Featured Articles

Check out the Hot Topics we have covered recently.

The New American Dream: Paying Off Your Student Loans

Paying off student loan debt has joined owing a home, owning a car and having a family as the new American Dream. According to a survey of 2,000 Americans conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Canva, 40% of Americans feel that achieving the American dream means paying off their student loans.

Read more
How to Get More Financial Aid for College Due to Coronavirus

The financial aid you receive is based on your family’s income from two years ago. But, with coronavirus and millions of jobs being lost, your family’s ability to pay for college could have changed drastically. If your financial situation has changed due to coronavirus (or any other reason), you can appeal to get more financial aid to pay for college.

Read more
Fun Things to Do at Home During to the Coronavirus Crisis

We've gathered dozens of fun and productive things you can do while you are at home due to the coronavirus. This list has options for the entire family, from how to keep the kids busy at home to money moves you should make while you're at home.

Read more
Free and Discounted Resources for College Students During the Coronavirus Outbreak

College campuses are closed, and life is chaotic for college students due to the coronavirus crisis. Fortunately, there are companies offering free or reduced resources to help college students during the coronavirus emergency.

Read more
Safe Places to Stash Cash during a Market Downturn

If you decide to sell your investments because you’re worried about stock market losses, where should you stash your cash? Generally, selling stocks in a down market is not a good idea because it will lock in losses and cause you to miss out on the economic recovery. It may even be the best time to buy more stocks, since the stocks will be available at bargain prices. But, sometimes it is necessary to sell your stocks. Your portfolio may need rebalancing after dramatic swings in stock and bond prices. Your risk tolerance and investment goals might have changed. Or, you may just need to maintain a sense of control. You might also need a good place for saving your emergency rainy day fund.

Read more
Your Coronavirus Stimulus Check – How Much You’ll Get and How to Use It

The coronavirus stimulus checks will be $1,200 for individuals earning under $75,000 per year. For married couples, you’ll get a check for $2,400 for adjusted gross incomes under $150,000. We explore the best ways to spend your money.

Read more
CARES Act Includes Several Student Aid Provisions

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) contains several provisions relating to paying for college. In addition to a payment pause and interest waiver on certain federal student loans, and tax-free employer-paid student loan repayment assistance, the CARES Act includes the following student aid provisions for the duration of the national public health emergency.

Read more
CARES Act Makes Employer-Paid Student Loan Repayment Assistance Tax-Free

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) contains a temporary provision that provides tax-free status to employer-paid student loan repayment assistance programs (LRAPs). Employers may provide each employer with up to $5,250 a year in combined tuition and textbook assistance and student loan repayment assistance, tax-free.

Read more
How to Request a Coronavirus Forbearance to Pause Student Loan Payments

If you are a federal student loan borrower who is having trouble making payments because of the coronavirus emergency, you can apply for temporarily relief.

Read more
Congress Compromises on Temporary Relief for Student Loan Borrowers

The CARES Act provides student loan borrowers with six months of temporary relief from their student loan payments because of coronavirus.

Read more
Impact of a Financial Transaction Tax on College Savings

The presidential primary season may have been sidelined due the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, but one idea generated on the Democratic side of the aisle – a tax on financial transactions – will have an impact on college savings plans.

Read more
Differences between Age-Based and Enrollment-Date Asset Allocations

Why are 529 plan investment managers switching from age-based asset allocations to enrollment-date portfolios? What’s the practical difference between the two types of dynamic investment plans? Both age-based and enrollment-date investment options reduce investment risk by changing the asset allocation as time passes, but they do this differently.

Read more
Finding the lowest-cost 529 savings plans

Savingforcollege.com's 529 Fee Study, updated as of July 1, 2019, showed that 529 fees continue to decline on average. When taking mean cost across the highest and lowest options, we found that mean fees fell over the past 12 months.

Read more
These Companies are Hiring During the Coronavirus Crisis

It’s estimated that millions of jobs could be lost during the global coronavirus emergency. Losing your job is a painful experience, especially if you’re dealing with student loan debt. Many college students who worked on campus or who had to move back home, are now without a job. These companies are hiring right now.

Read more
How to Refinance Student Loans Without a Degree

If you borrowed student loans for college but did not graduate, student loan refinancing is more difficult. However, even if you didn't graduate, you can still refinance student loans to get a lower interest rate. Here is a list of lenders who will refinance student loans without a degree and how you can improve your odds of approval.

Read more
The 15 lowest-cost 529 savings plans

Looking for low 529 plan fees? These 15 plans offer the lowest costs, according to Savingforcollege.com's Annual Fee Study, conducted in February 2018. The Fee Study compares the lowest and highest 10-year expense totals for all direct-sold 529 college savings plans.

Read more
House and Senate Coronavirus Bills Both Provide Student Loan Relief

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives and Republicans in the U.S. Senate have introduced legislation to provide emergency assistance in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Both bills include borrowers with student loan relief, but differ on the details. The House bill is more generous than the Senate bill.

Read more
New Proposal Could Cancel $30,000 in Student Loan Debt Due to Coronavirus

Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar have proposed legislation to cancel at least $30,000 in outstanding federal student loan debt per borrower due to the coronavirus emergency .

Read more
Best Credit Cards for College Students

Credit cards can be an excellent way for college students to learn how to manage credit and build a credit history. But many student credit cards go beyond those basic benefits and provide rewards and other perks when you use the card regularly. If you’re a college student and thinking about getting a credit card, here are some of the top options available.

Read more
Should You Dip into Your 529 Plan in Case of Coronavirus?

If you lose your job or have other expenses due to the Coronavirus pandemic, should you dip into your 529 plan? Or, should you dip into your retirement plans?

Read more
Trump Suspends Federal Student Loan Payments due to Coronavirus

President Trump announced that he would temporarily suspend payments for federal student loans due to the economic impacts of the coronavirus emergency.

Read more
The best 529 plans: 5-Cap Ratings

The Savingforcollege.com 5-Cap Ratings provide an independent and objective evaluation of direct-sold and advisor-sold 529 plans. The 5-cap ratings, updated quarterly, help consumers consider their college savings options and choose the best 529 plans. We are pleased to share the top rated plans from our latest quarterly analysis.

Read more
How to Get Student Loans for Community College

Community college could be a great way to cut college costs and reduce student loan debt. But you may still need to borrow student loans to pay for community college. Here is how to borrow student loans, both federal and private loans, for community college.

Read more
Democrats Propose Emergency Student Loan Relief Due to Coronavirus

In light of the coronavirus and the havoc it is wrecking on the economy, Democrats are proposing legislation to cancel student loan payments during the pandemic emergency. The emergency student loan payment and relief plan would provide relief to all federal student loan borrowers (not private student loans) by pausing monthly student loan payments for the entire duration of the coronavirus emergency.

Read more
The Best Apps to Help You Save Money for College

The cost of college tuition has risen significantly and shows no signs of slowing down. That’s why it’s never too early for parents to start saving for college. Regardless of how old your child is, if you start saving now, it can help reduce or eliminate the need for student loans later on. We found these fantastic apps that can help you reach your college savings goals even faster. These apps will help grow your college savings.

Read more
What are Federal Stafford Loans - How to Apply and How They Work

A Federal Stafford Loan is a student loan issued by the Department of Education. There are two kinds of federal Stafford Loans: Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans. Each is offered through the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program. As a result, Federal Stafford Loans are often called Direct Loans. Learn how Federal Stafford Loans work, how to apply and the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized student loans.

Read more
States where you can claim a prior-year 529 plan tax deduction

State income tax deadlines are approaching, but families saving for college may still have time to reduce their 2018 taxable income. Most states have a December 31 contribution deadline to qualify for a 529 plan tax deduction, but taxpayers in the states listed below have until April 2020.

Read more
How to Get the Best Student Loan Refinance Interest Rate

The main goal of refinancing student loans is often to get a lower interest rate and save money. But sometimes the rates advertised aren’t necessarily what is offered. How do you get a low interest rate when refinancing student loans?

Read more
Trump is Waiving Student Loan Interest. But What Does That Mean?

President Trump announced he would temporarily waive interest on certain federal student loans to ease the financial burden people are dealing with because of coronavirus. But what exactly does this mean?

Read more
NEWS: New York Suspends Student Loan Payments

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York Attorney General Letitia James have temporarily paused collection of defaulted student loan debt owed to the state and referred to the Office of the Attorney General for collection. They are also suspending any interest from accruing on these loans.

Read more
Federal Student Loan Limits

Federal student loans have fixed annual and aggregate loan limits, which affect the maximum amount a student can borrow from the federal student loan programs. Federal student loans are also subject to cost of attendance caps that prevent students from receiving student aid and student loans that together exceed the college’s total cost.

Read more
How to Apply for an Economic Hardship Deferment

If you are struggling to make student loan payments, you may be able to qualify for an economic hardship deferment. An economic hardship deferment can temporarily pause payments on your student loans. Most federal student loans are eligible for an economic hardship deferment and many private student loan lenders also offer an option for those struggling to pay. Here is how to qualify and how to apply for an economic hardship deferment.

