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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • +10

    First Steps Toward Simplifying the FAFSA

    First Steps Toward Simplifying the FAFSA
    Student aid policy experts have argued for years that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is too long and too complicated. The FAFSA form is a source of confusion and frustration for many families. The policy experts have proven that the current process of applying for financial aid is itself a problem that prevents millions of students from applying ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rated: +10
  • +12

    To Cosign or Not To Cosign, That is the Question

    My nephew has asked me to cosign a private student loan for college. He's on his own since he lives independently from his mother, his parents are divorced, and his father is completely out of the picture. He's made it through 2 years of college with great success. I'd like to help him. I have very good credit. What would be ...
    Published about 4 years ago | Rated: +12
  • +12

    Do Twins Get More Aid? If a Student Gets Married, Does the Financial Aid Change?

    My boyfriend and I are afraid that if we marry my annual gross income ($47,000) will prevent him from getting federal grants and loans for college. He has no income at all. He is disabled but was denied disability when he applied. We don't mind waiting if it would be better to wait. — Sarah K. Your fears are justified. When ...
    Published almost 4 years ago | Rated: +12
  • +5

    When should you apply for scholarships and financial aid?

    My son will be applying to colleges this fall since he is a high school senior. Should he wait until he is accepted into a college before applying for scholarships? — Bryan R. Your son should start searching for scholarships as soon as possible. There are scholarships with deadlines in every month of the year (more in the fall and spring ...
    Published almost 5 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +9

    Answers to Common FAFSA Questions about PINs and Household Size

    My sister is in college and she applied for financial aid so my dad already has a pin. Should I create a new pin or use the same one? — Perla C. A PIN is used to sign the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) electronically. Each person signing the form must have their own PIN. Your father can use ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +9
  • +6

    How is retirement income and past due child support reported on the FAFSA?

    I am trying to fill out my FAFSA. My father retired last year and I am confused as to what to put for his financial answers, for example, gross income, taxes, etc. Do I fill out a separate form because he is retired? Will they know that he is retired? I am so lost and getting frustrated. Please help! — Alexa ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +6

    New Husband Refuses to Help with College Costs

    I have been a single mother raising twin daughters pretty much all their life but recently (2 years ago) remarried a fairly successful man who has from day one said he will not contribute to their education. He provides absolutely NO support for the girls, I pay their tuition and everything else they need all on my own. My daughters are ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +5

    Rolling US Savings Bonds into a 529 College Savings Plan for Tax-Free Treatment

    I read your article on rolling savings bonds into a 529 plan but I am still not sure of one thing. If we are over the income threshold for tax-free redemption, can we roll the bonds into the 529 and avoid paying taxes on the bonds? Then when we take deductions from the 529 to pay for qualified expenses do we ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +27

    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 7 months ago | Rated: +27
  • +6

    New Proposals for Hybrid Fixed/Variable Interest Rates on Federal Student Loans

    The President's budget for fiscal year 2014, which was released on April 10, 2013, includes a proposal for switching new federal student loans to a hybrid fixed/variable interest rate scheme starting July 1, 2013. A similar proposal was introduced the day before by several Republican Senators as the Comprehensive Student Loan Protection Act (S.682). Subsidized Stafford Loan Rate May Double Currently, ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +6
  • +6

    Are There Any Loan Forgiveness Programs for Social Workers, Teachers and Other Public Service Jobs?

    Are you familiar with any programs that could assist a low-income social worker who has used up his hardship deferments? Any assistance would be appreciated. I'm in a low-paying county, being paid a low income to assist disabled persons, and need help with my student loans. — Dave W. If your loans are federal student loans, such as Federal Stafford or ...
    Published about 3 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +5

    Does Filing a FAFSA Obligate You in Any Way? Are Parents Responsible for Repaying a Child's Student Loans?

    I have a question about filling out a FAFSA form for my child. If we fill out the form and my child is granted a loan for college, will the parents be cosigners or responsible in any way for their child's loan either now or in the future? — D.F. No. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the ...
    Published about 3 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +4

    Ask for a Professional Judgment Review for One-Time Events

    In our base year, my spouse will have a one-time job that will significantly raise our income for one year only. We have significant credit card debt and no savings for our child's college education. We plan to use the extra income to pay down our debt and to have money available to help with college costs. But will this one ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +3

    What are the Downsides to Using Home Equity to Refinance Student Loan Debt?

    I have almost $200K in student loan debt at interest rates from 6.5% to 8.5%. My parents are offering to take on $70K of my debt that's at 8.5% by way of a mortgage they have access to at 3.5%, provided that I am able to pay it off in 3 years. Given my current job situation, I can handle the ...
    Published almost 2 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +7

    Impact of Tax Filing Status on Income-Based Repayment for Married Borrowers

    We married in January of last year, after my husband graduated with a Master's degree in December. His loans total $65,000 and he earned $20,000 last year. I graduated in May with a doctorate in physical therapy and $175,000 in debt. My income last year was $33,000. Our combined AGI was $53,000. For our federal loans we want income-based repayment. But ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • -22

    PSST! Want to Graduate from College with an Undergraduate Degree and No Debt?

    A recent research report analyzes the characteristics of the 1.7 million undergraduate students who were able to graduate in 2007-08 without any student loan debt. About two fifths of undergraduate students graduate with no debt and three fifths graduate with less than $10,000 in student loan debt. This analysis yields seven practical tips on what you should do if you want ...
    Published almost 3 years ago | Rated: -22
  • +13

    When Will the Financial Aid Award Letter Arrive?

    I am new to all of this and I am wondering how soon we find out how much financial aid we will be getting. My son has been accepted at 3 colleges and each one wants money to secure his place. One is way more expensive than the others but if we get enough aid he can go there. The deposit ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +13
  • +4

    Are UGMA and UTMA Accounts Reported as Investments on the FAFSA?

    Tuesday, May 29 is National College Savings Day (i.e., May 29 is 5/29, a cute reference to 529 college savings plans). To commemorate the occasion, Mark Kantrowitz answers a question about saving for college. After submitting our FAFSA for my son, we got back an EFC of 23207 on the SAR. I have been told by admissions that that is extremely ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +4

    Student Debt Guide: Budgeting and Credit Cards

    Student Debt Guide: Budgeting and Credit Cards
    By now, we’re all aware that managing money can be quite difficult. Here are some surefire ways, straight from nationally recognized financial expert Mark Kantrowitz, on how to help stay on track when it comes to pinching pennies. [gate] First, exercise control over your money by increasing awareness of your spending habits. Start by preparing a descriptive budget, where you track ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +4
  • +9

    How Do I Transfer Financial Aid from One College to Another?

    If I change schools, how do I edit my FAFSA so the money goes to my new school? And about how long would it take for the money to transfer schools? — Q.T. Student financial aid does not directly transfer between colleges. Instead, the new college will recalculate your eligibility from scratch based on the information on your FAFSA and the ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +9
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