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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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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
Private Student Loans Add Fixed Rate Options

Private Student Loans Add Fixed Rate Options

How do fixed loan rates stack up against other student loans?

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 21, 2012
Congress Proposes Cutting Student Financial Aid in FY2012 Federal Education Budget

Congress Proposes Cutting Student Financial Aid in FY2012 Federal Education Budget

The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate are considering proposals to cut student financial aid in the FY2012 federal education budget. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), chairman of the House Appropriations ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 3, 2011
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
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
Answers to Introductory Questions about Financial Aid for College

Answers to Introductory Questions about Financial Aid for College

Get the answers to the financial aid basics.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 21, 2010
Reporting Prepaid Tuition Plans and 529 Plans on the FAFSA for Independent Students

Reporting Prepaid Tuition Plans and 529 Plans on the FAFSA for Independent Students

I'm confused as to how to treat a prepaid tuition plan when applying for financial aid. I'm an independent student but I have a small prepaid tuition account which is held ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 19, 2010
Excerpts from the Democratic and Republican Party Platforms on Student Financial Aid

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 4, 2012
Are UGMA and UTMA Accounts Reported as Investments on the FAFSA?

Are UGMA and UTMA Accounts Reported as Investments on the FAFSA?

Tuesday, May 29 is National College Savings Day (i.e., May 29 is 5/29, a cute reference to 529 college savings plans). To commemorate the occasion, Mark Kantrowitz answers a question about ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 28, 2012
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
Is a Student with Children But No Income Considered to be Independent?

Is a Student with Children But No Income Considered to be Independent?

I am under 24 years of age. I did not have any income the year before last. I have 2 children and live with a partner of 6 years. He is ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 30, 2012
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
How to Report Stocks on the FAFSA

How to Report Stocks on the FAFSA

I am a single mom and my son will be entering his freshman year in college this fall. The FAFSA application asks for the gross income from last year's tax return. ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 15, 2010
Impact of a Gift Trust Account on Eligibility for Need-Based Financial Aid

Impact of a Gift Trust Account on Eligibility for Need-Based Financial Aid

My daughter turned 18 recently, and received a $25,000 mutual fund statement with her name on it. Her aunt had put $10,000 away in 1995 in a gift trust account for ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 10, 2012
How Does a Pending Foreclosure or Short Sale Affect Financial Aid?

How Does a Pending Foreclosure or Short Sale Affect Financial Aid?

How do we answer the question "Do you own your home" on financial aid forms when we are in pre-foreclosure? We are not yet in active foreclosure, but are several years ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 28, 2013
Is There Any Way to Shelter Retirement Plan Distributions on the FAFSA?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 21, 2012
Who Completes the FAFSA When a Student Lives with his Grandparents?

Who Completes the FAFSA When a Student Lives with his Grandparents?

My grandson lives with his grandfather and me. His parents do not support him other than providing medical insurance. He will claim himself on his 2012 income tax and his parents ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 14, 2013
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 27, 2015
FAFSA Questions Concerning Assets and Legal Guardianships

FAFSA Questions Concerning Assets and Legal Guardianships

I am an incoming freshman in college and my single mom is worried about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We recently sold our house and are currently living ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 20, 2009