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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • +5

    Which Student Loans are the Best Ones to Borrow?

    I'm a first year and I'm searching for student loans with my mom and I'm not sure which one is the best one I should take out. Do you have any suggestions? — Joanna P. When comparing student loans, consider both the cost of the loan and the other benefits of the loan program. The cost of a loan is based ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +6

    White House Calls on Colleges to Adopt Clear College Cost and Financial Aid Disclosures

    The White House is calling on all college and university presidents to provide incoming students with clear and easy-to-understand college cost and financial aid disclosures. On June 5, 2012, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Richard Cordray and Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz hosted a roundtable with presidents of ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +4

    Which Parents are Responsible for Completing the Financial Aid Application Forms?

    Both of my daughters' parents have re-married. Whose income is counted for financial aid? Just biological parents or their spouses too? Does primary parent fill out the paperwork or the parent with the lowest (or highest) income? — M.J. When a student's biological/adoptive parents are divorced, only one of the two parents is responsible for completing the Free Application for Federal ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +1

    ProPublica and the Chronicle of Higher Education Seek Copies of Financial Aid Award Letters

    Two leading newspapers, ProPublica and the Chronicle of Higher Education, are seeking copies of actual financial aid award letters received by students. They are interested in receiving award letters from all colleges that admitted the student, not just the ones where the students ultimately enrolled. The newspapers have promised to keep names and personally identifiable information confidential. The award letters may ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +1
  • +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 about 2 years ago | Rated: +10
  • +4

    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 saving for college. After submitting our FAFSA for my son, we got back an EFC of 23207 on the SAR. I have been told by admissions that that is extremely ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +7

    Private Student Loans Add Fixed Rate Options

    Student loan pricing goes through cycles. When fixed interest rates are high but variable interest rates are heading downward, borrowers prefer variable interest rates. When variable interest rates are low but likely to head higher, borrowers prefer fixed-rate options. A little over a year ago only one commercial lender, SunTrust, offered a fixed-rate option on its loans. Today there are eight, ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +5

    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 an annual pension of $34,500, I fall short by about $20,000 to meet my annual expenses. Should I withdraw what I need for next year this year, so it doesn't ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +7

    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 from the federal government, state governments and most colleges. The financial aid will include a mix of grants, loans and student employment. The terms grants and scholarships are often used ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +3

    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, reaching this milestone demonstrates that student loan debt is a macroeconomic factor, with the potential to affect the economy, albeit modestly at present. Student loan debt will not derail the ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +4

    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 have poor credit due to excessive debt, and late payments. I am considering a debt settlement plan right now on two of my debts. I have outstanding student loans, and ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +7

    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 1, 2014. President Obama has proposed fast-tracking the new IBR plan to make it available to more students sooner. This article presents a sneak peak at the details of the ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +6

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

    I am currently in community college, hoping to transfer to a traditional 4-year college and then proceed to get my masters in teaching. Where my frustration lies is this: I had a different career focus before and was taking classes toward fulfilling that goal. Now my college's financial aid administrator says that I have taken too many credits at the community ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +3

    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 the impact of the pending change. [Congress passed a one-year extension to the 3.4% interest rate on June 29, 2012.] Background The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +8

    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! Fastweb was named 2012 Organization of the Year by the Institute for Financial Literacy on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. The Institute for Financial Literacy announced the winners of the 2012 ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +8
  • +7

    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 the private loans are much higher than the government loans. Most advice sites and articles are very general in nature. Can you provide any specifics on what would be the ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +5

    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, I am re-entering the job market. My last position, as a training and development specialist for a bank, earned roughly $45,000. It has been somewhat difficult obtaining full-time employment and ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +10

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

    Student Loan Over $1 Trillion: What to Know Before You Borrow
    With National Decision Day looming, students and their parents are taking a close look at top college choices and assessing academic offerings and campus body fit. But most importantly, families are taking a look at each school’s affordability. On Wednesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched its latest tool to help educate students and their families on the costs of borrowing ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +10
  • +3

    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 in college and a fourth starting in the fall a year from now. We hope to quit our jobs at some point and move to Nicaragua (or another Central American ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +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 over 2 years ago | Rated: +4
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