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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 21, 2013
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
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
Which Student Loans are the Best Ones to Borrow?

Which Student Loans are the Best Ones to Borrow?

Advice on federal and private student loans.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published June 11, 2012
Should a Family Sell Student-Owned Stocks to Get More Financial Aid?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 2, 2012
Year-End Financial Aid Moves

Year-End Financial Aid Moves

As the year draws to a close, there are several steps families can take to get more need-based and merit-based financial aid. Prepay Next Year's Tuition Taxpayers can claim one of ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 20, 2012
Money Matters to Tackle While You're Still a Student

Money Matters to Tackle While You're Still a Student

Take on these money moves while you’re still a student so that you’re fully prepared once you enter the real world.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published February 11, 2015
Must the Student's Child Live with the Student for the Student to be Independent?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 5, 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
When Does Repayment Begin on a Subsidized Loan?

When Does Repayment Begin on a Subsidized Loan?

When does a student have to start paying back a subsidized loan? — A.A. If the loan is a subsidized Stafford loan, repayment begins 6 months after graduating from college or ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 15, 2011
Vietnam Era Veteran Needs Help Paying for Graduate School

Vietnam Era Veteran Needs Help Paying for Graduate School

Advice for older veterans returning to college.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 2, 2012
Should Borrowers Pay Off Old Student Loans to Qualify for the New 10% Version of Income-Based Repayment?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 5, 2011
Student Debt Guide: Credit Scores

Student Debt Guide: Credit Scores

What's a credit score and why should you care?

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published January 8, 2013
Should Students and Parents Who are Close to Retirement Borrow to Pay for College?

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, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 16, 2012
New Husband Refuses to Help with College Costs

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 7, 2011
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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 7, 2009
Quick Answers to Common Questions about Financial Aid

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 1, 2013
What Happens When Retirement Money isn't in a Qualified Retirement Plan?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 25, 2013
Can the FAFSA be Completed with Information from the Previous Year's Tax Returns?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 7, 2013