Read more
Why You Should (and Shouldn’t) Refinance Student Loans

Refinancing student loans can help you save money and manage your student loans easier. And right now interest rates are at an all time low which means even better savings and paying student loans faster. But there are pros and cons of refinancing student loans. Consider when you should, and when you shouldn't refinance student loans.

Read more
Don’t Panic: What to Do with College Savings in a Volatile Market

Fearing the end of the longest bull market in history, families may start to panic and make moves detrimental to their college savings. Here are some things to consider before making any changes to your 529 plan investments during a stock market downturn.

Read more
Why the Federal Reserve Board’s Interest Rate Cut Won’t Work

The Federal Reserve Board cut the Federal Funds Rate by a full percentage point on Sunday, March 15, 2020, in an attempt to support the economy. Cutting interest rates won’t work because the COVID-19 pandemic is, at its core, a public health crisis, not a financial crisis.

Read more
How to Pause Student Loan Payments during the Coronavirus Outbreak

The coronavirus has created a wave of chaos. While health is the priority, it’s hard not to worry about how COVID-19 will impact our finances and our jobs. If your income has been impacted for whatever reason due to the coronavirus, here is what how you can pause or lower payments on your student loans.

Read more
Complete Guide to College and Coronavirus

The spread of coronavirus has impacted the entire world – even down to college savings accounts and student loan interest rates. If you are a current college student, odds are your life has been turned upside down. How will I get home when my college closed? Will I be reimbursed for room and board? What if you have nowhere to go? What if I can't make student loan payments right now?

Read more
Student Loan Interest Rates to Reach Record Lows

The Federal Reserve slashed the Federal Funds Rate by 1.0% percentage point to a target range of 0.00% to 0.25% on Sunday, March 15, 2020. The Federal Reserve will also use quantitative easing to bring the effective interest rate below zero. This will cause the interest rates on federal and private student loans to drop to record lows.

Read more
Taxation of Scholarships Explodes

The total tax revenue from scholarships has grown exponentially in the last three years, according to IRS tax statistics.

Read more
Coronavirus Outbreak Waives Student Loan Interest, Could Pause Payments

Coronavirus leads to President Trump announcing he will waive interest on Federal Student Loans. We could also see the complete pause of student loan payments temporarily.

Read more
How to Work Effectively from Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Many companies are dealing with the risk of COVID-19 infection from the novel Coronavirus by having their staff work from home. Here are tips on how you can work from home effectively.

Read more
How to Apply for Student Loans – Both Federal and Private Student Loans

While it may not be your first choice, applying for student loans can be essential for paying for college. After exploring grant and scholarship options, you may be ready to apply for student loans. But first, you need to understand the process. Here’s what you need to know about how to apply for federal student loans and how to apply for private student loans.

Read more
How to Get Student Loans Without a Cosigner

Cosigning a student loan or any other type of loan is a huge financial responsibility. The cosigner is equally responsible for the student loan and it impacts their credit. If you don’t want to involve family or don’t have a credit-worthy cosigner available, all hope is not lost. It’s possible to get a student loan without a cosigner. Here is how to get a student loan without a cosigner.

Read more
How to Consolidate Federal Student Loans

If you have federal student loans, you may want to consider a Direct Consolidation Loan. This is a loan from the Department of Education that you use to repay one or more existing educational debts. most federal loans are eligible including Perkins Loans, Stafford Loans, FFEL Loans and Direct Loans. Here is how to consolidate federal student loans.

Read more
What Happens to Parent PLUS Loans and Private Parent Loans if You Die?

Parents often turn to the Federal Parent PLUS Loans to help pay for their child’s college. But if the parent who has borrowed the Parent PLUS Loan dies, what happens with the parent loan?

Read more
Credible Review for Refinancing and Private Student Loans

Credible is a student loan marketplace that compiles offers from a variety of student loan lenders so you can compare rates in one spot. Our Credible review covers what is credible, how Credible works for refinancing student loans and refinancing parent loans, the pros and cons of refinancing student loans, and how Credible works for borrowing private student loans and private parent loans.

Read more
How to Protect Your 529 College Savings Plan Right Now

With the uncertainty of our economy, the coronavirus, and the scary trends of the stock market, there is no doubt that anything you have saved for college can be impacted right now. Here is how you can protect your 529 plan and what you should do if you have a child ready for college.

Read more
Student Loan Refinancing FAQs

Refinancing student loans could potentially lower your interest rate, saving you money. But there are also drawbacks to refinancing student loans. Here are the most common questions asked about refinancing student loans.

Read more
Student Loan Forgiveness for First Responders

With U.S. student loan debt totaling over one trillion dollars, it's no shock that borrowers are seeking relief. For some, there could be an option for having student loans forgiven, depending on your job. First responders, such as police officers, EMTs and firefighters, could qualify for student loan forgiveness. Here is how first responders could get their student loans forgiven.

Read more
How Kevin Ha Paid Off $87,000 in Student Loan Debt in 2.5 Years

Kevin Ha, the Financial Panther, lived up to his name paying off his $87,000 in student loans from law school in two and a half years. After he graduated, he has one goal – to pay off student loan debt as fast as possible. He eliminated student loan debt by keeping expenses down, side hustles and refinancing student loans. Here is how he paid off his student loan debt and how you can, too:

Read more
You Could Win $40,000 (or More) Towards Your Student Loans

There are many ways you can reduce student loan debt. You may qualify for student loan forgiveness, be able to discharge your student loans or even have an employer who is willing to offer student loan repayment assistance. However, there are also some unconventional ways you might be able to eliminate student loan debt. There are a variety of contests and sweepstakes that could pay your student loans.

Read more
Student Loan Forgiveness for Dentists

Dental school is very expensive. The average student loan debt for graduating dentists is $285,184. Fortunately, there are many ways dentists can receive student loan forgiveness. Depending on where you work and the nature of your work, here are ways dentists can get their student loans forgiven.

Read more
Fear of Fear Continues to Move the Stock Market

In 1933, during the depths of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” in his first inaugural address. Fear of the COVID-19 coronavirus is overblown. The main health risk is to the elderly and the infirm, such as to people with weakened immune systems. For younger people, the risk is similar to that of the flu. The mortality rate for children under age 10 is zero. Yet, fear of COVID-19 is tangible enough to move the stock market.

Read more
7 Ways to Get Student Loans Discharged

There are ways you could get your student loans discharged. The seven types of student loan discharge include bankruptcy, closed school, identity theft, unpaid refund, false certification and discharge for 9/11 victims.

Read more
Financial Guide for Parents of New Children

Babies are expensive. Really expensive. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs about $234,000 to raise a child from birth through age 17. That figure does not include the cost of college, which will cost about the same amount for a child born this year. There are several financial steps you should take to cover the cost of a new baby and plan for the child’s future.

Read more
10 Cool Benefits from Sallie Mae Offers (Not Just for Borrowers)

Sallie Mae is known as one of the most popular lenders for private student loans, parent loans and graduate loans. But the company provides much more than student loans. From free scholarship searches to free tools to increase your savings, these are unique features Sallie Mae offers.

Read more
When Should You Refinance Your Student Loans?

Refinancing student loans can be a smart move. Refinancing student loans can reduce your interest rates, lower your monthly student loan payment, allow you to consolidate payments and help get you out of debt quicker. But there are pro and cons to refinancing and how do you know when you should refinance your student loans?

Read more
Which Jobs Qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness?

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is a program that forgives the remaining balance on Direct Federal Loans if you are employed full time by a U.S. federal, state, county, local or tribal government or not-for-profit organization. These are the jobs that qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness and the jobs that do not qualify.

Read more
When Are Student Loan Discharges Taxable?

The forgiveness fairy granted your wish and discharged your student loans. Are you done with your student loan debt? Not quite. You may have to pay taxes on the cancelled student loans, since the IRS considers some loan forgiveness to be taxable income to the borrower.

Read more
What are Origination Fees?

When it comes to student loans, an origination fee is an upfront fee charged for processing your student loan. These fees can cover the cost of processing your student loan application, underwriting the loan and funding the loan. Origination fees are typically a percentage of your student loan’s total. Private student loan lenders generally don’t charge an origination fee. Instead, they factor the cost of loan origination into the interest rate. However, federal loans do charge an origination fee.

Read more
UNest Review: The App That Helps You Save For College

UNest is a simple, user-friendly app that allows you to save for your child’s education through a 529 savings plan. Here’s a review and basic overview of this app.

Read more
Guide to Student Loan Forgiveness for Volunteering

There are many ways to give back to your community through volunteering. And, in some cases, you can get rewarded for helping others by getting a little help with your student loans. In particular, if you join the Peace Corp or volunteer with AmeriCorps, there are loan forgiveness options available to you. Here is how to get student loans forgiven by volunteering.

Read more
Class Action Lawsuit Filed against Gerber Life Insurance Company

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Gerber Life Insurance Company concerning the Gerber Grow Up Plan and the Gerber Life College Plan.

Read more
Joe Biden's Plans For College Affordability and Student Loans

Former Vice President Joe Biden and presidential hopeful is rolling out a plan to help make college more affordable and ease the student loan crisis, especially for low- and middle-income families. Here is Joe Biden's plan for college affordability and student loans.

