, isn’t this unethical? I know it’s not illegal, but how is this okay? First, the students are completely “getting over” on the college/institution rates, which in my opinion is a form of fraud. Second, these marriages disregard and disrespect the entire covenant of marriage. A marriage of convenience teaches these students that marriage doesn’t have to be taken seriously. It teaches them that in this world it is acceptable to do drastic things and even sell your soul in order to get ahead in life. The sad part is these students have taken something so beautiful and turned it into something from which they can financially benefit. Does anyone respect the sanctity of marriage anymore? As a Christian, I think it’s absolutely disgusting that anyone could or even would cheapen the beautiful masterpiece that God created called marriage. I’m sorry, but this entire thing sounds like marital prostitution to me.
What are your thoughts? The floor is yours. Comments? Concerns? Questions? Solutions?