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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • +4

    Should a Family Sell Student-Owned Stocks to Get More Financial Aid?

    I have two daughters. One is a junior in college. The other is a senior in high school who will be going to college this fall. They both have stocks given to them by my parents years ago, from which they get quarterly dividends of around $140 each. Every year on the FAFSA I have to put the current value of ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +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 almost 4 years ago | Rated: +12
  • +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 almost 2 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +7

    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 the father of my children. We are not married. He supported us on his income; my mother did not. I was a stay at home mom. My school is telling ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +8

    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 support of over $1,600/month (they are with her slightly less than half the time). Do I report those child support payments on the FAFSA where it asks for "child support ...
    Published almost 3 years ago | Rated: +8
  • +9

    Questions about How to Handle an Inheritance and Scholarships for Cancer Survivors

    Our son is a sophomore in college. He receives both subsidized and unsubsidized loans. My husband and I have been paying the remaining balance for his education. I recently inherited approximately $100,000. I am aware that we should pay off high interest debt with this money. However, we want to save enough to pay for the rest of his college education ...
    Published almost 4 years ago | Rated: +9
  • +3

    Questions about retirement plan contributions and help for a student whose brother has cancer

    We are a family of 4 with gross income of about $58,000. With IRA and 401(k) contributions and pretax health care deductions our AGI is about $47,000. Would it benefit us as far as financial aid grants go to max out on our retirement accounts and knock our family AGI down to about $30,000 or less? Or do the aid people ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +10

    Questions about Obtaining and Repaying Student Loans

    How will my credit score effect my ability to get the funding I need for graduate school? If my credit is not great, will I be able to get the loans I need to cover my college costs? — Katy C. The federal Stafford loan does not depend on your credit history. As a graduate student you will be able to ...
    Published almost 5 years ago | Rated: +10
  • +7

    Year-End Financial Aid Moves

    As the year draws to a close, there are several steps families can take to get more need-based and merit-based financial aid. Prepay Next Year's Tuition Taxpayers can claim one of two education tax credits based on amounts paid for qualified higher education expenses, such as tuition and fees. These are the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +7
  • +22

    Have You Considered Consolidating?

    Have You Considered Consolidating?
    No matter what type of loan you take out, it comes with its own interest rate. It can seem like a riddle when trying to keep track of your loans and payments. When it comes to loans, consolidation can be a great option. In consolidating your loans, it can become easier to handle because, essentially, your multiple loans will become one ...
    Published 11 months ago | Rated: +22
  • +7

    Vietnam Era Veteran Needs Help Paying for Graduate School

    I will soon be 60 and have returned to school to get a Master's degree in Psychology as I could not get a job here with a BA and compete with younger people. I have used up my GI bill (Vietnam era Navy vet), received a loan for money for school, but have to live off of that as well as ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +19

    Avoiding the Average...

    Avoiding the Average...
    ...When It Comes to Your Student Debt So, what’s the deal with debt these days? Well, a lot actually. And, unfortunately, it’s not good news. According to a recent report released by the Institute for College Access & Success’ Project on Student Debt, which also appeared on CNNMoney, the average debt for a student in the class of 2012 was $29,400. ...
    Published 9 months ago | Rated: +19
  • +5

    Questions about the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010

    If you have already graduated from college, will you be affected by the new changes to student loans in the health care bill? — Lauren A. No. None of the changes enacted by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 will affect students who have already graduated. Starting July 1, 2010, all new federal education loans will be made ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +4

    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 with the lowest (or highest) income? — M.J. When a student's biological/adoptive parents are divorced, only one of the two parents is responsible for completing the Free Application for Federal ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +6

    Which are Better, US Savings Bonds or 529 College Savings Plans?

    We have a son who is going to be in the 10th grade this year. We also have twins who are 3.5 years old. I am trying to understand where to park my savings for elder son and the little ones. I heard if we have 529 plans, they will be included in financial aid calculations and this is not a ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +6

    Facing the Prospect of High Student Loan Debt at a Prestigious College

    I graduated from high school with honors in June and have been accepted to a prestigious private college, where I will be majoring in computer science and math. The college awarded me $31,000 in grants and scholarships, but I still need to come up with $20,000. I applied for a student loan with each of my parents and was declined, both ...
    Published about 3 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +9

    Answers to Common FAFSA Questions about PINs and Household Size

    My sister is in college and she applied for financial aid so my dad already has a pin. Should I create a new pin or use the same one? — Perla C. A PIN is used to sign the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) electronically. Each person signing the form must have their own PIN. Your father can use ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +9
  • +6

    What Do You Do When Income or an Asset Isn't Really Your Money?

    I am a disabled parent who hasn't worked since 2007. I am currently on long term disability and have been ruled disabled by the Social Security Administration. My child is heading off to college in the fall and we are working on his FAFSA. My Social Security came through in late November in a large lump sum due to back dating. ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +3

    How Accurate are the Net Price Figures from Colleges and College Navigator?

    How believeable and reliable are the net price values quoted on the College Navigator web site? My granddaughter is interested in two public universities, one in Wisconsin and one in Minnesota. Each has an online net price calculator. The Wisconsin university is $13,948 and the Minnesota university is $18,318. But on the College Navigator web site the costs are $14,063 and ...
    Published almost 3 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +8

    Conflicting Information about Trends in Net College Costs

    A report released today by The Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP), discusses trends in net tuition and net price at US colleges and universities. Net Tuition and Net Price Trends in the United States: 2000-2009 reports that "At four year colleges, net tuition has increased by around one thousand dollars over a time period when per capita income has ...
    Published almost 3 years ago | Rated: +8
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