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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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Dad Died, Mom Remarried; Grandma Moved In. How do These Changes Affect My FAFSA?

Dad Died, Mom Remarried; Grandma Moved In. How do These Changes Affect My FAFSA?

We recently had an addition in the family. Not a new sibling, but my mother's mom is now living with us. She's great and we love having her, but she's not ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 16, 2009
Questions about Net Assets and Changes in Marital Status

Questions about Net Assets and Changes in Marital Status

On the asset section of the FAFSA form if you have $100,000 in stocks but also have a $75,000 margin loan balance would you net this out and put down $25,000 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 15, 2010
Tips for Evaluating Financial Aid Award Letters

Tips for Evaluating Financial Aid Award Letters

Financial aid award letters provide college students with information about college costs and the types and amount of financial aid the student will receive. Families rely on the financial aid award ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 10, 2010
Wells Fargo Adds Death and Disability Discharges to Private Student Loans

Wells Fargo Adds Death and Disability Discharges to Private Student Loans

Wells Fargo announced on December 17, 2010 that it is adding death and disability discharges to its private student loan products. When the student borrower dies or becomes totally and permanently ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 18, 2010
How does bankruptcy affect PLUS loan eligibility?

How does bankruptcy affect PLUS loan eligibility?

I applied for a Parent PLUS loan for my son's education starting this fall. I was turned down due to filing chapter 7 four years ago this October. They said I ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 1, 2009
Questions about How to Handle an Inheritance and Scholarships for Cancer Survivors

Questions about How to Handle an Inheritance and Scholarships for Cancer Survivors

Our son is a sophomore in college. He receives both subsidized and unsubsidized loans. My husband and I have been paying the remaining balance for his education. I recently inherited approximately ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 1, 2010
What Counts as Child Support on the FAFSA?

What Counts as Child Support on the FAFSA?

I am very grateful to Fastweb for providing all that you do. I am especially grateful for your answers to questions. I agreed (outside of the courts) to pay my daughter's ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 8, 2010
Ask the Expert: Why Not Borrow from My 401(k) for My Daughter's College Tuition?

Ask the Expert: Why Not Borrow from My 401(k) for My Daughter's College Tuition?

Why borrowing tuition money from your 401(k) is a bad idea.

By Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 21, 2009
Is tuition refund insurance worthwhile?

Is tuition refund insurance worthwhile?

College is a big investment, as expensive as buying an automobile or a house. You insure your car and your home, why not insure your child's college education? Tuition refund insurance ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 31, 2009
Why Your Grandparents Could be Your Meal Ticket to College

Why Your Grandparents Could be Your Meal Ticket to College

There are many ways in which grandparents can help their grandchildren pay for a college education. These include legacy scholarships and tuition assistance programs, educational awards for volunteering and community service, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 21, 2009
Would Forgiving Student Loans Stimulate the Economy?

Would Forgiving Student Loans Stimulate the Economy?

Several grass-roots groups were established on Facebook in early 2009 calling for the cancellation of all student loan debt under the theory that this will stimulate the economy. Most noteworthy is ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 9, 2009
How can a Student Pay for College after Losing Student Aid Eligibility due to Unsatisfactory Academic Progress?

How can a Student Pay for College after Losing Student Aid Eligibility due to Unsatisfactory Academic Progress?

I am not eligible for federal funding at this time because of unsatisfactory academic progress. My appeal was denied and I was told I would again be eligible for federal funding ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 11, 2010
Questions about Obtaining and Repaying Student Loans

Questions about Obtaining and Repaying Student Loans

How will my credit score effect my ability to get the funding I need for graduate school? If my credit is not great, will I be able to get the loans ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 26, 2009
Reporting Prepaid Tuition Plans and 529 Plans on the FAFSA for Independent Students

Reporting Prepaid Tuition Plans and 529 Plans on the FAFSA for Independent Students

I'm confused as to how to treat a prepaid tuition plan when applying for financial aid. I'm an independent student but I have a small prepaid tuition account which is held ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 19, 2010
Questions about Assets and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Questions about Assets and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

There are many college financial planners in my area who claim to be able to help us "legally and ethically" reposition our assets to lower our expected family contribution (EFC) and ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 3, 2009
Education Lender Agrees to Pay Borrowers $9.75 Million in Class-Action Lawsuit Settlement

Education Lender Agrees to Pay Borrowers $9.75 Million in Class-Action Lawsuit Settlement

If you borrowed federal student loans from NorthStar Education Finance, you may get a small refund as part of a class action settlement concerning NorthStar Education Finance's suspension of its T.H.E. ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 21, 2010
Congress Proposes Allowing Private Student Loans to be Discharged in Bankruptcy

Congress Proposes Allowing Private Student Loans to be Discharged in Bankruptcy

Congress is proposing to allow borrowers to discharge private student loans in bankruptcy. Under current law, education loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy except in extreme circumstances. The US Bankruptcy Code ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 22, 2010
When Grandma Moves In, Does It Help or Hurt Financial Aid Eligibility?

When Grandma Moves In, Does It Help or Hurt Financial Aid Eligibility?

Grandma is moving in with her Social Security check. Does this help or hurt my FAFSA results? Does her Social Security check count towards my parents' income on the FAFSA? — ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 26, 2010
Which of a Student's Divorced Parents Must Complete the FAFSA? Is the Stepparent's Information Reported on the FAFSA?

Which of a Student's Divorced Parents Must Complete the FAFSA? Is the Stepparent's Information Reported on the FAFSA?

I will be filling out the FAFSA soon for my daughter who will be attending college next fall. My question is regarding her father, who is my ex-husband. Her father does ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 25, 2010
How Do You Complete the FAFSA When a Parent is Undocumented?

How Do You Complete the FAFSA When a Parent is Undocumented?

I live with my mother and my brothers. My mother is undocumented and does not work. However, I am a permanent resident and my brothers were born here in the United ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 2, 2010