Read more
How will Coronavirus Impact Your College Savings and Student Loans?

The Coronavirus has triggered fear for many of us. We want to keep our families safe and healthy and protect them from disease. But it also can cause fear for our financial future. Here is how coronavirus may affect your college savings and student loans.

Read more
How to Refinance a Parent PLUS Loan

Parents may wish to refinance their Federal Parent PLUS Loans to get a lower loan payment, to qualify for a lower interest rate, to obtain a shorter or longer repayment term, to change their lender or servicer, to get access to other repayment options, and to transfer the loan to a child. Parent PLUS Loans can be refinanced through a federal direct consolidation loan or a private student loan refinance. Parents should consider a few caveats before refinancing a Parent PLUS Loan.

Read more
Pros and Cons of Student Loan Refinancing

Refinancing student loan debt means you essentially trade your current student loans for a brand new loan. People refinance student loans to get a lower interest rate, which helps save money and pay off your student loan debt faster. However, student loan refinancing isn’t for everyone and there are pros and cons of refinancing student loans. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of student loan refinancing.

Read more
How to Discharge Your Student Loans in Bankruptcy

Discharging student loans in bankruptcy is difficult, very difficult, but not impossible. Some borrowers have succeeded in getting their student loans discharged in bankruptcy. There are several steps that borrowers should take if they wish to obtain a bankruptcy discharge for their student loans.

Read more
Student Loan Debt is Worse Than We Thought

Student loan debt is worse than we thought. Millions of student loan borrowers have student loans in default or delinquency, the average student loan balance is growing and 20% of graduates with student loan debt have a balance greater than $50,000.

Read more
How to Evaluate College Financial Aid Award Letters

College financial aid award letters are confusing. Many financial aid award letters do not provide all of the cost and aid information you need to determine if the college is affordable. Some financial aid award letters understate the costs and overstate the amount of aid. Financial aid award letters also use cryptic terms to refer to student loans, with many not even using the word “loan.”Use these tips on how to interpret financial aid award letters to evaluate financial fit and make a more informed decision about which colleges are affordable and which are not.

Read more
Student Loan Forgiveness For Military

Student loan forgiveness and repayment programs exist for many professionals who serve the public. Current members of the military as well as veterans have undoubtedly chosen a career that qualifies as public service. As a result, there are many options available for military to get help repaying student loans.

Read more
What Bernie Sanders Wants to Do About Student Loans and College

Of all the Democratic presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders has introduced the most ambitious proposals for eliminating student loan debt and making college more affordable. The Senator believes that college education is an inalienable human right and that going to college should not force students to borrow. He proposes to implement tuition and debt-free college for all and completely cancel student loan debt – all $1.6 trillion of it. Here is his plan and how he will pay for it.

Read more
This Company Helps Employees Pay Student Loans and Save for Retirement

More U.S. companies are offering student loan repayment assistance to employees. These companies help pay student loan debt for employees dealing with college debt. This company isn't only helping with student loan debt, but they are also making it easier for employees to save for retirement.

Read more
How to Pay Off Student Loans on a Low Income

Zina Kumok shares how she paid off her student loans on a low income in just three years. Kumok was able to pay her student loans in that amount of time while earning $28,000 per year.

Read more
U.S. Department of Education Settles Student Loan Forgiveness Lawsuit

The U.S. Department of Education has settled a three-year old lawsuit filed by the American Bar Association (ABA) in December 2016 over the denial of Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) to four of its employees.

Read more
What Mike Bloomberg Would Do about Student Loans and College Affordability

Mike Bloomberg is newer to the presidential race than his fellow Democrat contenders, but he has released his proposed plans for dealing with student loan debt and making college more affordable. With the nation’s student loan debt at $1.6 trillion, it’s no surprise all of the presidential candidates are weighing in on college financial aid.

Read more
State Residency Requirements for In-State Tuition

Public colleges charge lower in-state tuition rates for state residents, typically saving them one-third to two-thirds off of the cost of out-of-state tuition. The out-of-state tuition rates charged to non-residents are thousands of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars more expensive. This gives out-of-state students a strong financial incentive to try to qualify for in-state tuition.

Read more
In-State Tuition for Out-of-State Students

Some out-of-state college students may nevertheless qualify for in-state tuition due to where they live. In addition to border waivers, there are also tuition reciprocity agreements between adjacent states and states within a geographic region.

Read more
In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students and Parents

Undocumented students and U.S. citizen children of undocumented parents may be eligible for resident tuition if their domicile is in the state.

Read more
Unusual Criteria for In-State Tuition

Several states have unusual rules for determining whether a student qualifies for state residency for in-state tuition purposes.

Read more
How to Save Money and Eliminate Student Loan Debt: 75 Simple Tips

Dealing with student loan debt can add financial stress to your life. Fortunately, there are ways you can cut costs to save money to pay off your student loans faster. There are also many easy ways you can save money every month to make making student loan payments doable or to throw extra payments at your student loans to be done with them sooner. Here are 76 ways you can save money.

Read more
Debt Snowball VS Debt Avalanche Method When Repaying Student Loans

Roughly 70% of U.S. college graduates have student loan debt. When it comes to repaying student loan debt quicker, you have to consider what is the best way to attack it. There are several debt repayment methods – the debt snowball method, the debt avalanche method and the debt snowflake method. Let’s take a closer look to see how each of these works and determine which is right for you.

Read more
Can You Pay Student Loans with a Credit Card?

Using a credit card to pay off your student loans is technically possible, but it’s generally not a good idea. If you’re considering using your card to make a payment toward your student loans or pay them off in full, here’s what you need to know and why you should think twice before doing it.

Read more
How to Use a High-Yield Savings Account to Save for College

Every dollar saved for college, whether in a 529 plan or other type of account, is one dollar less that a child will have to borrow in student loans. In recent years, high-yield savings accounts have become popular due to their convenience and relatively high interest rates compared to traditional savings accounts. But, high-yield savings accounts may not always be the best way to save for college.

Read more
How Many 529 Plan Investment Changes Can You Make Per Year?

A 529 plan is an investment account designed to save for college or K-12 tuition. Most 529 plans offer a choice of portfolios made up of mutual funds, ETFs or similar investments. You can select a 529 plan portfolio based on your family’s individual needs, and you can make investment changes twice per year.

Read more
Can My Ex-Spouse Spend My Child’s 529 Plan Money?

Unless the divorce decree states otherwise, an ex-spouse who is the 529 plan account owner can legally take a distribution and deplete your child’s college fund. Here are some tips on how you can protect your child’s 529 plan savings in the event of a divorce.

Read more
Should I Cosign for My Spouse Refinancing a Student Loan?

Deciding to refinance student loans as a married couple could be a smart move to improve finances, especially if one spouse has much better credit. Refinancing a student loan may result in a lower interest rate, which saves money. This could help alleviate financial stress and allow you to reach other financial goals, such as buying a home, saving for vacations and saving for retirement. But, when your spouse is refinancing a student loan, should you cosign? Consider the pros and cons of cosigning and decide whether cosigning is right for you and your relationship.

Read more
Coverdell ESA Investment Options

Similar to a 529 plan, investments in a Coverdell ESA grow on a tax-deferred basis and can be withdrawn tax-free to pay for qualified education expenses for a designated beneficiary. However, one of the biggest differences between a Coverdell ESA and a 529 plan is the available investment options.

Read more
Getting Married and Have Student Loan Debt? Do This First

Look at student loan debt isn’t on the typical wedding to-do list, but it should be. Student loans will impact your financial future as a couple and you need to be prepared for it. Do these 5 steps before getting married, so you can walk down the aisle and be confident about your student loan game plan.

Read more
Should I Cosign a Private Student Loan?

Cosigning your child’s private student loan can help them get approved. Having a creditworthy cosigner can also mean your child will qualify for a lower interest rate. However, cosigning a student loan can have severe consequences. Cosigning a loan means a responsibility and commitment until the loan is paid in full, which could take several years. Here are the pro and cons of cosigning a student loan and what you need to consider.

Read more
Borrowing and Refinancing Private Student Loans with Earnest

Earnest offers private student loans for undergraduate students, and private student loans for graduate and professional students (such as private student loans for medical school, business school and law school). Earnest also refinances federal and private student loans.

Read more
State Estate and Inheritance Tax Treatment of 529 Plans

If a 529 plan account owner dies before the beneficiary enters college, will the account be subject to state estate tax or state inheritance tax? In most cases, the answer is no. Each state has its own rules regarding taxes paid by heirs and estates. An inheritor of a 529 plan account may owe inheritance tax, depending on their relationship to the deceased and the account value.

Read more
New Report: Education Spending is the Biggest Financial Disruptor for Americans

A new survey concludes that education spending is the number one financial disruptor for Americans, including student loan debt.

Read more
How This Couple Paid Off $124,000 in Student Loan Debt

Travis Hornsby, founder of Student Loan Planner, and his wife, paid off a six-figure student loan debt. The couple refinanced student loans from medical school and kept living expenses low to eliminate student loan debt in one year.

