There’s a fine line between funny and insulting, and it appears that the Twitter account for FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, crossed it with its very first tweet. The Tuesday night tweet blasted out the message, “If this is you, then you better fill out your FAFSA,” with an image of actress Kristen Wiig saying, “Help me. I’m poor,” underneath. It’s a screenshot from the movie “Bridesmaids.” Students who rely on financial aid to pay for college took umbrage at being called “poor,” and a few hours after the tweet went up, FAFSA deleted it. It also posted this apology:
We apologize for the insensitivity of our previous tweet. Our goal is to make college a reality for all. We’re very sorry.
— Federal Student Aid (@FAFSA) June 25, 2014
The response to the apology was mixed. Some expressed continued anger at the organization:
— SHREK FLEX (@SHREK_FLEX) June 25, 2014
Others said the tweet simply talked to young people in their language:
@FAFSA Your marketing to young people using memes, which are popular among young people. I think you have little to nothing to apologize for
— media teacher (@themediateacher) June 25, 2014
The Department of Education also issued this statement to Consumerist:
We apologize for this insensitive Twitter post, which flies in the face of our mission of opening doors of opportunity for every student. It was an ill-conceived attempt at reaching students through social media. We are reviewing our process for approving social media content to ensure it reflects the high standards we expect at the U.S. Department of Education.
Even so, there’s no denying that the tweet and the apology were actually somewhat successful in drawing attention to FAFSA. As of Wednesday afternoon, the account had more than 65,000 followers. (Image via)