How to Estimate Your Eligibility for State Financial Aid

Estimating Eligibility for State-Funded Grants for CollegeEditor's Note: This is the second post in a series on how to estimate eligiblity for financial aid. College-bound high school students and their parents can use the FAFSA4caster to estimate their eligibility for federal financial aid programs such as Pell Grants and low-cost student loans. But how can families estimate the amount, if any, of state grant aid? Your first step is to visit the website of your state's grant program. Click here to find CollegeUp.org's handy list of state financial aid...Read More
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The 2015-16 FAFSA Goes Online January 1st. Here's What You Need to Be Ready

CollegeUp.org FAFSA Clinic: 10 Ten ListFor college bound students, New Year’s Day is more than just a holiday. It’s the first day students can download and at least start to complete the FAFSA – the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is must-do paperwork for anyone seeking federal, state or even institutional financial aid. The FAFSA does sport a reputation as being long and complicated. But, you can ease the hassle of completing the FAFSA by assembling everything you’ll need on hand to expedite your 2015-16 FAFSA...Read More
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191 Billion Reasons to Complete Your 2015-16 FAFSA

Total College Financial Aid Awarded 2013-14If you need a compelling reason to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, consider this: By submitting a FAFSA, especially in advance of the deadline for your state's grant program, you ensure the broadest access to the nation's financial aid resources and significantly increase your chances for receiving college assistance. According to a College Board report, students and families received an estimated $248.3 billion in financial aid during the 2013-2014 financial aid award...Read More
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Demystifying Pell Grant Awards for Transfer Students

If you transfer from one school to another, you need to take certain steps to ensure you still receive financial aid at your new school. For starters, you need to add the school code for your new college to your FAFSA. But one thing to keep in mind is that your aid amounts, including your federal Pell Grant award, may change from one school to another. First, let’s go over some definitions. There are actually two kinds of Pell Grant awards:
  • The scheduled award is always based on...
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How You Can and Can't Spend Your Financial Aid Refund

Sue Allmon, financial aid expertYour financial aid award is based upon a budget that your school created for you. Your Cost of Attendance is based on average costs for students attending your school. For many of you, once your tuition and fees have been paid, there is money left over on your account that will be refunded to you. So now what? Are there any rules on what you can or cannot do with this cash? On what and how can you spend this cash?   If your financial aid refund includes money provided by the federal government...Read More
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Veterans and Their Families Should Take Advantage of Their GI Bill and Other Education Benefits

Each year, the federal government, hundreds of colleges, and private organizations provide billions of dollars to help active duty military personnel, veterans, and their families fund their college education. During the 2013-14 academic year, Uncle Sam awarded an estimated $13.8 billion in education assistance under the GI Bill and other federal grant programs, according to data compiled by the College Board. GI Bill education benefits are administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ...Read More
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College Planning Tips for the Parents of First-Gen Students

Guiding your teen through the college-going process is challenging for most parents. It can be particularly challenging for parents who did not go through it themselves. Here are some tips for parents of aspiring first-generation college students.
  • WHY college? Individuals who hold a college degree have great job opportunities and earn more by way of salary than those who have received only their high school diploma. Courses offered at the college level provide skills and understanding that...
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Calling All High School Seniors: The First Lady Wants You to Complete Your FAFSA

If you're a member of the Class of 2015, First Lady Michelle Obama wants you to complete the FAFSA so you can take advantage of financial aid programs, including federal grants, loans and work-study. In fact, she's challenging you and your fellow high school seniors to vie for FAFSA bragging rights and the opportunity for FLOTUS —  First Lady of the United States — to send a special video message to your school or speak at your commencement ceremony in the Spring of 2015.  No, she's not asking...Read More
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Scholarships: How Will You Fund Your College Education?

Congratulations, you’ve made the decision to attend college. You may have narrowed down the schools to which you’re applying. You might have even applied and been admitted! While it’s a very exciting time for you, we also know that it can be a little nerve-wracking. A major concern for many students is paying for college. Do you know how you will you fund your education? One way might be through scholarships. What’s great about scholarships is that, unlike loans, they do not need to be...Read More
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FAFSA Clinic: Just What Gets Reported as Untaxed Income?

FAFSA Clinic: Answering Question 45 and Question 94 Reporting Untaxed IncomeWhen you fill out the FAFSA, a couple of questions  ̶  Question #45 for students, Question #94  for parents  ̶  ask you to report untaxed income. Well, what types of income are considered untaxed income?  Do you have to report every time you get $20 or $30 from your mom to buy gas for your car?  What about welfare benefits?  Food stamps? Students and parents often puzzle over what to report under two key categories of untaxed income: cash support and in-kind support. For FAFSA purposes, the U.S....Read More
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