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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
Why Do Some Merit-Based Scholarships Require the FAFSA?

Why Do Some Merit-Based Scholarships Require the FAFSA?

I am a 38-year-old student who returned to junior college after being laid off and being unable to find a comparable job. Because I was a "good saver" in my 20's, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 12, 2010
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
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
Paying for Tuition with a Credit Card or an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

Paying for Tuition with a Credit Card or an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

The pros and cons of paying college tuition with a credit card.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 20, 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
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
Which Parents are Responsible for Completing the Financial Aid Application Forms?

Which Parents are Responsible for Completing the Financial Aid Application Forms?

Both of my daughters' parents have re-married. Whose income is counted for financial aid? Just biological parents or their spouses too? Does primary parent fill out the paperwork or the parent ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published June 4, 2012
Advice to Parents Whose Child will be the First in the Family to Go to College

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 26, 2012
Should a custodial account held by a grandparent be reported on the grandchild's FAFSA?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 21, 2009
Does Cash from the Sale of the Family Home Count as an Asset on the FAFSA?

Does Cash from the Sale of the Family Home Count as an Asset on the FAFSA?

We just sold our house and have not yet found our new house and have a lot of cash on hand. We will use the cash to buy a home in ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 11, 2013
When Should a Child's UTMA or UGMA Account be Moved into a 529 College Savings Plan Account?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 6, 2012
Death and Disability May Now Get You Out of Paying Loans

Death and Disability May Now Get You Out of Paying Loans

According to a press release from Securian Financial Group, Sallie Mae is adding a total and permanent disability discharge on its Smart Option private student loan. This discharge will forgive the ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 8, 2010
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
A Current Look at Student Aid and Borrowing

A Current Look at Student Aid and Borrowing

Take a look at student trends to help predict your financial aid and student borrowing outlook.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph
Published March 10, 2016
Can a Parent Count a Child in Household Size and Also Report Amounts Paid in Child Support on the FAFSA?

Can a Parent Count a Child in Household Size and Also Report Amounts Paid in Child Support on the FAFSA?

I am the custodial parent for my son and college-bound daughter. It seems like the form assumes that only non-custodial parents pay child support! However, I still pay their mother child ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 10, 2011
An Early Look at the New Income-Based Repayment Plan

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 3, 2012
How to Evaluate Financial Aid Award Letters with Missing Tuition and Grant Information

How to Evaluate Financial Aid Award Letters with Missing Tuition and Grant Information

We have a dilemma here. My son has been accepted by five colleges: four public colleges and one private college. The private school is the only one that is showing us ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 11, 2011
Don’t Miss Out on These 5 Financial Aid Options

Don’t Miss Out on These 5 Financial Aid Options

Know all of your financial aid options.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph
Published March 7, 2016
Student Debt Guide: Budgeting and Credit Cards

Student Debt Guide: Budgeting and Credit Cards

Managing money can be quite a challenge. Are you up for it?

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published January 8, 2013