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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
New Husband Refuses to Help with College Costs

New Husband Refuses to Help with College Costs

I have been a single mother raising twin daughters pretty much all their life but recently (2 years ago) remarried a fairly successful man who has from day one said he ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 7, 2011
To Convert or Not To Convert; How Does a Roth IRA Conversion Affect Student Aid?

To Convert or Not To Convert; How Does a Roth IRA Conversion Affect Student Aid?

I am retired with no income from employment and a moderate amount of investment income, $20,000 to $30,000 a year. I am contemplating a partial conversion from my traditional IRA to ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 31, 2011
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
Can a Stepdaughter be Counted in the Household If She Lives with the Other Parent?

Can a Stepdaughter be Counted in the Household If She Lives with the Other Parent?

My stepdaughter used my husband's tax return to file her FAFSA because her mother had said that his taxes needed to be used because he claims her on his income tax ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 25, 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
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
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
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
Should I Work My Way Through College or Quit My Job to Enroll Full-Time?

Should I Work My Way Through College or Quit My Job to Enroll Full-Time?

I am 26 and looking to start attending school full time this fall. I am also taking some summer classes at a community college to get all the credits I can ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 25, 2011
Impact of a Government Shutdown on Student Financial Aid

Impact of a Government Shutdown on Student Financial Aid

If Congress fails to pass legislation funding the federal government, the federal government will shut down and more than 800,000 government employees will be furloughed. The impact on federal student aid, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 8, 2011
What Happens If You Deliberately Don't Report Assets on the FAFSA?

What Happens If You Deliberately Don't Report Assets on the FAFSA?

I'm doing everything possible to lower my EFC. I have assets, UTMA, mutual funds, stocks and I know they hurt my chances of receiving free money (Federal or state grants). I ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 28, 2011