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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
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
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
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
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
Should Wealthy Parents Cut Family Income Tenfold to Help their Children Qualify for Need-Based Student Financial Aid?

Should Wealthy Parents Cut Family Income Tenfold to Help their Children Qualify for Need-Based Student Financial Aid?

My wife and I make about $150,000 in combined income. We have probably $350,000 in home equity, $100,000 in rental property equity and $500,000 in retirement accounts. We have three kids ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 9, 2012
Should a Family Sell Student-Owned Stocks to Get More Financial Aid?

Should a Family Sell Student-Owned Stocks to Get More Financial Aid?

I have two daughters. One is a junior in college. The other is a senior in high school who will be going to college this fall. They both have stocks given ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 2, 2012
Advice to Parents Whose Child will be the First in the Family to Go to College

Advice to Parents Whose Child will be the First in the Family to Go to College

My wife and I are looking for help in getting our son into college. He is a junior in high school. His mother and I are on disability. My wife is ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 26, 2012
Family Incorrectly Reported 529 Plan as a Student Asset on the FAFSA

Family Incorrectly Reported 529 Plan as a Student Asset on the FAFSA

I have two questions which I assume you've been asked a million times and I just want to make sure I'm understanding the write-ups about them correctly. We have a regular ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 12, 2012
How Do Grandparent-Owned 529 College Savings Plans Affect Financial Aid Eligibility?

How Do Grandparent-Owned 529 College Savings Plans Affect Financial Aid Eligibility?

Rules for Treatment of 529 College Savings Plans as Income and Assets

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 6, 2012
If a Student's Parents Do Not Claim Him as a Dependent on their Income Tax Returns, Will the Student Get More Financial Aid?

If a Student's Parents Do Not Claim Him as a Dependent on their Income Tax Returns, Will the Student Get More Financial Aid?

How beneficial is it to have our college attending son file his taxes on his own versus us claiming him as a dependent? Does it make a huge difference in the ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 20, 2012
Is a Student with Children But No Income Considered to be Independent?

Is a Student with Children But No Income Considered to be Independent?

I am under 24 years of age. I did not have any income the year before last. I have 2 children and live with a partner of 6 years. He is ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 30, 2012
What Do You Do When Income or an Asset Isn't Really Your Money?

What Do You Do When Income or an Asset Isn't Really Your Money?

I am a disabled parent who hasn't worked since 2007. I am currently on long term disability and have been ruled disabled by the Social Security Administration. My child is heading ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 23, 2012
Ask for a Professional Judgment Review for One-Time Events

Ask for a Professional Judgment Review for One-Time Events

In our base year, my spouse will have a one-time job that will significantly raise our income for one year only. We have significant credit card debt and no savings for ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 16, 2012
Can a Dependent Student File the FAFSA as Independent if the Student's Parents Don't File Federal Income Tax Returns?

Can a Dependent Student File the FAFSA as Independent if the Student's Parents Don't File Federal Income Tax Returns?

The next several Ask Kantro columns will answer questions about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA may be filed starting on January 1. The FAFSA is used ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 2, 2012
Changes to the 2012 - 2013 FAFSA

Changes to the 2012 - 2013 FAFSA

For many students, January 1 is doomsday. It’s the day the FAFSA application becomes available, triggering an overwhelming sense of dread as students either fill out the FAFSA alone or with ...

By Kathryn Knight Randolph
Published December 19, 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 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
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
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