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Browse Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

  • +5

    Can a Student Receive a Pell Grant for a Second College Degree?

    I am a 25-year-old woman looking to go back to school for a second degree in a different field of study than my original degree. I am married to an enlisted sailor and currently unemployed. For my first degree I did not fill out the FAFSA and therefore I did not receive any federal aid in the form of grants or ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +4

    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 tax purposes. For example, a grandparent can avoid gift taxes by writing a check to the college for their grandchild's tuition instead of giving the money to the student or ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +7

    Does Joint Repayment Obligate Spouses for Each Other's Student Loans?

    I applied to have both my husband's and my student loan debt considered in determining our payments under income-based repayment. This reduced our payments significantly. My concern is that the repayment plan selection forms have a box to check that accepts responsibility for your spouse's loan. My student loan debt is considerably higher than my husband's and should I precede him ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +8

    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 have adopted him at age 13 he would of received a full scholarship. My son wants to attend a private college at approximately $43,000 per year. Do you have any ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +8
  • -1

    Potential Impact of the Fiscal Cliff on Federal Student Financial Aid

    The Budget Control Act of 2011 enacted automatic across-the-board spending cuts in the federal budget if Congress in unable to achieve specified reductions in overall spending on its own. This process is called sequestration. The White House's Office of Management and Budget released a 394-page report on Friday, September 14, 2012, detailing the specific budget lines in the FY2013 budget that ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: -1
  • +7

    Impact of a Gift Trust Account on Eligibility for Need-Based Financial Aid

    My daughter turned 18 recently, and received a $25,000 mutual fund statement with her name on it. Her aunt had put $10,000 away in 1995 in a gift trust account for a minor. This was a mutual fund account in which the interest was reinvested each year and therefore no IRS interest statements were generated. We were unaware that her aunt ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +2

    Excerpts from the Democratic and Republican Party Platforms on Student Financial Aid

    This article provides excerpts of the proposals concerning student financial aid for college that appear in the 2012 Democratic National Platform and the 2012 Republican Platform. Neither platform, however, contains a lot of detail about student financial aid. Some of the key differences between the two parties include the role of banks in making new federal education loans, changes in funding ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +2
  • +3

    When is Real Estate Reported as a Business Asset on the FAFSA?

    For parents who are self-employed and own real estate as one of their businesses, should they list the real estate assets as their assets (since they are self-employed) or as business assets? Does it make a difference one way or other? When we listed $350,000 in property as our assets, it made a huge difference but we are not sure how ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +5

    Is the Pell Grant Reduced When the Student Wins a Private Scholarship?

    My daughter has been approved for a Pell Grant. She recently received notification that she has won a $1,000 scholarship. Will the scholarship reduce her Pell Grant? — Virginia M. The Pell Grant is never reduced when the recipient wins a private scholarship. Some forms of need-based financial aid are reduced when a student wins a scholarship. These include federal campus-based ...
    Published about 2 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +1

    Paying for Tuition with a Credit Card or an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

    I am a graduate school student at a university where subsidized loans are no longer an option. Only unsubsidized. I am now faced with a decision: which would be a better option for me to use to pay for my tuition this fall, taking out unsubsidized loans or putting it on my credit card (9.9% interest)? — B.R. Subsidized Stafford loans ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +1
  • +4

    Will a Parent PLUS Loan be Denied When Applying for Two Loans for Two Children?

    I am applying for two Parent PLUS loans because I have twins going to school at the same time. Is it possible one loan will be denied because we are applying for two at the same time? What can I do if one of the applications is denied? We have good credit 730 and 780 for each of us. — Michelle ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +6

    Which are Better, US Savings Bonds or 529 College Savings Plans?

    We have a son who is going to be in the 10th grade this year. We also have twins who are 3.5 years old. I am trying to understand where to park my savings for elder son and the little ones. I heard if we have 529 plans, they will be included in financial aid calculations and this is not a ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +6
  • +3

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

    Who Really Graduates with $100,000 or More in Student Loans?
    Newspaper headlines suggest that many students graduate from college with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. But is this really the case? A new report, Who Graduates College with Six-Figure Student Loan Debt?, finds that only 0.2% of undergraduate students and 6.4% of graduate students graduated with $100,000 or more in student loans in 2007-08. Far from being ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +3
  • +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 over 2 years ago | Rated: +5
  • +7

    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 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +8

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

    My son is heading to college this fall and I would like to use his savings bonds tax free, although the way I read the rules I think I cannot do it. Here is the story: All of the bonds were bought from 1994 through 2001 by various family members. All of the bonds have my son's name on the "TO" ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +8
  • +4

    Government Report Reviews Private Student Loans and Recommends Statutory Changes

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the US Department of Education released a report to Congress about private student loans on July 20, 2012 as mandated by section 1077 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 111-203, 7/21/2010). The report discusses the growth and changes in the private student loan marketplace, the use of private student ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +4
  • +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 over 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +7

    Financial Aid for Graduate School: Your Credit History Affect and Types of Aid

    I recently decided to go back to school for a degree in software engineering. My short terms goal after school is to apply for a job with one of the top software application companies. My long term goal is to eventually start my own business specializing in creating custom apps for businesses and/or individuals. I am in debt from previous undergraduate ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +7
  • +7

    Vietnam Era Veteran Needs Help Paying for Graduate School

    I will soon be 60 and have returned to school to get a Master's degree in Psychology as I could not get a job here with a BA and compete with younger people. I have used up my GI bill (Vietnam era Navy vet), received a loan for money for school, but have to live off of that as well as ...
    Published over 2 years ago | Rated: +7
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