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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • +7

    Seeking Clarification of Income-Based Repayment for Married Student Loan Borrowers

    I will begin to pay back my student loans in January. My loan debt is about $134,000 and I'm going to pay it back via income-based repayment (IBR). My husband also has student loan debt and is currently in repayment but not through IBR. I understand that if we continue to file our tax returns under Married Filing Jointly status my ...
    Published almost 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 3 years ago | Rated: +11
  • +6

    Why Does a Parent Qualify for More Financial Aid than Her Dependent Student Child When Both are in College?

    I am a 38-year-old wife and mother who decided to go to college 20 years out of high school. I am a student at an online college and receive financial aid myself. My son is a high school senior with a very small part time job at the local Burger King. He plans to attend an out-of-state college, however those plans ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +13

    Is a Student Who is Enrolled Simultaneously in High School and College Eligible for Federal Student Financial Aid?

    My 16-year-old son has passed an ability-to-benefit (ATB) test at a community college. He has been accepted has a regular student in a qualifying program but has not graduated from high school. The college is denying him the Federal Pell Grant because they are stating that he is enrolled in high school. My position is that in Florida he has passed ...
    Published about 4 years ago | Rated: +13
  • +3

    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 2 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +4

    Does Moving a 529 College Savings Plan into a Roth IRA Make Sense?

    Does it make sense to move our $40,000 529 college savings plan into a Roth IRA for our children who are both in college to shield the money from our asset consideration? We have a gross income of about $100,000 and no debt. They have some merit scholarships, but we have not qualified for need on the FAFSA. — Carolyn W. ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +4

    When A "Free" College Education Isn't Really Free

    When A "Free" College Education Isn't Really Free
    Some of the protesters at Occupy Wall Street are demanding that a college education be provided for free. But even if their request is granted, which is unlikely, it might not actually be free. The definition of "free" is straightforward enough. A product or service is free when it is available without any cost or charge. But marketers often distort the ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +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 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +8

    Financial Aid and Scholarships for Foster Care and Adopted Children

    I adopted a special needs foster child when he was 11 years old. I have been told he does not qualify for any aid. I recently learned that if I would have adopted him at age 13 he would of received a full scholarship. My son wants to attend a private college at approximately $43,000 per year. Do you have any ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +8
  • +5

    A Prospective Student is Ineligible for Financial Aid Because of a Student Loan Default

    I gave college a shot when I was 18 and dropped out due to major health problems. Student loans obviously did not disappear because of this and I have been struggling with them ever since. Now at age 24 I finally feel that I am healthy enough to give school a second try. I thought I had every detail worked out ...
    Published almost 4 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +5

    How Do I Roll Over US Savings Bonds into a 529 College Savings Plan?

    I have several thousands of dollars in Series EE savings bonds (issued from 1988 through 1992). I know that you can use the bonds relatively tax free if cashed and used for qualified educational expenses, which includes contributions to a qualified tuition program such as a 529 college savings plan. If so, what is the process for doing this? — A.J.K. ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +9

    If a Student's Parents Do Not Claim Him as a Dependent on their Income Tax Returns, Will the Student Get More Financial Aid?

    How beneficial is it to have our college attending son file his taxes on his own versus us claiming him as a dependent? Does it make a huge difference in the amount of aid and/or scholarships he would receive? — Lois H. Whether or not a student is claimed as an exemption on his parents' federal income tax returns has no ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +9
  • +22

    Guidelines for Financial Freedom

    Guidelines for Financial Freedom
    When you’re a student trying to pay for school, one of the greatest challenges can be managing your finances in the best way possible. With so many options out there, it’s difficult to decipher right from wrong and what will be best for you in the future. Following these guidelines will help you understand how to determine what’s best for you, ...
    Published almost 2 years ago | Rated: +22
  • +29

    Tuition Saving Tips

    Tuition Saving Tips
    Oh, tuition. Some consider it a nasty word and rightfully so. It’s expensive and can hang over a student’s head throughout college and for years to come. But there are ways to save on tuition – you just need to become savvy about it. It takes time and effort, but when you’re talking about that much money, it’s more than likely ...
    Published about 1 year ago | Rated: +29
  • +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

    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 about 3 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +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
  • +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 3 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +9

    7 Resources for Returning Students Paying for College

    7 Resources for Returning Students Paying for College
    As a returning student, you may feel that the scholarship search will be fruitless, financial aid will be nonexistent and that there are more inconveniences rather than benefits to going back to school. But that’s not the case at all. In fact, there are more than a few resources at your disposal to help you pay for school too. Independent Student ...
    Published 9 months ago | Rated: +9
  • +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 3 years ago | Rated: +11
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