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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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Total College Debt Now Exceeds Total Credit Card Debt

Total College Debt Now Exceeds Total Credit Card Debt

Total student loan and credit card debt outstanding as of June of each year.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 11, 2010
Cost of Raising Children from Birth to High School Graduation Up 0.5% to $222,360

Cost of Raising Children from Birth to High School Graduation Up 0.5% to $222,360

The US Department of Agriculture estimates that middle-income two-parent families will spend $222,360 in 2009 dollars to raise a child born in 2009 from birth to high school graduation. The cost ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 28, 2010
Can a Family on Fixed Income Afford to Pay Double for an Out-of-State Private College?

Can a Family on Fixed Income Afford to Pay Double for an Out-of-State Private College?

My husband took early retirement so we are on a fixed income. We set aside enough money in various college funds for our daughter to attend any in-state public college. However, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 16, 2010
Is the Non-Custodial Parent a Parent for Federal Student Aid Purposes?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 22, 2010
Kantro's Tips to Save You Money!

Kantro's Tips to Save You Money!

Financial Aid Guru Mark Kantrowitz has compiled his top tips on repaying student loans, saving money and alternatives to student loans. Any wise student will heed this advice! Repaying Student Loans ...

Published August 27, 2010
Tips for a Teacher on Managing Excessive Debt

Tips for a Teacher on Managing Excessive Debt

I have a dire question that needs urgent results. I took out a loan in college (undergraduate). I was foolish and took out the maximum loan amount that I could each ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 23, 2010
Options for a Student Whose Parents Refuse to Complete the FAFSA

Options for a Student Whose Parents Refuse to Complete the FAFSA

I have been financially independent from my parents since I was 19. I'm 23 now. I've been working two jobs and taking 12 hours in school. My school says that I ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 1, 2010
What is a Reasonable and Affordable Monthly Payment for a Defaulted Borrower to Regain Federal Student Aid Eligibility?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 30, 2010
Questions about Maintaining and Regaining Eligibility for Federal Education Loans

Questions about Maintaining and Regaining Eligibility for Federal Education Loans

I have a sophomore in college right now and will have another child starting her freshman year in college next year. We were approved for a Stafford Loan and a Parent ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 30, 2009
Death and Disability May Now Get You Out of Paying Loans

Death and Disability May Now Get You Out of Paying Loans

According to a press release from Securian Financial Group, Sallie Mae is adding a total and permanent disability discharge on its Smart Option private student loan. This discharge will forgive the ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 8, 2010
College Board Simplifies CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE Form

College Board Simplifies CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE Form

While the US Department of Education is working on simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the College Board has already been taking similar steps toward simplifying the CSS/Financial ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 10, 2010
Why Do Students Drop Out of College?

Why Do Students Drop Out of College?

A study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found that the main reason why students drop out of college is the conflict between school and work and family commitments. ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 17, 2009
Student Aid and Scholarships for Second Degree Students

Student Aid and Scholarships for Second Degree Students

I am thinking about going back to school to get a second bachelors degree. Because I already have a B.A. degree, it seems that I am not able to receive any ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 8, 2009
Do Outstanding Loans Affect Eligibility for Financial Aid?

Do Outstanding Loans Affect Eligibility for Financial Aid?

How do outstanding loans affect future financial aid awards for my children? Is there any advantage to trying to pay them back early (other than less interest)? Are they counted towards ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 10, 2010
Is college worth the cost?

Is college worth the cost?

Some people have argued that the high cost of a college education is a bubble waiting to burst. They draw superficial comparisons with the housing market, pointing out the high cost, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 26, 2009
Hope Scholarship Tax Credit

Hope Scholarship Tax Credit

The Hope Scholarship provides a federal income tax credit of up to $2,500 (40% refundable) per student based on the first $4,000 in postsecondary tuition, fees and course materials paid by ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 17, 2009
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
Student Loan Interest Deduction

Student Loan Interest Deduction

Borrowers of federal and private education loans may deduct up to $2,500 in interest as an above-the-line exclusion from income. This deduction may be taken even if the taxpayer does not ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 18, 2009
How to Complete the FAFSA when a Parent Didn't File her Federal Income Tax Return

How to Complete the FAFSA when a Parent Didn't File her Federal Income Tax Return

I have a problem with my FAFSA. My mom didn't file her income tax returns last year. What do I use when I fill out my FAFSA form? — Erica H. ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 8, 2010
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