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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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What are the Downsides to Using Home Equity to Refinance Student Loan Debt?

What are the Downsides to Using Home Equity to Refinance Student Loan Debt?

I have almost $200K in student loan debt at interest rates from 6.5% to 8.5%. My parents are offering to take on $70K of my debt that's at 8.5% by way ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 22, 2012
A Prospective Student is Ineligible for Financial Aid Because of a Student Loan Default

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 1, 2011
Money Saving Advice for College Students

Money Saving Advice for College Students

Students often overlook opportunities to save - don't allow yourself to be one of them!

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published August 21, 2014
Borrowers with a Recent Bankruptcy are Ineligible for the Federal PLUS Loan

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 16, 2012
How is retirement income and past due child support reported on the FAFSA?

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, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 11, 2010
What are the Downsides and Upsides to Unsubsidized Federal Student Loans?

What are the Downsides and Upsides to Unsubsidized Federal Student Loans?

As a guidance counselor, I have many families asking me if there's any downside to taking out a federal unsubsidized loan. They need loan money either way and the rates for ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 23, 2012
What is a Reasonable and Affordable Monthly Payment for a Defaulted Borrower to Regain Federal Student Aid Eligibility?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 30, 2010
College Credit Cards Cut by Credit CARD Act

College Credit Cards Cut by Credit CARD Act

Need a credit card? It will soon become a lot more difficult to get one. College students who want a credit card but are under age 21 will need to have ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 27, 2010
Does Parental Support Affect Independent Student Status?

Does Parental Support Affect Independent Student Status?

I am 19 and have a baby (1 month old) and I am living with my boyfriend and his mother. I am confused about whose tax information to use on the ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 4, 2013
Year in Review: Ups and Downs for Student Financial Aid in 2011

Year in Review: Ups and Downs for Student Financial Aid in 2011

2011 was an eventful year for student financial aid, student loans and scholarships. This article summarizes the major events, positive and negative, for student aid in 2011. It also provides a ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 5, 2012
When is Real Estate Reported as a Business Asset on the FAFSA?

When is Real Estate Reported as a Business Asset on the FAFSA?

For parents who are self-employed and own real estate as one of their businesses, should they list the real estate assets as their assets (since they are self-employed) or as business ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 3, 2012
New Proposals for Hybrid Fixed/Variable Interest Rates on Federal Student Loans

New Proposals for Hybrid Fixed/Variable Interest Rates on Federal Student Loans

The President's budget for fiscal year 2014, which was released on April 10, 2013, includes a proposal for switching new federal student loans to a hybrid fixed/variable interest rate scheme starting ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 12, 2013
Is tuition refund insurance worthwhile?

Is tuition refund insurance worthwhile?

College is a big investment, as expensive as buying an automobile or a house. You insure your car and your home, why not insure your child's college education? Tuition refund insurance ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 31, 2009
Sequestration Cuts Federal Student Aid Funding

Sequestration Cuts Federal Student Aid Funding

Congress did not reach an agreement to reduce the FY2013 budget deficit on March 1, 2013. Accordingly, the automatic across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration will become effective on March 27, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 4, 2013
Social Worker with Six Figure Debt Seeks Advice Handling Student Loans

Social Worker with Six Figure Debt Seeks Advice Handling Student Loans

Help! I am a 24-year-old recent college graduate who is struggling to find full-time employment. I'm currently working full-time hours on a three-month contract that is going to expire at the ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 27, 2012
Does a Parent's Credit History Affect the Student's Eligibility for Loans and Other Aid?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 11, 2011
Should Parents Pay Off Credit Cards Before Applying for College Loans and Other Aid?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 30, 2011
Private Student Loans Add Fixed Rate Options

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 21, 2012
Survey Says: Financial Considerations Affecting College Choices

Survey Says: Financial Considerations Affecting College Choices

Sallie Mae and Gallup just released the results of a survey of how American families pay for college. The survey found that families are becoming more cost conscious in their college ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 19, 2009
A Primer on the Doubling of the Subsidized Stafford Loan Interest Rate

A Primer on the Doubling of the Subsidized Stafford Loan Interest Rate

This article summarizes the background concerning the doubling of the interest rate on new subsidized Stafford loans to undergraduate students from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1, 2012. It also discusses ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 24, 2012