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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • +7

    What Kind of Financial Aid is Available for Graduate School? Will My Credit History Affect the Amount and Types of Aid?

    I recently decided to go back to school for a degree in software engineering. My short terms goal after school is to apply for a job with one of the top software application companies. My long term goal is to eventually start my own business specializing in creating custom apps for businesses and/or individuals. I am in debt from previous undergraduate ...
    Published almost 2 years ago | Rated: +7
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    Is a 3.75% Cash-Out Refinance on a Mortgage Better than Federal Student Loans?

    I have daughter who will be attending college in the fall of 2013 (and a son in 2017). For various reasons, our savings are not sufficient to pay for college given the current costs that I see. As home mortgage refinance rates have dropped to their lowest levels in my lifetime (around 3.75%), I had the notion of conducting a refinance ...
    Published almost 2 years ago | Rated: +7
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    White House Releases Model Financial Aid Award Letter "Shopping Sheet"

    White House Releases Model Financial Aid Award Letter "Shopping Sheet"
    The Obama administration revealed the final design for a standardized financial aid award letter on July 24, 2012. This one-page financial aid "shopping sheet" will provide students and their families with clear and easy to understand information about college costs and financial aid. It will enable families to compare college costs and financial aid offers side by side, helping them make ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +7
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    How To Ask Friends and Family for Money for a Child's College Savings Plan

    In a Fastweb survey of high school and college students about preferred holiday gifts, more than half of the respondents said that they were hoping for money for college. But asking for money is awkward. It feels like begging. Most people are uncomfortable asking for money, even for a good purpose. Asking for gifts of money is taboo in the United ...
    Published almost 3 years ago | Rated: +7
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    Does Financial Aid Cover Room and Board in Addition to Tuition and Fees?

    I am currently a senior at a high school. If I want to dorm at a private university, which adds $10,000 more to the $40,000 tuition, do the universities take into account the financial aid as a whole thing with tuition and room and board, or do they just give financial aid for the tuition? To simplify this, my total costs ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +7
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    How to Qualify for a PLUS Loan Despite an Adverse Credit History

    I'm currently an MBA student who has a VERY adverse credit history. Part of which includes a defaulted Federal Loan. I'm halfway through my first year of business school and find myself needing more money. I've found someone who does not have an adverse credit history who is willing to cosign. I'm worried that I still won't receive the loan. What ...
    Published about 1 year ago | Rated: +7
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    Does Adoption Affect an Orphan's Eligibility for Financial Aid?

    I am trying to advise two students whose mother died four years ago and their father died last week, unfortunately. The girls' grandmother is now taking care of them (a 9th and 10th grader) and we are concerned about the possible college financial ramifications. They are in the process of determining the Social Security benefits from their father's contributions. Once that ...
    Published about 1 year ago | Rated: +7
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    Does Joint Repayment Obligate Spouses for Each Other's Student Loans?

    I applied to have both my husband's and my student loan debt considered in determining our payments under income-based repayment. This reduced our payments significantly. My concern is that the repayment plan selection forms have a box to check that accepts responsibility for your spouse's loan. My student loan debt is considerably higher than my husband's and should I precede him ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +7
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    US Department of Education Publishes College Cost and Net Price Rankings

    As required by Congress, the US Department of Education is now publishing lists that rank the most and least expensive colleges. Colleges are ranked according to tuition and fees as well as net price within each college type category. The US Department of Education is also publishing lists of colleges with the greatest increases in tuition and fees or net price. ...
    Published almost 3 years ago | Rated: +7
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    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 4 years ago | Rated: +7
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    Drowning in Six-Figure Debt for a Low-Paying Field of Study

    I am going to be attending a New York university this spring as a music major. My ultimate goal is to get a doctorate of ethnomusicology and to teach at a university while also completing fieldwork research. My loan debt will be very high (at least $100,000). Do you know how to attempt to get a high-paying college job right out ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +7
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    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 4 years ago | Rated: +7
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    Ask the Expert: Why Not Borrow from My 401(k) for My Daughter's College Tuition?

    QUESTION: Why not borrow from my 401(k) for my daughter's college tuition, as there will be less to lose in this economic crisis? -- Betsy Thomas ANSWER: Borrowing from your 401(k) is almost always a big mistake. It may seem innocuous, since instead of paying back a bank loan, you're paying yourself. But you've lost the opportunity to earn further returns ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rated: +7
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    Impact of Tax Filing Status on Income-Based Repayment for Married Borrowers

    We married in January of last year, after my husband graduated with a Master's degree in December. His loans total $65,000 and he earned $20,000 last year. I graduated in May with a doctorate in physical therapy and $175,000 in debt. My income last year was $33,000. Our combined AGI was $53,000. For our federal loans we want income-based repayment. But ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +7
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    Advice to Parents Whose Child will be the First in the Family to Go to College

    My wife and I are looking for help in getting our son into college. He is a junior in high school. His mother and I are on disability. My wife is fighting stage four breast cancer. I was hurt at work two years ago. We would like to see our son go to college but there is no way we would ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +7

    Which parent is responsible for completing the financial aid application?

    I am confused about which parent's information to include on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). My ex-husband paid child support for 7 months this year from a settlement agreement but has been unemployed for nearly two years. He is re-married. My son is 18, lives with me, and starts college next fall. This year my ex-husband gets to ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +7
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    An Early Look at the New Income-Based Repayment Plan

    A new version of income-based repayment (IBR) was enacted by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, but will be effective only for new borrowers on or after July 1, 2014. President Obama has proposed fast-tracking the new IBR plan to make it available to more students sooner. This article presents a sneak peak at the details of the ...
    Published almost 2 years ago | Rated: +7
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    Can a Student Receive Both Need-Based Grants and Merit-Based Scholarships?

    If a child does receive FAFSA can they still receive scholarships and grants? — Y.P. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to apply for need-based financial aid from the federal government, state governments and most colleges. The financial aid will include a mix of grants, loans and student employment. The terms grants and scholarships are often used ...
    Published almost 2 years ago | Rated: +7
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    Private Student Loans Add Fixed Rate Options

    Student loan pricing goes through cycles. When fixed interest rates are high but variable interest rates are heading downward, borrowers prefer variable interest rates. When variable interest rates are low but likely to head higher, borrowers prefer fixed-rate options. A little over a year ago only one commercial lender, SunTrust, offered a fixed-rate option on its loans. Today there are eight, ...
    Published almost 2 years ago | Rated: +7
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    Student Debt Guide: Credit Scores

    Student Debt Guide: Credit Scores
    Good credit, bad credit, credit score reports, sites and don’t even mention credit cards! It’s all too easy to get jumbled in the mix. Luckily, our financial expert Mark Kantrowitz breaks down the basic questions, like what a credit score is and why should you care.[gate] How is my credit score calculated? Lenders report whether you pay your bills on time ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +7