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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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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
Can a Parent Count a Child in Household Size and Also Report Amounts Paid in Child Support on the FAFSA?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 10, 2011
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
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
Does Cash from the Sale of the Family Home Count as an Asset on the FAFSA?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 11, 2013
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
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
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
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
Do Twins Get More Aid? If a Student Gets Married, Does the Financial Aid Change?

Do Twins Get More Aid? If a Student Gets Married, Does the Financial Aid Change?

My boyfriend and I are afraid that if we marry my annual gross income ($47,000) will prevent him from getting federal grants and loans for college. He has no income at ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 20, 2010
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
Which Student Loans are the Best Ones to Borrow?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published June 11, 2012
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
Will Differences in Parent Assets Due to the Omission Sibling-Owned Custodial 529 Plan Accounts Cause Problems on the FAFSA?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 19, 2011
Survey Says: Families Perceive College Costs as Increasing by 17% Compared with Last Year

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 9, 2010
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
Choose a Cheaper In-State Public College to Cut College Costs

Choose a Cheaper In-State Public College to Cut College Costs

I am a 17-year-old high school senior applying to colleges. I wish to apply to certain private institutions where the tuition is over 45K. I am doing my best applying for ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 6, 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
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
How to Minimize the Impact of a Student's Brokerage Account on Financial Aid

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 26, 2012