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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • +7

    Is a 3.75% Cash-Out Refinance on a Mortgage Better than Federal Student Loans?

    I have daughter who will be attending college in the fall of 2013 (and a son in 2017). For various reasons, our savings are not sufficient to pay for college given the current costs that I see. As home mortgage refinance rates have dropped to their lowest levels in my lifetime (around 3.75%), I had the notion of conducting a refinance ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +3

    Does Dependency Status on Income Tax Returns Affect Financial Aid Eligibility?

    My daughter graduated from undergraduate school in May of this year. As far as student loans were concerned she was considered a dependent for the 4 years she attended there and we filed our income tax as such. However, she started graduate school in July of this year and in order to attend she had to apply for a student loan ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +3
  • +6

    Does Consolidating Student Loans Save Money Like a Refinance?

    I have a question concerning consolidating my federal loans. I have some that are subsidized and some that are unsubsidized. Can I combine these at a lower interest rate? I have graduated from college and will soon be starting to pay back my loans. My unsubsidized loans are at 6.8% and subsidized are at 5.5%. I also have many DEAL loans, ...
    Published about 3 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +5

    Questions about Qualifying for the Federal Parent PLUS Loan

    My son has been accepted to an expensive private non-profit college for the fall. We have been awarded a pretty generous financial aid package from the school (approximately $30,000) which leaves me with about $20,000/year left to finance. I make about $50,000/year. I will be applying for the Parent PLUS loan and have several questions. I'm in the process of refinancing ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +5
  • +5

    How Should Divorced Parents Split a Child's College Costs?

    I am the custodial parent for my daughter who will go to college this fall. It will be her first year. My income was reported on the FAFSA. This included child support, although my ex-husband has recently stopped paying child support. Now the ex-husband wants access to half of the funds available through the FAFSA to use toward his half of ...
    Published about 3 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +3

    Does a "Safety Net" Affect Eligibility for Student Financial Aid?

    We are parents of a high school junior looking to learn about the best places to put our money for when we fill out that first FAFSA in two years. My husband insists that we have a "safety net" of at least $10,000 in an account for emergencies (like large car maintenance costs, accident deductibles, etc.). Currently that money is in ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +7

    Does Joint Repayment Obligate Spouses for Each Other's Student Loans?

    I applied to have both my husband's and my student loan debt considered in determining our payments under income-based repayment. This reduced our payments significantly. My concern is that the repayment plan selection forms have a box to check that accepts responsibility for your spouse's loan. My student loan debt is considerably higher than my husband's and should I precede him ...
    Published almost 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +4

    Paying the College Directly to Avoid Gift Taxes

    Under current IRS rules, a payment made directly to an educational institution to pay for the tuition of a student does not count as a gift to the student for gift tax purposes. For example, a grandparent can avoid gift taxes by writing a check to the college for their grandchild's tuition instead of giving the money to the student or ...
    Published almost 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +3

    Can a Dependent Student File the FAFSA as Independent if the Student's Parents Don't File Federal Income Tax Returns?

    The next several Ask Kantro columns will answer questions about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA may be filed starting on January 1. The FAFSA is used to apply for student financial aid from the federal and state governments and from most colleges and universities for the award year that runs from July 1 to June 30. ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +6

    When Can a Student's Grandparents Substitute for the Parents on Financial Aid Forms?

    If a student lives with a grandparent, is there any way the student can use the grandparent's income tax information on her FAFSA? I have lived with my grandmother for all 17 years of my life. My parents currently pay a small amount of child support to her, but that is the only financial support that I receive from them. My ...
    Published almost 3 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +11

    Dealing with the Debt Deal and Downgrade: Practical Tips for Students and their Families

    Title: Dealing with the Debt Deal and Downgrade: Practical Tips for Students and their Families Standard & Poor's (S&P) downgraded US long-term debt one notch from AAA to AA+ after the stock market closed on Friday, August 5, 2011. This is the first time the United States has lost its AAA rating. The downgrade triggered a panic sell-off when the ...
    Published almost 3 years ago | Rated: +11
  • +6

    How to Deal with a Defaulted But Paid-Off Student Loan that Reappears

    Years ago, I went to a two-year school and obtained my Associate's degree. I defaulted on the loan. However, my taxes were taken years later (twice) to take care of the loan. In 1995, I enrolled at a different college and was awarded the Pell Grant. I didn't take out any more loans. I paid the difference with a scholarship from ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +25

    "Free Money" & Taxes

    "Free Money" & Taxes
    Do you know the difference between a scholarships, grant and fellowship? Are you aware of the tax statuses of scholarships, grant and fellowship funding? It’s important to know the differences between the types of award funding, along with any government regulations applied to student award funds. Luckily, the majority of scholarships, fellowships and grants have built-in stipulations that require the funds ...
    Published 10 months ago | Rated: +25
  • +13

    How Do You Calculate Individual Income From a Joint Return for the FAFSA When the Parents Are Separated?

    In your answer to How Does Income Tax Filing Status Affect Student Aid?, you address the question of which parent is responsible for completing the FAFSA. However, I'm very curious as to how the filing status of separated parents affects how the FAFSA is processed, once the primary/custodial parent has completed it. That is, is it more advantageous for separated parents ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +13
  • +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 1 year ago | Rated: +5
  • +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
  • +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 1 year ago | Rated: +3
  • +22

    The Best Schools for Financial Aid

    The Best Schools for Financial Aid
    You know that most schools offer financial aid assistance to students who need it, but have you ever wondered if some colleges offer more than others? Some do. These schools prove that it is possible to make educational funding readily available to their students. Here are the country’s top ten colleges for students looking for financial aid, according to The Princeton ...
    Published 10 months ago | Rated: +22
  • +5

    What Do You Do If Your Application for a FAFSA PIN is Rejected?

    If you get an email message that says "Your request for a Federal Student Aid PIN cannot be processed because the Social Security Number (SSN), name, or date of birth that you provided on your PIN application does not match your information on file at the Social Security Administration (SSA)... If you are sure that the SSN, name, and date of ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +6

    Repayment Begins for Students Who Graduated in May and June

    Students who graduated in May or June are nearing the end of the six-month grace period. The first monthly loan payment is usually due in November or December. Don't Be Delinquent Unfortunately, about a third of borrowers are late with the first payment on their federal student loans. This is called a delinquency. There are a variety of reasons why students ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +6
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