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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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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
When must a Non-Custodial Parent Count a Child in Household Size?

When must a Non-Custodial Parent Count a Child in Household Size?

I am remarried and my husband pays child support for his two children that live with their mother. They pass the support test. Do we include his children in our household ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 21, 2013
Who Completes the FAFSA When a Student Lives with his Grandparents?

Who Completes the FAFSA When a Student Lives with his Grandparents?

My grandson lives with his grandfather and me. His parents do not support him other than providing medical insurance. He will claim himself on his 2012 income tax and his parents ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 14, 2013
Student Debt Guide: Saving and Investing Money

Student Debt Guide: Saving and Investing Money

Learn how to invest and save like a pro.

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published January 9, 2013
Student Debt Guide: Budgeting and Credit Cards

Student Debt Guide: Budgeting and Credit Cards

Managing money can be quite a challenge. Are you up for it?

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published January 8, 2013
Student Debt Guide: Credit Scores

Student Debt Guide: Credit Scores

What's a credit score and why should you care?

Elizabeth Hoyt
Published January 8, 2013
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
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
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
Year-End Financial Aid Moves

Year-End Financial Aid Moves

As the year draws to a close, there are several steps families can take to get more need-based and merit-based financial aid. Prepay Next Year's Tuition Taxpayers can claim one of ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 20, 2012
Does the Cash from a Cash-Out Refinance Count as an Asset on the FAFSA?

Does the Cash from a Cash-Out Refinance Count as an Asset on the FAFSA?

My daughter is a high school junior. I have just refinanced with cash out for a home remodel to accommodate my aging parents. However the remodel is delayed and the money ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 17, 2012
What are the Downsides to Using Home Equity to Refinance Student Loan Debt?

What are the Downsides to Using Home Equity to Refinance Student Loan Debt?

Home equity and student loan payments.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 22, 2012
Financial Aid and Scholarships for Undocumented Students

Financial Aid and Scholarships for Undocumented Students

What advice would you give on financial aid to undocumented students? — T.T. Before discussing financial aid for undocumented students, it is best for students who believe that they are undocumented ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 8, 2012
Can a Student Receive a Pell Grant for a Second College Degree?

Can a Student Receive a Pell Grant for a Second College Degree?

I am a 25-year-old woman looking to go back to school for a second degree in a different field of study than my original degree. I am married to an enlisted ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published October 1, 2012
Does Joint Repayment Obligate Spouses for Each Other's Student Loans?

Does Joint Repayment Obligate Spouses for Each Other's Student Loans?

Are you accountable for your spouse's student loans?

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 24, 2012
Potential Impact of the Fiscal Cliff on Federal Student Financial Aid

Potential Impact of the Fiscal Cliff on Federal Student Financial Aid

The Budget Control Act of 2011 enacted automatic across-the-board spending cuts in the federal budget if Congress in unable to achieve specified reductions in overall spending on its own. This process ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published September 16, 2012
Is the Pell Grant Reduced When the Student Wins a Private Scholarship?

Is the Pell Grant Reduced When the Student Wins a Private Scholarship?

My daughter has been approved for a Pell Grant. She recently received notification that she has won a $1,000 scholarship. Will the scholarship reduce her Pell Grant? — Virginia M. The ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 27, 2012
Paying for Tuition with a Credit Card or an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

Paying for Tuition with a Credit Card or an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

The pros and cons of paying college tuition with a credit card.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 20, 2012
Will a Parent PLUS Loan be Denied When Applying for Two Loans for Two Children?

Will a Parent PLUS Loan be Denied When Applying for Two Loans for Two Children?

Breaking down Parent PLUS loans when more than one child is in college.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 13, 2012
Which are Better, US Savings Bonds or 529 College Savings Plans?

Which are Better, US Savings Bonds or 529 College Savings Plans?

We have a son who is going to be in the 10th grade this year. We also have twins who are 3.5 years old. I am trying to understand where to ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published August 6, 2012