Category Archives: Financial Aid

Negotiating an Aid Award

When it comes to negotiating and aid award, it’s helpful to understand both how the Professional Judgment (PJ) process works and how negotiating in general works.

With the PJ process, the school has a specific set of constraints and you must work within them. The Department of Education allows schools to make adjustments “on a case-by-case basis only to adjust the student’s cost of attendance or the data used to calculate her Continue reading Negotiating an Aid Award

Comparing Financial Aid Offers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a nifty tool for comparing school costs or financial aid offers, here. As you get acceptance and financial aid offers, enter them into the site to get apples-to-apples comparisons of what you’ll pay and what you will owe upon graduation.

Those with some time left before college can use each school’s net price calculator or College Navigator to get estimates of schools’ financial aid offers. The calculator provides estimated costs for each school, and it allows you to enter your own resources including savings and cash flow, scholarships and work study. As you enter that data, it keeps a tab of how much you have left to pay (if the resources you’ve entered don’t cover the cost of attendance). When you add loans to meet that difference, it also calculates what you’ll owe upon graduation and your monthly payment on those loans.

Higher Ed Act Reauthorization

The Higher Education Act, which oversees federal financial aid programs, is overdue for a reauthorization. The House education committee, led by Rep Virginia Foxx, R-NC, is about to release a draft proposal called the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act. According to Inside Higher Ed, the proposal includes significant changes in several key areas: Continue reading Higher Ed Act Reauthorization

FAFSA Custodial Parent

For divorced parents, figuring out who is the custodial parent for FAFSA filing purposes can be a little confusing. Actually, the rules are pretty simple: the custodial parent is the one with whom the student spends the most time. That’s not necessarily the parent named custodial parent in the divorce decree, or the one claiming the student on their tax return. Continue reading FAFSA Custodial Parent

Outside Scholarships

Outside scholarships are those that come from someone other than the federal government or your school. Examples include National Merit Scholarships, scholarships from your or your parents’ employers, or from other civic institutions. Although these scholarships can be very valuable, there is a big difference between them and institutional grants coming from your school: You have to report them on your FAFSA or Continue reading Outside Scholarships