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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • +7

    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 the private loans are much higher than the government loans. Most advice sites and articles are very general in nature. Can you provide any specifics on what would be the ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +16

    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 and would like to get my loans back in good standing. I have called the collection agency in charge of my loan and they insist on me paying $120 extra ...
    Published over 5 years ago | Rated: +16
  • +5

    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 almost 4 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +3

    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 of a mortgage they have access to at 3.5%, provided that I am able to pay it off in 3 years. Given my current job situation, I can handle the ...
    Published about 3 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +8

    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 few highlights of developments that are anticipated for 2012. The Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (P.L. 112-10, April 15, 2011) ended the year-round Pell Grant program ...
    Published almost 4 years ago | Rated: +8
  • +6

    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, etc. Do I fill out a separate form because he is retired? Will they know that he is retired? I am so lost and getting frustrated. Please help! — Alexa ...
    Published almost 6 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +7

    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 FAFSA. My boyfriend's mother is in Section 8 housing and put me in it and in her food stamps. — J.F. A student who has one or more dependent children ...
    Published almost 3 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +30

    Money Saving Advice for College Students

    Money Saving Advice for College Students
    Saving money as a college student is critical. The more you save, the better off you'll be. And, while plenty of expenses arise, there are also plenty of overlooked opportunities for students to save. Don't allow yourself to overlook these opportunities! If there's ever a time to live frugally, college is it. You're currently in a very unique situation where frugality ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +30
  • +6

    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 July 1, 2013. A similar proposal was introduced the day before by several Republican Senators as the Comprehensive Student Loan Protection Act (S.682). Subsidized Stafford Loan Rate May Double Currently, ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +7

    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, 2013, cutting funding for some federal student aid programs for the remainder of the FY2013 budget year and 2013-14 award year. The US Department of Education has issued preliminary guidance ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +3

    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 end of the month. I received my Master's degree in Social Work and do not expect a high starting salary based upon the current market. My student loans from undergrad ...
    Published almost 4 years ago | Rated: +3
  • -1

    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 provides a full or partial refund of college costs -- including tuition, fees, room and board -- in the event your child is forced to withdraw midway through the school ...
    Published over 6 years ago | Rated: -1
  • +2

    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 choices. Nevertheless, the majority of families still see college as a necessary and worthwhile investment in their children's future. Students from higher income families were more likely to enroll at ...
    Published over 6 years ago | Rated: +2
  • +3

    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 the impact of the pending change. [Congress passed a one-year extension to the 3.4% interest rate on June 29, 2012.] Background The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +7

    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 over 3 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +5

    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 over 4 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +26

    Answers to Introductory Questions about Financial Aid for College

    Answers to Introductory Questions about Financial Aid for College
    I am a high school junior and an Upward Bound scholar. I do not have any way to pay for college and I really want to attend. How do I apply for financial aid? What are the requirements? Do I have to pay for anything? What advice do you have for me if I do receive financial aid? — Alexis M. ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rated: +26
  • +5

    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 over 4 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +5

    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
  • +2

    Excerpts from the Democratic and Republican Party Platforms on Student Financial Aid

    This article provides excerpts of the proposals concerning student financial aid for college that appear in the 2012 Democratic National Platform and the 2012 Republican Platform. Neither platform, however, contains a lot of detail about student financial aid. Some of the key differences between the two parties include the role of banks in making new federal education loans, changes in funding ...
    Published about 3 years ago | Rated: +2