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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • +6

    Will Financial Aid Cover a Double Major?

    Will Financial Aid Cover a Double Major?
    Please help me out with a question. I am majoring in finance. I am thinking about pursuing a double-major in finance and real estate. I will have to take only 6 more classes than what I am supposed to take for my finance major. Will my financial aid cover the extra classes? — Jeffrey P. As noted in a previous Ask ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +7

    Does Cash from the Sale of the Family Home Count as an Asset on the FAFSA?

    We just sold our house and have not yet found our new house and have a lot of cash on hand. We will use the cash to buy a home in the next couple of months. The cash is a false representation of our savings, but since we don't have a mortgage, it looks like we do. We need to keep ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +7

    Does Parental Support Affect Independent Student Status?

    I am 19 and have a baby (1 month old) and I am living with my boyfriend and his mother. I am confused about whose tax information to use on the FAFSA. My boyfriend's mother is in Section 8 housing and put me in it and in her food stamps. — J.F. A student who has one or more dependent children ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +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 over 2 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +8

    When must a Non-Custodial Parent Count a Child in Household Size?

    I am remarried and my husband pays child support for his two children that live with their mother. They pass the support test. Do we include his children in our household size as well as report the amount he pays for child support for them? If it's only one or the other, which is more financial beneficial from a FAFSA standpoint? ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +8
  • +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 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +15

    Student Debt Guide: Saving and Investing Money

    Student Debt Guide: Saving and Investing Money
    Nobody ever said being an adult was easy and knowing how to save and invest properly is not exception to the rule. But, who better to advise you on saving and investing money than Mark Kantrowitz, a nationally recognized finance guru? Here are tips, right from the expert, on how to save and invest like a pro. [gate] • Save for ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +15
  • +4

    Student Debt Guide: Budgeting and Credit Cards

    Student Debt Guide: Budgeting and Credit Cards
    By now, we’re all aware that managing money can be quite difficult. Here are some surefire ways, straight from nationally recognized financial expert Mark Kantrowitz, on how to help stay on track when it comes to pinching pennies. [gate] First, exercise control over your money by increasing awareness of your spending habits. Start by preparing a descriptive budget, where you track ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +7

    Student Debt Guide: Credit Scores

    Student Debt Guide: Credit Scores
    Good credit, bad credit, credit score reports, sites and don’t even mention credit cards! It’s all too easy to get jumbled in the mix. Luckily, our financial expert Mark Kantrowitz breaks down the basic questions, like what a credit score is and why should you care.[gate] How is my credit score calculated? Lenders report whether you pay your bills on time ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +5

    Can the FAFSA be Completed with Information from the Previous Year's Tax Returns?

    My daughter got accepted to her first-choice school, a private university, as an early-decision candidate. The school won't be able to tell us the amount of financial aid she will be offered until March. I am eager to file the FAFSA and CSS Financial Aid PROFILE forms as soon as possible, as I've heard this helps maximize the amount of aid ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +5
  • -1

    Congress Passes Fiscal Cliff Legislation, Extending American Opportunity Tax Credit

    Congress Passes Fiscal Cliff Legislation, Extending American Opportunity Tax Credit
    Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8) late on Tuesday, January 1, 2013. The measure passed with bipartisan support in the Senate by a vote of 89 to 8 and in the House by a vote of 257 to 167. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation into law. This legislation addresses some aspects of the ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: -1
  • +3

    Confusion about Reporting Custodial 529 College Savings Plan Accounts on the FAFSA

    My daughter is a freshman (in college) and lives more than 50% of the time with her mother who is the custodial parent. Her mom and I have been divorced for the last 10 years. I personally had an UGMA account set up for my daughter years ago. But two years ago I converted my daughter's $25,000 UGMA account to a ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +5

    Why is Parental Information Required on the FAFSA for a Self-Sufficient Student?

    Why do we have to file the FAFSA when my daughter supports herself? My daughter has not lived with me or my husband for a year and a half while she’s been attending college. We do not support her financially, we do not pay for her education nor do we even send her money. She is completely self-sufficient, a fact of ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +7

    Year-End Financial Aid Moves

    As the year draws to a close, there are several steps families can take to get more need-based and merit-based financial aid. Prepay Next Year's Tuition Taxpayers can claim one of two education tax credits based on amounts paid for qualified higher education expenses, such as tuition and fees. These are the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +6

    Does the Cash from a Cash-Out Refinance Count as an Asset on the FAFSA?

    My daughter is a high school junior. I have just refinanced with cash out for a home remodel to accommodate my aging parents. However the remodel is delayed and the money is still in our account. The remodel should be completed and the money spent by the time my daughter starts her senior year. Will this money be counted as asset ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +5

    What Documentation can a College Financial Aid Administrator Request?

    I'm an independent student who filed a 1040A last year so I was not required to answer questions about assets on the FAFSA application. I had very little income last year and have a zero EFC. I reported taxes on capital gains and now my school is asking for information about my investment assets (which are about $40,000). Can they use ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +3

    How Can One Shelter Parent Assets on the FAFSA?

    My daughter is going to college next year. We have to file the FAFSA in January. We have money in our savings account that we saved for emergency reasons and some for my daughter's college. Will this affect her chance in getting grants or loans? What should we do? — G.N. Money in a savings account counts as an asset on ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +4

    How to Minimize the Impact of a Student's Brokerage Account on Financial Aid

    We have an UTMA mutual fund for our son who is a senior in high school (17 years old). It is approximately $19,000 and was intended to help pay for college costs. When we opened it we weren't aware of the impact it could have on financial aid. I realize it's too late to fix anything for his freshman year next ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +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 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +1

    What Income is Listed on the FAFSA when Separated Parents File a Joint Tax Return?

    I am praying that you may be able to advise me on the FAFSA application. I am a senior in high school and will file the FAFSA in January. I live with my mom. My dad moved out almost 2 years ago. As part of my parents' agreement, my dad is paying for our rent and utilities. My mom and dad ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +1
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