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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • +13

    How to Handle a Tuition Hike

    How to Handle a Tuition Hike
    Colleges and universities hit by state and federal funding cuts are shocking students with mid-year tuition hikes. How can students, already squeezed for money, cope with such unexpected sticker shock? Don't Panic Don’t panic, experts say. Students should discuss the situation with their families first, said Seamus Harreys, dean of student financial services at Northeastern University in Boston. “Many families have ...
    Published over 6 years ago | Rated: +13
  • +10

    First Steps Toward Simplifying the FAFSA

    First Steps Toward Simplifying the FAFSA
    Student aid policy experts have argued for years that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is too long and too complicated. The FAFSA form is a source of confusion and frustration for many families. The policy experts have proven that the current process of applying for financial aid is itself a problem that prevents millions of students from applying ...
    Published almost 6 years ago | Rated: +10
  • +16

    What is a Reasonable and Affordable Monthly Payment for a Defaulted Borrower to Regain Federal Student Aid Eligibility?

    I am 26 years old and would like to go back to college. I have $12,000 in student loans which are currently in administrative wage garnishment. I make $27,000 a year and would like to get my loans back in good standing. I have called the collection agency in charge of my loan and they insist on me paying $120 extra ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +16
  • +7

    Can I Get a New Financial Aid Package if My Mom Lost Her Job?

    I am in my third semester and have already received my financial aid for this semester; however, our financial circumstances have dramatically changed. My mother was laid off as of the first of August and my father has been found to have cancer and will be off work well into next year with treatments. Is there a way to amend the ...
    Published over 5 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +12

    To Cosign or Not To Cosign, That is the Question

    My nephew has asked me to cosign a private student loan for college. He's on his own since he lives independently from his mother, his parents are divorced, and his father is completely out of the picture. He's made it through 2 years of college with great success. I'd like to help him. I have very good credit. What would be ...
    Published almost 5 years ago | Rated: +12
  • +8

    Help for Retired Parents Repaying Parent PLUS Loans on Fixed Income

    Help!!! My Parent PLUS loans are presently in a forbearance that will end in a few months. My expected installment payments are more than my monthly income. I am retired and my husband is on disability retirement. We have another son presently attending college. What options are available to me (if any)? Do I ask for an extended repayment, or continue ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +8
  • +9

    College Board Simplifies CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE Form

    College Board Simplifies CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE Form
    While the US Department of Education is working on simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the College Board has already been taking similar steps toward simplifying the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE form. The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE form tries to calculate a more precise measurement of ability to pay. This necessarily involves asking more questions than on the FAFSA. However, ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rated: +9
  • +9

    How to Report Stocks on the FAFSA

    I am a single mom and my son will be entering his freshman year in college this fall. The FAFSA application asks for the gross income from last year's tax return. My W-2 total includes not only my salary but also stock grants that were given to me by my employer. This total in no way reflects the amount I lived ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rated: +9
  • +12

    Do Twins Get More Aid? If a Student Gets Married, Does the Financial Aid Change?

    My boyfriend and I are afraid that if we marry my annual gross income ($47,000) will prevent him from getting federal grants and loans for college. He has no income at all. He is disabled but was denied disability when he applied. We don't mind waiting if it would be better to wait. — Sarah K. Your fears are justified. When ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +12
  • +7

    Time to panic about prepaid tuition plans?

    Time to panic about prepaid tuition plans?
    The New York Times reported on October 5, 2009 that 16 of the 18 state prepaid tuition plans are facing funding shortfalls because of a combination of stock market losses and increases in tuition at public colleges. Only five state plans are backed by the full faith and credit of the state. While the other states will be under political pressure ...
    Published over 5 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +7

    How do retirement funds affect student aid eligibility?

    How do parent contributions to 401(k) or IRA retirement plans affect financial aid eligibility? — Stephen C. The federal need analysis methodology considers both income (taxable and untaxed) and assets that are reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Money in qualified retirement plans, such as a 401(k), 403(b), IRA, pension, SEP, SIMPLE, Keogh and certain annuities, is ...
    Published over 5 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +24

    College Choices in a Down Economy

    College Choices in a Down Economy
    Fastweb partnered with Maguire Associates, a firm that specializes in market research, analysis and predictive modeling for colleges and universities, to evaluate the impact of the economy on college choices by high school seniors and their parents. Initial surveys were sent in February and March 2009 to identify the initial selection of colleges. Follow-up surveys were sent in May 2009 to ...
    Published over 5 years ago | Rated: +24
  • +13

    Secrets to Settling Defaulted Federal Student Loan Debts for Less than What You Owe

    Your federal student loans are in default and collection agencies are calling you dozens of times a day. They are threatening to garnish your wages, offset your income tax refunds and ruin your credit. They may even have crossed the line into harassment, calling you a worthless person and threatening you with physical harm. Are there any ways of getting out ...
    Published almost 5 years ago | Rated: +13
  • +5

    When should you apply for scholarships and financial aid?

    My son will be applying to colleges this fall since he is a high school senior. Should he wait until he is accepted into a college before applying for scholarships? — Bryan R. Your son should start searching for scholarships as soon as possible. There are scholarships with deadlines in every month of the year (more in the fall and spring ...
    Published over 5 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +9

    Answers to Common FAFSA Questions about PINs and Household Size

    Answers to Common FAFSA Questions about PINs and Household Size
    My sister is in college and she applied for financial aid so my dad already has a pin. Should I create a new pin or use the same one? — Perla C. A PIN is used to sign the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) electronically. Each person signing the form must have their own PIN. Your father can use ...
    Published 4 months ago | Rated: +9
  • +12

    Why Do Students Drop Out of College?

    A study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found that the main reason why students drop out of college is the conflict between school and work and family commitments. The study, With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them, was conducted by Public Agenda, a nonprofit and nonpartisan public policy research organization. Many students who drop out of college have ...
    Published over 5 years ago | Rated: +12
  • +8

    Should a custodial account held by a grandparent be reported on the grandchild's FAFSA?

    Does a parent need to disclose (on the FAFSA) funds in an UGMA or UTMA account in the student's name with a grandparent as custodian? If so, how does this affect a student's eligibility for financial aid? Are there penalties for not reporting such an account, even if the parent and student have no knowledge of its existence? Would it be ...
    Published over 5 years ago | Rated: +8
  • +22

    How does child support affect eligibility for student aid?

    I have been divorced for more than 10 years and receive a small amount of child support from my ex-husband. At the time of the divorce, I agreed to let my him claim my daughter on his income tax return during the odd years. He does not cooperate with any other expenses, so the bulk falls on me. He is anxiously ...
    Published over 5 years ago | Rated: +22
  • +6

    How is retirement income and past due child support reported on the FAFSA?

    I am trying to fill out my FAFSA. My father retired last year and I am confused as to what to put for his financial answers, for example, gross income, taxes, etc. Do I fill out a separate form because he is retired? Will they know that he is retired? I am so lost and getting frustrated. Please help! — Alexa ...
    Published over 5 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +17

    Employer Tuition Assistance

    Employer Tuition Assistance
    Your employer may provide you with up to $5,250 in employer education assistance benefits for undergraduate or graduate courses tax-free each year. The benefits must have been paid for tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment. In certain circumstances payments above $5,250 may also be tax-free. About one-twelfth of undergraduate students and one-fifth of graduate students (two-fifths of MBA students) receive employer ...
    Published about 6 years ago | Rated: +17
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