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2017-18 FAFSA Changes: What Prior-Prior Year (PPY) Means for You

2017-18 FAFSA Changes: What Prior-Prior Year (PPY) Means for You

The change will allow students to report tax information from a prior-prior tax year (PPY) allowing tax information from two years ago.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published October 19, 2015
FSA ID FAQs

FSA ID FAQs

You’ll need a FAFSA ID (not a Federal Student Aid PIN) in order to fill out your FAFSA this year!

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published November 18, 2015
Is the Non-Custodial Parent a Parent for Federal Student Aid Purposes?

Is the Non-Custodial Parent a Parent for Federal Student Aid Purposes?

I am divorced and the custodial parent of two children who live with me. Both kids have Coverdell Education Savings Accounts. My soon-to-be college student daughter's Coverdell lists her father (my ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 22, 2010
How to Include Yourself on Your Teen's FAFSA if You're Enrolled Too

How to Include Yourself on Your Teen's FAFSA if You're Enrolled Too

How should a FAFSA be filled out if I have two children going to college and I am enrolling in a graduate program? When it asks how many are attending college ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 1, 2010
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 is retirement income and past due child support reported on the FAFSA?

How is retirement income and past due child support reported on the FAFSA?

I am trying to fill out my FAFSA. My father retired last year and I am confused as to what to put for his financial answers, for example, gross income, taxes, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 11, 2010
Not All "Need" is Created Equal

Not All "Need" is Created Equal

Your opinion of "broke" may not be the same as your college's financial aid office's.

By Ryan Uricks
Published April 21, 2009
Does Parental Support Affect Independent Student Status?

Does Parental Support Affect Independent Student Status?

I am 19 and have a baby (1 month old) and I am living with my boyfriend and his mother. I am confused about whose tax information to use on the ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 4, 2013
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
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
Survey Says: Financial Considerations Affecting College Choices

Survey Says: Financial Considerations Affecting College Choices

Sallie Mae and Gallup just released the results of a survey of how American families pay for college. The survey found that families are becoming more cost conscious in their college ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 19, 2009
Answers to Introductory Questions about Financial Aid for College

Answers to Introductory Questions about Financial Aid for College

Get the answers to the financial aid basics.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 21, 2010
Reporting Prepaid Tuition Plans and 529 Plans on the FAFSA for Independent Students

Reporting Prepaid Tuition Plans and 529 Plans on the FAFSA for Independent Students

I'm confused as to how to treat a prepaid tuition plan when applying for financial aid. I'm an independent student but I have a small prepaid tuition account which is held ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 19, 2010
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
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
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
How Does a Pending Foreclosure or Short Sale Affect Financial Aid?

How Does a Pending Foreclosure or Short Sale Affect Financial Aid?

How do we answer the question "Do you own your home" on financial aid forms when we are in pre-foreclosure? We are not yet in active foreclosure, but are several years ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 28, 2013
How to Report Stocks on the FAFSA

How to Report Stocks on the FAFSA

I am a single mom and my son will be entering his freshman year in college this fall. The FAFSA application asks for the gross income from last year's tax return. ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 15, 2010
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
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