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
A financial aid package often includes work-study as one component. Typically the package includes a dollar sum of work-study income to be used for education costs. It’s up to the student to find a qualifying work-study job once they arrive on campus, and there is no guarantee that such a job is available. Continue reading Work Study
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
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 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
This article from Ron Lieber at the New York Times highlights some recent bipartisan efforts to help students and families better understand the cost of college. (As he points out towards the end, even if these come to no avail, the information is available to those who seek it.)
I don’t know that stats are kept or shared, but I’d venture a guess that one of, if not the, most common FAFSA mistakes people make is putting the parents’ info into the student section. This then causes parental income and assets to be assessed at student rates, leading to grotesque distortions of the EFC. Continue reading One of the Biggest FAFSA Mistakes
Q: I won’t qualify for financial aid. Do I need to fill out the FAFSA?
A: Yes! Regardless of whether you think you’re eligible for aid, you should complete the FAFSA. You have to complete it if you (or your student) intends to take out federal student loans, which are available to anyone regardless of need. If you have any intention of borrowing, the Direct Student Loan should be your starting point. Plus, some Continue reading FAFSA FAQs 2
The FAFSA for the 2018-2019 school year is here. Here are some FAFSA FAQs:
Q: What does FAFSA mean by “income?” Gross, taxable, AGI? Something else?
A: All of it. FAFSA wants to know each parent’s gross income, including tax-deferred retirement plan contributions. The easiest way to take care of the income is to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to directly transfer income information to the FAFSA. After Continue reading FAFSA FAQs
Here is an article I wrote for another advisor’s site on college affordability.