When I was applying for college/going through the financial aid process, i ran into a major injustice: the FAFSA formula essentially penalized me for saving dutifully as I spent my summers working, deducting my personal savings from the amount of financial aid I could receive.

I was livid: I had worked hard and scrimped on entertainment/clothing/car expenses, and it was all for nil. I would have been better off not working and spending my summers playing Playstation, and that's wrong.

So I was delighted when I saw an article in today's Springfield Republican about a program offered by the Springfield Partners for Community Action. Lower-income students who work there, save $1 thousand, and complete an eight hour course on money management are eligible to receive an additional $2 thousand in grant money for college.

This is a brilliant program, and it's amazing that nothing like this is done on a large scale. Rather than penalizing ambitious students who save, we should be rewarding them like Springfield Partners does.

One idea: every high school student should be able to save $4 thousand toward college. Those who fail to do that should receive reduced financial aid, as they have not made the commitment they are requesting of others. Students who work hard and save should not have to subsidize couch potatoes.

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