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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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Why is Parental Information Required on the FAFSA for a Self-Sufficient Student?

Why is Parental Information Required on the FAFSA for a Self-Sufficient Student?

Why do we have to file the FAFSA when my daughter supports herself? My daughter has not lived with me or my husband for a year and a half while she’s ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 24, 2012
A Prospective Student is Ineligible for Financial Aid Because of a Student Loan Default

A Prospective Student is Ineligible for Financial Aid Because of a Student Loan Default

I gave college a shot when I was 18 and dropped out due to major health problems. Student loans obviously did not disappear because of this and I have been struggling ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 1, 2011
7 Resources for Returning Students Paying for College

7 Resources for Returning Students Paying for College

Find financial aid and scholarships for returning adult students.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph
Published August 22, 2014
Congress Proposes Overhaul of Federal Student Loan and Grant Programs

Congress Proposes Overhaul of Federal Student Loan and Grant Programs

The US House of Representatives is considering legislation to overhaul the federal education loan and grant programs. The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009, nicknamed SAFRA, will increase funding ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 20, 2009
5 Myths about Financial Aid

5 Myths about Financial Aid

Don't fall for these myths when it comes to financial aid.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph
Published March 27, 2017
People Retiring with Student Loans May Save Money with Income-Based Repayment

People Retiring with Student Loans May Save Money with Income-Based Repayment

I'm 68 years old, have worked for the last thirteen years in a state psychiatric hospital and after consolidating all my loans, have never missed a payment to Direct Student Loan ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 21, 2011
Should Married Borrowers File Joint or Separate Federal Income Tax Returns with Income-Based Repayment?

Should Married Borrowers File Joint or Separate Federal Income Tax Returns with Income-Based Repayment?

Expert advice for married borrowers and their loan repayment.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 16, 2012
Why Do We Owe the College Money After the Student Dropped Out?

Why Do We Owe the College Money After the Student Dropped Out?

My son was awarded an amount from FAFSA and also money from the LIFE and Pell grants. We paid the remainder of his tuition out of pocket. He started his freshman ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 9, 2012
First Steps Toward Simplifying the FAFSA

First Steps Toward Simplifying the FAFSA

Student aid policy experts have argued for years that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is too long and too complicated. The FAFSA form is a source of confusion ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 5, 2009
How Do You Calculate Individual Income From a Joint Return for the FAFSA When the Parents Are Separated?

How Do You Calculate Individual Income From a Joint Return for the FAFSA When the Parents Are Separated?

In your answer to How Does Income Tax Filing Status Affect Student Aid?, you address the question of which parent is responsible for completing the FAFSA. However, I'm very curious as ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 28, 2011
Can You Get a Pell Grant Even If You Don't Qualify for the Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program?

Can You Get a Pell Grant Even If You Don't Qualify for the Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program?

If a child does not qualify for the free or reduced-price school lunch program, can they still qualify for federal student aid? —Y.P. Yes. Students who don't qualify for the free ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 21, 2011
How to Deal with a Defaulted But Paid-Off Student Loan that Reappears

How to Deal with a Defaulted But Paid-Off Student Loan that Reappears

Years ago, I went to a two-year school and obtained my Associate's degree. I defaulted on the loan. However, my taxes were taken years later (twice) to take care of the ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 5, 2012
Reporting of Untaxed Social Security Benefits on the FAFSA and the Impact of IRS Filing Extensions on FAFSA Verification

Reporting of Untaxed Social Security Benefits on the FAFSA and the Impact of IRS Filing Extensions on FAFSA Verification

I am a college student with a severe congenital physical disability. If I apply for and am granted SSI benefits, will receiving these benefits cause my family's EFC to increase? I ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 31, 2010
The “Free” Tuition Experiment

The “Free” Tuition Experiment

It seems as though many are considering the recent doubling of student loan rates as a tipping point to the education cost issue - with more alternative payment programs resulting.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published July 10, 2013
Are There Any Fees for Filing the FAFSA?

Are There Any Fees for Filing the FAFSA?

Is there a fee to complete the FAFSA and if so, how much? — T. Smith There is no fee to file the FAFSA. As the name suggests, the Free Application ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published June 27, 2011
If I Stop Paying My Student Loans, Will the Default Yield a Reasonable Settlement?

If I Stop Paying My Student Loans, Will the Default Yield a Reasonable Settlement?

I would like to know what will happen if I stop paying my student loans. I have never been unemployed and don't plan to be, but my loan payments are over ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 5, 2011
Can I Get a New Financial Aid Package if My Mom Lost Her Job?

Can I Get a New Financial Aid Package if My Mom Lost Her Job?

I am in my third semester and have already received my financial aid for this semester; however, our financial circumstances have dramatically changed. My mother was laid off as of the ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 29, 2009
PSST! Want to Graduate from College with an Undergraduate Degree and No Debt?

PSST! Want to Graduate from College with an Undergraduate Degree and No Debt?

A recent research report analyzes the characteristics of the 1.7 million undergraduate students who were able to graduate in 2007-08 without any student loan debt. About two fifths of undergraduate students ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 24, 2011
Family Incorrectly Reported 529 Plan as a Student Asset on the FAFSA

Family Incorrectly Reported 529 Plan as a Student Asset on the FAFSA

I have two questions which I assume you've been asked a million times and I just want to make sure I'm understanding the write-ups about them correctly. We have a regular ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 12, 2012
The Best Schools for Financial Aid

The Best Schools for Financial Aid

These schools prove that it is possible to make educational funding readily available to their students.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published October 8, 2013