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FAFSA Articles

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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
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
Questions about How to Handle an Inheritance and Scholarships for Cancer Survivors

Questions about How to Handle an Inheritance and Scholarships for Cancer Survivors

Our son is a sophomore in college. He receives both subsidized and unsubsidized loans. My husband and I have been paying the remaining balance for his education. I recently inherited approximately ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 1, 2010
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
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
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
Why Do Some Merit-Based Scholarships Require the FAFSA?

Why Do Some Merit-Based Scholarships Require the FAFSA?

I am a 38-year-old student who returned to junior college after being laid off and being unable to find a comparable job. Because I was a "good saver" in my 20's, ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 12, 2010
Does Cash from the Sale of the Family Home Count as an Asset on the FAFSA?

Does Cash from the Sale of the Family Home Count as an Asset on the FAFSA?

We just sold our house and have not yet found our new house and have a lot of cash on hand. We will use the cash to buy a home in ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 11, 2013
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
Ask for a Professional Judgment Review for Job Loss or Other Changes in Income

Ask for a Professional Judgment Review for Job Loss or Other Changes in Income

I lost my teaching job last June and got a half year's salary instead of a full year. I did not get a job in the fall, so our household income ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 17, 2011
How is a Life Estate Treated on the FAFSA? Do the Restrictions Matter?

How is a Life Estate Treated on the FAFSA? Do the Restrictions Matter?

How is a life estate reflected on the FAFSA? A student's parent has a deed with student's grandparent having life use of the property through a life estate. Please be New ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 4, 2013
How the Increase in Financial Aid Applications Will Affect You

How the Increase in Financial Aid Applications Will Affect You

More students means more financial aid applications.

By Kathryn Knight
Published January 6, 2009
Pay Down Mortgage or Contribute to Son's 529?

Pay Down Mortgage or Contribute to Son's 529?

I just sold my house and moved in with my new husband. We have three children between us (two are his) and are looking for a bigger house. Would it make ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 14, 2009
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
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
Questions about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Questions about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Having grown up with depression era parents, I've never been someone that liked to have debt. I'm told that avoiding debt will not work in my favor when applying for financial ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published November 23, 2009
Answers to Common FAFSA Questions about PINs and Household Size

Answers to Common FAFSA Questions about PINs and Household Size

Get the FAQs on the FAFSA.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 25, 2010
Do Twins Get More Aid? If a Student Gets Married, Does the Financial Aid Change?

Do Twins Get More Aid? If a Student Gets Married, Does the Financial Aid Change?

My boyfriend and I are afraid that if we marry my annual gross income ($47,000) will prevent him from getting federal grants and loans for college. He has no income at ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 20, 2010
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
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