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Why Do Financial Aid Application Forms Use Last Year's Income?

Why Do Financial Aid Application Forms Use Last Year's Income?

Why do the government and colleges use last year's income to determine financial aid for the current year? Our financial situation has changed, my husband was laid off last year but ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 29, 2013
Does Adoption Affect an Orphan's Eligibility for Financial Aid?

Does Adoption Affect an Orphan's Eligibility for Financial Aid?

I am trying to advise two students whose mother died four years ago and their father died last week, unfortunately. The girls' grandmother is now taking care of them (a 9th ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 22, 2013
Quick Answers to Common Questions about Financial Aid

Quick Answers to Common Questions about Financial Aid

Financial aid is an inherently complicated topic. Sometimes students and parents have questions that may seem obvious to people who have more experience with financial aid. But they can't find the ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published April 1, 2013
What Happens When Retirement Money isn't in a Qualified Retirement Plan?

What Happens When Retirement Money isn't in a Qualified Retirement Plan?

I am a single parent, age 56 and my daughter will be applying for college next year. I make less than $60,000, but have just over $100,000 in savings and mutual ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 25, 2013
Does Dependency Status on Income Tax Returns Affect Financial Aid Eligibility?

Does Dependency Status on Income Tax Returns Affect Financial Aid Eligibility?

My daughter graduated from undergraduate school in May of this year. As far as student loans were concerned she was considered a dependent for the 4 years she attended there and ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published March 11, 2013
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
Why Does a Parent Qualify for More Financial Aid than Her Dependent Student Child When Both are in College?

Why Does a Parent Qualify for More Financial Aid than Her Dependent Student Child When Both are in College?

I am a 38-year-old wife and mother who decided to go to college 20 years out of high school. I am a student at an online college and receive financial aid ...

Mark Kantrowitz
Published February 25, 2013
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
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
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
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
The FAFSA - Step One for Financial Aid

The FAFSA - Step One for Financial Aid

Applying for financial aid is easier than you think. Your first stop: the (FAFSA). For many schools, this is the only form you need. What is it? The FAFSA is the ...

By Kay Peterson, Ph.D.
Published December 31, 2012
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
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
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
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