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Tax Credits and Deductions

Unemployment on the FAFSA

Generally the FAFSA does not count untaxed social benefits as income. Untaxed Social Security, SSI, foster care benefits and welfare payments are excluded from income for the FAFSA, although disability payments and worker’s comp– which are insurance benefits– are added back. Normally unemployment income is taxable so this exclusion would not apply. However, the American Rescue Plan made 2020 unemployment…

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…

How Much Can You Contribute to a 529?

That title was a trick. I’m actually going to write about how much you should contribute to a 529 first. Lately I’ve heard versions of the same question again and again: After a year of no travel, eating out or other activities, people are sitting on extra cash that they want to direct towards college. Many are wondering what’s the…

What is Free College?

There’s been a great deal of chatter around the topic of free college recently. Because a lot of that chatter is along the lines of, “Why save for college? It’s going to be free!” I think it’s worth a quick review of the content of actual free college proposals. This week, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal introduced the…

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