Read more
President Trump’s FY2021 Budget Cuts Funding for Student Loans

President Trump’s FY2021 budget proposal (U.S. Department of Education budget summary) slashes funding for student loan programs by $170 billion over 10 years. It does so by ending the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, by eliminating subsidized Federal Stafford loans to undergraduate students, by reducing loan limits in the Federal Parent PLUS and Federal Grad PLUS loan programs and by requiring borrowers in income-driven repayment plans to pay more.

Read more
Student Loan Forgiveness for Doctors and Healthcare Professionals

Doctors and other healthcare professionals do rewarding work, often saving lives. But the cost of becoming a doctor or medical professional is often astronomical. The average cost of one year of medical school at a public institution was $37,556 for residents and $62,194 for non-residents, which often means carrying student loan debt. Fortunately, there are ways doctors and healthcare workers can get their student loans forgiven. Here are the options for student loan forgiveness for doctors and healthcare professionals.

Read more
Tuition and Fees Deduction Extended Through 2020

The Tuition and Fees Deduction expired in 2017, but expiration date has been extended to December 31, 2020. Eligible taxpayers may claim the Tuition and Fees Deduction for tax years 2019 and 2020 and they may also claim the deduction retroactively for tax year 2018.

Read more
How Employer Student Loan Assistance Works

Many companies are offering student loan repayment assistance as a benefit to attract college graduates dealing with student loan debt. With employer student loan repayment assistance, your employer will help repay your student loans. There are pro and cons to employer student loan repayment and things you should know.

Read more
What Pete Buttigieg Wants to Do about Student Loans

Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg could make history as the first president elected with student loan debt. The South Bend, Indiana mayor and his husband Chasten have a combined total of $130,000 in student loan debt. Buttigieg does not propose student loan debt cancellation like some of his opponents, but he does offer solutions to easing the student loan crisis.

Read more
Can You Return Your Unused Student Loans?

As a college student, you know what your tuition costs are going to be, but when it comes to books and living expenses, it’s not always easy. You may end up borrowing more student loans than you need. Learn if it's possible to return student loan money you borrowed.

Read more
Do Scholarships Ever Go Unclaimed?

Have you heard that billions of dollars of scholarships go unclaimed each year? It may sound believable, but it isn’t true. A few scholarships might go unclaimed because they can’t be claimed, but almost all scholarships receive many more qualified applicants than available awards.

Read more
How to Reduce Student Loan Debt for Graduate School

With student loan debt load in the trillions and weighing on borrowers, the spotlight has been on undergraduate student loans. But a huge part of the student loan crisis is graduate student loans. Learn how much graduate school costs and what you can do to pay for graduate school without student loans.

Read more
How to Choose a Lender for Student Loan Refinancing

You’ve heard that student loan refinancing can save you money. But the truth is, that’s only true if you work with the right lender. Refinancing student loans can come with hidden costs and other gotchas. So, before you sign an application, learn how to choose the best lender for student loan refinancing first.

Read more
Tuition and Fees Deduction

The Tuition and Fees Deduction allows eligible taxpayers to deduct up to $4,000 from taxable income to help cover higher education costs for themselves, a spouse and dependent children. The Tuition and Fees Deduction expired at the end of 2016 but was renewed for the 2017 tax year with the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

Read more
History of College Scholarships

The pursuit of college scholarships is a rite of passage in American culture. The provision of financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships has a storied history reaching back to ancient Greece. The basis of these scholarships has fluctuated over time, from need to merit and back again.

Read more
Reporting 529 Plan Withdrawals on Your Federal Tax Return

When 529 plans are used to pay for qualified expenses there is usually nothing to report anything on your income tax return. Form 1099-Q and Form 1098-T will list the amount of the 529 plan distribution and how much was used to pay for college tuition and fees, but it is up to you to calculate the taxable portion.

Read more
True Love Is Giving the Gift of College

This Valentine’s Day consider showing your affection to your child or grandchild by giving the gift of college. Flowers, toys and candy are nice gestures, but a 529 plan contribution is an investment in a child’s future.

Read more
Avoid These Common Financial Mistakes in Your 20's

Your 20’s are an exciting time: you’re out of college, you’re living on your own for the first time, and you’re building your career. However, it has its drawbacks; chances are, you don’t have a lot of money. A lack of cash can make paying your bills and saving for the future difficult. However, making financial mistakes now can have long-lasting effects. Here are five common mistakes to avoid in your 20s.

Read more
Shocking Growth in Gapping of Financial Aid Packages

Gapping occurs when a college’s financial aid package falls short of the student’s financial need. This unmet need makes college less affordable and forces students to borrow more student loans to pay for college. Average unmet need now exceeds $10,000 for the first time, having doubled in the last decade and a half.

Read more
Anthony Oneal Tells Us How to Get a Debt-Free Degree

Anthony ONeal is a best-selling author and speaker helping students make smart decisions about his money. His latest book Debt-Free Degree details how you could earn a college degree with no student loans. Anthony shares advice on how to avoid student loans and for those who already have student loan debt, how to manage.

Read more
Student Loan Forgiveness for Veterinarians

Becoming a veterinarian is expensive and can result in student loan debt. Fortunately, depending on your job and your student loans, you may be able to qualify for student loan forgiveness for veterinarians.

Read more
How to Travel the World When You Have Student Loan Debt

Student loan debt can be a massive burden, but it doesn’t have to stop you from living your best life — and that includes traveling the world. If you have a case of wanderlust but aren’t sure you can satisfy it with student loan payments, here are some tips to help you achieve your goal.

Read more
7 Reasons Financial Aid Can Be Taken Away

If you’re a college student with good grades, are an American citizen, have a Social Security card, and have a clean criminal record, chances are you qualify for federal student financial aid to help pay for college. But there are in fact situations where you can lose your federal college financial aid.

Read more
How Much Does a Student Loan Cost?

The cost of a student loan depends on more than just the interest rate. The real cost of a student loan depends on the cash flow characteristics of the student loan. The cash flow characteristics include how much money is received by the borrower and how much the borrower pays and how quickly.

Read more
Student Loan Forgiveness for Nurses

Nursing can be a rewarding and lucrative profession but the cost of actually becoming a nurse can be high – especially among nursing professionals who complete advanced programs. Fortunately, there are ways nurses can get student loans forgiveness.

Read more
Common Errors Involving Income-Driven Repayment Plans

Income-driven repayment plans are complicated, with lots of details. No wonder that borrowers may make mistakes when choosing and using an income-driven repayment plan.

Read more
How to Pay Off Student Debt with Debt Discipline

The blogger behind Debt Disciple now shares how he eliminated his six-figure debt in 50 months (and how you can do the same). He also shares advice for parents and college students borrowing student loans as well as those dealing with student loan debt.

Read more
Am I Eligible for Federal Financial Aid?

One of the first issues that incoming college students and their parents deal with is the issue of federal financial aid. Do I qualify for federal financial aid? How do you receive financial aid? These are fair questions and fortunately, ones that we have answers to.

Read more
Are 529 Plan Assets Subject to Estate Tax or Inheritance Tax?

A 529 plan can be a great way for a grandparent to leave an educational legacy for a grandchild. But, what happens to the 529 plan if the grandparent dies before their grandchild enters college? Are the assets subject to estate tax or inheritance tax at the state or federal level?

Read more
6 Big Moves to Pay Off Student Loan Debt

Whether you're dealing with a large or small amount of student loan debt, it’s likely you’re eager to make the final payment. While student loans can feel never-ending, you have more options than you think. If you're itching to shorten the payoff timeline—and become debt-free faster—try one of these big moves.

Read more
Elizabeth Warren Confronted Over Student Loan Proposal by Father Who Saved for College

Senator Elizabeth Warren was confronted by an angry man this week in regards to her proposal to eliminate student loan debt. The father of a current college student said he had worked double shifts, diligently saving for college, so he could pay for his daughter’s education without the need for student loans.

Read more
What Are the Pros and Cons of Using a 529 Plan?

If you’re thinking about opening a 529 plan to save for college for a child or grandchild, it’s important to understand how 529 plans work and their potential tax benefits. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of 529 plans to consider.

Read more
The One Move That Helped Eliminate $40,000 in Student Loan Debt

Lee Huffman, founder of Bald Thoughts, was dealing with student loan debt and frustrated his payments were going toward interest. He decided to refinance his student loans to cut his interest in half and pay down his loans quicker.

Read more
How to Borrow Student Loans Responsibly

When you hear about the student loan crisis and the more than a trillion dollars of student loan debt, it is likely you could be scared to borrow student loans. While a debt-free education is ideal, in many cases, student loans are necessary to pay for college (more than two-thirds of college students graduate with student loan debt). There is a positive side to student loans. If you borrow smarter, loans help you earn a college degree, which could result in a bigger income, more job security, a ticket to a career you love and enough money to repay your student loans.

Read more
Can You Use a 529 Plan to Pay for SAT Prep?

Students may not use a 529 plan to pay for college test prep, including SAT prep. 529 plan distributions used to pay for SAT prep are considered non-qualified and subject to income tax and a 10% penalty on the earnings portion of the distribution.

Read more
What is an Unsubsidized Student Loan?

