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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • +13

    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 over 4 years ago | Rated: +13
  • +8

    Conflicting Information about Trends in Net College Costs

    A report released today by The Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP), discusses trends in net tuition and net price at US colleges and universities. Net Tuition and Net Price Trends in the United States: 2000-2009 reports that "At four year colleges, net tuition has increased by around one thousand dollars over a time period when per capita income has ...
    Published about 4 years ago | Rated: +8
  • +6

    When Grandma Moves In, Does It Help or Hurt Financial Aid Eligibility?

    Grandma is moving in with her Social Security check. Does this help or hurt my FAFSA results? Does her Social Security check count towards my parents' income on the FAFSA? — Doreen Y. The answer is complicated and depends on whether Grandma receives the Social Security benefits in her own name or whether they are received by your parents on her ...
    Published over 5 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +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 almost 4 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +10

    Questions about Obtaining and Repaying Student Loans

    How will my credit score effect my ability to get the funding I need for graduate school? If my credit is not great, will I be able to get the loans I need to cover my college costs? — Katy C. The federal Stafford loan does not depend on your credit history. As a graduate student you will be able to ...
    Published about 6 years ago | Rated: +10
  • +9

    Dad Died, Mom Remarried; Grandma Moved In. How do These Changes Affect My FAFSA?

    We recently had an addition in the family. Not a new sibling, but my mother's mom is now living with us. She's great and we love having her, but she's not free. Should I change any info on my FAFSA because of this? — Sana B. If your grandmother lives with and receives more than half her support from your parents, ...
    Published about 6 years ago | Rated: +9
  • +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 almost 3 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +9

    Questions about Maintaining and Regaining Eligibility for Federal Education Loans

    I have a sophomore in college right now and will have another child starting her freshman year in college next year. We were approved for a Stafford Loan and a Parent PLUS loan for our son this year. We will need to have student loans to finance the entire amount of both kids' education. Will we be able to continue to ...
    Published almost 6 years ago | Rated: +9
  • +2

    Aboriginal Art and College Cost Bubbles

    Aboriginal Art and College Cost Bubbles
    What does Australian aboriginal art have to do with college costs? Read on. When I was a research scientist at a software laboratory over a decade ago, I purchased a few paintings by aboriginal artists during a trip to Australia to present a paper at an international computer science conference. Australian aboriginal art is intriguing because it is both primitive and ...
    Published almost 4 years ago | Rated: +2
  • +6

    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 dropping below half-time enrollment status. If the loan is a Perkins loan, repayment begins 9 months after graduating from college or dropping below half-time enrollment status. The 6 or 9 ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +23

    Student Loans: What to Know Before You Borrow & Repayment Planning

    Student Loans: What to Know Before You Borrow & Repayment Planning
    Americans owe nearly $1.2 trillion – and counting – in student loans, according to the National Journal. Yep, that’s trillion with a “T.” I don’t know about you, but that seems like an awful lot of dough to me. Here are some other fun facts the National Journal oh-so-kindly pointed out: “Student-loan debt is increasingly a problem for senior citizens.” I ...
    Published 3 months ago | Rated: +23
  • +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 about 6 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +5

    Rolling US Savings Bonds into a 529 College Savings Plan for Tax-Free Treatment

    I read your article on rolling savings bonds into a 529 plan but I am still not sure of one thing. If we are over the income threshold for tax-free redemption, can we roll the bonds into the 529 and avoid paying taxes on the bonds? Then when we take deductions from the 529 to pay for qualified expenses do we ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +7

    Drowning in Six-Figure Debt for a Low-Paying Field of Study

    I am going to be attending a New York university this spring as a music major. My ultimate goal is to get a doctorate of ethnomusicology and to teach at a university while also completing fieldwork research. My loan debt will be very high (at least $100,000). Do you know how to attempt to get a high-paying college job right out ...
    Published almost 5 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +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 about 3 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +8

    Can a Stepdaughter be Counted in the Household If She Lives with the Other Parent?

    My stepdaughter used my husband's tax return to file her FAFSA because her mother had said that his taxes needed to be used because he claims her on his income tax return. From what I know, the parent that the child lives with most of the time should be used. Am I right or wrong? She got denied financial aid when ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +8
  • +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 over 5 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +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 almost 6 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +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 5 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +9

    Completing the FAFSA When the Student's Parents Have a Legal Separation

    My parents aren't divorced but are legally separated and have been for about ten years. My mother is unable to remember where the papers for their separation are. I was wondering if I have to put my father's information on the FAFSA even though my mother is my primary care-giver. (I spend all 365 days a year with her.) I don't ...
    Published about 4 years ago | Rated: +9