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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • -1

    Potential Impact of the Fiscal Cliff on Federal Student Financial Aid

    The Budget Control Act of 2011 enacted automatic across-the-board spending cuts in the federal budget if Congress in unable to achieve specified reductions in overall spending on its own. This process is called sequestration. The White House's Office of Management and Budget released a 394-page report on Friday, September 14, 2012, detailing the specific budget lines in the FY2013 budget that ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: -1
  • +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 over 2 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +9

    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 by a parent as account owner with me as the beneficiary. Since I don't list parent assets when filling out the FAFSA, do I need to list the prepaid tuition ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +9
  • +7

    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 3 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +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 almost 4 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +9

    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. My W-2 total includes not only my salary but also stock grants that were given to me by my employer. This total in no way reflects the amount I lived ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rated: +9
  • +4

    Will a Parent PLUS Loan be Denied When Applying for Two Loans for Two Children?

    I am applying for two Parent PLUS loans because I have twins going to school at the same time. Is it possible one loan will be denied because we are applying for two at the same time? What can I do if one of the applications is denied? We have good credit 730 and 780 for each of us. — Michelle ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +6

    Is the Pell Grant Reduced When the Student Wins a Private Scholarship?

    My daughter has been approved for a Pell Grant. She recently received notification that she has won a $1,000 scholarship. Will the scholarship reduce her Pell Grant? — Virginia M. The Pell Grant is never reduced when the recipient wins a private scholarship. Some forms of need-based financial aid are reduced when a student wins a scholarship. These include federal campus-based ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +4

    Student Debt Guide: Budgeting and Credit Cards

    Student Debt Guide: Budgeting and Credit Cards
    By now, we’re all aware that managing money can be quite difficult. Here are some surefire ways, straight from nationally recognized financial expert Mark Kantrowitz, on how to help stay on track when it comes to pinching pennies. [gate] First, exercise control over your money by increasing awareness of your spending habits. Start by preparing a descriptive budget, where you track ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +8

    Tips for Evaluating Financial Aid Award Letters

    Financial aid award letters provide college students with information about college costs and the types and amount of financial aid the student will receive. Families rely on the financial aid award letters to help them understand college costs and compare costs among different colleges. But financial aid award letters can sometimes be confusing. Fastweb surveyed about 580,000 college freshmen and sophomores ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +8
  • +3

    When Should a Child's UTMA or UGMA Account be Moved into a 529 College Savings Plan Account?

    I have an old UTMA account for my daughter with Janus, with approximately $5,000 in gains. I opened this before they even had 529 college savings plans. I was thinking of transferring this to a 529 account with NYSaves.com. My daughter is 13. Is it worth transferring this UTMA account to a 529 and paying capital gains now, or is it ...
    Published about 3 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +5

    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 in arrears on our mortgage as we are significantly underwater on our loans and have been unsuccessful so far in getting a satisfactory modification. To that end, we just retained ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +7

    How Will the Election Results Affect Student Financial Aid?

    President Obama was reelected on November 6, 2012, but control of Congress remains split. Republicans retained control of the House and Democrats retained control of the Senate. The Democrats may have gained two seats in the Senate, but they still do not have a supermajority. A supermajority (a three fifths majority) is required in the Senate to end a filibuster by ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +8

    Should a custodial account held by a grandparent be reported on the grandchild's FAFSA?

    Does a parent need to disclose (on the FAFSA) funds in an UGMA or UTMA account in the student's name with a grandparent as custodian? If so, how does this affect a student's eligibility for financial aid? Are there penalties for not reporting such an account, even if the parent and student have no knowledge of its existence? Would it be ...
    Published over 5 years ago | Rated: +8
  • +7

    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 a minor. This was a mutual fund account in which the interest was reinvested each year and therefore no IRS interest statements were generated. We were unaware that her aunt ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +20

    If the Financial Aid Package Does Not Fit, A Request for More Aid You Should Submit

    I'm 16 years old and I'm the valedictorian of my senior graduating class in New York City. This year was a very difficult one finding the right college to go; fortunately I did find the perfect college. The problem is that the college left me with an unmet need of almost $13,000 when my Student Aid Report from the FAFSA said ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +20
  • +3

    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 assets? Does it make a difference one way or other? When we listed $350,000 in property as our assets, it made a huge difference but we are not sure how ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +4

    Is There a Better Option for Financing a College Education than a Parent PLUS Loan?

    I have a simple question: Is there currently a better option to help finance my sophomore daughter's college education than a 7.9% PLUS loan? That just seems a bit high given the current economic environment? — Alan S. When considering how to finance a college education, there are many options, including federal education loans, private student loans and non-education loans. It ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +7

    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 3 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +25

    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 1 month ago | Rated: +25
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