If you’re a college student, a parent of a college student or even live within a 10-mile radius of a college student, then chances are you’ve heard the frustrated and panicked screaming about the FAFSA program, or have been the one screaming about it. FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and they’re the number one provider of financial aid to college students in the country; but more importantly, this organization is the DMV of academia and they have a Twitter account. On Tuesday night FAFSA tweeted a picture of Kristen Wiig’s character from “Bridesmaids” saying “Help me, I’m poor.” With the caption reminding us all to make sure we have filled out our FAFSA forms for the upcoming fall semester.
Predictably, this was met with a lot of Twitter backlash—namely from college students. The thing that FAFSA either doesn’t understand or thinks is hilarious is that college students are all too aware of how poor they are. The government is doing little if anything to help either. The Supreme Court has voted repeatedly against helping the average American college student, one of the more recent votes being last summer when they decided not to lower student loan interest rates from 6.8% down to 3.4% which would have saved students around $800 yearly.
Angry tweets from college students everywhere condemned FAFSA both for making fun of the less privileged and made sure to point out the irony that FAFSA is doing very little to make us any less poor. Aid given by FAFSA only covers a small portion of tuition. The rest is paid out of pocket and with loans and that’s not even getting into books, fees and cost of living.
The worst part about FAFSA making jokes about the struggle to afford a higher education is that it only enforces the attitude in this country that higher education is a privilege and not a right like it is in other places. In the UK and Canada college is paid for, thus making it a viable option for anyone who wishes to go, not just those who can afford it. FAFSA may think it’s cute to make jokes on Twitter but the rest of us are taking our enormous loans to earn degrees for jobs that won’t be hiring (or worse, won’t even exist) when we graduate.
FAFSA does go on to issue an apology via Twitter stating that their goal is “to make college a reality for everyone.” However, its hard to believe the sentiment when they’re spending their time attempting to increase their social media presence instead of helping college students.