Retirement of FAFSA PIN Delayed Until May

In mid-May, the U.S. Department of Education will eliminate the use of the four-digit Federal Student Aid PIN, which currently is required to access federal financial aid systems. The government plans to replace the PIN with a new “FSA ID.”  The FSA ID will allow students and parents will be able to select their own user name and password.  What’s more, students and parents who already have a PIN will be able to link that code to their new FSA ID. The implementation of the new login process had...Read More
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How to Compare Financial Aid Awards and Make a College Decision

Jennifer SatalinoCongratulations! If you’re reading this blog post, it’s because you have been accepted to at least two colleges or universities that are a good fit for you, and that have provided you with financial aid award letters or financial aid packages. As you decide which school to attend, you’ll consider a lot of different factors before making your deposit on May 1st. Comparing financial aid between different schools can feel like an exercise in frustration, because you're essentially comparing apples...Read More
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April 1st Is Big Day for Students Awaiting College Acceptance Decisions

April 1 is Deadline for College Acceptance NotificationisTomorrow is April 1st. For most of the world, it’s April Fool’s Day, a light-hearted holiday that kids spend pranking each other. For high school seniors and their parents, April 1st is the last date for those colleges adhering to the National Candidates Reply Date to make an offer of admissions and financial aid to students who are invited to attend their colleges in the fall. Conversely, it is also the date when students find out if they have NOT been accepted into a particular college. Back...Read More
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If You Incurred College Expenses Last Year, Don’t Overlook Your Potential Education Tax Breaks When Filing Your 2014 Tax Return

Credits and deductions for higher education expenses are among the most frequently overlooked federal tax breaks during tax return filing season. There are a number of ways you can save on your taxes by keeping track of what you spend on qualified education expenses, including tuition, books, fees, room and board, and student loan interest. Four of the biggest federal tax breaks are:
  • The American Opportunity Credit
  • The Lifetime Learning Credit 
  • Student Loan Interest Deduction
  • Tuition and Fees...
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Changes in PLUS Loan Adverse Credit Check to Take Effect March 29

PLUS Loans at a GlanceDirect PLUS loans are available to parents of undergraduate students and to graduate students to help cover the cost of college. To qualify, PLUS loan borrowers must complete a FAFSA, be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens, and not have an adverse credit history.  Under the federal PLUS loan rules, an adverse credit history is not based on the borrower's consumer credit score or income. Instead, the credit review considers a person’s past credit management (although a graduate student or...Read More
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529 College Savings Grew 9% in 2014

According to the College Savings Plans Network, total assets held in 529 plans in 2014 jumped 9.1 percent to nearly $248 billion, up from $227 billion at the end of 2013. Affiliated with the National Association of State Treasurers, CSPN compiled its annual 529 report using data gathered from 107 savings and prepaid tuition plan. The report, which was released earlier this week,covers plans offered by 49 states and the District of Columbia, FYI, Wyoming no longer offers a 529 plan. Other...Read More
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It's Easy to Correct Most FAFSA Mistakes, But Please Do Fix Them Quickly

We've noticed that a lot of folks appear to be searching for information on how to correct mistakes in their FAFSAs. First the good news: If you did make an error, you haven't made the biggest mistake regarding the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The biggest mistake you can make is to NOT submit the FAFSA, which is required paperwork for nearly four-fifths of all the financial aid awarded annually in the U.S. – $191 billion during the 2013-14 award year. And, there's more good news....Read More
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What Happens to My Financial Aid If I Withdraw from School?

Steps to Take if You Withdraw From CollegeThere’s a motto: Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Having to withdraw from school is something that no one typically plans to do. But life happens, so let’s make some plans just in case it happens to you, especially if you received financial aid to attend college. Besides, it always helps to know the ground rules. Regardless of when you withdraw: Read More
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Free Video Tutorials Can Pace You Through Your FAFSA

If you'd rather watch than read a FAFSA how-to guide, you're in luck. The University of California Santa Barbara has updated its helpful series of video tutorials to help you complete the 2015-16 FAFSA. UCSB's YouTube website currently is featuring eight videos that detail how to complete the 2015-16 Free Application for Federal Student Aid – the mission-critical application you need complete if you're seeking financial assistance, such as federal grants, state grants, institutional merit...Read More
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Maximum Federal Pell Grant Will Rise to $5,775 for 2015-16 Award Year

Maximum Pell Grant for 2015-16 Financial Aid Award YearThe maximum amount college students can receive under a Federal Pell Grant for the 2015-16 financial aid award year will be $5,775, an increase of $45 from the maximum amount for the 2014-15 award year. The new maximum was announced in late January by the U.S. Department of Education, which manages the Pell Grant program. Pell Grants are the nation's largest source of need-based college grants — money that students do not have to pay back. According to a government tally, nearly $32 billion in...Read More
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