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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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    How Does a Pending Foreclosure or Short Sale Affect Financial Aid?

    How do we answer the question "Do you own your home" on financial aid forms when we are in pre-foreclosure? We are not yet in active foreclosure, but are several years in arrears on our mortgage as we are significantly underwater on our loans and have been unsuccessful so far in getting a satisfactory modification. To that end, we just retained ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +5
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    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, she is interested in an out-of-state private college that costs approximately double what we have saved. We are researching scholarship opportunities but wonder how the fact that we are retired ...
    Published almost 4 years ago | Rated: +5
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    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 in stock assets? — Rob A. Yes. You report the net asset value, namely the current market value of the assets minus any debts secured by the assets. Since a ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +5
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    Should Borrowers Pay Off Old Student Loans to Qualify for the New 10% Version of Income-Based Repayment?

    I want to qualify for the "pay as you earn plan" 10% income-based repayment plan. I have $80,000 in Direct Loans from 2010-2012. I have a balance of $2,800 on an old student loan from the 1990's. Should I pay off the old balance before a certain date to make sure and qualify for the "pay as you earn plan"? Or ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +5
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    Questions about Qualifying for the Federal Parent PLUS Loan

    My son has been accepted to an expensive private non-profit college for the fall. We have been awarded a pretty generous financial aid package from the school (approximately $30,000) which leaves me with about $20,000/year left to finance. I make about $50,000/year. I will be applying for the Parent PLUS loan and have several questions. I'm in the process of refinancing ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +5
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    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 funds that I have saved towards retirement as I am self employed. (I just recently found out about other self employed retirement options.) Will my daughter receive less financial aid ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +5
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    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 support, although my ex-husband has recently stopped paying child support. Now the ex-husband wants access to half of the funds available through the FAFSA to use toward his half of ...
    Published about 3 years ago | Rated: +5
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    Does a Parent's Credit History Affect the Student's Eligibility for Loans and Other Aid?

    My parents have a Federal Direct PLUS Loan they got while I was an undergraduate student several years ago. Due to their current financial hardship, they haven't been keeping up with the payments. I also had some college loans which I am paying regularly without problems. I would like to know if my parents' financial situation will impact my credit, since ...
    Published about 3 years ago | Rated: +5
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    Borrowers with a Recent Bankruptcy are Ineligible for the Federal PLUS Loan

    Borrowers who have had a bankruptcy discharge in the last five years are generally not eligible for the Federal PLUS loan. They remain eligible, however, for Federal Stafford, Federal Perkins and Federal Consolidation loans. Section 428B(a)(1)(A) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 [20 USC 1078-2(a)(1)(A)] specifies that borrowers of a Parent PLUS or Grad PLUS loan may not have an ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +5
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    A Prospective Student is Ineligible for Financial Aid Because of a Student Loan Default

    I gave college a shot when I was 18 and dropped out due to major health problems. Student loans obviously did not disappear because of this and I have been struggling with them ever since. Now at age 24 I finally feel that I am healthy enough to give school a second try. I thought I had every detail worked out ...
    Published almost 3 years ago | Rated: +5
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    How Do I Roll Over US Savings Bonds into a 529 College Savings Plan?

    I have several thousands of dollars in Series EE savings bonds (issued from 1988 through 1992). I know that you can use the bonds relatively tax free if cashed and used for qualified educational expenses, which includes contributions to a qualified tuition program such as a 529 college savings plan. If so, what is the process for doing this? — A.J.K. ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +5
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    Financial Aid Insider Secrets

    Financial aid is a complicated topic with an alphabet soup of acronyms like FAFSA and EFC, rolling deadlines and (seemingly) endless forms, rules and regulations. But with the state of the economy, you're most likely going to have to get some sort of outside help in your pursuit of higher education. Don't panic! This video will provide you with an ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +5
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    Impact of Capital Gains on Eligibility for Need-Based Financial Aid

    Families often sell investments such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds to pay college bills. If these investments are not held within a 529 college savings plan or other qualified tuition plan, however, the capital gains from selling the investments can hurt the student's eligibility for need-based financial aid. Capital gains occur when you sell an asset that has appreciated in ...
    Published almost 3 years ago | Rated: +5
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    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, college savings plans and direct gifts. Scholarships for Grandchildren Very few scholarships are based on a grandparent's affiliations. There are many more awards based on a parent's affiliations. However, sometimes ...
    Published over 5 years ago | Rated: +5
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    What Documentation can a College Financial Aid Administrator Request?

    I'm an independent student who filed a 1040A last year so I was not required to answer questions about assets on the FAFSA application. I had very little income last year and have a zero EFC. I reported taxes on capital gains and now my school is asking for information about my investment assets (which are about $40,000). Can they use ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +5
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    Should Students and Parents Who are Close to Retirement Borrow to Pay for College?

    I am 47 and recently divorced single parent of two children, ages 7 and 8. I spent the last 9 years as a stay-at-home parent. As a result of the divorce, I am re-entering the job market. My last position, as a training and development specialist for a bank, earned roughly $45,000. It has been somewhat difficult obtaining full-time employment and ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +5
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    Why is Parental Information Required on the FAFSA for a Self-Sufficient Student?

    Why do we have to file the FAFSA when my daughter supports herself? My daughter has not lived with me or my husband for a year and a half while she’s been attending college. We do not support her financially, we do not pay for her education nor do we even send her money. She is completely self-sufficient, a fact of ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +5
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    What Do You Do If Your Application for a FAFSA PIN is Rejected?

    If you get an email message that says "Your request for a Federal Student Aid PIN cannot be processed because the Social Security Number (SSN), name, or date of birth that you provided on your PIN application does not match your information on file at the Social Security Administration (SSA)... If you are sure that the SSN, name, and date of ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +5
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    Which Student Loans are the Best Ones to Borrow?

    I'm a first year and I'm searching for student loans with my mom and I'm not sure which one is the best one I should take out. Do you have any suggestions? — Joanna P. When comparing student loans, consider both the cost of the loan and the other benefits of the loan program. The cost of a loan is based ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +5
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    How are Trust Funds Reported on the FAFSA?

    Each of my parents left me a trust. From each trust I am entitled to the interest income and $5,000 annually. The remainder of the principal stays in the trusts until I die. The trusts then terminate, and the remaining principal is distributed to my son. My son is the one going to college, by the way. This skews my EFC ...
    Published about 4 years ago | Rated: +5
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