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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • +4

    Financial Aid and Scholarships for Undocumented Students

    What advice would you give on financial aid to undocumented students? — T.T. Before discussing financial aid for undocumented students, it is best for students who believe that they are undocumented to first confirm with their parents that they are indeed undocumented. A student who was born in the United States or certain territories or outlying possessions is a US citizen ...
    Published about 3 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +10

    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 this topic. The references to "father's/stepfather's" on the FAFSA can be confusing for children of divorced parents. I'm 17 yrs old and I live with my mother and my stepfather. ...
    Published over 5 years ago | Rated: +10
  • +9

    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 save us thousands of dollars per year in college costs. Are there really such secrets out there that will help us that much? — Larry C. Less than 4% of ...
    Published almost 6 years ago | Rated: +9
  • +9

    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 car payment and some additional spending money for internet access. This increased my costs by $100 per month beyond the child support obligation. Can I exclude this amount from the ...
    Published over 5 years ago | Rated: +9
  • +7

    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 ex-husband) as the account owner. My son's Coverdell lists me as the account owner. How do I report my daughter's Coverdell on the FAFSA? The fund will not give me ...
    Published over 5 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +4

    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 in college and a fourth starting in the fall a year from now. We hope to quit our jobs at some point and move to Nicaragua (or another Central American ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +6

    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 and 10th grader) and we are concerned about the possible college financial ramifications. They are in the process of determining the Social Security benefits from their father's contributions. Once that ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +6

    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 myself. My son is a high school senior with a very small part time job at the local Burger King. He plans to attend an out-of-state college, however those plans ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +6

    Will Financial Aid Cover a Double Major?

    Will Financial Aid Cover a Double Major?
    Please help me out with a question. I am majoring in finance. I am thinking about pursuing a double-major in finance and real estate. I will have to take only 6 more classes than what I am supposed to take for my finance major. Will my financial aid cover the extra classes? — Jeffrey P. As noted in a previous Ask ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +9

    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 to check this box even if you have not yet received a college's financial aid offer? — S. Z. Turning down one form of need-based financial aid generally does not ...
    Published over 5 years ago | Rated: +9
  • +17

    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 it says do not include parents. How do they know that I am also attending college? — Vicki Y. I am a single parent in college and my daughter is ...
    Published over 5 years ago | Rated: +17
  • +7

    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 the current costs that I see. As home mortgage refinance rates have dropped to their lowest levels in my lifetime (around 3.75%), I had the notion of conducting a refinance ...
    Published about 3 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +22

    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. With so many options out there, it’s difficult to decipher right from wrong and what will be best for you in the future. Following these guidelines will help you understand how to determine what’s best for you, ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +22
  • +6

    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 Pell Grant is never reduced when the recipient wins a private scholarship. Some forms of need-based financial aid are reduced when a student wins a scholarship. These include federal campus-based ...
    Published about 3 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +3

    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, reaching this milestone demonstrates that student loan debt is a macroeconomic factor, with the potential to affect the economy, albeit modestly at present. Student loan debt will not derail the ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +20

    College Credit Cards Cut by Credit CARD Act

    College Credit Cards Cut by Credit CARD Act
    Need a credit card? It will soon become a lot more difficult to get one. College students who want a credit card but are under age 21 will need to have a cosigner, such as a parent or other adult who is at least 21 years old. College students can also get a credit card without a cosigner if they can ...
    Published over 5 years ago | Rated: +20
  • +16

    What is a Reasonable and Affordable Monthly Payment for a Defaulted Borrower to Regain Federal Student Aid Eligibility?

    I am 26 years old and would like to go back to college. I have $12,000 in student loans which are currently in administrative wage garnishment. I make $27,000 a year and would like to get my loans back in good standing. I have called the collection agency in charge of my loan and they insist on me paying $120 extra ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rated: +16
  • +2

    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 in, he does not help me out financially. Do I still have to include him on my FAFSA? — Emily L. The first step in addressing non-traditional family structures is ...
    Published almost 4 years ago | Rated: +2
  • +7

    What are the Downsides and Upsides to Unsubsidized Federal Student Loans?

    As a guidance counselor, I have many families asking me if there's any downside to taking out a federal unsubsidized loan. They need loan money either way and the rates for the private loans are much higher than the government loans. Most advice sites and articles are very general in nature. Can you provide any specifics on what would be the ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +8

    Year in Review: Ups and Downs for Student Financial Aid in 2011

    2011 was an eventful year for student financial aid, student loans and scholarships. This article summarizes the major events, positive and negative, for student aid in 2011. It also provides a few highlights of developments that are anticipated for 2012. The Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (P.L. 112-10, April 15, 2011) ended the year-round Pell Grant program ...
    Published almost 4 years ago | Rated: +8