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

Tax Reform Bill and College

The tax bill that was finally introduced last week impacts higher education in a number of ways, most of them negative for students and families. Here is a quick summary:

Education tax credits: The bill slightly expands the American Opportunity Tax Credit but eliminates the Lifetime Learning Credit. While the AOTC is more generous than the LLC ($2,500 in tax credits for $4,000 in qualified expenses for the AOTC vs $2,000 in Continue reading Tax Reform Bill and College

Operation “Game of Loans”

You may have seen news this year about Operation Game of Loans, a crackdown by the Federal Trade Commission and 11 state attorneys general on student debt relief scams. Dozens of bad actors are accused of having collected close to $100 million in bogus fees that were marketed to student loan debtors as debt relief programs. In addition, they often falsely promised to help reduce or eliminate student loan debt and misrepresented themselves as affiliated with the Department of Education or other government agencies. Continue reading Operation “Game of Loans”

What to do with Summer Job Money?

The change in the FAFSA’s timing from winter to fall has some potentially unforeseen consequences. One is student summer jobs. Even at minimum wage, a student who worked full-time for the summer may have earned $3,000 or more. Students who saved their summer income with the intent to spend it over the course of the school year may Continue reading What to do with Summer Job Money?