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  • +14

    Survey Says: Families Perceive College Costs as Increasing by 17% Compared with Last Year

    Sallie Mae and Gallup just released the results of their third annual survey of how American families pay for college. The survey found that families perceived college costs as increasing by more than 17% compared with last year. As a result, families are becoming more cost conscious in their college choices. Family estimates of the total cost of attendance increased 17% ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +14
  • +6

    To Convert or Not To Convert; How Does a Roth IRA Conversion Affect Student Aid?

    I am retired with no income from employment and a moderate amount of investment income, $20,000 to $30,000 a year. I am contemplating a partial conversion from my traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. Such conversion is included in my adjusted gross income, but is not really spendable income to support my son's education. If I make such a conversion, would ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +14

    The Elephant in the Room

    The Elephant in the Room
    Students, you and your parents are so focused on the standard college questions – what school, what degree, how to pay for it – that you overlook the elephant in the room. An Elephant in the room? Yes, the educational Elephant who can cost you and your families thousands of dollars, unnecessarily. Here’s where the elephant raises his costly tusks. You ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +14
  • +20

    Bi-Partisanship in the Name of Debt

    Bi-Partisanship in the Name of Debt
    Let’s start out with a riddle: What’s something the majority students have, but don’t want? Here’s a hint: the answer is as simple and, unfortunately, as American, as apple pie. The answer? Debt. Regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual identity, political party (the list goes on and on), the majority of college graduates now have student debt – 58 percent, according ...
    Published 4 months ago | Rated: +20
  • +10

    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 to help students and parents make informed decisions concerning the tradeoffs between college affordability and college quality. It will also help students and their families make smarter borrowing decisions. Students ...
    Published almost 2 years ago | Rated: +10
  • +7

    Impact of a Gift Trust Account on Eligibility for Need-Based Financial Aid

    My daughter turned 18 recently, and received a $25,000 mutual fund statement with her name on it. Her aunt had put $10,000 away in 1995 in a gift trust account for a minor. This was a mutual fund account in which the interest was reinvested each year and therefore no IRS interest statements were generated. We were unaware that her aunt ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +7
  • +3

    Will Differences in Parent Assets Due to the Omission Sibling-Owned Custodial 529 Plan Accounts Cause Problems on the FAFSA?

    Since siblings' UTMA 529s don't get reported on the FAFSA, but the student's UTMA 529 is counted as a parent asset, each of my kids would have a different amount listed on the FAFSA as parent assets. The amounts would be vastly different because most of my son's money will have been used by the time my youngest starts college. We'll ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +4

    How is a Life Estate Treated on the FAFSA? Do the Restrictions Matter?

    How is a life estate reflected on the FAFSA? A student's parent has a deed with student's grandparent having life use of the property through a life estate. Please be New York state specific with the response. — T.G. A life estate involves an irrevocable grant of a future interest in a property while reserving a present interest in the property. ...
    Published about 1 year ago | Rated: +4
  • +5

    How Does a Pending Foreclosure or Short Sale Affect Financial Aid?

    How do we answer the question "Do you own your home" on financial aid forms when we are in pre-foreclosure? We are not yet in active foreclosure, but are several years in arrears on our mortgage as we are significantly underwater on our loans and have been unsuccessful so far in getting a satisfactory modification. To that end, we just retained ...
    Published about 1 year ago | Rated: +5
  • +3

    What are the Downsides to Using Home Equity to Refinance Student Loan Debt?

    I have almost $200K in student loan debt at interest rates from 6.5% to 8.5%. My parents are offering to take on $70K of my debt that's at 8.5% by way of a mortgage they have access to at 3.5%, provided that I am able to pay it off in 3 years. Given my current job situation, I can handle the ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +3
  • +5

    Should Borrowers Pay Off Old Student Loans to Qualify for the New 10% Version of Income-Based Repayment?

    I want to qualify for the "pay as you earn plan" 10% income-based repayment plan. I have $80,000 in Direct Loans from 2010-2012. I have a balance of $2,800 on an old student loan from the 1990's. Should I pay off the old balance before a certain date to make sure and qualify for the "pay as you earn plan"? Or ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +7

    Ask for a Professional Judgment Review for Job Loss or Other Changes in Income

    I lost my teaching job last June and got a half year's salary instead of a full year. I did not get a job in the fall, so our household income was operating on half of my income. My husband's work status is the same, so we are at three-quarters. This year I do not have a job. Is there any ...
    Published about 3 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +11

    Congress Passes One-Year Interest Rate Freeze

    Congress passed legislation on Friday, June 29, 2012 to prevent the interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans to undergraduate students from doubling July 1, 2012. The last-minute legislation, which passed with strong bipartisan support, keeps the interest rate at 3.4 percent for new loans in 2012-13, instead of allowing it to revert to 6.8 percent. The Student Loan Interest Rate Extension ...
    Published almost 2 years ago | Rated: +11
  • +4

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

    I have a simple question: Is there currently a better option to help finance my sophomore daughter's college education than a 7.9% PLUS loan? That just seems a bit high given the current economic environment? — Alan S. When considering how to finance a college education, there are many options, including federal education loans, private student loans and non-education loans. It ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +4
  • +4

    Will a Parent PLUS Loan be Denied When Applying for Two Loans for Two Children?

    I am applying for two Parent PLUS loans because I have twins going to school at the same time. Is it possible one loan will be denied because we are applying for two at the same time? What can I do if one of the applications is denied? We have good credit 730 and 780 for each of us. — Michelle ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +4
  • +5

    Wells Fargo Adds Death and Disability Discharges to Private Student Loans

    Wells Fargo announced on December 17, 2010 that it is adding death and disability discharges to its private student loan products. When the student borrower dies or becomes totally and permanently disabled, the remaining debt will be discharged. This new policy applies to all Wells Fargo private student loans, including loans with a cosigner. Total and permanent disability is defined as ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +12

    Will Delaying a Bankruptcy Filing Affect Eligibility for Student Aid?

    My son is a senior in high school this year. I might have to file for bankruptcy. Should I file this year or wait until next year to file? — Rich N. Filing for bankruptcy will affect your eligibility for the Parent PLUS loan and your ability to cosign or borrow a private student loan. It will not otherwise affect your ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +12
  • +11

    Pros and Cons of Using Retirement Funds to Pay for College Costs

    Why should one NOT use retirement funds to pay for a child's college costs? — Diane H. There are two main reasons why families shouldn't use retirement plan funds to pay for college. The first reason is the financial impact of taking a distribution from a retirement plan to pay for college. The financial impact includes both the tax liability and ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +11
  • +6

    Who Completes the FAFSA When a Student Lives with his Grandparents?

    My grandson lives with his grandfather and me. His parents do not support him other than providing medical insurance. He will claim himself on his 2012 income tax and his parents financials are not available to us. How do we handle completing the FAFSA and applying for scholarships, etc.? I am more than willing to provide our information if that is ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +6
  • +4

    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 to them by my parents years ago, from which they get quarterly dividends of around $140 each. Every year on the FAFSA I have to put the current value of ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +4