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CollegeFinancialLady

What Year? 2021 Edition

Families who will file the FAFSA this fall should know what dates matter for which data inputs. Income is prior-prior year (meaning most recently filed tax return), assets are “day of” and then there’s the matter of education tax credits such as the American Opportunity Tax Credit. This chart shows what data is used each year: The 2020 tax year,…

Test Optional, Test Blind and What Am I Supposed to Do?

Clearly, test-optional admissions are here to stay, with more than 1,600 four-year colleges offering test-optional admissions for the fall. More than 80 others are test-blind for the 2021 admissions cycle, according to FairTest’s online database of testing policies. So students not wanting to submit test scores will have plenty of schools to choose from. But pulling back the curtain shows…

What is “Income” on the FAFSA?

Many families– and also many financial professionals– believe that reducing their adjusted gross income by increasing 401k contributions will result in a lower Expected Family Contribution from the FAFSA. Unfortunately that’s not the case: the FAFSA uses total income, not adjusted gross income. What does that mean for non-finance nerds? The FAFSA calculates “Available Income”– the income you could spend…

Borrowing Outside Federal Loan Programs

More than 90% of student loans are federal loans, and with good reason: the federal student loan programs are broadly accessible and have a range of borrower protections. However, some borrowers choose private student loans either to borrow or to refinance. A smaller share of families use non-education loans such as home equity lines or 401k loans to pay for…

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