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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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

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

Advice for married couples seeking to repay debt and maintain tax benefits.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published June 25, 2012
Congress Passes One-Year Interest Rate Freeze

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published June 29, 2012
Is a Student Who is Enrolled Simultaneously in High School and College Eligible for Federal Student Financial Aid?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 2, 2011
How is a Life Estate Treated on the FAFSA? Do the Restrictions Matter?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 4, 2013
Sequestration Cuts Federal Student Aid Funding

Sequestration Cuts Federal Student Aid Funding

Congress did not reach an agreement to reduce the FY2013 budget deficit on March 1, 2013. Accordingly, the automatic across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration will become effective on March 27, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 4, 2013
Financial Aid and Scholarships for Undocumented Students

Financial Aid and Scholarships for Undocumented Students

Check out financial aid and scholarship opportunities for undocumented students.

Published September 9, 2015
Does Moving a 529 College Savings Plan into a Roth IRA Make Sense?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 12, 2011
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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 13, 2011
Impact of a Gift Trust Account on Eligibility for Need-Based Financial Aid

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 10, 2012
FAFSA Information for DACA Students

FAFSA Information for DACA Students

DACA students are defined as a subgroup of these undocumented students who have received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published December 10, 2014
Financial Aid and Scholarships for Foster Care and Adopted Children

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 17, 2012
A Prospective Student is Ineligible for Financial Aid Because of a Student Loan Default

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 1, 2011
How Do I Roll Over US Savings Bonds into a 529 College Savings Plan?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 13, 2012
If a Student's Parents Do Not Claim Him as a Dependent on their Income Tax Returns, Will the Student Get More Financial Aid?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 20, 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
Does the Cash from a Cash-Out Refinance Count as an Asset on the FAFSA?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 17, 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
Year-End Financial Aid Moves

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 20, 2012
The Best Schools for Financial Aid

The Best Schools for Financial Aid

These schools prove that it is possible to make educational funding readily available to their students.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published October 8, 2013
Pros and Cons of Using Retirement Funds to Pay for College Costs

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 3, 2011