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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
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
Quick Answers to Common Questions about Financial Aid

Quick Answers to Common Questions about Financial Aid

Financial aid is an inherently complicated topic. Sometimes students and parents have questions that may seem obvious to people who have more experience with financial aid. But they can't find the ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 1, 2013
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
2016-2017 Financial Aid Deadlines

2016-2017 Financial Aid Deadlines

We've got you covered with a complete list of financial aid deadlines, state-by-state, for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published May 11, 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
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
Don’t Miss Out on These 5 Financial Aid Options

Don’t Miss Out on These 5 Financial Aid Options

Know all of your financial aid options.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph
Published March 7, 2016
What Would You Be Willing to Do to Erase Your Student Debt?

What Would You Be Willing to Do to Erase Your Student Debt?

What would you be willing to do in order to erase your student debt?

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published February 23, 2016
3 Tips to Appeal Financial Aid Packages

3 Tips to Appeal Financial Aid Packages

Learn the steps you can take to appeal a financial aid package.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph
Published March 5, 2016
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
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
Can the FAFSA be Completed with Information from the Previous Year's Tax Returns?

Can the FAFSA be Completed with Information from the Previous Year's Tax Returns?

My daughter got accepted to her first-choice school, a private university, as an early-decision candidate. The school won't be able to tell us the amount of financial aid she will be ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 7, 2013
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