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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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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 about 5 years ago | Rated: +5
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    Rolling US Savings Bonds into a 529 College Savings Plan for Tax-Free Treatment

    I read your article on rolling savings bonds into a 529 plan but I am still not sure of one thing. If we are over the income threshold for tax-free redemption, can we roll the bonds into the 529 and avoid paying taxes on the bonds? Then when we take deductions from the 529 to pay for qualified expenses do we ...
    Published about 3 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 2 years 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 over 4 years ago | Rated: +5
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    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 as credit cards and auto loans, are ignored on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Even education loans are ignored. The only exception to this rule occurs when ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +5
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    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 to apply for student financial aid from the federal and state governments and from most colleges and universities for the award year that runs from July 1 to June 30. ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +5
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    Does Filing a FAFSA Obligate You in Any Way? Are Parents Responsible for Repaying a Child's Student Loans?

    Does Filing a FAFSA Obligate You in Any Way? Are Parents Responsible for Repaying a Child's Student Loans?
    I have a question about filling out a FAFSA form for my child. If we fill out the form and my child is granted a loan for college, will the parents be cosigners or responsible in any way for their child's loan either now or in the future? — D.F. No. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the ...
    Published about 4 years ago | Rated: +5
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    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 disabled, the remaining debt will be discharged. This new policy applies to all Wells Fargo private student loans, including loans with a cosigner. Total and permanent disability is defined as ...
    Published over 4 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 about 4 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 3 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 5 years ago | Rated: +5
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    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 almost 6 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 about 4 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 2 years ago | Rated: +5
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    Questions about the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010

    If you have already graduated from college, will you be affected by the new changes to student loans in the health care bill? — Lauren A. No. None of the changes enacted by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 will affect students who have already graduated. Starting July 1, 2010, all new federal education loans will be made ...
    Published over 5 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 2 years ago | Rated: +5
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    Is There Any Way to Shelter Retirement Plan Distributions on the FAFSA?

    My question is simple: is there a way to withdraw money from my 401(K), at age 59 1/2, that will not be counted as income for FAFSA purposes? Although I receive an annual pension of $34,500, I fall short by about $20,000 to meet my annual expenses. Should I withdraw what I need for next year this year, so it doesn't ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +5
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    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 offered until March. I am eager to file the FAFSA and CSS Financial Aid PROFILE forms as soon as possible, as I've heard this helps maximize the amount of aid ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +5
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    What Do You Do If Your Application for a FAFSA PIN is Rejected?

    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 almost 4 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 over 5 years ago | Rated: +5
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