Unsubsidized student loans are more expensive than subsidized loans because interest starts accruing sooner on unsubsidized loans. The borrower is responsible for the interest that accrues on unsubsidized student loans during in-school and grace periods, as well as deferments and forbearances. Borrowers can choose to pay the interest as it accrues or to defer paying the interest until the student loans enter repayment.

Read more
What is a Subsidized Student Loan?

Subsidized student loans are among the least expensive student loans. The federal government pays the interest on subsidized student loans during the in-school and grace periods, as well as during authorized deferments. Borrowers are responsible for paying the interest on subsidized student loans after the loans enter repayment. Borrowers are also responsible for the interest that accrues during forbearances. The federal government pays the interest during deferments but not forbearances.

Read more
Can You Contribute to a Non-Family Member’s 529 Plan?

All 529 plans accept third-party contributions, regardless of who owns the account. That means anyone, including grandparents, aunts, uncles or even friends can help a child save for college. You do not have to be a family member of the beneficiary to contribute to their 529 plan.

Read more
Borrowing or Refinancing Private Student Loans with LendKey

LendKey offers private student loans for undergraduate students, private student loans for graduate and professional students (such as private student loans for medical school, business school, law school and dental students), and private parent loans. LendKey will also refinance student loans.

Read more
What to Do Before Refinancing Student Loans

Thinking about refinancing your student loans? If so, congratulations: You’re actively managing your college debt and looking for ways to pay student loans down faster. But don’t move forward just yet. Student loan refinancing is a big deal and requires some thought beforehand. If you’re interested in student loan refinancing, follow these steps to ensure you come out on top.

Read more
The Budget Mom Says Budgets Help Pay Student Loans or Save for College

The Budget Mom shares how a budget can help you pay off student loans faster or help you achieve your savings goals.

Read more
How to Lower Your Student Loan Payments

Student loan borrowers pay an average of almost $400 per month to repay their debt. Depending on how much you borrowed to pay for college, that number could be in the thousands for the 2.5 million borrowers with a six-figure debt. Whether you are struggling to make payments or simply want to free up money for other financial goals, these are ways you can lower your monthly student loan payment.

Read more
Most Families Pay More than the Expected Family Contribution

Despite the name, most families will pay more than the expected family contribution (EFC). The actual family contribution is greater because of unmet need and the inclusion of student loans in the financial aid package. Most colleges do not meet full demonstrated financial need, leaving the student with a gap of unmet need. Unmet need is the difference between financial need and financial aid.

Read more
What is Financial Need?

Financial need is the difference between cost and ability to pay. Demonstrated financial need formalizes this concept as the difference between a college’s cost of attendance (COA) and the student’s expected family contribution (EFC).

Read more
14 Things That Could Happen if You Don’t Pay Your Student Loans

Making student loan payments on top of a pile of other bills is difficult for many people. As a result, more than one million student loan borrowers go into default every year. Furthermore, a study by the Federal Reserve found nearly one in five student loan recipients were at least 90 days behind on payments. Here are 14 specific consequences that can stem from failing to pay student loans.

Read more
529 plans and your tax return

Tax season is well under way, and many of us have been spending the past few weeks getting our financial records in order. When you dig out last year's filing, you're relieved to see that almost everything looks the same this year. Except what about your 529 plan contributions? Do your college savings need to be reported to the IRS?

Read more
How much can you contribute to a 529 plan in 2020?

There are no annual contribution limits for 529 plans. However, each 529 plan has an aggregate contribution limit, ranging from $235,000 to $529,000. Families making a large 529 plan contribution should consider the annual gift tax exclusion amount and find out if they qualify for state income tax benefits.

Read more
Retroactive tax benefits with April deadlines

Most tax-saving strategies have a December 31 deadline, but there are some last-minute moves families have until April to make. Here are five ways to maximize prior-year tax benefits by making retroactive contributions.

Read more
A Guide to Income Taxes for College Students and Recent Graduates

Entering “the real world” comes with a long list of responsibilities. One of which is accurately reporting and paying income taxes on time. In this guide, we’ll discuss the essentials of what college students and recent graduates need to know in order to efficiently handle taxes and take advantage of tax deductions and tax credits. The good news is as a college student or recent graduate, you might qualify to file your taxes for free.

Read more
What is a Private Student Loan?

Private student loans are non-federal education loans, offered by banks, credit unions, state loan agencies and other financial institutions. Private student loans can be used to pay for college costs after you’ve reached the loan limits on federal student loans and have exhausted all other sources of college funding.

Read more
10 Groundhog Day Lessons for College Savers

Punxsutawney Phil often misses the mark. The groundhog has made over 120 predictions, yet he’s only been correct 39% of the time. Parents and grandparents also make inaccurate predictions when saving for a child or grandchild’s college education, but unlike Punxsutawney Phil’s forecast, college savings mistakes can be costly.

Read more
What’s the Difference between Student Loan Consolidation and Refinance?

Student loan consolidation and student loan refinance both combine two or more student loans into one new loan with just one monthly payment, streamlining the repayment process. Consolidation and refinance also provide borrowers with an opportunity to reduce the monthly loan payments by increasing the repayment term. But, there are important differences between consolidation and refinance, such as the impact on interest rates and borrower benefits.

Read more
Florida’s Prepaid Tuition Plan Drops Prices to Lowest in 5 Years

The Florida Prepaid College Board is lowering prices for the state’s prepaid tuition plan by $1.3 billion. The Board is offering refunds and lower monthly payments to current customers, and lower prices for families who sign up during the next enrollment period. These changes will benefit Florida families who are saving for college.

Read more
Elizabeth Warren Plans to Eliminate Student Loan Debt Day One

Presidential contender Senator Elizabeth Warren says she will begin to eliminate student loan debt immediately upon taking office, without approval from Congress.

Read more
How the Tooth Fairy Can Help Your Child Save for College

National Tooth Fairy Day is celebrated twice a year, on February 28 and August 22. The tradition of the Tooth Fairy celebrates an important milestone in a child’s life and presents an opportunity to save for college in a 529 plan.

Read more
Tax Rates on Scholarships Triple

Scholarships used to pay for tuition and textbooks are tax-free, but scholarships used to pay for other expenses, such as room and board, are treated as taxable income to the recipient. A change in the Kiddie Tax enacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, however, triples the tax rates on such scholarships.

Read more
What’s the Difference between Custodial and Individual 529 Plans?

The differences between a custodial 529 plan account and an individual 529 plan account affect control of the account and the impact of the 529 plan on eligibility for need-based financial aid.

Read more
Reasons for Creating a Custodial 529 Plan Account

There are several reasons why a family might create a custodial 529 plan account instead of using a regular 529 plan account. The contribution may have come from an UGMA or UTMA account. A contributor may want to retain control over the 529 plan account without hurting the student’s financial aid eligibility.

Read more
Why Student Loans are Causing Marriage Problems (and How to Avoid This)

Dealing with student loan debt can cause anxiety and stress, and relationships are certainly not immune. In fact, student loan debt is to blame in one in eight divorces and fighting about money is the second leading cause of divorce. Learn why student loans are causing relationship problems and how you can avoid this.

Read more
Free Tax Return Filing for College Students and College Graduates

Filing taxes for college students and recent graduates can feel overwhelming, but it’s an important task. There are many credits you may be able to take advantage of as a college student or recent college grad, including the Student Loan Interest Deduction, American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and Lifetime Learning Tax Credit. Fortunately, most college students and recent college graduates have simple returns, and there are free options for filing taxes for simple returns.

Read more
Can I Get a Mortgage with Student Loan Debt?

Qualifying for a mortgage with student loan debt may sound like a long shot, but it’s actually very common. As more and more millennials and Gen Xers carry student debt into their 30 and 40s, it’s quickly becoming the only way most people can buy a house. While getting a mortgage with student loans is entirely possible, borrowers in this situation do have to take a few things into consideration. Here’s what you need to know.

Read more
What is the Best Parent Age to Start a 529 Plan?

The earlier you start to save for college, the better. But, what’s the best age to start a 529 plan? The answer will depend on your individual situation, but for most people, the best time to start saving for college is between the ages of 25 and 34.

Read more
Borrowing or Refinancing Private Student Loans from College Ave Student Loans

College Ave offers undergraduate loans, graduate student loans, parent loans and career loans and will also refinance student loans.

Read more
How to Get an Emergency Student Loan

College students can receive an emergency student loan in the event of an unforeseen disaster – a death in the family, loss of job, accident, auto repairs, unexpected loss of funds or a natural disaster. Many colleges offer the opportunity for currently enrolled students in good standing to receive a short-term emergency loan if they are experiencing a financial hardship.

Read more
Can You Donate Your 529 Plan to Charity?

You cannot donate leftover 529 plan money to charity, even when it is targeted for scholarship funding. 529 plan distributions made payable to a charitable organization may be considered non-qualified. A 529 plan beneficiary can only be changed to a qualifying member of the current beneficiary’s family.

Read more
Can I Do a Partial 529 Plan Rollover?

Families may rollover all or a portion of their college savings from one 529 plan to another 529 plan. One tax-free rollover is permitted per beneficiary in a 12-month period, and funds must be transferred within 60 days. Learn how to complete a partial 529 plan rollover and if there are any tax implications.

