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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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Potential Impact of the Fiscal Cliff on Federal Student Financial Aid

Potential Impact of the Fiscal Cliff on Federal Student Financial Aid

The Budget Control Act of 2011 enacted automatic across-the-board spending cuts in the federal budget if Congress in unable to achieve specified reductions in overall spending on its own. This process ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 16, 2012
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
Tips for a Teacher on Managing Excessive Debt

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 23, 2010
Student Debt Guide: Saving and Investing Money

Student Debt Guide: Saving and Investing Money

Learn how to invest and save like a pro.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published January 9, 2013
If the Financial Aid Package Does Not Fit, A Request for More Aid You Should Submit

If the Financial Aid Package Does Not Fit, A Request for More Aid You Should Submit

I'm 16 years old and I'm the valedictorian of my senior graduating class in New York City. This year was a very difficult one finding the right college to go; fortunately ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 5, 2010
Survey Says: Parents Still Saving for College Despite Economy

Survey Says: Parents Still Saving for College Despite Economy

Sallie Mae and Gallup just released the results of a survey of how American families save for college. The survey found that most parents are continuing to save for college despite ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 29, 2009
Avoiding the Average...

Avoiding the Average...

Stop being a statistic and start getting smart about student debt.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published December 6, 2013
Ask for a Professional Judgment Review for Job Loss or Other Changes in Income

Ask for a Professional Judgment Review for Job Loss or Other Changes in Income

I lost my teaching job last June and got a half year's salary instead of a full year. I did not get a job in the fall, so our household income ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 17, 2011
How Will the Election Results Affect Student Financial Aid?

How Will the Election Results Affect Student Financial Aid?

President Obama was reelected on November 6, 2012, but control of Congress remains split. Republicans retained control of the House and Democrats retained control of the Senate. The Democrats may have ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 8, 2012
How is a Life Estate Treated on the FAFSA? Do the Restrictions Matter?

How is a Life Estate Treated on the FAFSA? Do the Restrictions Matter?

How is a life estate reflected on the FAFSA? A student's parent has a deed with student's grandparent having life use of the property through a life estate. Please be New ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 4, 2013
Tips for Evaluating Financial Aid Award Letters

Tips for Evaluating Financial Aid Award Letters

Financial aid award letters provide college students with information about college costs and the types and amount of financial aid the student will receive. Families rely on the financial aid award ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 10, 2010
Questions about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 23, 2009
Pros and Cons of Using Retirement Funds to Pay for College Costs

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 3, 2011
Answers to Common FAFSA Questions about PINs and Household Size

Answers to Common FAFSA Questions about PINs and Household Size

Get the FAQs on the FAFSA.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 25, 2010
Impact of Capital Gains on Eligibility for Need-Based Financial Aid

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 29, 2011
Repayment Begins for Students Who Graduated in May and June

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 26, 2011
Pay Down Mortgage or Contribute to Son's 529?

Pay Down Mortgage or Contribute to Son's 529?

I just sold my house and moved in with my new husband. We have three children between us (two are his) and are looking for a bigger house. Would it make ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 14, 2009
Facing the Prospect of High Student Loan Debt at a Prestigious College

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 18, 2011
Which are Better, US Savings Bonds or 529 College Savings Plans?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 6, 2012
To Convert or Not To Convert; How Does a Roth IRA Conversion Affect Student Aid?

To Convert or Not To Convert; How Does a Roth IRA Conversion Affect Student Aid?

I am retired with no income from employment and a moderate amount of investment income, $20,000 to $30,000 a year. I am contemplating a partial conversion from my traditional IRA to ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 31, 2011