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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • +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 almost 3 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +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 almost 4 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +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
  • +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 over 2 years ago | Rated: +11
  • +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 about 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 about 4 years ago | Rated: +9
  • +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 almost 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +28

    Money Saving Advice for College Students

    Money Saving Advice for College Students
    Saving money as a college student is critical. The more you save, the better off you'll be. And, while plenty of expenses arise, there are also plenty of overlooked opportunities for students to save. Don't allow yourself to overlook these opportunities! If there's ever a time to live frugally, college is it. You're currently in a very unique situation where frugality ...
    Published 3 months ago | Rated: +28
  • +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 about 4 years ago | Rated: +12
  • +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
  • +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 over 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +5

    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 an annual pension of $34,500, I fall short by about $20,000 to meet my annual expenses. Should I withdraw what I need for next year this year, so it doesn't ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +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 12 months ago | Rated: +19
  • +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 over 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +7

    Does Joint Repayment Obligate Spouses for Each Other's Student Loans?

    I applied to have both my husband's and my student loan debt considered in determining our payments under income-based repayment. This reduced our payments significantly. My concern is that the repayment plan selection forms have a box to check that accepts responsibility for your spouse's loan. My student loan debt is considerably higher than my husband's and should I precede him ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +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 over 3 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +3

    Why Do We Owe the College Money After the Student Dropped Out?

    My son was awarded an amount from FAFSA and also money from the LIFE and Pell grants. We paid the remainder of his tuition out of pocket. He started his freshman year and started having some medical issues. He withdrew from school during the second drop period. The university sent us a letter explaining how this money was sent back to ...
    Published almost 3 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +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 over 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +4

    Must a Trust Fund be Reported on the FAFSA Even If Access to the Trust is Restricted?

    I have a friend whose mother passed away two years ago, and left her some money from an insurance policy. The money is currently in trust for her with her grandmother as the trustee. Does she need to claim this as an asset on her FAFSA? She is unable to touch it until she turns 21. — Karen A. In most ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +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 about 5 years ago | Rated: +10
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