Read more
Pending 529 plan legislation

Several members of Congress have introduced legislation during the 116th session of Congress (2019-2020) to make changes that would affect 529 plans, the annual gift tax exclusion, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, ABLE programs and other tax-advantaged savings programs.

Read more
Borrowing or Refinancing Private Student Loans from SoFi

SoFi offers private student loans for undergraduate students and graduate students. SoFi also offers private parent loans and will also refinance federal and private student loans. Learn is SoFi is the right student loan refinance lender for you.

Read more
Financial Aid and Selective Service Registration: A Primer

U.S. men between the ages of 18 and 25 are required to register with the Selective Service System. If they do not register, they may lose eligibility for federal and state student financial aid. Women and transgender individuals who were born female are not required to register with Selective Service.

Read more
How to Refinance Student Loans

The benefits of refinancing your student loans include the potential for a lower monthly payment, a lower interest rate which results in paying less money overall, streamlining multiple payments into one (making your loans easier to manage) and can also release a cosigner from your current loans. Here is what you need to know about refinancing your student loan.

Read more
Pending Student Loan Legislation

Several members of Congress have introduced legislation that would make changes to student loans.

Read more
State Tax Breaks for 529 Plan Student Loan Repayments

Under the SECURE Act of 2019, families may use a 529 plan to repay student loans and pay for registered apprenticeship programs. However not all states conform to the current federal definition of qualified higher education expenses. In some states, 529 plan distributions used to repay student loans may be considered non-qualified.

Read more
Student Loans in Australia

Australia’s student loan system is widely considered to be among the most generous in the world. Australia boasts no-interest government loans provided to all college students, price controls in place for universities, and an income-contingent repayment system in which monthly amounts are withdrawn as a payroll tax.

Read more
Can I Pay My Mortgage with 529 Plan Money?

Some parents save on room and board costs by buying a house or condo near the college campus and letting their child live in it while they are enrolled in college. After the student graduates, they sell the property at a profit. Since they can use a 529 plan to pay for room and board, can they use 529 plan money to pay the monthly mortgage bills?

Read more
Requirements for Student Loan Refinancing

Student loan refinancing is an appealing option for many borrowers. It gives you more control over repayments, allowing you to lower your interest rate, reduce your monthly payment and pay off student loans quicker. To qualify for student loan refinancing, most lenders have some specific requirements, including the following.

Read more
Our Most Popular Articles on 529 College Savings Plans in 2019

From how to open a 529 college savings plan to how to change the beneficiary, we answered all of your questions. These were the most popular articles on 529 college savings plans this year.

Read more
How to Make this the Year You Pay Off Student Loans

Getting out of debt regularly ranks in the top three most popular New Year's Resolutions every year. And it's for good reason. Debt, especially student loan debt, cause stress and delay borrowers from reaching other financial goals, such as buying a home or saving for retirement. Instead of just accepting your student loans, make this the year to pay them off for good (or greatly reduce them). Here's how to make this the year you pay off student loan debt:

Read more
Strategies for Using a 529 Plan to Repay Student Loans

The SECURE Act, which became law on December 20, 2019 as part of an annual appropriations bill, allows families to take a qualified distribution from their 529 college savings plans to repay up to $10,000 in student loans owed by each of the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s siblings. But, why would anyone want to use a 529 plan to repay student loans?

Read more
How to Help Your Children Reduce their Student Loan Debt

Saving for college is the best way you can reduce student loan debt. But with more than three-quarters of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, sometimes saving for college seems out of reach. Regardless of your income, you can help your kids reduce the amount of student loans they will need to borrow.

Read more
Are Student Loans Worth It?

Every year, college graduates hope to make the leap from student to the workforce. Two-thirds of students graduate with student loans, with an average balance of $29,990. Student loans can be a burden, especially at the beginning of one’s career. With the average starting salary of around $52,000, many wonder if their investment will pay off. Unfortunately, there isn't a simple answer. Here's how to figure out if student loans are worth it for your family.

Read more
Congress Passes Kiddie Tax Fix

A fix for the Kiddie Tax fiasco is included in the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, which was attached to the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 changed the so-called Kiddie Tax, which taxed a child’s unearned income at the tax rates of the child’s parents. Starting in 2018, however, the Kiddie Tax was based on the much higher tax rates for estates and trusts.

Read more
Books about Preparing Children for College and Beyond

These books will help you (or your child) prepare for college and beyond. Whether your child is in middle school, high school, starting college or is a new graduate, these books will help them thrive.

Read more
New Law Allows 529 Plans to Repay Student Loans

President Trump signed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, which aims to improve savings habits in the United States. The legislation expands the benefits of 529 college savings plans, including adding student loan repayments and cost of apprenticeship programs as qualified expenses. The new law applies to 529 plan distributions made after December 31, 2018.

Read more
Can Moving to a Tiny Home Help You Pay Student Loans?

Downsizing and moving to a tiny home could help you save money and pay off student loans faster. Besides lowering your rent or mortgage, you'll also save money on utilities and could earn extra money selling unwanted items.

Read more
College Students Lack Financial Literacy and Student Loan Literacy

The U.S. Department of Education included three financial literacy questions and three student loan literacy questions on its most recent nationally-representative survey of college students. The survey demonstrated that most undergraduate and graduate students lack financial literacy and student loan literacy.

Read more
Test Your Student Loan Literacy and Financial Literacy

The U.S. Department of Education administered a short test of financial literacy and student loan literacy to more than 100,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Only about one in six students were able to answer all six questions correctly. Check your financial literacy and student loan literacy skills on the same test.

Read more
What Buddy the Elf Can Teach Us About Saving Money and Tackling Debt

Whether you’re trying to pay off student loans, save for your child’s college education or simply want to improve your finances, the holiday season can be a challenging time of year. Luckily, we can learn valuable financial lessons from a favorite holiday movie, Elf. Despite living in one of the most expensive cities in the world, Buddy the Elf manages to display great financial moves to inspire us all. Here are five ways Buddy the Elf can teach us about saving money and tackling debt.

Read more
How This Woman Paid Off $45,000 in Student Loan Debt in 3 Years

Kimberly Hamilton paid off her $45,000 private student loan debt in just three years by making extra money, saving more money and making some lifestyle changes. She was able to increase student loan debt payments, and she is now debt free.

Read more
Can I Withdraw Contributions from a 529 Plan Without Penalty?

Each 529 plan distribution is made up of an earnings portion and a basis portion. The basis portion, or return of principal, consists of the contributions made to the account. Since 529 plan contributions are made with after-tax dollars, the basis portion of a 529 plan distribution will never be taxed or subject to penalty. However, you may not take a basis-only 529 plan withdrawal.

Read more
70 Ways to Pay Student Loans Faster

Paying off student loan debt can seem daunting, especially when your minimum payments aren’t making much of a dent. To reduce student loans faster, there are several paths to explore, most of which involve freeing up more money to make bigger payments. You can earn more money, reduce spending, manage your loans better and even find someone else to repay your student loan debt. We have more than 70 ideas to start paying down student loans today.

Read more
Financial Guide to Becoming a Grown-Up

College students and new graduates can learn how to adult, when it comes to finances. Get help understanding how to manage money, including dealing with student loan debt, buying insurance, opening a checking account, building good credit, renting your first apartment, buying a car for the first time, making a budget and starting to save for retirement.

Read more
Guide to Student Loan Forgiveness for Lawyers

Becoming a lawyer is very expensive, and most students who attend law school must borrow to pay their tuition bills. In fact, the most recent data from National Center for Education Statistics revealed average loan balances for law students graduating in the 2015-2016 school year was $145,500. Fortunately, lawyers may be able to get their student loans forgiven.

Read more
Why You Shouldn't Pay Off Your Student Loans

Student loan debt can be an incredible burden, and paying off your balance sooner than later is an admirable goal. However, there may be times when paying off your student loans early doesn’t make sense. Depending on what your plans are and your current financial situation, here are a few situations where it may be better just to pay the required amount every month and nothing more.

Read more
How to Get a Disability Discharge of Your Student Loans

Borrowers who have a severe disability that prevents them from engaging in substantial gainful activity or renders them unemployable may qualify to have their federal and private student loans forgiven. The disability discharge process is somewhat complicated. This guide will help you understand the steps you need to take to qualify for a disability discharge of your student loans.

Read more
What Can I Pay for with Student Loan Money?

If you have borrowed student loans, you may be wondering what exactly you can use that student loan money to pay for, besides tuition and fees. Can you pay for living expenses with student loans? Can you buy a new car with student loan money? Can you use student loan funds to pay for rent or buy a new computer? Here’s what you need to know about what you can do with student loan money.

Read more
Dealing With Student Loans When You're Unemployed

Dealing with student loan debt when you are unemployed is extremely stressful. But you do have options, and there is help available if you can’t find a job after graduation. You may be eligible for deferment or forbearance of your loans and calling your lender may lead to lower payments. Let’s take a look at your options if you are unemployed with student loan debt.

Read more
Pros and Cons of Separate 529 Plans for Two or More Children

In most cases it makes sense to have a separate 529 plan for each child, but some parents may prefer to use a single plan. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to consider when determining the best college savings strategy for your children.

