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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • +6

    Repayment Begins for Students Who Graduated in May and June

    Students who graduated in May or June are nearing the end of the six-month grace period. The first monthly loan payment is usually due in November or December. Don't Be Delinquent Unfortunately, about a third of borrowers are late with the first payment on their federal student loans. This is called a delinquency. There are a variety of reasons why students ...
    Published almost 4 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +5

    Which Student Loans are the Best Ones to Borrow?

    I'm a first year and I'm searching for student loans with my mom and I'm not sure which one is the best one I should take out. Do you have any suggestions? — Joanna P. When comparing student loans, consider both the cost of the loan and the other benefits of the loan program. The cost of a loan is based ...
    Published about 3 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 3 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +9

    Answers to Common FAFSA Questions about PINs and Household Size

    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 5 years ago | Rated: +9
  • +11

    Don’t Miss Out on These 5 Financial Aid Options

    Don’t Miss Out on These 5 Financial Aid Options
    If you feel like you’re in the dark about financial aid, you’re not alone. It’s not something that students and families typically think of until it’s time to start searching for colleges, which in most cases is the junior year of high school. Once the college search begins, so does the financial aid research. Throughout the process, you will learn a ...
    Published 5 months ago | Rated: +11
  • +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 3 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +15

    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 about 5 years ago | Rated: +15
  • +11

    Tips for a Teacher on Managing Excessive Debt

    I have a dire question that needs urgent results. I took out a loan in college (undergraduate). I was foolish and took out the maximum loan amount that I could each time. Upon graduating, I moved to another state and began my teaching career. In the beginning years it was hard for me to make payments and I made bad choices ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rated: +11
  • +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 almost 3 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +12

    3 Things You Need to Know About Financial Aid Now

    3 Things You Need to Know About Financial Aid Now
    Now that your college applications are in, it’s time to turn your focus to financial aid. Unfortunately, as much as college applications are nerve-wracking, financial aid documents are mind-boggling. But they are a “necessary evil.” Students hoping to pay for school with financial aid resources are required to fill out these forms, and the sooner the better. Here are a few ...
    Published 7 months ago | Rated: +12
  • +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 3 years 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 4 years ago | Rated: +11
  • +24

    College Choices in a Down Economy

    College Choices in a Down Economy
    Fastweb partnered with Maguire Associates, a firm that specializes in market research, analysis and predictive modeling for colleges and universities, to evaluate the impact of the economy on college choices by high school seniors and their parents. Initial surveys were sent in February and March 2009 to identify the initial selection of colleges. Follow-up surveys were sent in May 2009 to ...
    Published almost 6 years ago | Rated: +24
  • +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 3 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +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 3 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +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 4 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +7

    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 the next couple of months. The cash is a false representation of our savings, but since we don't have a mortgage, it looks like we do. We need to keep ...
    Published over 2 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 over 3 years ago | Rated: +10
  • +5

    Impact of Capital Gains on Eligibility for Need-Based Financial Aid

    Families often sell investments such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds to pay college bills. If these investments are not held within a 529 college savings plan or other qualified tuition plan, however, the capital gains from selling the investments can hurt the student's eligibility for need-based financial aid. Capital gains occur when you sell an asset that has appreciated in ...
    Published about 4 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +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 almost 6 years ago | Rated: +11
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