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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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How Will the Election Results Affect Student Financial Aid?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 8, 2012
Must the Student's Child Live with the Student for the Student to be Independent?

Must the Student's Child Live with the Student for the Student to be Independent?

I'm 23 and have a 4-year-old child. Last year I received independent status for my financial aid because I supported my child more than 51% of his needs. This year the ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 5, 2012
What are the Downsides to Using Home Equity to Refinance Student Loan Debt?

What are the Downsides to Using Home Equity to Refinance Student Loan Debt?

Home equity and student loan payments.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 22, 2012
Must a Trust Fund be Reported on the FAFSA Even If Access to the Trust is Restricted?

Must a Trust Fund be Reported on the FAFSA Even If Access to the Trust is Restricted?

I have a friend whose mother passed away two years ago, and left her some money from an insurance policy. The money is currently in trust for her with her grandmother ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 15, 2012
Financial Aid and Scholarships for Undocumented Students

Financial Aid and Scholarships for Undocumented Students

What advice would you give on financial aid to undocumented students? — T.T. Before discussing financial aid for undocumented students, it is best for students who believe that they are undocumented ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 8, 2012
Can a Student Receive a Pell Grant for a Second College Degree?

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 ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 1, 2012
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?

Are you accountable for your spouse's student loans?

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

The pros and cons of paying college tuition with a credit card.

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?

Breaking down Parent PLUS loans when more than one child is in college.

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?

Expert insights into who leaves college with the most debt.

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