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I had assumed folks were talking about getting grants and such. Under those circumstances you would want the student to be as impoverished as possible (to get the most grant money). However, you do make an excellent point that if people are talking about loans then one must factor in the interest of those loans and the fact that all that money has to be repaid. In that case I would prefer to tap our home equity credit line and pay for college from that. It's still a loan, and the interest is tax-deductible (unlike most loans).

My experience has been that people talking about financial aid haven't been through the process yet or in quite a while and tend to think that "financial aid" translates to all grants. It doesn't seem to occur to them that short of being absolutely broke with no income or assets, financial aid comes in the form of loans, and most of those are unsubsidized, so increasing financial aid tends to come in the form of loans. As someone previously pointed out, that can leave the student with some back-breaking debt when they finally leave school.
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