Read more
How to Sell Your Stuff to Help Pay Down Student Loans

Dealing with student loan debt can be overwhelming, especially if you’re struggling to make payments or just making the minimum payment every month. If you’ve made your budget and still don’t have money to put towards your debt, it’s time to find ways to make extra money. One way to get out of student loan debt faster is to sell your unwanted things for extra cash.

Read more
10 Apps That Can Help You Pay Off Your Student Loans Faster

Student loan debt can be a major burden for college graduates and takes an average of 20 years to pay off. Fortunately, there are several apps that can help you pay off student loans faster. For instance, some help you manage and save your money, while others help you earn money and get cash back. Here are 10 particular apps that can help you get out of student loan debt.

Read more
Maximum 529 Plan Contribution Limits by State

Each state has a maximum aggregate limit per beneficiary. Aggregate 529 plans limits apply to all 529 plans administered by a specific state and range from $235,000 to $529,000. The limit is intended to cover the cost of attending an expensive college and graduate school in the state.

Read more
Former Government Official Proposes Forgiving Federal Student Loans

Dr. A. Wayne Johnson, a former U.S. Department of Education official and Trump appointee, is proposing a plan for student debt relief for federal borrowers. This plan would help eliminate up to $50,000 in student loan debt for borrowers, along with grants for new students and tax credits for borrowers who have already repaid their student loan debt.

Read more
Should I Pay Off Student Loans or Credit Cards?

Paying off your student loans early is a worthy goal. But if you also have credit card debt, you may be wondering which debt to attack first. In most cases, it’s best to work on paying off your credit card debt before you add extra payments to your student loans. Here’s why that is and how to choose the right priority for you.

Read more
Complete List of All Student Loan Fees

Student loan borrowers may not realize it, but student loans can come with significant fees in addition to loan interest.

Read more
Why Seniors are Dealing with Student Loans and What Can They Do About It

The student loan debt crisis isn't just impacting millennials. Retirees and seniors are feeling the burden of student loan debt, too. Learn why seniors have so much student loan debt and what they can do about it.

Read more
HELPER Act Proposes More Tax-Free Student Loan Repayment Options

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced legislation to allow tax- and penalty-free distributions from retirement plans to pay higher education expenses and to repay student loans starting in 2020. The Higher Education Loan Payment and Enhanced Retirement (HELPER) Act (S. 2962) will also expand the student loan interest deduction and exclude up to $5,250 in employer-paid student loan repayment assistance programs (LRAPs) from the employee’s income.

Read more
Gift Ideas for People with Student Loan Debt

We buy gifts for the people we love around the holidays because we want to give them something to make them happy and improve their life. If you have someone in your life that's dealing with student loan debt, you know the burden they carry. Instead of giving them a sweater or a picture frame, why not give them something that can help them deal with their student loan debt. These gifts are great for anyone dealing with student loan debt.

Read more
How to Help Your Kids Pay Student Loan Debt

As a parent, you want the very best for your child. That’s why it can be so hard to watch your kids struggle with student loan debt after they graduate from college. Here is how you can help your kids pay their student loans.

Read more
529 Plan Contribution Deadlines

529 plans do not have contribution deadlines. You may contribute to a 529 plan any time throughout the year, and you do not have to stop contributing once the child reaches a certain age. But, some families make annual contributions by a specific date to maximize state tax benefits and the annual gift tax exclusion.

Read more
Everything You Need to Know About Crowdfunding a Student Loan

Most commonly associated with funding small business startups, crowdfunding has gained a lot of traction in recent years. This form of alternative finance is also becoming popular for individuals struggling with student loan payments. But can crowdfunding really help you pay off student loan debt?

Read more
The Best 529 Plan for Illinois Residents

Illinois residents can invest in almost any state’s 529 plan, but they are eligible for a state income tax deduction if they contribute to an in-state plan. Illinois administers two 529 plans, the Bright Start Direct-Sold College Savings Program and the Bright Directions Advisor-Guided College Savings Program, and one prepaid tuition plan, the College Illinois Prepaid Tuition Program.

Read more
History of Income Share Agreements

Income-share agreements (ISA) have experienced a series of false starts since the early 1970s. Each attempt to implement income-share agreements has provided insights about what doesn’t work. Eventually, proponents will be able to eliminate most of the flaws, developing income-share agreements as an alternative to traditional student loans.

Read more
How to Give to Charity When You Have Student Loans

Student loan debt can be overwhelming. Studies have shown that carrying student loan debt delays or blocks big purchases, such as buying a car, paying for a wedding or buying a home. When you’re making large student loan payments every month, the idea of donating to charity could seem impossible. Hey, every extra penny needs to go to your student loans, right? But there are ways you can give to charity even when you have student loans.

Read more
Upromise College Savings Rewards Program

The Upromise rewards credit card and college savings program automatically sweeps rewards and rebates into the family’s linked 529 college savings plans. Upromise combines a cash back rewards credit card, rebates from an online shopping portal, dining rewards and a round up savings program.

Read more
Why You Should Be Thankful for Your Student Loans

Hearing those two little words – student loans – can make us feel stressed, regretful and overwhelmed. Carrying the burden of student loan debt can truly have a negative impact on your life, including causing anxiety, financial hardship and delaying you from saving for retirement or making other big purchases. The student debt crisis is a serious one, but for some people, there is a bright side to those student loans. Here are some reasons you might be thankful for your student loans.

Read more
Top 10 Direct-Sold 529 Plans

Each quarter, Savingforcollege.com determines the overall top 10 direct-sold 529 plans 529 plans, based on historical performance. This slideshow features our most recent top 10 list of the best 529 plans that can be purchased directly through the plan manager (without having to go through a financial advisor).

Read more
Massachusetts Colleges with the Best Return on Investment

Before selecting a college, it’s important to evaluate the costs and benefits of each option. Massachusetts is home to some of the most well-known colleges and universities in the world, but many cost over $20,000 to attend. Here are the 10 colleges with the best ROI, according to PayScale.com.

Read more
How this Graduate Paid Off $104,901 in Student Loan Debt

Kate’s total student loan debt from her undergraduate degree and her law degree totaled $104,901. She shares how she earned extra money, saved money and paid off all of her student loan debt and is now living debt free.

Read more
The Solution to the Student Loan Problem

The solution to the student loan problem is simple and straightforward. It is amazing that nobody has thought of this solution previously, when it is such an obvious fix for the student loan crisis.

Read more
How to Keep Your Money Safe While Studying Abroad

Studying abroad gives college students an incredible and memorable experience. The fact that some countries offer free tuition and you can use a 529 plan to pay for studying abroad (with some restrictions) is even more of a reason to go. While attending college in a foreign country, you need to be smart with your money.

Read more
Extended Repayment

The extended repayment plan has a fixed monthly payment amount, like the standard repayment plan, but for a longer repayment term of 12, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years. This yields smaller monthly payments, but the total payments will be much higher.

Read more
How to Make a Budget After College

Life after graduation is a drastic change from life in college. Outside of swapping class with an actual grown-up job, the biggest change is your finances. You (hopefully) are earning an income with your first job, but there are several costs that will inevitably increase with graduation, as well. The first step to is to create a monthly budget.

Read more
How Grandparents Can Save for College in Massachusetts

Grandparents who help save for college can reduce a grandchild’s future student loan debt burden while leaving an educational legacy. In Massachusetts, grandparents who contribute to a 529 plan that they own are eligible for a state income tax deduction. There are also financial aid and tax considerations that grandparents should be aware of when saving for college.

Read more
How to Choose the Best 529 Plan for You

529 plan rankings tend to be one size fits all. But, the 529 plan that is best for other people is not necessarily the best 529 plan for you. When choosing the best 529 college savings plan, the choice should be personalized to your family’s specific situation, such as your state of residence, your risk tolerance and your investment time horizon.

Read more
A $500 Holiday Gift Can Pay for a Year of College Tuition

According to 2016 data from T. Rowe Price, on average, parents spent $422 on holiday gift per child, with 34% spending $500 or more. But, what if instead of a buying material gifts, parents and grandparents made a contribution to the child’s 529 college savings plan?

Read more
Six Things You Need to Tell Your Kids about Student Loans

As parents, it’s time to step in and have a college money talk with your kids. While 92% of parents talk their kids about relationship issues, a study reports that only 9% of parents talk to their kids about student loans.

Read more
Financial Checklist for New Parents in Massachusetts

A Massachusetts parent’s financial responsibilities go beyond just paying for food and diapers. To make the transition into parenthood easier, you’ll want to budget for upcoming child-related expenses and make sure you have the right financial documents in place. Here’s a quick checklist to get you started.

Read more
Beware of the Asset Forfeiture Clause on ABLE Accounts

When saving for a disabled person’s disability-related expenses, ABLE accounts provide several financial aid and tax advantages over special needs trusts and 529 college savings plans. But, these advantages are offset by an asset forfeiture clause that is triggered upon the death of the beneficiary of an ABLE account.

Read more
How This Couple Saved For College and Still Retired at 33

Justin McCurry, personal finance blogger, shares how to retire early while still saving for college. With the popularity of the FIRE movement, we wonder how to balance retiring early with still helping pay for college.

