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My parents were entrepreneurs and owned their own business which in most years netted them in excess of $100,000 per year reportable income. ...
As a consequence, with both income and assets dramatically reduced, my entire education was financed by the US taxpayer. I qualified for pell grants for all four years, plus interest free loans, plus a number of other grants and need-based scholarships which were unique to my state and/or university.

My parents also owned their own business which created dramatic swings in their income. Like most people, they have always done what is legal to reduce their taxes. During some of the years I was in college, their taxable income was very low. This was always done in a straight-forward manner to reduce taxes -- never manipulated specifically while I was in college in order to make me eligible for financial aid.

Because of their low taxable income, I was able to obtain student loans for a couuple of years I was in college. Because they are self-employed and at times have little to no income for up to a month at a time, having this money made it a lot easier if tuition happened to be due in one of the down months.

However, I would never have dreamed of applying for or accepting any need-based grants. That would have been literally taking money away from people who were much needier than I. I would not have been able to face my friends who were truly dependent on financial aid, knowing that I was receiving some of the limited funds that they really needed in order to go to college.

I'm not sure that I believe your story anyway -- there are two major errors in it:
1) Most financial aid officers would raise an eyebrow at anyone who is so poor as to qualify for the maximum in grants, yet has no need for loans.
2) If you were receiving GI bill benefits, that would have made you a veteran and "Independent" for financial aid purposes, which means your parents income wouldn't have even been reported on your financial aid application.

If any of your story is true, what you did was not ethical. And if your parents really got stuck with big tax bills after you graduated because of their manipulations to get you financial aid, maybe you should have helped them out with their taxes instead of buying yourself a porsche.

And I bet you're one of those people who thinks that taxes are too high and the government should stop giving so many handouts to the needy. Guess what? If the non-needy like you wouldn't milk the system, we'd all be paying less in taxes.

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