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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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Lifetime Learning Tax Credit

Lifetime Learning Tax Credit

The Lifetime Learning provides a federal income tax credit of up to $2,000 per taxpayer based on the first $10,000 in postsecondary tuition and fees paid by the taxpayer during the ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 18, 2009
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
US Department of Education Publishes College Cost and Net Price Rankings

US Department of Education Publishes College Cost and Net Price Rankings

As required by Congress, the US Department of Education is now publishing lists that rank the most and least expensive colleges. Colleges are ranked according to tuition and fees as well ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 1, 2011
Employer Tuition Assistance

Employer Tuition Assistance

Your employer may provide you with up to $5,250 in employer education assistance benefits for undergraduate or graduate courses tax-free each year. The benefits must have been paid for tuition, fees, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 18, 2009
Financial Aid for Older and Nontraditional Students

Financial Aid for Older and Nontraditional Students

Check out financial aid options for older, nontraditional and returning students.

Published August 25, 2015
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
Clearing Up Confusion. What are Parents Responsible for on FAFSA?

Clearing Up Confusion. What are Parents Responsible for on FAFSA?

There seems to be a lot of confusion about which parent is responsible for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), so I'm answering a few more questions on ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 25, 2010
President Obama Proposes Student Aid Increases in State of the Union Address

President Obama Proposes Student Aid Increases in State of the Union Address

In the state of the union address on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, President Obama proposed several increases in student aid spending. The first two proposals call for Congress to extend existing ...

Published January 24, 2012
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
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
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?

Breaking down Parent PLUS loans when more than one child is in college.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 13, 2012
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
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
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?

Expert advice on refinancing your mortgage to pay for college.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 16, 2012
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
Student Loan Over $1 Trillion: What to Know Before You Borrow

Student Loan Over $1 Trillion: What to Know Before You Borrow

Learn what your loan payments will be after graduation up front.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph
Published April 13, 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
When is Real Estate Reported as a Business Asset on the FAFSA?

When is Real Estate Reported as a Business Asset on the FAFSA?

For parents who are self-employed and own real estate as one of their businesses, should they list the real estate assets as their assets (since they are self-employed) or as business ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 3, 2012