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Expert Financial Aid Advice Articles

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Facing the Prospect of High Student Loan Debt at a Prestigious College

Facing the Prospect of High Student Loan Debt at a Prestigious College

I graduated from high school with honors in June and have been accepted to a prestigious private college, where I will be majoring in computer science and math. The college awarded ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 18, 2011
Does a Parent's Credit History Affect the Student's Eligibility for Loans and Other Aid?

Does a Parent's Credit History Affect the Student's Eligibility for Loans and Other Aid?

My parents have a Federal Direct PLUS Loan they got while I was an undergraduate student several years ago. Due to their current financial hardship, they haven't been keeping up with ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 11, 2011
How Can I Fill the Gap Between Financial Aid and My Ability to Pay?

How Can I Fill the Gap Between Financial Aid and My Ability to Pay?

What to do when the school you plan to attend practices financial aid gapping.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 3, 2011
US Department of Education Publishes College Cost and Net Price Rankings

US Department of Education Publishes College Cost and Net Price Rankings

As required by Congress, the US Department of Education is now publishing lists that rank the most and least expensive colleges. Colleges are ranked according to tuition and fees as well ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published July 1, 2011
Are There Any Loan Forgiveness Programs for Social Workers, Teachers and Other Public Service Jobs?

Are There Any Loan Forgiveness Programs for Social Workers, Teachers and Other Public Service Jobs?

Are you familiar with any programs that could assist a low-income social worker who has used up his hardship deferments? Any assistance would be appreciated. I'm in a low-paying county, being ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published June 13, 2011
How Does Bankruptcy Affect Eligibility for Student Financial Aid?

How Does Bankruptcy Affect Eligibility for Student Financial Aid?

How does a chapter 13 bankruptcy affect financial aid? Would it be difficult to get financial aid for my child because my husband and I filed chapter 13 about 2 years ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published June 6, 2011
How Should Divorced Parents Split a Child's College Costs?

How Should Divorced Parents Split a Child's College Costs?

I am the custodial parent for my daughter who will go to college this fall. It will be her first year. My income was reported on the FAFSA. This included child ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 23, 2011
Does Consolidating Student Loans Save Money Like a Refinance?

Does Consolidating Student Loans Save Money Like a Refinance?

I have a question concerning consolidating my federal loans. I have some that are subsidized and some that are unsubsidized. Can I combine these at a lower interest rate? I have ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 16, 2011
How To Ask Friends and Family for Money for a Child's College Savings Plan

How To Ask Friends and Family for Money for a Child's College Savings Plan

In a Fastweb survey of high school and college students about preferred holiday gifts, more than half of the respondents said that they were hoping for money for college. But asking ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 12, 2011
Is a Student Who is Enrolled Simultaneously in High School and College Eligible for Federal Student Financial Aid?

Is a Student Who is Enrolled Simultaneously in High School and College Eligible for Federal Student Financial Aid?

My 16-year-old son has passed an ability-to-benefit (ATB) test at a community college. He has been accepted has a regular student in a qualifying program but has not graduated from high ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published May 2, 2011
How to Minimize Student Loan Debt

How to Minimize Student Loan Debt

More students graduate each year with excessive student loan debt.

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 11, 2011
How to Evaluate Financial Aid Award Letters with Missing Tuition and Grant Information

How to Evaluate Financial Aid Award Letters with Missing Tuition and Grant Information

We have a dilemma here. My son has been accepted by five colleges: four public colleges and one private college. The private school is the only one that is showing us ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 11, 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
How Do I Fix an Non-Qualified Distribution from a College Savings Plan?

How Do I Fix an Non-Qualified Distribution from a College Savings Plan?

I had a CollegeSure CD for my son who started college last fall. After the CD matured in August, I cashed it out and put the money in a savings account ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 4, 2011
Free Money for College Savings

Free Money for College Savings

There are a variety of national, state and local programs that encourage families to save for college by providing families with free money. There are two main types of such programs: ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 4, 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 Do I File the FAFSA in January When Tax Returns Can't Be Filed That Early?

How Do I File the FAFSA in January When Tax Returns Can't Be Filed That Early?

Several universities that we have visited have stressed the importance of getting you FAFSA completed in January. If we don't have all of our financial and tax information yet, how can ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published January 10, 2011
Drowning in Six-Figure Debt for a Low-Paying Field of Study

Drowning in Six-Figure Debt for a Low-Paying Field of Study

I am going to be attending a New York university this spring as a music major. My ultimate goal is to get a doctorate of ethnomusicology and to teach at a ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 20, 2010
Wells Fargo Adds Death and Disability Discharges to Private Student Loans

Wells Fargo Adds Death and Disability Discharges to Private Student Loans

Wells Fargo announced on December 17, 2010 that it is adding death and disability discharges to its private student loan products. When the student borrower dies or becomes totally and permanently ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 18, 2010
How Do Parent Financial Problems Affect a Student's Eligibility for Financial Aid?

How Do Parent Financial Problems Affect a Student's Eligibility for Financial Aid?

We the parents screwed up financially and had to file for bankruptcy and are in a Chapter 13 repayment program. The FAFSA thinks according to their estimator that we can afford ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published December 13, 2010