Everyone hates filling out the FAFSA college financial aid form, and for middle class families it can feel like a big waste of time. Let's face it, most won't qualify for need-based aid anyway.
I've heard rumor that the government is updating the form so that colleges will get a better idea of what middle class families can truly afford. Thanks to the kids in my ten-year-old daughter's "Learn to Code" class who accidentally hacked into the government's website, I got my hands on an early version of this new, improved, FAFSA form.
But I'm not so sure it's going to help families like mine. Judge for yourself.
1. List sum of all your parents' assets plus the fabricated income they listed on line seven of their federal tax return. Don't leave out parents' "other money," like what they've hidden in shady Cayman Island offshore accounts or under the names of dead relatives. Also include change from the sofa, that coin jar in the laundry room, and the wad of emergency cash they have in the top drawer of their bedroom dresser where every burglar knows to find it.
2. List amount parents stole from their fellow Americans in government handouts, bailouts or other entitlements.
3. State the current value of your parents' home using 2014 currency and assuming that home is listed for sale with the most shark-like real estate agent in town, or, what it's worth on Zillow.
4. What is the combined value of your parents' life insurance policies?
5. Would either parent be willing to facilitate a situation that might result in a life insurance payout, (and name college as beneficiary)?
6. List which of your parents' organs or body parts are available to be applied towards college tuition, such as eggs, sperm, blood platelets, kidneys, lungs, whole or partial liver.
7. How much has child stolen or earned in allowance, wages, salaries, tips and other compensation?
8. If zero, explain why child was spoiled and coddled and not forced to get a part-time job like parents surely did when they were his or her age.
9. List amount of money child expects to receive from a family inheritance.
10. State whether the source of said inheritance could be encouraged to "move it along."
11. List amount child expects to receive in scholarship awards.
12. Explain why child was too lazy to apply for scholarship awards, even the easy ones that didn't require an essay.
13. Find the exaggerated amount parents took in personal deductions on Schedule A, line 29 of federal tax return. Now ignore this number because it's irrelevant.
14. List amount of family's medical and dental expenses. Exclude the following: insurance co-pays, maintenance prescriptions, cosmetic procedures, birth control, performance-enhancing drugs, birth control, treatment of sports-related injuries for parents who participated in sports that they're obviously much too old to play, experimental life-saving cancer drugs, birth control, everything else.
15. Total parents' cost-of-living expenses including mortgage, utilities, home insurance and property taxes. Subtract same amount.
16. Explain why parents decided to live in such a ridiculously expensive part of the country, placing their own personal happiness above their children's future hopes and dreams.
EXPENSES WE CONSIDER ASSETS AND WILL COUNT AS INCOME:
17. List amount parents squandered on things they could easily do for themselves including gardening, pool cleaning, housekeeping, landscaping, plumbing and painting. Also include expenses related to parents' "personal team" such as publicists, agents, managers, social media consultants, pilates instructors and life coaches.
18. List number of times per week parents purchased froo froo drinks at Starbucks when they could have made coffee at home.
19. How much tuition money did parents guzzle away on craft beers, aged scotch and over-priced wine?
20. List absurd amount parents wasted on groceries, food or other things that bring them joy. Please multiply number amount by 10.
21. How much did parents spend bidding on silent auction school fundraisers? If parents bid on items they also donated, please multiply number by 10.
22. List amount parents wasted on expensive sports clinics, travel or tournament teams, private pitching lessons or sports camps, all because of unrealistic expectations about illusive scholarship money, and a hope that child will realize parents' own unfulfilled dreams.
SPENDING PRACTICES -- MULTIPLE CHOICE:
23) You get a surprise refund check in the mail for $100. Would you:
a) Take family to the Olive Garden
b) Spring for a round of smoothies at the club
c) Pay power bill, get lights turned back on
24) Your child needs a pair of riding boots. Would you:
a) Borrow a pair from a close relative
b) Buy a new pair at your Paddock
c) What on earth is a Paddock?
25) Your child needs a pair of gym shoes. Would you:
a) Borrow a pair from any relative
b) Buy a pair at Payless, Big Lots or Kohls
c) Wait, are those actual stores in America?
26. List any special circumstances or expenses that will help colleges understand why parents failed to properly save for child's education. Note that your excuses won't matter, but we enjoy a good laugh.