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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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Should Wealthy Parents Cut Family Income Tenfold to Help their Children Qualify for Need-Based Student Financial Aid?

Should Wealthy Parents Cut Family Income Tenfold to Help their Children Qualify for Need-Based Student Financial Aid?

My wife and I make about $150,000 in combined income. We have probably $350,000 in home equity, $100,000 in rental property equity and $500,000 in retirement accounts. We have three kids ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 9, 2012
Will Financial Aid Cover a Double Major?

Will Financial Aid Cover a Double Major?

You may be able to handle a double major, but can your financial aid?

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 16, 2013
Questions about Assets and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Questions about Assets and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

There are many college financial planners in my area who claim to be able to help us "legally and ethically" reposition our assets to lower our expected family contribution (EFC) and ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 3, 2009
How Can I Fill the Gap Between Financial Aid and My Ability to Pay?

How Can I Fill the Gap Between Financial Aid and My Ability to Pay?

What to do when the school you plan to attend practices financial aid gapping.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 3, 2011
To Cosign or Not To Cosign, That is the Question

To Cosign or Not To Cosign, That is the Question

My nephew has asked me to cosign a private student loan for college. He's on his own since he lives independently from his mother, his parents are divorced, and his father ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published June 28, 2010
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
What Counts as Child Support on the FAFSA?

What Counts as Child Support on the FAFSA?

I am very grateful to Fastweb for providing all that you do. I am especially grateful for your answers to questions. I agreed (outside of the courts) to pay my daughter's ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 8, 2010
Does Adoption Affect an Orphan's Eligibility for Financial Aid?

Does Adoption Affect an Orphan's Eligibility for Financial Aid?

I am trying to advise two students whose mother died four years ago and their father died last week, unfortunately. The girls' grandmother is now taking care of them (a 9th ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 22, 2013
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
Why Does a Parent Qualify for More Financial Aid than Her Dependent Student Child When Both are in College?

Why Does a Parent Qualify for More Financial Aid than Her Dependent Student Child When Both are in College?

I am a 38-year-old wife and mother who decided to go to college 20 years out of high school. I am a student at an online college and receive financial aid ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 25, 2013
Is the Pell Grant Reduced When the Student Wins a Private Scholarship?

Is the Pell Grant Reduced When the Student Wins a Private Scholarship?

My daughter has been approved for a Pell Grant. She recently received notification that she has won a $1,000 scholarship. Will the scholarship reduce her Pell Grant? — Virginia M. The ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 27, 2012
College Board Simplifies CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE Form

College Board Simplifies CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE Form

While the US Department of Education is working on simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the College Board has already been taking similar steps toward simplifying the CSS/Financial ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 10, 2010
Short Answers to A Few Common FAFSA Questions

Short Answers to A Few Common FAFSA Questions

Does checking the Federal Work Study box on the FAFSA affect other forms of financial aid that a college might award, such as scholarships or other government aid? Is it wise ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 7, 2010
Is the Non-Custodial Parent a Parent for Federal Student Aid Purposes?

Is the Non-Custodial Parent a Parent for Federal Student Aid Purposes?

I am divorced and the custodial parent of two children who live with me. Both kids have Coverdell Education Savings Accounts. My soon-to-be college student daughter's Coverdell lists her father (my ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 22, 2010
How to Include Yourself on Your Teen's FAFSA if You're Enrolled Too

How to Include Yourself on Your Teen's FAFSA if You're Enrolled Too

How should a FAFSA be filled out if I have two children going to college and I am enrolling in a graduate program? When it asks how many are attending college ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 1, 2010
Is a 3.75% Cash-Out Refinance on a Mortgage Better than Federal Student Loans?

Is a 3.75% Cash-Out Refinance on a Mortgage Better than Federal Student Loans?

I have daughter who will be attending college in the fall of 2013 (and a son in 2017). For various reasons, our savings are not sufficient to pay for college given ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 16, 2012
If a Student's Parents Are Not Married, How Does the Student Complete the FAFSA?

If a Student's Parents Are Not Married, How Does the Student Complete the FAFSA?

I live with my mother and my step-father but they are not married. They keep their finances separate and, other than helping my mom to pay for the house I live ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 28, 2011
Guidelines for Financial Freedom

Guidelines for Financial Freedom

When you’re a student trying to pay for school, one of the greatest challenges can be managing your finances in the best way possible.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published August 14, 2013
Will a Parent PLUS Loan be Denied When Applying for Two Loans for Two Children?

Will a Parent PLUS Loan be Denied When Applying for Two Loans for Two Children?

I am applying for two Parent PLUS loans because I have twins going to school at the same time. Is it possible one loan will be denied because we are applying ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 13, 2012
Student Loan Debt Clock Reaches $1 Trillion

Student Loan Debt Clock Reaches $1 Trillion

The student loan debt clock reached the $1 trillion milestone at about 6:40 am ET on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. Although the student loan debt clock is for entertainment purposes only, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 8, 2012