Author: Douglas Belkin
Lora Georgieva owns consulting firm in Illinois; U.S. Education Department says it will move to stop her actions.
The college consultant who developed a strategy to help wealthy clients access scholarships designed for the poor said she came up with the idea after seeing how much debt parents were taking on to send their children to college.
Lora Georgieva, owner of a consulting company called Destination College, said she has been explaining to families for the last two years that if they legally transferred the guardianship of their college-bound children to a friend or family member, the teens would be considered independent for the purposes of financial aid. That means they wouldn’t have to declare their parents’ income or assets, making it possible for them to collect state, federal and college scholarships reserved for students from poor families.
The strategy was the topic of a Page One article Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal. Ms. Georgieva hadn’t responded to requests for comment for that article, but subsequently spoke Tuesday night with a Journal reporter about her operation.
The U.S. Education Department condemned Ms. Georgieva’s actions and said it was moving to stop them.
“Those who break the rules should be held accountable,” spokeswoman Liz Hill said Tuesday in a statement. “The Department is committed to assessing what changes can be made—either independently or in concert with Congress—to protect taxpayers from those who seek to game the system for their own financial gain.”
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