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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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Student Loan Over $1 Trillion: What to Know Before You Borrow

Student Loan Over $1 Trillion: What to Know Before You Borrow

Learn what your loan payments will be after graduation up front.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph
Published April 13, 2012
Can a Student Receive Both Need-Based Grants and Merit-Based Scholarships?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 14, 2012
To Cosign or Not To Cosign, That is the Question

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published June 28, 2010
3 Things You Need to Know About Financial Aid Now

3 Things You Need to Know About Financial Aid Now

Keep in mind these three things about financial aid.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph
Published March 15, 2016
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?

Home equity and student loan payments.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 22, 2012
Must a Trust Fund be Reported on the FAFSA Even If Access to the Trust is Restricted?

Must a Trust Fund be Reported on the FAFSA Even If Access to the Trust is Restricted?

I have a friend whose mother passed away two years ago, and left her some money from an insurance policy. The money is currently in trust for her with her grandmother ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 15, 2012
How to Handle a Tuition Hike

How to Handle a Tuition Hike

How would you cope with a hike in tuition?

By Sandra Guy
Published September 4, 2008
Guidelines for Financial Freedom

Guidelines for Financial Freedom

When you’re a student trying to pay for school, one of the greatest challenges can be managing your finances in the best way possible.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published June 28, 2016
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
Is the Non-Custodial Parent a Parent for Federal Student Aid Purposes?

Is the Non-Custodial Parent a Parent for Federal Student Aid Purposes?

I am divorced and the custodial parent of two children who live with me. Both kids have Coverdell Education Savings Accounts. My soon-to-be college student daughter's Coverdell lists her father (my ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 22, 2010
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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 10, 2010
How to Include Yourself on Your Teen's FAFSA if You're Enrolled Too

How to Include Yourself on Your Teen's FAFSA if You're Enrolled Too

How should a FAFSA be filled out if I have two children going to college and I am enrolling in a graduate program? When it asks how many are attending college ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 1, 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
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
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
Student Loan Debt Clock Reaches $1 Trillion

Student Loan Debt Clock Reaches $1 Trillion

The student loan debt clock reached the $1 trillion milestone at about 6:40 am ET on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. Although the student loan debt clock is for entertainment purposes only, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 8, 2012
LoanGifting: New, Easy Way to Pay Off Student Loans

LoanGifting: New, Easy Way to Pay Off Student Loans

When you have student loan debt up to your ears, turn to a new type of direct crowdfunding as a source for help.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published February 2, 2016
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
Student Loans: What to Know Before You Borrow & Repayment Planning

Student Loans: What to Know Before You Borrow & Repayment Planning

If you take the time to research and develop a plan, you can have your student loan under control sooner than later and avoid being the dreaded senior citizen with student loan payments.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published August 8, 2016
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