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Answers to Common Questions about Dependency Status and Financial Aid

Answers to Common Questions about Dependency Status and Financial Aid

Will my daughter's chances for receiving financial aid be higher if we don't claim her on our taxes? Household income is about $85,000 and she did not qualify for financial aid ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 14, 2011
Why Should I Complete the FAFSA?

Why Should I Complete the FAFSA?

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid; translation: free government money to help you pay for school!

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published December 2, 2015
If a Student's Parents Are Not Married, How Does the Student Complete the FAFSA?

If a Student's Parents Are Not Married, How Does the Student Complete the FAFSA?

I live with my mother and my step-father but they are not married. They keep their finances separate and, other than helping my mom to pay for the house I live ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 28, 2011
How Does a Parent Enrolling in College Affect the Child's Financial Aid?

How Does a Parent Enrolling in College Affect the Child's Financial Aid?

My daughter is hoping to attend a private college next year. Of course, we will be applying for financial aid and as many scholarships as we can find! My husband works ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 9, 2011
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
Does Moving a 529 College Savings Plan into a Roth IRA Make Sense?

Does Moving a 529 College Savings Plan into a Roth IRA Make Sense?

Does it make sense to move our $40,000 529 college savings plan into a Roth IRA for our children who are both in college to shield the money from our asset ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 12, 2011
Should Parents Pay Off Credit Cards Before Applying for College Loans and Other Aid?

Should Parents Pay Off Credit Cards Before Applying for College Loans and Other Aid?

Why is it better for parents to pay off credit cards (if one can) before obtaining loans for a child for college? — Diane H. Most forms of consumer debt, such ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 30, 2011
Will Differences in Parent Assets Due to the Omission Sibling-Owned Custodial 529 Plan Accounts Cause Problems on the FAFSA?

Will Differences in Parent Assets Due to the Omission Sibling-Owned Custodial 529 Plan Accounts Cause Problems on the FAFSA?

Since siblings' UTMA 529s don't get reported on the FAFSA, but the student's UTMA 529 is counted as a parent asset, each of my kids would have a different amount listed ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 19, 2011
Does Filing a FAFSA Obligate You in Any Way? Are Parents Responsible for Repaying a Child's Student Loans?

Does Filing a FAFSA Obligate You in Any Way? Are Parents Responsible for Repaying a Child's Student Loans?

I have a question about filling out a FAFSA form for my child. If we fill out the form and my child is granted a loan for college, will the parents ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published June 18, 2011
Are There Any Fees for Filing the FAFSA?

Are There Any Fees for Filing the FAFSA?

Is there a fee to complete the FAFSA and if so, how much? — T. Smith There is no fee to file the FAFSA. As the name suggests, the Free Application ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published June 27, 2011
FAFSA Deadline Approaching!

FAFSA Deadline Approaching!

Online applications for FAFSA must be submitted by midnight Central Time, June 30!

By Kathryn Knight Randolph
Published May 15, 2015
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
Top 5 Common FAFSA Mistakes

Top 5 Common FAFSA Mistakes

Avoid making these mistakes when you file the FAFSA this year.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph
Published January 29, 2016
Why is Parental Information Required on the FAFSA for a Self-Sufficient Student?

Why is Parental Information Required on the FAFSA for a Self-Sufficient Student?

Why do we have to file the FAFSA when my daughter supports herself? My daughter has not lived with me or my husband for a year and a half while she’s ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 24, 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
Is There Any Way to Shelter Retirement Plan Distributions on the FAFSA?

Is There Any Way to Shelter Retirement Plan Distributions on the FAFSA?

My question is simple: is there a way to withdraw money from my 401(K), at age 59 1/2, that will not be counted as income for FAFSA purposes? Although I receive ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 21, 2012
Can the FAFSA be Completed with Information from the Previous Year's Tax Returns?

Can the FAFSA be Completed with Information from the Previous Year's Tax Returns?

My daughter got accepted to her first-choice school, a private university, as an early-decision candidate. The school won't be able to tell us the amount of financial aid she will be ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 7, 2013
Are UGMA and UTMA Accounts Reported as Investments on the FAFSA?

Are UGMA and UTMA Accounts Reported as Investments on the FAFSA?

Tuesday, May 29 is National College Savings Day (i.e., May 29 is 5/29, a cute reference to 529 college savings plans). To commemorate the occasion, Mark Kantrowitz answers a question about ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 28, 2012
FAFSA Checklist

FAFSA Checklist

Trust us, if you do have the necessary information on hand, filling out the form will become much simpler.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published November 14, 2015
Which Parents are Responsible for Completing the Financial Aid Application Forms?

Which Parents are Responsible for Completing the Financial Aid Application Forms?

Both of my daughters' parents have re-married. Whose income is counted for financial aid? Just biological parents or their spouses too? Does primary parent fill out the paperwork or the parent ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published June 4, 2012