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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • +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 almost 3 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 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 over 3 years ago | Rated: +8
  • +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 almost 5 years ago | Rated: +15
  • +5

    A Prospective Student is Ineligible for Financial Aid Because of a Student Loan Default

    I gave college a shot when I was 18 and dropped out due to major health problems. Student loans obviously did not disappear because of this and I have been struggling with them ever since. Now at age 24 I finally feel that I am healthy enough to give school a second try. I thought I had every detail worked out ...
    Published almost 4 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +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 2 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 over 3 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 about 3 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +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 over 5 years ago | Rated: +24
  • +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 4 months ago | Rated: +9
  • +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 about 3 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +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
  • +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 almost 3 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +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 about 1 month ago | Rated: +11
  • +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 5 years ago | Rated: +11
  • +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 almost 3 years ago | Rated: +10
  • +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 almost 5 years ago | Rated: +1
  • +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
  • +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 almost 5 years ago | Rated: +11
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