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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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Consequences for Student Financial Aid If Congress Doesn't Raise the Debt Ceiling

Consequences for Student Financial Aid If Congress Doesn't Raise the Debt Ceiling

The game of chicken being played out in Washington, DC, may have serious consequences for student financial aid as well as the rest of the economy. Congress and the White House ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 14, 2011
Best Strategies for Paying off Debt Quicker

Best Strategies for Paying off Debt Quicker

Suppose you've made the required payments on all your loans and want to use some extra money to pay off your debt quicker. How do you choose which loan to pay ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 11, 2010
When is a Stepparent or Adoptive Parent's Income Reported on the FAFSA?

When is a Stepparent or Adoptive Parent's Income Reported on the FAFSA?

My daughter's father and I are divorced and I have remarried. Neither my previous nor my new husband are contributing toward my daughter's education, so I am paying all of the ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 7, 2011
How does job loss affect federal student financial aid?

How does job loss affect federal student financial aid?

When I turned in my FAFSA my parents were making a lot more money than they are now. Both my parents were working full time, but now my mom is the ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 25, 2009
Who Really Graduates with $100,000 or More in Student Loans?

Who Really Graduates with $100,000 or More in Student Loans?

Expert insights into who leaves college with the most debt.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 5, 2012
Financial Aid and Scholarships for Foster Care and Adopted Children

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 17, 2012
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
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
Does Filing a FAFSA Obligate You in Any Way? Are Parents Responsible for Repaying a Child's Student Loans?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published June 18, 2011
Why Your Grandparents Could be Your Meal Ticket to College

Why Your Grandparents Could be Your Meal Ticket to College

There are many ways in which grandparents can help their grandchildren pay for a college education. These include legacy scholarships and tuition assistance programs, educational awards for volunteering and community service, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 21, 2009
Are There Any Loan Forgiveness Programs for Social Workers, Teachers and Other Public Service Jobs?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published June 13, 2011
How to Qualify for a PLUS Loan Despite an Adverse Credit History

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 15, 2013
How does bankruptcy affect PLUS loan eligibility?

How does bankruptcy affect PLUS loan eligibility?

I applied for a Parent PLUS loan for my son's education starting this fall. I was turned down due to filing chapter 7 four years ago this October. They said I ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 1, 2009
How can a Student Pay for College after Losing Student Aid Eligibility due to Unsatisfactory Academic Progress?

How can a Student Pay for College after Losing Student Aid Eligibility due to Unsatisfactory Academic Progress?

I am not eligible for federal funding at this time because of unsatisfactory academic progress. My appeal was denied and I was told I would again be eligible for federal funding ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 11, 2010
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
How do retirement funds affect student aid eligibility?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 6, 2009
The Beginner’s Guide to Financial Aid

The Beginner’s Guide to Financial Aid

Get the most out of your financial aid application by knowing more about how the process works.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph
Published March 31, 2016
How Do Grandparent-Owned 529 College Savings Plans Affect Financial Aid Eligibility?

How Do Grandparent-Owned 529 College Savings Plans Affect Financial Aid Eligibility?

Rules for Treatment of 529 College Savings Plans as Income and Assets

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 6, 2012
Making Smarter Student Loan Decisions

Making Smarter Student Loan Decisions

Remember, loans are not free money!

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published April 25, 2016
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