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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • +4

    How is a Life Estate Treated on the FAFSA? Do the Restrictions Matter?

    How is a life estate reflected on the FAFSA? A student's parent has a deed with student's grandparent having life use of the property through a life estate. Please be New York state specific with the response. — T.G. A life estate involves an irrevocable grant of a future interest in a property while reserving a present interest in the property. ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +4
  • +12

    Do Twins Get More Aid? If a Student Gets Married, Does the Financial Aid Change?

    My boyfriend and I are afraid that if we marry my annual gross income ($47,000) will prevent him from getting federal grants and loans for college. He has no income at all. He is disabled but was denied disability when he applied. We don't mind waiting if it would be better to wait. — Sarah K. Your fears are justified. When ...
    Published almost 4 years ago | Rated: +12
  • +6

    To Convert or Not To Convert; How Does a Roth IRA Conversion Affect Student Aid?

    I am retired with no income from employment and a moderate amount of investment income, $20,000 to $30,000 a year. I am contemplating a partial conversion from my traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. Such conversion is included in my adjusted gross income, but is not really spendable income to support my son's education. If I make such a conversion, would ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +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 1 year ago | Rated: +4
  • +11

    Questions about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

    Having grown up with depression era parents, I've never been someone that liked to have debt. I'm told that avoiding debt will not work in my favor when applying for financial aid for my son's education. What should I know and is there something I should do to improve my odds of getting what other typically debt-ridden families in our tax ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +11
  • +5

    Should Students and Parents Who are Close to Retirement Borrow to Pay for College?

    I am 47 and recently divorced single parent of two children, ages 7 and 8. I spent the last 9 years as a stay-at-home parent. As a result of the divorce, I am re-entering the job market. My last position, as a training and development specialist for a bank, earned roughly $45,000. It has been somewhat difficult obtaining full-time employment and ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +3

    Will Differences in Parent Assets Due to the Omission Sibling-Owned Custodial 529 Plan Accounts Cause Problems on the FAFSA?

    Since siblings' UTMA 529s don't get reported on the FAFSA, but the student's UTMA 529 is counted as a parent asset, each of my kids would have a different amount listed on the FAFSA as parent assets. The amounts would be vastly different because most of my son's money will have been used by the time my youngest starts college. We'll ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +4

    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 almost 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +14

    Survey Says: Families Perceive College Costs as Increasing by 17% Compared with Last Year

    Sallie Mae and Gallup just released the results of their third annual survey of how American families pay for college. The survey found that families perceived college costs as increasing by more than 17% compared with last year. As a result, families are becoming more cost conscious in their college choices. Family estimates of the total cost of attendance increased 17% ...
    Published almost 4 years ago | Rated: +14
  • +1

    Will Refusing Loans Increase College Grants in the Financial Aid Package?

    I filled out the FAFSA in March and recently received a letter that offered me a $3,500 unsubsidized Stafford loan. I did a little research and found out I would have to pay interest on interest. I'm thinking about declining it and mailing it back to the school I attend. Will I be offered any other financial aid or is this ...
    Published about 4 years ago | Rated: +1
  • +5

    Should Borrowers Pay Off Old Student Loans to Qualify for the New 10% Version of Income-Based Repayment?

    I want to qualify for the "pay as you earn plan" 10% income-based repayment plan. I have $80,000 in Direct Loans from 2010-2012. I have a balance of $2,800 on an old student loan from the 1990's. Should I pay off the old balance before a certain date to make sure and qualify for the "pay as you earn plan"? Or ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +7

    Ask for a Professional Judgment Review for Job Loss or Other Changes in Income

    I lost my teaching job last June and got a half year's salary instead of a full year. I did not get a job in the fall, so our household income was operating on half of my income. My husband's work status is the same, so we are at three-quarters. This year I do not have a job. Is there any ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +10

    Senator Al Franken Introduces Legislation to Standardize Financial Aid Award Letters

    Senator Al Franken (D-MN) introduced the Understanding the True Cost of College Act (S.3244) on Thursday, May 24, 2012 with bipartisan support. This legislation will standardize college financial aid award letters to help students and parents make informed decisions concerning the tradeoffs between college affordability and college quality. It will also help students and their families make smarter borrowing decisions. Students ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +10
  • +6

    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 financials are not available to us. How do we handle completing the FAFSA and applying for scholarships, etc.? I am more than willing to provide our information if that is ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +6
  • +11

    Congress Passes One-Year Interest Rate Freeze

    Congress passed legislation on Friday, June 29, 2012 to prevent the interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans to undergraduate students from doubling July 1, 2012. The last-minute legislation, which passed with strong bipartisan support, keeps the interest rate at 3.4 percent for new loans in 2012-13, instead of allowing it to revert to 6.8 percent. The Student Loan Interest Rate Extension ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +11
  • +5

    Wells Fargo Adds Death and Disability Discharges to Private Student Loans

    Wells Fargo announced on December 17, 2010 that it is adding death and disability discharges to its private student loan products. When the student borrower dies or becomes totally and permanently disabled, the remaining debt will be discharged. This new policy applies to all Wells Fargo private student loans, including loans with a cosigner. Total and permanent disability is defined as ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +7

    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 from the federal government, state governments and most colleges. The financial aid will include a mix of grants, loans and student employment. The terms grants and scholarships are often used ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +4

    How to Minimize the Impact of a Student's Brokerage Account on Financial Aid

    We have an UTMA mutual fund for our son who is a senior in high school (17 years old). It is approximately $19,000 and was intended to help pay for college costs. When we opened it we weren't aware of the impact it could have on financial aid. I realize it's too late to fix anything for his freshman year next ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +4
  • +11

    Pros and Cons of Using Retirement Funds to Pay for College Costs

    Why should one NOT use retirement funds to pay for a child's college costs? — Diane H. There are two main reasons why families shouldn't use retirement plan funds to pay for college. The first reason is the financial impact of taking a distribution from a retirement plan to pay for college. The financial impact includes both the tax liability and ...
    Published almost 3 years ago | Rated: +11
  • +12

    Will Delaying a Bankruptcy Filing Affect Eligibility for Student Aid?

    My son is a senior in high school this year. I might have to file for bankruptcy. Should I file this year or wait until next year to file? — Rich N. Filing for bankruptcy will affect your eligibility for the Parent PLUS loan and your ability to cosign or borrow a private student loan. It will not otherwise affect your ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +12
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