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  • +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 1 year ago | Rated: +6
  • +3

    Quick Answers to Common Questions about Financial Aid

    Financial aid is an inherently complicated topic. Sometimes students and parents have questions that may seem obvious to people who have more experience with financial aid. But they can't find the answers they need. This week's Ask Kantro column addresses several such questions. Hi. I was wondering how or where you can apply for the federal supplemental educational opportunity grant. I ...
    Published about 1 year ago | Rated: +3
  • +12

    Is a Student Who is Enrolled Simultaneously in High School and College Eligible for Federal Student Financial Aid?

    My 16-year-old son has passed an ability-to-benefit (ATB) test at a community college. He has been accepted has a regular student in a qualifying program but has not graduated from high school. The college is denying him the Federal Pell Grant because they are stating that he is enrolled in high school. My position is that in Florida he has passed ...
    Published almost 3 years ago | Rated: +12
  • +3

    When is Real Estate Reported as a Business Asset on the FAFSA?

    For parents who are self-employed and own real estate as one of their businesses, should they list the real estate assets as their assets (since they are self-employed) or as business assets? Does it make a difference one way or other? When we listed $350,000 in property as our assets, it made a huge difference but we are not sure how ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +3
  • +7

    Time to panic about prepaid tuition plans?

    Time to panic about prepaid tuition plans?
    The New York Times reported on October 5, 2009 that 16 of the 18 state prepaid tuition plans are facing funding shortfalls because of a combination of stock market losses and increases in tuition at public colleges. Only five state plans are backed by the full faith and credit of the state. While the other states will be under political pressure ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +4

    Ask for a Professional Judgment Review for One-Time Events

    In our base year, my spouse will have a one-time job that will significantly raise our income for one year only. We have significant credit card debt and no savings for our child's college education. We plan to use the extra income to pay down our debt and to have money available to help with college costs. But will this one ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +7

    Student Debt Guide: Credit Scores

    Student Debt Guide: Credit Scores
    Good credit, bad credit, credit score reports, sites and don’t even mention credit cards! It’s all too easy to get jumbled in the mix. Luckily, our financial expert Mark Kantrowitz breaks down the basic questions, like what a credit score is and why should you care.[gate] How is my credit score calculated? Lenders report whether you pay your bills on time ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +7
  • +1

    Cost of Raising Children from Birth to High School Graduation Up 0.5% to $222,360

    The US Department of Agriculture estimates that middle-income two-parent families will spend $222,360 in 2009 dollars to raise a child born in 2009 from birth to high school graduation. The cost per child for low income families (earning less than $56,670) is $160,410 and the cost per child for upper income families (earning more than $98,120) is $369,360. These estimates do ...
    Published almost 4 years ago | Rated: +1
  • +8

    When must a Non-Custodial Parent Count a Child in Household Size?

    I am remarried and my husband pays child support for his two children that live with their mother. They pass the support test. Do we include his children in our household size as well as report the amount he pays for child support for them? If it's only one or the other, which is more financial beneficial from a FAFSA standpoint? ...
    Published about 1 year ago | Rated: +8
  • +5

    Questions about Net Assets and Changes in Marital Status

    On the asset section of the FAFSA form if you have $100,000 in stocks but also have a $75,000 margin loan balance would you net this out and put down $25,000 in stock assets? — Rob A. Yes. You report the net asset value, namely the current market value of the assets minus any debts secured by the assets. Since a ...
    Published about 4 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +5

    What Happens When Retirement Money isn't in a Qualified Retirement Plan?

    I am a single parent, age 56 and my daughter will be applying for college next year. I make less than $60,000, but have just over $100,000 in savings and mutual funds that I have saved towards retirement as I am self employed. (I just recently found out about other self employed retirement options.) Will my daughter receive less financial aid ...
    Published about 1 year ago | Rated: +5
  • +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 almost 2 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +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 over 1 year ago | Rated: +4
  • +5

    Can a Family on Fixed Income Afford to Pay Double for an Out-of-State Private College?

    My husband took early retirement so we are on a fixed income. We set aside enough money in various college funds for our daughter to attend any in-state public college. However, she is interested in an out-of-state private college that costs approximately double what we have saved. We are researching scholarship opportunities but wonder how the fact that we are retired ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +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 over 2 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +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 1 year ago | Rated: +7
  • +6

    New Husband Refuses to Help with College Costs

    I have been a single mother raising twin daughters pretty much all their life but recently (2 years ago) remarried a fairly successful man who has from day one said he will not contribute to their education. He provides absolutely NO support for the girls, I pay their tuition and everything else they need all on my own. My daughters are ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +5

    Can the FAFSA be Completed with Information from the Previous Year's Tax Returns?

    My daughter got accepted to her first-choice school, a private university, as an early-decision candidate. The school won't be able to tell us the amount of financial aid she will be offered until March. I am eager to file the FAFSA and CSS Financial Aid PROFILE forms as soon as possible, as I've heard this helps maximize the amount of aid ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +5
  • +4

    Treatment of Grandparent Assets Held by a Parent on the FAFSA

    I am completing the FAFSA for my son and daughter. My Mom is elderly and has put my name as secondary on her accounts. Do I have to report the money in those accounts as my assets on the FAFSA? It doesn't seem fair if I do, because the money is not mine to use. — Chris S. Grandparents sometimes transfer ...
    Published about 4 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +5

    Must the Student's Child Live with the Student for the Student to be Independent?

    I'm 23 and have a 4-year-old child. Last year I received independent status for my financial aid because I supported my child more than 51% of his needs. This year the financial aid office asked for the same documents as last year but told me that I couldn't be an independent student because I didn't have enough documented proof. I explained ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +5