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Senator Al Franken Introduces Legislation to Standardize Financial Aid Award Letters

Senator Al Franken Introduces Legislation to Standardize Financial Aid Award Letters

Senator Al Franken (D-MN) introduced the Understanding the True Cost of College Act (S.3244) on Thursday, May 24, 2012 with bipartisan support. This legislation will standardize college financial aid award letters ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 28, 2012
Are UGMA and UTMA Accounts Reported as Investments on the FAFSA?

Are UGMA and UTMA Accounts Reported as Investments on the FAFSA?

Tuesday, May 29 is National College Savings Day (i.e., May 29 is 5/29, a cute reference to 529 college savings plans). To commemorate the occasion, Mark Kantrowitz answers a question about ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 28, 2012
Private Student Loans Add Fixed Rate Options

Private Student Loans Add Fixed Rate Options

How do fixed loan rates stack up against other student loans?

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 21, 2012
Is There Any Way to Shelter Retirement Plan Distributions on the FAFSA?

Is There Any Way to Shelter Retirement Plan Distributions on the FAFSA?

My question is simple: is there a way to withdraw money from my 401(K), at age 59 1/2, that will not be counted as income for FAFSA purposes? Although I receive ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 21, 2012
Should Married Borrowers File Joint or Separate Federal Income Tax Returns with Income-Based Repayment?

Should Married Borrowers File Joint or Separate Federal Income Tax Returns with Income-Based Repayment?

Expert advice for married borrowers and their loan repayment.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 16, 2012
Is There a Better Option for Financing a College Education than a Parent PLUS Loan?

Is There a Better Option for Financing a College Education than a Parent PLUS Loan?

Parental options for higher education lending.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 16, 2012
Can a Student Receive Both Need-Based Grants and Merit-Based Scholarships?

Can a Student Receive Both Need-Based Grants and Merit-Based Scholarships?

If a child does receive FAFSA can they still receive scholarships and grants? — Y.P. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to apply for need-based financial aid ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 14, 2012
Student Loan Debt Clock Reaches $1 Trillion

Student Loan Debt Clock Reaches $1 Trillion

The student loan debt clock reached the $1 trillion milestone at about 6:40 am ET on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. Although the student loan debt clock is for entertainment purposes only, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 8, 2012
How will a Parent's Financial Troubles Affect the Student's Eligibility for Student Loans?

How will a Parent's Financial Troubles Affect the Student's Eligibility for Student Loans?

My 17-year-old daughter is eager to begin college. We have some difficult financial situations to contend with and could use your advice and direction. Her dad and I are divorced. I ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 7, 2012
An Early Look at the New Income-Based Repayment Plan

An Early Look at the New Income-Based Repayment Plan

A new version of income-based repayment (IBR) was enacted by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, but will be effective only for new borrowers on or after July ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 3, 2012
Can a Student be Cut Off from Financial Aid After Taking Too Many Credits?

Can a Student be Cut Off from Financial Aid After Taking Too Many Credits?

Expert advice on financial aid limits.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 30, 2012
A Primer on the Doubling of the Subsidized Stafford Loan Interest Rate

A Primer on the Doubling of the Subsidized Stafford Loan Interest Rate

This article summarizes the background concerning the doubling of the interest rate on new subsidized Stafford loans to undergraduate students from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1, 2012. It also discusses ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 24, 2012
Fastweb Wins Award for Financial Literacy Education

Fastweb Wins Award for Financial Literacy Education

For nearly 17 years, Fastweb has worked to become the leading online resource for paying and preparing for college, and recently, our site soared to new heights with the EIFLE Award! ...

Published April 23, 2012
What are the Downsides and Upsides to Unsubsidized Federal Student Loans?

What are the Downsides and Upsides to Unsubsidized Federal Student Loans?

As a guidance counselor, I have many families asking me if there's any downside to taking out a federal unsubsidized loan. They need loan money either way and the rates for ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 23, 2012
Should Students and Parents Who are Close to Retirement Borrow to Pay for College?

Should Students and Parents Who are Close to Retirement Borrow to Pay for College?

I am 47 and recently divorced single parent of two children, ages 7 and 8. I spent the last 9 years as a stay-at-home parent. As a result of the divorce, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 16, 2012
Student Loan Over $1 Trillion: What to Know Before You Borrow

Student Loan Over $1 Trillion: What to Know Before You Borrow

Learn what your loan payments will be after graduation up front.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph
Published April 13, 2012
Should Wealthy Parents Cut Family Income Tenfold to Help their Children Qualify for Need-Based Student Financial Aid?

Should Wealthy Parents Cut Family Income Tenfold to Help their Children Qualify for Need-Based Student Financial Aid?

My wife and I make about $150,000 in combined income. We have probably $350,000 in home equity, $100,000 in rental property equity and $500,000 in retirement accounts. We have three kids ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 9, 2012
Should a Family Sell Student-Owned Stocks to Get More Financial Aid?

Should a Family Sell Student-Owned Stocks to Get More Financial Aid?

I have two daughters. One is a junior in college. The other is a senior in high school who will be going to college this fall. They both have stocks given ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 2, 2012
Advice to Parents Whose Child will be the First in the Family to Go to College

Advice to Parents Whose Child will be the First in the Family to Go to College

My wife and I are looking for help in getting our son into college. He is a junior in high school. His mother and I are on disability. My wife is ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 26, 2012
Impact of Tax Filing Status on Income-Based Repayment for Married Borrowers

Impact of Tax Filing Status on Income-Based Repayment for Married Borrowers

We married in January of last year, after my husband graduated with a Master's degree in December. His loans total $65,000 and he earned $20,000 last year. I graduated in May ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 19, 2012