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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • +7

    Seeking Clarification of Income-Based Repayment for Married Student Loan Borrowers

    I will begin to pay back my student loans in January. My loan debt is about $134,000 and I'm going to pay it back via income-based repayment (IBR). My husband also has student loan debt and is currently in repayment but not through IBR. I understand that if we continue to file our tax returns under Married Filing Jointly status my ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +11

    Congress Passes One-Year Interest Rate Freeze

    Congress passed legislation on Friday, June 29, 2012 to prevent the interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans to undergraduate students from doubling July 1, 2012. The last-minute legislation, which passed with strong bipartisan support, keeps the interest rate at 3.4 percent for new loans in 2012-13, instead of allowing it to revert to 6.8 percent. The Student Loan Interest Rate Extension ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +11
  • +13

    Is a Student Who is Enrolled Simultaneously in High School and College Eligible for Federal Student Financial Aid?

    My 16-year-old son has passed an ability-to-benefit (ATB) test at a community college. He has been accepted has a regular student in a qualifying program but has not graduated from high school. The college is denying him the Federal Pell Grant because they are stating that he is enrolled in high school. My position is that in Florida he has passed ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +13
  • +3

    How is a Life Estate Treated on the FAFSA? Do the Restrictions Matter?

    How is a life estate reflected on the FAFSA? A student's parent has a deed with student's grandparent having life use of the property through a life estate. Please be New York state specific with the response. — T.G. A life estate involves an irrevocable grant of a future interest in a property while reserving a present interest in the property. ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +7

    Sequestration Cuts Federal Student Aid Funding

    Congress did not reach an agreement to reduce the FY2013 budget deficit on March 1, 2013. Accordingly, the automatic across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration will become effective on March 27, 2013, cutting funding for some federal student aid programs for the remainder of the FY2013 budget year and 2013-14 award year. The US Department of Education has issued preliminary guidance ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +8

    Financial Aid for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Students

    Financial Aid for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Students
    There are a number of scholarships available to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. These scholarships offer a variety of criteria for eligibility. This is not an exhaustive list of all the possible sources of scholarships. If you're a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender student, you should also call the colleges that interest you and ask if they have a LGBT ...
    Published about 1 month ago | Rated: +8
  • +4

    When A "Free" College Education Isn't Really Free

    When A "Free" College Education Isn't Really Free
    Some of the protesters at Occupy Wall Street are demanding that a college education be provided for free. But even if their request is granted, which is unlikely, it might not actually be free. The definition of "free" is straightforward enough. A product or service is free when it is available without any cost or charge. But marketers often distort the ...
    Published almost 4 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +7

    Impact of a Gift Trust Account on Eligibility for Need-Based Financial Aid

    My daughter turned 18 recently, and received a $25,000 mutual fund statement with her name on it. Her aunt had put $10,000 away in 1995 in a gift trust account for a minor. This was a mutual fund account in which the interest was reinvested each year and therefore no IRS interest statements were generated. We were unaware that her aunt ...
    Published about 3 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +25

    FAFSA Information for DACA Students

    FAFSA Information for DACA Students
    The Immigration Policy Center estimates that “approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school” annually. DACA students are defined as a subgroup of these undocumented students who have received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). What is Deferred Action? The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines "deferred action" as "a discretionary determination to defer a removal action of an individual ...
    Published 10 months ago | Rated: +25
  • +8

    Financial Aid and Scholarships for Foster Care and Adopted Children

    I adopted a special needs foster child when he was 11 years old. I have been told he does not qualify for any aid. I recently learned that if I would have adopted him at age 13 he would of received a full scholarship. My son wants to attend a private college at approximately $43,000 per year. Do you have any ...
    Published about 3 years ago | Rated: +8
  • +5

    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 with them ever since. Now at age 24 I finally feel that I am healthy enough to give school a second try. I thought I had every detail worked out ...
    Published about 4 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +9

    If a Student's Parents Do Not Claim Him as a Dependent on their Income Tax Returns, Will the Student Get More Financial Aid?

    How beneficial is it to have our college attending son file his taxes on his own versus us claiming him as a dependent? Does it make a huge difference in the amount of aid and/or scholarships he would receive? — Lois H. Whether or not a student is claimed as an exemption on his parents' federal income tax returns has no ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +9
  • +38

    Crowdfunding for College

    Crowdfunding for College
    Crowdfunding, the latest trend in the startup craze, allows the public to view and donate to causes and projects via a public platform. Students have jumped on the bandwagon, utilizing crowdfunding resources to fund the often astronomical student loans that have accumulated. Here are some resources that students can utilize crowdfunding for debt payment, as well as manage a current financial ...
    Published about 1 year ago | Rated: +38
  • +3

    A Primer on the Doubling of the Subsidized Stafford Loan Interest Rate

    This article summarizes the background concerning the doubling of the interest rate on new subsidized Stafford loans to undergraduate students from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1, 2012. It also discusses the impact of the pending change. [Congress passed a one-year extension to the 3.4% interest rate on June 29, 2012.] Background The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +6

    Does the Cash from a Cash-Out Refinance Count as an Asset on the FAFSA?

    My daughter is a high school junior. I have just refinanced with cash out for a home remodel to accommodate my aging parents. However the remodel is delayed and the money is still in our account. The remodel should be completed and the money spent by the time my daughter starts her senior year. Will this money be counted as asset ...
    Published almost 3 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +6

    Can a Student be Cut Off from Financial Aid After Taking Too Many Credits?

    I am currently in community college, hoping to transfer to a traditional 4-year college and then proceed to get my masters in teaching. Where my frustration lies is this: I had a different career focus before and was taking classes toward fulfilling that goal. Now my college's financial aid administrator says that I have taken too many credits at the community ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +7

    Year-End Financial Aid Moves

    As the year draws to a close, there are several steps families can take to get more need-based and merit-based financial aid. Prepay Next Year's Tuition Taxpayers can claim one of two education tax credits based on amounts paid for qualified higher education expenses, such as tuition and fees. These are the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning ...
    Published almost 3 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +28

    The Best Schools for Financial Aid

    The Best Schools for Financial Aid
    You know that most schools offer financial aid assistance to students who need it, but have you ever wondered if some colleges offer more than others? Some do. These schools prove that it is possible to make educational funding readily available to their students. Here are the country’s top ten colleges for students looking for financial aid, according to The Princeton ...
    Published almost 2 years ago | Rated: +28
  • +11

    Pros and Cons of Using Retirement Funds to Pay for College Costs

    Why should one NOT use retirement funds to pay for a child's college costs? — Diane H. There are two main reasons why families shouldn't use retirement plan funds to pay for college. The first reason is the financial impact of taking a distribution from a retirement plan to pay for college. The financial impact includes both the tax liability and ...
    Published about 4 years ago | Rated: +11
  • +48

    FAFSA Checklist

    FAFSA Checklist
    The FAFSA: one of - if not the most, daunting of financial aid forms. The name alone can make students shudder in fear. But, there’s no reason to be afraid, Fastwebbers! We've got you covered; letting you know everything you need before you even think about filling out the form. It’s important to gather all the necessary information and materials beforehand. ...
    Published 10 months ago | Rated: +48