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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 24, 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
Potential Impact of the Fiscal Cliff on Federal Student Financial Aid

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 16, 2012
Impact of a Gift Trust Account on Eligibility for Need-Based Financial Aid

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 10, 2012
Excerpts from the Democratic and Republican Party Platforms on Student Financial Aid

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 4, 2012
When is Real Estate Reported as a Business Asset on the FAFSA?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 3, 2012
Is the Pell Grant Reduced When the Student Wins a Private Scholarship?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 27, 2012
Paying for Tuition with a Credit Card or an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 20, 2012
Will a Parent PLUS Loan be Denied When Applying for Two Loans for Two Children?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 13, 2012
Which are Better, US Savings Bonds or 529 College Savings Plans?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 6, 2012
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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 5, 2012
Rolling US Savings Bonds into a 529 College Savings Plan for Tax-Free Treatment

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, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 30, 2012
White House Releases Model Financial Aid Award Letter "Shopping Sheet"

White House Releases Model Financial Aid Award Letter "Shopping Sheet"

Photo courtesy of Department of Education.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 24, 2012
Rolling Savings Bonds into a 529 College Savings Plan for Tax-Free Treatment

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 23, 2012
Government Report Reviews Private Student Loans and Recommends Statutory Changes

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 19, 2012
Is a 3.75% Cash-Out Refinance on a Mortgage Better than Federal Student Loans?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 16, 2012
Financial Aid for Graduate School: Your Credit History Affect and Types of Aid

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 9, 2012
Vietnam Era Veteran Needs Help Paying for Graduate School

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 2, 2012
Congress Passes One-Year Interest Rate Freeze

Congress Passes One-Year Interest Rate Freeze

Congress passed legislation on Friday, June 29, 2012 to prevent the interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans to undergraduate students from doubling July 1, 2012. The last-minute legislation, which passed with ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published June 29, 2012