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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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Total College Debt Now Exceeds Total Credit Card Debt

Total College Debt Now Exceeds Total Credit Card Debt

Total student loan and credit card debt outstanding as of June of each year.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 11, 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
Can a Family on Fixed Income Afford to Pay Double for an Out-of-State Private College?

Can a Family on Fixed Income Afford to Pay Double for an Out-of-State Private College?

My husband took early retirement so we are on a fixed income. We set aside enough money in various college funds for our daughter to attend any in-state public college. However, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 16, 2010
Is the Non-Custodial Parent a Parent for Federal Student Aid Purposes?

Is the Non-Custodial Parent a Parent for Federal Student Aid Purposes?

I am divorced and the custodial parent of two children who live with me. Both kids have Coverdell Education Savings Accounts. My soon-to-be college student daughter's Coverdell lists her father (my ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 22, 2010
Options for a Student Whose Parents Refuse to Complete the FAFSA

Options for a Student Whose Parents Refuse to Complete the FAFSA

I have been financially independent from my parents since I was 19. I'm 23 now. I've been working two jobs and taking 12 hours in school. My school says that I ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 1, 2010
Questions about Maintaining and Regaining Eligibility for Federal Education Loans

Questions about Maintaining and Regaining Eligibility for Federal Education Loans

I have a sophomore in college right now and will have another child starting her freshman year in college next year. We were approved for a Stafford Loan and a Parent ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 30, 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
Student Aid and Scholarships for Second Degree Students

Student Aid and Scholarships for Second Degree Students

Is financial aid a one-time deal only? Find out.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 8, 2009
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
Do Outstanding Loans Affect Eligibility for Financial Aid?

Do Outstanding Loans Affect Eligibility for Financial Aid?

How do outstanding loans affect future financial aid awards for my children? Is there any advantage to trying to pay them back early (other than less interest)? Are they counted towards ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 10, 2010
Hope Scholarship Tax Credit

Hope Scholarship Tax Credit

The Hope Scholarship provides a federal income tax credit of up to $2,500 (40% refundable) per student based on the first $4,000 in postsecondary tuition, fees and course materials paid by ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 17, 2009
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