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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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Avoiding the Average...

Avoiding the Average...

Stop being a statistic and start getting smart about student debt.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published December 6, 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?

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
Does Consolidating Student Loans Save Money Like a Refinance?

Does Consolidating Student Loans Save Money Like a Refinance?

I have a question concerning consolidating my federal loans. I have some that are subsidized and some that are unsubsidized. Can I combine these at a lower interest rate? I have ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 16, 2011
Ayuda Financiera del Estudiante en Español

Ayuda Financiera del Estudiante en Español

Ayuda financiera del estudiante en Español.

Published September 9, 2015
Questions about Qualifying for the Federal Parent PLUS Loan

Questions about Qualifying for the Federal Parent PLUS Loan

My son has been accepted to an expensive private non-profit college for the fall. We have been awarded a pretty generous financial aid package from the school (approximately $30,000) which leaves ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 18, 2013
Should You Pay for FAFSA and Loan Services Help?

Should You Pay for FAFSA and Loan Services Help?

Is paying for FAFSA or student loan help a waste of money?

By Kathryn Knight Randolph
Published September 18, 2015
How Should Divorced Parents Split a Child's College Costs?

How Should Divorced Parents Split a Child's College Costs?

I am the custodial parent for my daughter who will go to college this fall. It will be her first year. My income was reported on the FAFSA. This included child ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 23, 2011
First Lady Michelle Obama's FAFSA Completion Challenge

First Lady Michelle Obama's FAFSA Completion Challenge

In addition to encouraging students to complete the FAFSA, the First Lady could send your school a special video message or speak at your commencement ceremony!

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published December 10, 2014
Does a "Safety Net" Affect Eligibility for Student Financial Aid?

Does a "Safety Net" Affect Eligibility for Student Financial Aid?

We are parents of a high school junior looking to learn about the best places to put our money for when we fill out that first FAFSA in two years. My ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 26, 2011
Paying the College Directly to Avoid Gift Taxes

Paying the College Directly to Avoid Gift Taxes

Under current IRS rules, a payment made directly to an educational institution to pay for the tuition of a student does not count as a gift to the student for gift ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 27, 2012
Can a Dependent Student File the FAFSA as Independent if the Student's Parents Don't File Federal Income Tax Returns?

Can a Dependent Student File the FAFSA as Independent if the Student's Parents Don't File Federal Income Tax Returns?

The next several Ask Kantro columns will answer questions about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA may be filed starting on January 1. The FAFSA is used ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 2, 2012
Money Matters to Tackle While You're Still a Student

Money Matters to Tackle While You're Still a Student

Take on these money moves while you’re still a student so that you’re fully prepared once you enter the real world.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published February 11, 2015
When Can a Student's Grandparents Substitute for the Parents on Financial Aid Forms?

When Can a Student's Grandparents Substitute for the Parents on Financial Aid Forms?

If a student lives with a grandparent, is there any way the student can use the grandparent's income tax information on her FAFSA? I have lived with my grandmother for all ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 8, 2011
Dealing with the Debt Deal and Downgrade: Practical Tips for Students and their Families

Dealing with the Debt Deal and Downgrade: Practical Tips for Students and their Families

Title: Dealing with the Debt Deal and Downgrade: Practical Tips for Students and their Families Standard & Poor's (S&P) downgraded US long-term debt one notch from AAA to AA+ after ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 8, 2011
How to Deal with a Defaulted But Paid-Off Student Loan that Reappears

How to Deal with a Defaulted But Paid-Off Student Loan that Reappears

Years ago, I went to a two-year school and obtained my Associate's degree. I defaulted on the loan. However, my taxes were taken years later (twice) to take care of the ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 5, 2012
How Do You Calculate Individual Income From a Joint Return for the FAFSA When the Parents Are Separated?

How Do You Calculate Individual Income From a Joint Return for the FAFSA When the Parents Are Separated?

In your answer to How Does Income Tax Filing Status Affect Student Aid?, you address the question of which parent is responsible for completing the FAFSA. However, I'm very curious as ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 28, 2011
How will a Parent's Financial Troubles Affect the Student's Eligibility for Student Loans?

How will a Parent's Financial Troubles Affect the Student's Eligibility for Student Loans?

My 17-year-old daughter is eager to begin college. We have some difficult financial situations to contend with and could use your advice and direction. Her dad and I are divorced. I ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 7, 2012
Confusion about Reporting Custodial 529 College Savings Plan Accounts on the FAFSA

Confusion about Reporting Custodial 529 College Savings Plan Accounts on the FAFSA

My daughter is a freshman (in college) and lives more than 50% of the time with her mother who is the custodial parent. Her mom and I have been divorced for ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 31, 2012
What Do You Do If Your Application for a FAFSA PIN is Rejected?

What Do You Do If Your Application for a FAFSA PIN is Rejected?

Expert financial aid answers to all of your questions.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 23, 2011
Repayment Begins for Students Who Graduated in May and June

Repayment Begins for Students Who Graduated in May and June

Students who graduated in May or June are nearing the end of the six-month grace period. The first monthly loan payment is usually due in November or December. Don't Be Delinquent ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 26, 2011