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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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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
Will Refusing Loans Increase College Grants in the Financial Aid Package?

Will Refusing Loans Increase College Grants in the Financial Aid Package?

I filled out the FAFSA in March and recently received a letter that offered me a $3,500 unsubsidized Stafford loan. I did a little research and found out I would have ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published June 21, 2010
What Documentation can a College Financial Aid Administrator Request?

What Documentation can a College Financial Aid Administrator Request?

I'm an independent student who filed a 1040A last year so I was not required to answer questions about assets on the FAFSA application. I had very little income last year ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 10, 2012
Senator Al Franken Introduces Legislation to Standardize Financial Aid Award Letters

Senator Al Franken Introduces Legislation to Standardize Financial Aid Award Letters

Senator Al Franken (D-MN) introduced the Understanding the True Cost of College Act (S.3244) on Thursday, May 24, 2012 with bipartisan support. This legislation will standardize college financial aid award letters ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 28, 2012
Cost of Raising Children from Birth to High School Graduation Up 0.5% to $222,360

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 28, 2010
Ask for a Professional Judgment Review for One-Time Events

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 16, 2012
When Grandma Moves In, Does It Help or Hurt Financial Aid Eligibility?

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? — ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 26, 2010
Finding Funding on Campus

Finding Funding on Campus

Avoiding the topic of financial aid only makes it that much worse in the long run!

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published January 29, 2014
Congress Passes One-Year Interest Rate Freeze

Congress Passes One-Year Interest Rate Freeze

Congress passed legislation on Friday, June 29, 2012 to prevent the interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans to undergraduate students from doubling July 1, 2012. The last-minute legislation, which passed with ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published June 29, 2012
Questions about retirement plan contributions and help for a student whose brother has cancer

Questions about retirement plan contributions and help for a student whose brother has cancer

We are a family of 4 with gross income of about $58,000. With IRA and 401(k) contributions and pretax health care deductions our AGI is about $47,000. Would it benefit us ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 19, 2010
Is a Student Who is Enrolled Simultaneously in High School and College Eligible for Federal Student Financial Aid?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 2, 2011
How Accurate are the Net Price Figures from Colleges and College Navigator?

How Accurate are the Net Price Figures from Colleges and College Navigator?

How believeable and reliable are the net price values quoted on the College Navigator web site? My granddaughter is interested in two public universities, one in Wisconsin and one in Minnesota. ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 17, 2011
Conflicting Information about Trends in Net College Costs

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 17, 2011
Financial Aid for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Students

Financial Aid for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Students

Find LGBT scholarships to help pay for school.

Kathryn Knight Randolph
Published May 25, 2016
Questions about the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010

Questions about the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010

If you have already graduated from college, will you be affected by the new changes to student loans in the health care bill? — Lauren A. No. None of the changes ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 12, 2010
Will Delaying a Bankruptcy Filing Affect Eligibility for Student Aid?

Will Delaying a Bankruptcy Filing Affect Eligibility for Student Aid?

My son is a senior in high school this year. I might have to file for bankruptcy. Should I file this year or wait until next year to file? — Rich ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 15, 2010
How to Read the New Financial Aid Award Letter

How to Read the New Financial Aid Award Letter

Colleges and universities are making changes to financial aid award letters.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph
Published March 28, 2016
Dad Died, Mom Remarried; Grandma Moved In. How do These Changes Affect My FAFSA?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 16, 2009
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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 15, 2011