FAFSA Tweets Hilarious 'Bridesmaids' Quote... In The Most Awful Context
In the latest installment of "Think Before You Tweet," the Federal Student Aid agency (FAFSA) tweeted a still from Bridesmaids with the caption "Help me. I'm poor." In what is arguably the funniest scene of the movie, Kristen Wiig's character, Annie, tries to sneak her way into first class while hammered on Scotch and Xanax. When the flight attendant catches her, she whines, "Help me. I'm poor," and calls him a Nazi. While this is a hilarious meltdown scene appropriate for a comedic film, it's not so hilarious — and even less appropriate — as a message to young college students from the largest financial aid provider in the U.S.
On Tuesday, Federal Student Aid, the agency that provides the FAFSA, tweeted the picture along with the message "If this is you, then you better fill out your FAFSA: fafsa.gov." Let's break down this tweet, shall we? By "you," they are presumably referring to students who are below a certain economic status, students from the lower middle or working class. So the tweet is addressing a specific demographic most in need of filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form, but instead of listing eligibility qualifications, details of the aid they'd be receiving, or perhaps some fun facts about the agency (if there are any), it used an Internet meme to mock said demographic.
Here is a screenshot of the FAFSA tweet, which the agency has since deleted.
Federal Student Aid/FAFSA has since apologized for the offensive tweet, but not before the Twittersphere erupted with angry responses.
Here's the agency's apology.
And here are some choice words from angry responders...
But college students face challenges far greater than offensive tweets when it comes to paying for college tuition and applying for financial aid. According to a recent Boston Globe review, the net cost of attending college has risen, despite increased financial aid and the U.S. median family income remaining flat.
"Low-income students are increasingly being priced out of a college education," Mark Kantrowitz, senior vice president of the education information website Edvisors.com, told the Globe. "Net price goes up, not as quickly as tuition, but it still goes up faster than inflation."
On Tuesday, it was announced that student loan rates will rise yet again starting July 1, with increased interest rates on undergraduate and graduate, subsidized and unsubsidized, Stafford loans. The decision is the result of Congress's compromise to peg federal student loan rates to yields on 10-year Treasury notes, meaning that direct loan rates will reset every year on July 1.
Luckily, President Obama understands that those buried under student loans often feel "trapped," so he unveiled some new proposals this month to help ease the burden for students and middle-class families. The president plans to expand the existing Pay as You Earn program, which caps monthly payments at 10 percent of a borrower's disposable income and forgives the balance after 20 years of payments, to an estimated 5 million Americans. He will also renegotiate contracts with student loan service companies like Sallie Mae to shift more in favor of the borrower rather than the lenders. And on June 10, Obama even participated in a student loan Q&A with Tumblr to address questions and issues straight from the source.
But going back to the FAFSA, which provides more than $150 billion in federal grants, loans, and work-study funds every year to more than 15 million students, one solution to easier borrowing could lie in the form itself. Two senators, Lamar Alexander from Tennessee and Michael Bennet from Colorado, have proposed a simple solution to the lengthy and cumbersome FAFSA form — reduce it down to two questions: family size and income.
Either way, we wish all the incoming class of 2018 students the best of luck.
Image: Federal Student Aid/Twitter