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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • +8

    How Do I Fix an Non-Qualified Distribution from a College Savings Plan?

    I had a CollegeSure CD for my son who started college last fall. After the CD matured in August, I cashed it out and put the money in a savings account thinking I had to do that. He didn't have enough college expenses for the first semester to equal the gross distribution, so now I think we're in a terrible tax ...
    Published about 3 years ago | Rated: +8
  • +8

    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 Trends in the United States: 2000-2009 reports that "At four year colleges, net tuition has increased by around one thousand dollars over a time period when per capita income has ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +8
  • +26

    Why Should I Complete the FAFSA?

    Why Should I Complete the FAFSA?
    Let’s start with a little bit about what the FAFSA actually is. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid; translation: it determines a student's eligibility for need-based federal financial aid for college, which may include grants, scholarships, work-study and loans. If eligible, it can really help you pay for school! The FAFSA for the 2014-2015 academic year is now ...
    Published 3 months ago | Rated: +26
  • +6

    Which are Better, US Savings Bonds or 529 College Savings Plans?

    We have a son who is going to be in the 10th grade this year. We also have twins who are 3.5 years old. I am trying to understand where to park my savings for elder son and the little ones. I heard if we have 529 plans, they will be included in financial aid calculations and this is not a ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +6
  • +3

    Who Really Graduates with $100,000 or More in Student Loans?

    Who Really Graduates with $100,000 or More in Student Loans?
    Newspaper headlines suggest that many students graduate from college with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. But is this really the case? A new report, Who Graduates College with Six-Figure Student Loan Debt?, finds that only 0.2% of undergraduate students and 6.4% of graduate students graduated with $100,000 or more in student loans in 2007-08. Far from being ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +3
  • +7

    How to Qualify for a PLUS Loan Despite an Adverse Credit History

    I'm currently an MBA student who has a VERY adverse credit history. Part of which includes a defaulted Federal Loan. I'm halfway through my first year of business school and find myself needing more money. I've found someone who does not have an adverse credit history who is willing to cosign. I'm worried that I still won't receive the loan. What ...
    Published about 1 year ago | Rated: +7
  • +7

    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 12 months ago | Rated: +7
  • +5

    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 for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a free application. You can file the FAFSA online for free at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Section 483(a)(6) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 bans the ...
    Published almost 3 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +14

    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 student aid programs that are scheduled to expire this year. Stop the pending increase in student loan interest rates. The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 enacted a ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +14
  • +7

    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 as net price within each college type category. The US Department of Education is also publishing lists of colleges with the greatest increases in tuition and fees or net price. ...
    Published almost 3 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +3

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

    I have a question about a joint consolidation loan and income-based repayment (IBR). My wife and I consolidated our loans jointly about 10 years ago (when such things were allowed). My name is at the top of the loan. My wife and I both individually had about $70,000 in loans and our joint loan was $140,000. It is currently at about ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +3
  • +5

    Must the Student's Child Live with the Student for the Student to be Independent?

    I'm 23 and have a 4-year-old child. Last year I received independent status for my financial aid because I supported my child more than 51% of his needs. This year the financial aid office asked for the same documents as last year but told me that I couldn't be an independent student because I didn't have enough documented proof. I explained ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +5
  • +4

    Should a Family Sell Student-Owned Stocks to Get More Financial Aid?

    I have two daughters. One is a junior in college. The other is a senior in high school who will be going to college this fall. They both have stocks given to them by my parents years ago, from which they get quarterly dividends of around $140 each. Every year on the FAFSA I have to put the current value of ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +6

    U.S. Department of Education Seeks Ideas from Students, Parents and Educators on How To Improve Financial Aid Award Letters

    Public Meeting The U.S. Department of Education is holding a public meeting on Tuesday, September 13, 2011, to discuss ways to improve financial aid award letters. The goal is to develop recommendations for making financial aid award letters easier to understand and compare. The public meeting will also help the U.S. Department of Education create a recommended model for financial ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +13

    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 $700 a month and that is unreasonable (that's over half of my monthly salary). I have tried three different jobs since graduating in the hopes of making more money, but ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +13
  • +10

    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 to help students and parents make informed decisions concerning the tradeoffs between college affordability and college quality. It will also help students and their families make smarter borrowing decisions. Students ...
    Published almost 2 years ago | Rated: +10
  • +1

    ProPublica and the Chronicle of Higher Education Seek Copies of Financial Aid Award Letters

    Two leading newspapers, ProPublica and the Chronicle of Higher Education, are seeking copies of actual financial aid award letters received by students. They are interested in receiving award letters from all colleges that admitted the student, not just the ones where the students ultimately enrolled. The newspapers have promised to keep names and personally identifiable information confidential. The award letters may ...
    Published almost 2 years ago | Rated: +1
  • +15

    Student Debt Guide: Saving and Investing Money

    Student Debt Guide: Saving and Investing Money
    Nobody ever said being an adult was easy and knowing how to save and invest properly is not exception to the rule. But, who better to advise you on saving and investing money than Mark Kantrowitz, a nationally recognized finance guru? Here are tips, right from the expert, on how to save and invest like a pro. [gate] • Save for ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +15
  • +6

    Who Completes the FAFSA When a Student Lives with his Grandparents?

    My grandson lives with his grandfather and me. His parents do not support him other than providing medical insurance. He will claim himself on his 2012 income tax and his parents financials are not available to us. How do we handle completing the FAFSA and applying for scholarships, etc.? I am more than willing to provide our information if that is ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +6
  • +12

    What Happens If You Deliberately Don't Report Assets on the FAFSA?

    I'm doing everything possible to lower my EFC. I have assets, UTMA, mutual funds, stocks and I know they hurt my chances of receiving free money (Federal or state grants). I was thinking of cashing in the assets and putting them in a safety deposit box. That way I won't have to claim them on the FAFSA because they are no ...
    Published about 3 years ago | Rated: +12