College is expensive, and the student loans you can get to pay for it can haunt you long after it's over.  So much so, that finding creative ways to pay for higher education is an American tradition.

That tradition has moved beyond the "study hard and/or work hard on your extra-curricular activities so you can get accepted and get a scholarship" model into the "rob, cheat, and steal your way in," method.  Case in point, a new scheme has arisen from the desperation that has parents abandoning their kids in order to get them the cash they need for school.

An investigation conducted by VOA.com has revealed that several parents and students have been using this strategy at the University of Illinois.  Basically, the parents give up any and all legal claim of responsibility for the college bound youngster.  Then the kid can claim that they are alone, without support, and independent of their parents and therefore poorer - allowing them to receive an $11,000 grant from the federal government.

This sneaky move also allows these kids to be more eligible for university scholarships that could foot the bill for the entire tuition.

From what I can tell, this move is completely legal.  Critics say that this approach takes the opportunity away from kids who are actually in need of the help.  Parents questioned in the investigation said they were following the advice of Destination College.  According to their website, the organization is a "full-service college consulting firm," that advises parents and students how to complete college in the least expensive way possible.