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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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What Income is Listed on the FAFSA when Separated Parents File a Joint Tax Return?

What Income is Listed on the FAFSA when Separated Parents File a Joint Tax Return?

I am praying that you may be able to advise me on the FAFSA application. I am a senior in high school and will file the FAFSA in January. I live ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 12, 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
Can You Get a Pell Grant Even If You Don't Qualify for the Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program?

Can You Get a Pell Grant Even If You Don't Qualify for the Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program?

If a child does not qualify for the free or reduced-price school lunch program, can they still qualify for federal student aid? —Y.P. Yes. Students who don't qualify for the free ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 21, 2011
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
Impact of Tax Filing Status on Income-Based Repayment for Married Borrowers

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 19, 2012
Should I Work My Way Through College or Quit My Job to Enroll Full-Time?

Should I Work My Way Through College or Quit My Job to Enroll Full-Time?

I am 26 and looking to start attending school full time this fall. I am also taking some summer classes at a community college to get all the credits I can ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 25, 2011
Is an Emancipated Child Considered an Independent Student?

Is an Emancipated Child Considered an Independent Student?

I am a single parent of three children. One is a junior in college, the middle child will be attending college next year. I have always completed the FAFSA for my ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 14, 2011
PSST! Want to Graduate from College with an Undergraduate Degree and No Debt?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 24, 2011
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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 5, 2009
2016-2017 Financial Aid Deadlines

2016-2017 Financial Aid Deadlines

We've got you covered with a complete list of financial aid deadlines, state-by-state, for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published January 6, 2016
The “Free” Tuition Experiment

The “Free” Tuition Experiment

It seems as though many are considering the recent doubling of student loan rates as a tipping point to the education cost issue - with more alternative payment programs resulting.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published July 10, 2013
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
Some Scholarship Sponsors Review the Online Presence of Finalists When Selecting Winners

Some Scholarship Sponsors Review the Online Presence of Finalists When Selecting Winners

Your Facebook profile may cause you to lose a scholarship. It can also help you win a scholarship. According to a recent survey of scholarship-granting organizations, about a quarter of scholarship ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 24, 2012
Help for Retired Parents Repaying Parent PLUS Loans on Fixed Income

Help for Retired Parents Repaying Parent PLUS Loans on Fixed Income

Help!!! My Parent PLUS loans are presently in a forbearance that will end in a few months. My expected installment payments are more than my monthly income. I am retired and ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 13, 2010
Financial Aid without Filing the FAFSA?

Financial Aid without Filing the FAFSA?

I tried to apply for federal student aid last year, and was told that I needed to include my parents tax information to receive aid. I've been living on my own ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 6, 2010
Are You a College Drop-Out Risk?

Are You a College Drop-Out Risk?

Before you borrow, make sure it will pay off in the future.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published July 2, 2013
Should Married Borrowers File Joint or Separate Federal Income Tax Returns with Income-Based Repayment?

Should Married Borrowers File Joint or Separate Federal Income Tax Returns with Income-Based Repayment?

I have a question about a joint consolidation loan and income-based repayment (IBR). My wife and I consolidated our loans jointly about 10 years ago (when such things were allowed). My ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 29, 2012
How Do Parent Financial Problems Affect a Student's Eligibility for Financial Aid?

How Do Parent Financial Problems Affect a Student's Eligibility for Financial Aid?

We the parents screwed up financially and had to file for bankruptcy and are in a Chapter 13 repayment program. The FAFSA thinks according to their estimator that we can afford ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 13, 2010
Congress Proposes Allowing Private Student Loans to be Discharged in Bankruptcy

Congress Proposes Allowing Private Student Loans to be Discharged in Bankruptcy

Congress is proposing to allow borrowers to discharge private student loans in bankruptcy. Under current law, education loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy except in extreme circumstances. The US Bankruptcy Code ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 22, 2010
Tuition and Fees Deduction

Tuition and Fees Deduction

The Tuition and Fees Deduction allows taxpayers to deduct up to $4,000 in tuition expenses as an above-the-line exclusion from income. This tax benefit is also known as the Limited Deduction ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 18, 2009