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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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What Do You Do If Your Application for a FAFSA PIN is Rejected?

What Do You Do If Your Application for a FAFSA PIN is Rejected?

Expert financial aid answers to all of your questions.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 23, 2011
How Accurate are the Net Price Figures from Colleges and College Navigator?

How Accurate are the Net Price Figures from Colleges and College Navigator?

How believeable and reliable are the net price values quoted on the College Navigator web site? My granddaughter is interested in two public universities, one in Wisconsin and one in Minnesota. ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 17, 2011
Can a Parent Count a Child in Household Size and Also Report Amounts Paid in Child Support on the FAFSA?

Can a Parent Count a Child in Household Size and Also Report Amounts Paid in Child Support on the FAFSA?

I am the custodial parent for my son and college-bound daughter. It seems like the form assumes that only non-custodial parents pay child support! However, I still pay their mother child ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 10, 2011
Congress Proposes Cutting Student Financial Aid in FY2012 Federal Education Budget

Congress Proposes Cutting Student Financial Aid in FY2012 Federal Education Budget

The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate are considering proposals to cut student financial aid in the FY2012 federal education budget. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), chairman of the House Appropriations ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 3, 2011
Pros and Cons of Using Retirement Funds to Pay for College Costs

Pros and Cons of Using Retirement Funds to Pay for College Costs

Why should one NOT use retirement funds to pay for a child's college costs? — Diane H. There are two main reasons why families shouldn't use retirement plan funds to pay ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 3, 2011
Top Ten Myths About Scholarships

Top Ten Myths About Scholarships

There are many myths about who wins private scholarships and the benefits of winning scholarships. These myths can be harmful if they give students and their families unrealistic expectations about their ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 2, 2011
Can You Appeal for More Student Financial Aid in the Middle of the Academic Year?

Can You Appeal for More Student Financial Aid in the Middle of the Academic Year?

My husband lost his job recently. My oldest son did not qualify for student aid for college this year except for federal loans. Is there any way my son could now ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 26, 2011
Will Filing Income Tax Returns as Married Filing Separately Affect Eligibility for Student Financial Aid?

Will Filing Income Tax Returns as Married Filing Separately Affect Eligibility for Student Financial Aid?

My husband and I separated last year and are living at separate addresses. We have not filed for divorce yet or a formal separation. We are considering filing our taxes as ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 19, 2011
Completing the FAFSA When the Student's Parents Have a Legal Separation

Completing the FAFSA When the Student's Parents Have a Legal Separation

My parents aren't divorced but are legally separated and have been for about ten years. My mother is unable to remember where the papers for their separation are. I was wondering ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 12, 2011
If I Stop Paying My Student Loans, Will the Default Yield a Reasonable Settlement?

If I Stop Paying My Student Loans, Will the Default Yield a Reasonable Settlement?

I would like to know what will happen if I stop paying my student loans. I have never been unemployed and don't plan to be, but my loan payments are over ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 5, 2011
U.S. Department of Education Seeks Ideas from Students, Parents and Educators on How To Improve Financial Aid Award Letters

U.S. Department of Education Seeks Ideas from Students, Parents and Educators on How To Improve Financial Aid Award Letters

Public Meeting The U.S. Department of Education is holding a public meeting on Tuesday, September 13, 2011, to discuss ways to improve financial aid award letters. The goal is to ...

Published September 1, 2011
Students Lose Financial Aid for Failure to Make Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students Lose Financial Aid for Failure to Make Satisfactory Academic Progress

I have been attending college for some time now. Ever since my mom passed away I have been really shaking with some of my classes. Last semester I did decent: I ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 29, 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
Does Home Equity Affect Eligibility for Financial Aid? What If You Sell the Family Home?

Does Home Equity Affect Eligibility for Financial Aid? What If You Sell the Family Home?

Ask Kantro: Does Home Equity Affect Eligibility for Financial Aid? What If You Sell the Family Home? Is home equity considered an asset when determining eligibility for aid? — Steve ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 22, 2011
When Does Repayment Begin on a Subsidized Loan?

When Does Repayment Begin on a Subsidized Loan?

When does a student have to start paying back a subsidized loan? — A.A. If the loan is a subsidized Stafford loan, repayment begins 6 months after graduating from college or ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 15, 2011
Dealing with the Debt Deal and Downgrade: Practical Tips for Students and their Families

Dealing with the Debt Deal and Downgrade: Practical Tips for Students and their Families

Title: Dealing with the Debt Deal and Downgrade: Practical Tips for Students and their Families Standard & Poor's (S&P) downgraded US long-term debt one notch from AAA to AA+ after ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 8, 2011
When Can a Student's Grandparents Substitute for the Parents on Financial Aid Forms?

When Can a Student's Grandparents Substitute for the Parents on Financial Aid Forms?

If a student lives with a grandparent, is there any way the student can use the grandparent's income tax information on her FAFSA? I have lived with my grandmother for all ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 8, 2011
Congress Raises Debt Ceiling, with Shifts and Cuts in Student Aid Funding

Congress Raises Debt Ceiling, with Shifts and Cuts in Student Aid Funding

Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011 on Tuesday, August 2, 2011, raising the debt ceiling at the last minute. The debt deal cuts some student loan benefits, especially for ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 3, 2011
A Prospective Student is Ineligible for Financial Aid Because of a Student Loan Default

A Prospective Student is Ineligible for Financial Aid Because of a Student Loan Default

I gave college a shot when I was 18 and dropped out due to major health problems. Student loans obviously did not disappear because of this and I have been struggling ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 1, 2011
Impact of Capital Gains on Eligibility for Need-Based Financial Aid

Impact of Capital Gains on Eligibility for Need-Based Financial Aid

Families often sell investments such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds to pay college bills. If these investments are not held within a 529 college savings plan or other qualified tuition ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 29, 2011