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Financial Aid

College Planning After a Divorce

Students whose parents are divorced have some planning opportunities if the exes are willing to cooperate. The first step is of course to understand the planning areas. And the first step of that first step is to understand a key definition: “custodial parent.” Custodial parent is used in two primary places for college purposes, and in ways that are completely…

EFC Formula Guide for the 2021-2022 FAFSA

The FAFSA won’t be available until Oct. 1 but in the meantime you can download the EFC Formula Guide for the current year and calculate your Expected Family Contribution. This year’s FAFSA EFC formula includes nominal inflation-related adjustments to the Income Protection Allowance, Adjusted Net Worth of a Business or Farm, and Assessment Rates and, for the first time in…

FAFSA vs CSS Profile

I write a lot about the FAFSA, but there’s a second financial aid form that’s also important: the CSS Profile. While all schools use the FAFSA to allocate federal funds such as Direct Student Loans, a subset of schools– primarily private schools– use the CSS Profile in their financial aid calculations. There are a few key differences between the two…

Preparing for the FAFSA

A lot of people ask about how to prepare for the FAFSA. Doing the FAFSA is a lot like doing your taxes. You can absolutely wait until April 15 to fill out your 1040, but you’ll probably save some money by thinking about your taxes in the fall and taking some steps before the end of the year to mitigate…

Borrowing? Start with Federal Loans

About 1/3 of students and 1/5 of parents borrow to pay for college, with borrowed money covering about 21% of the total cost of college, according to Sallie Mae’s How America Pays for College. The report also showed that while federal student loans were the most common form of borrowing, about 10% of students used private loans as well. That’s…