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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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Government Report Reviews Private Student Loans and Recommends Statutory Changes

Government Report Reviews Private Student Loans and Recommends Statutory Changes

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the US Department of Education released a report to Congress about private student loans on July 20, 2012 as mandated by section 1077 of ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 19, 2012
Money Saving New Year's Resolutions

Money Saving New Year's Resolutions

The New Year is a perfect chance to resolve to save money for your education.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published December 22, 2014
What Happens When Retirement Money isn't in a Qualified Retirement Plan?

What Happens When Retirement Money isn't in a Qualified Retirement Plan?

I am a single parent, age 56 and my daughter will be applying for college next year. I make less than $60,000, but have just over $100,000 in savings and mutual ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 25, 2013
Should You Pay for FAFSA and Loan Services Help?

Should You Pay for FAFSA and Loan Services Help?

Is paying for FAFSA or student loan help a waste of money?

By Kathryn Knight Randolph
Published September 18, 2015
How Should Divorced Parents Split a Child's College Costs?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 23, 2011
Should Parents Pay Off Credit Cards Before Applying for College Loans and Other Aid?

Should Parents Pay Off Credit Cards Before Applying for College Loans and Other Aid?

Why is it better for parents to pay off credit cards (if one can) before obtaining loans for a child for college? — Diane H. Most forms of consumer debt, such ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 30, 2011
Can a Dependent Student File the FAFSA as Independent if the Student's Parents Don't File Federal Income Tax Returns?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 2, 2012
Year in Review: Ups and Downs for Student Financial Aid in 2011

Year in Review: Ups and Downs for Student Financial Aid in 2011

2011 was an eventful year for student financial aid, student loans and scholarships. This article summarizes the major events, positive and negative, for student aid in 2011. It also provides a ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 5, 2012
Can a Student Receive a Pell Grant for a Second College Degree?

Can a Student Receive a Pell Grant for a Second College Degree?

I am a 25-year-old woman looking to go back to school for a second degree in a different field of study than my original degree. I am married to an enlisted ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 1, 2012
LoanGifting: New, Easy Way to Pay Off Student Loans

LoanGifting: New, Easy Way to Pay Off Student Loans

When you have student loan debt up to your ears, turn to a new type of direct crowdfunding as a source for help.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published February 2, 2016
Dealing with the Debt Deal and Downgrade: Practical Tips for Students and their Families

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 8, 2011
3 Things You Need to Know About Financial Aid Now

3 Things You Need to Know About Financial Aid Now

Keep in mind these three things about financial aid.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph
Published March 15, 2016
When Does Repayment Begin on a Subsidized Loan?

When Does Repayment Begin on a Subsidized Loan?

When does a student have to start paying back a subsidized loan? — A.A. If the loan is a subsidized Stafford loan, repayment begins 6 months after graduating from college or ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 15, 2011
How Do Grandparent-Owned 529 College Savings Plans Affect Financial Aid Eligibility?

How Do Grandparent-Owned 529 College Savings Plans Affect Financial Aid Eligibility?

Rules for Treatment of 529 College Savings Plans as Income and Assets

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 6, 2012
How Do You Calculate Individual Income From a Joint Return for the FAFSA When the Parents Are Separated?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 28, 2011
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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 1, 2013
Can a Student Receive Both Need-Based Grants and Merit-Based Scholarships?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 14, 2012
Free Money for College Savings

Free Money for College Savings

There are a variety of national, state and local programs that encourage families to save for college by providing families with free money. There are two main types of such programs: ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 4, 2011
Repayment Begins for Students Who Graduated in May and June

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 26, 2011
Trick or Treat: President Obama's Plan for Cutting Federal Student Loan Payments

Trick or Treat: President Obama's Plan for Cutting Federal Student Loan Payments

Income-based Repayment Who: 1.6 million borrowers since 2008 with at least one loan in 2012 or later, generally borrowers whose total federal student loans exceeds their annual income What: Reduces ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 26, 2011