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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • +7

    Does Parental Support Affect Independent Student Status?

    I am 19 and have a baby (1 month old) and I am living with my boyfriend and his mother. I am confused about whose tax information to use on the FAFSA. My boyfriend's mother is in Section 8 housing and put me in it and in her food stamps. — J.F. A student who has one or more dependent children ...
    Published about 1 year ago | Rated: +7
  • +7

    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 the current costs that I see. As home mortgage refinance rates have dropped to their lowest levels in my lifetime (around 3.75%), I had the notion of conducting a refinance ...
    Published almost 2 years ago | Rated: +7
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    White House Releases Model Financial Aid Award Letter "Shopping Sheet"

    White House Releases Model Financial Aid Award Letter "Shopping Sheet"
    The Obama administration revealed the final design for a standardized financial aid award letter on July 24, 2012. This one-page financial aid "shopping sheet" will provide students and their families with clear and easy to understand information about college costs and financial aid. It will enable families to compare college costs and financial aid offers side by side, helping them make ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +7
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    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 ex-husband) as the account owner. My son's Coverdell lists me as the account owner. How do I report my daughter's Coverdell on the FAFSA? The fund will not give me ...
    Published about 4 years ago | Rated: +7
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    Does Financial Aid Cover Room and Board in Addition to Tuition and Fees?

    I am currently a senior at a high school. If I want to dorm at a private university, which adds $10,000 more to the $40,000 tuition, do the universities take into account the financial aid as a whole thing with tuition and room and board, or do they just give financial aid for the tuition? To simplify this, my total costs ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +7
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    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
  • +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
  • +7

    Drowning in Six-Figure Debt for a Low-Paying Field of Study

    I am going to be attending a New York university this spring as a music major. My ultimate goal is to get a doctorate of ethnomusicology and to teach at a university while also completing fieldwork research. My loan debt will be very high (at least $100,000). Do you know how to attempt to get a high-paying college job right out ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +7

    Is a Student with Children But No Income Considered to be Independent?

    I am under 24 years of age. I did not have any income the year before last. I have 2 children and live with a partner of 6 years. He is the father of my children. We are not married. He supported us on his income; my mother did not. I was a stay at home mom. My school is telling ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +7
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    How do retirement funds affect student aid eligibility?

    How do parent contributions to 401(k) or IRA retirement plans affect financial aid eligibility? — Stephen C. The federal need analysis methodology considers both income (taxable and untaxed) and assets that are reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Money in qualified retirement plans, such as a 401(k), 403(b), IRA, pension, SEP, SIMPLE, Keogh and certain annuities, is ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +7

    How Will the Election Results Affect Student Financial Aid?

    President Obama was reelected on November 6, 2012, but control of Congress remains split. Republicans retained control of the House and Democrats retained control of the Senate. The Democrats may have gained two seats in the Senate, but they still do not have a supermajority. A supermajority (a three fifths majority) is required in the Senate to end a filibuster by ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +7
  • +7

    Ask the Expert: Why Not Borrow from My 401(k) for My Daughter's College Tuition?

    QUESTION: Why not borrow from my 401(k) for my daughter's college tuition, as there will be less to lose in this economic crisis? -- Betsy Thomas ANSWER: Borrowing from your 401(k) is almost always a big mistake. It may seem innocuous, since instead of paying back a bank loan, you're paying yourself. But you've lost the opportunity to earn further returns ...
    Published almost 5 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +7

    Ask for a Professional Judgment Review for Job Loss or Other Changes in Income

    I lost my teaching job last June and got a half year's salary instead of a full year. I did not get a job in the fall, so our household income was operating on half of my income. My husband's work status is the same, so we are at three-quarters. This year I do not have a job. Is there any ...
    Published over 3 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +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 about 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +7

    Advice to Parents Whose Child will be the First in the Family to Go to College

    My wife and I are looking for help in getting our son into college. He is a junior in high school. His mother and I are on disability. My wife is fighting stage four breast cancer. I was hurt at work two years ago. We would like to see our son go to college but there is no way we would ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +7

    Which parent is responsible for completing the financial aid application?

    I am confused about which parent's information to include on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). My ex-husband paid child support for 7 months this year from a settlement agreement but has been unemployed for nearly two years. He is re-married. My son is 18, lives with me, and starts college next fall. This year my ex-husband gets to ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rated: +7
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    Can a Student Receive Both Need-Based Grants and Merit-Based Scholarships?

    If a child does receive FAFSA can they still receive scholarships and grants? — Y.P. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to apply for need-based financial aid from the federal government, state governments and most colleges. The financial aid will include a mix of grants, loans and student employment. The terms grants and scholarships are often used ...
    Published almost 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +7

    Private Student Loans Add Fixed Rate Options

    Student loan pricing goes through cycles. When fixed interest rates are high but variable interest rates are heading downward, borrowers prefer variable interest rates. When variable interest rates are low but likely to head higher, borrowers prefer fixed-rate options. A little over a year ago only one commercial lender, SunTrust, offered a fixed-rate option on its loans. Today there are eight, ...
    Published almost 2 years ago | Rated: +7
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    Student Debt Guide: Credit Scores

    Student Debt Guide: Credit Scores
    Good credit, bad credit, credit score reports, sites and don’t even mention credit cards! It’s all too easy to get jumbled in the mix. Luckily, our financial expert Mark Kantrowitz breaks down the basic questions, like what a credit score is and why should you care.[gate] How is my credit score calculated? Lenders report whether you pay your bills on time ...
    Published over 1 year ago | Rated: +7