You’d think a government agency would have the common sense not to insult the millions of people who depend on its services in order to afford an education. “Government agency” and not being offensive? Yeah, I’m amazed I typed that with a straight face.
Unfortunately, this was not the case with the official Twitter account of Federal Student Aid, the office of the U.S. Department of Education that provides grants, loans and work-study funds for college and career school. If you are a parent of college students or have even attended college yourself, you may be familiar with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA form is required for anyone seeking financial aid from U.S. colleges.
Operative word is “anyone.” Not just poor people.
Unfortunately, the people behind the FAFSA Twitter account tried to make a funny Tuesday night by using a photo from the movie Bridesmaids, and some considered it a huge fail:
More than 10 million students a year fill out a FAFSA. Some may receive less aid than others, but just because you’re receiving aid does not make you poor.
Many people on Twitter felt that the tweet was not only socially irresponsible but also completely inappropriate:
But here’s a drunken guy who thought it was funny:
As with many companies and their Twitter “oopsies,” the person behind the FAFSA account didn’t remove the tweet until about 90 minutes after it was posted, only to be followed by a fauxpology:
But many people didn’t buy the apology:
In the age of social media memes, sure, everyone is trying to jump on the bandwagon and attempt a joke. But sometimes things just aren’t that funny, especially when a government agency sticks you with high-interest-rate loans and has never heard of loan forgiveness.
Millions of students and parents who aren’t recipients of scholarships that fully cover tuition and board aren’t laughing when they receive their award letter and are still left trying to rub pennies together to pay tuition. Imagine the number of graduates from the Class of 2014 who are stuck with student loans and working at Chick-fil-A because today’s job market sucks. But it’s all funny to FAFSA.
Hell, it may be funny to some of you, too, but it won’t be funny when your child returns home from college and has no other place to live but on your couch, and $40,000 in student loans to worry about.
Yesha Callahan is editor of The Grapevine and a staff writer at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.