Read more
What is a National College or University?

A national college or university draws its enrollment from the nation as a whole, as opposed to enrolling students primarily from the same or adjacent states. This is in contrast with a regional college or university, where more than half of the students come from the same or adjacent states.

Read more
Can I Discharge Student Loans in Bankruptcy?

Should you be able to discharge student loans in bankruptcy? For the 45 million borrowers currently dealing with student loan debt, bankruptcy can feel like the only option, especially when you’re going through a rough time financially.

Read more
These Countries Offer Free College Tuition For International Students

There are ten countries that offer free college tuition for international students and thirteen countries that offer free college tuition to residents. Sounds pretty tempting, right? Of course it does, especially considering a private U.S. college could cost upwards of $46,000 for four years.

Read more
How Much to Save for a Massachusetts College

Although Massachusetts is one of the smallest states in the U.S., it is home to over 80 colleges and universities. Many of the state’s most well-known colleges currently cost over $20,000 a year. The amount parents should save to send their child to a Massachusetts college depends on their child’s age and the specific college they are saving for.

Read more
Does Refinancing a Student Loan Affect Your Credit?

Refinancing a student loan will not have a large impact on your credit. You can take extra precautions to make sure refinancing student loans won’t hurt your credit score with simple steps.

Read more
How to Save for College

College is expensive. Parents pay for college using a combination of college savings, contributions from income, scholarships, grants, tax credits, student employment and student loans. Increasing the amount of college savings can make college more affordable and reduce the amount of student loan debt. But, how do you get started saving for college? What is the best way to save for college? This introduction to college savings will help you get the answers you need to your questions about saving for college.

Read more
Pay Off Student Loan Debt, Save Money and Reach Financial Goals

Bola Sokunbi, owner of Clever Girl Finance, shares her best advice for dealing with student loan debt, saving more money and staying motivated through it all.

Read more
How to Cut College Costs

How to cut college costs is a hot topic whether you’re currently in college, dreading those student loans payments or a parent looking for ways to avoid going broke paying for college. Fortunately, there are ways you can save money on college costs, whether you’re in high school or already on your way to earning a degree.

Read more
Which 529 Plan Should Texas Residents Use?

Texas has two 529 college savings plans, the Texas College Savings Plan and the Lonestar 529 Plan. But, Texas residents are not limited to using an in-state 529 plan. Families should also consider out-of-state 529 plans that have lower fees and better investment performance.

Read more
Which 529 Plan Should New York Residents Use?

New Yorkers can choose to invest in almost any 529 plan, but they are eligible for a state income tax deduction if they use an in-state 529 plan. The state of New York administers two 529 college savings plans, New York’s 529 College Savings Program – Direct Plan, and New York’s Advisor-Guided College Savings Plan.

Read more
These Credit Cards Can Help You Pay Back Student Loans

In general, student loan borrowers cannot use credit cards to pay their student loan bills, but that doesn’t mean some credit cards can be useful while paying off student loan debt. Sallie Mae launched three new credit cards - one designed specifically for student loan borrowers and the other two offering cash back rewards students can use to repay their student loans.

Read more
Sallie Mae Curbs Forbearance Programs to “Engage” Borrowers

Sallie Mae is rolling out a change in student loan forbearance rules aimed at reducing the number of active forbearance accounts. The change limits the amount of time your loan can be in forbearance.

Read more
These U.S. Colleges Provide Free Online Courses

You can take online classes at the country’s most esteemed colleges – Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Yale and more – for free. These free online courses don’t come with college credit, but there is definitely value to this.

Read more
Can Income Share Agreements Replace Student Loans?

Income Share Agreements are a new financing trend that could be an alternative to traditional student loans. Here’s how an Income Share Agreement (or an ISA) works: An investor or the college itself provides funding for students – which is still a loan. When the student graduates, he or she agrees to pay a portion of their salary back for a certain number of years – not a set minimum payment as with traditional student loans. This means you can end up paying back less or more of what you were given, depending on your income.

Read more
U.S. Colleges with Free Tuition

These 18 U.S. colleges offer free tuition for students. That means graduating with less college debt. With the average amount of student loan debt at graduation at $29,900, free college sounds pretty fantastic about now.

Read more
Small Changes Can Speed Up Student Loan Repayment

Even small changes can help you repay your student loans faster. Student loan debt can feel like a huge weight on your shoulders preventing you from saving money or enjoying life to the fullest. Start these simple steps today to pay down your student loan debt even faster.

Read more
Morningstar Releases 529 Plan Ratings

Morningstar Inc. released its annual analyst ratings for 529 plans on October 22, 2019. Morningstar rated 62 of the largest 529 college savings plans, assigning them to one of five tiers: Gold, Silver, Bronze, Neutral and Negative.

Read more
Socially responsible investing with 529 plans

Socially responsible investing (SRI) is a strategy that considers social or environmental factors in addition to financial return. However, families saving for education may have a difficult time finding SRI investment options within 529 plans.You may even find that your plan has exposure to gun manufacturers.

Read more
How to Reduce Student Loan Debt and Lose Weight at the Same Time

Trying to get rid of student loan debt is a lot like trying to lose weight. Just as with those extra pounds or other unhealthy habits, the student loans you carry didn’t just appear overnight. Making a positive impact on your student loans and your health won’t happen that quick either. Both take patience, dedication and clear goals. Fortunately, here’s how you can save money and reduce student loan debt and lose weight at the same time.

Read more
Can You Pay Living Expenses with Student Loans?

College students can pay living expenses with both federal and private student loans. This is a relief for many, since the cost of attendance includes much more than just tuition alone. Student loans can pay for rent, food, health care and even a computer, but it’s still important to borrow wisely. Learn what you can and can't pay for with student loans.

Read more
Tuition Gift Tax Exclusion

The tuition gift tax exclusion allows grandparents and other individuals to reduce their taxable estate while helping a child a child pay for college. Direct tuition payments are exempt from gift taxes and the Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax. Grandparents do not have to file a gift tax form when money is paid directly to a college, even if the amount exceeds the $15,000 annual exclusion amount.

Read more
IRS Tax Return Transcripts

Applicants who file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and are unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool may need to obtain an IRS Tax Return Transcript if their FAFSA is selected for verification.

Read more
Scariest College Savings Horror Stories and How to Avoid Them

With proper planning, a 529 plan can help you save for your child's future and avoid student loans. But, college savings mistakes can haunt you. We asked a financial attorney to share her most terrifying college savings stories from her clients.

Read more
Responsible Investing With 529 Plans

Today’s investors want more from their investments than just solid returns. Socially responsible investing (SRI) and environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing incorporate ethics into the investment process. Ten 529 plans currently offer sustainable portfolios.

Read more
Night of the Living Debt: Five Real Life Student Loan Horror Stories

With Halloween beckoning, the old adage that things can go “bump in the night” takes on added meaning. That especially goes for Americans getting aggressively bumped by burdensome student loan debt.

Read more
Which 529 Plan Should Massachusetts Residents Choose?

Massachusetts has one 529 college savings plan, MEFA’s U. Fund, which is managed by Fidelity Investments and available to residents of any state. Although Massachusetts residents may invest in almost any state’s 529 plan, they could be eligible for a state income tax deduction and a matching grant if they use MEFA’s U. Fund.

Read more
College Scholarships Statistics

Each year, more than 1.7 million private scholarships and fellowships are awarded, with a total value of more than $7.4 billion. About 1 in 8 students Bachelor's degree programs have won scholarships, an average of $4,200. Only 0.1% have won $25,000 or more in scholarships.

Read more
Which 529 Plan Should California Residents Choose?

There is no specific benefit offered to California residents who use ScholarShare 529 instead of another state’s 529 plan. But, ScholarShare 529 is a highly rated 529 plan with low fees, a variety of investment options, strong historical performance and a matching grant program for residents.

Read more
States that offer 529 plan grant programs

A dozen states make it easier to save for college by offering grants to residents who use their 529 plans. Some states provide matching grants for 529 plan contributions and others seed new 529 plan accounts with an initial contribution.

Read more
Student Loan Repayment Checklist

After you graduate or leave school, it’s time to prepare for loan repayment. This student loan repayment checklist will help you get organized and decide what you need to do to deal with your student loans.

Read more
How to Get the Best College Student Discounts

There are many costs of college beyond tuition. These hidden college costs can equal or exceed the cost of tuition. College student discounts can help you save on products and services you use on and off campus.

Read more
Can a Non-U.S. Citizen Use a 529 Plan to Save for College?

Parents and grandparents who are non-U.S. citizens may be able to open a 529 college savings plan if they are U.S. taxpayers. Most 529 plans require the account owner to be a U.S. citizen or a resident alien who has a Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number.

Read more
Massachusetts 529 Plan Fees and Expense Ratios

Massachusetts 529 plans offer among the lowest fees of any direct-sold 529 college savings plans. The total asset-based expense ratio for the Massachusetts U.Fund 529 plan portfolios run from 0.11% to 1.13%.

Read more
Massachusetts 529 Plan Contribution Limits

There are no annual contribution limits for Massachusetts 529 plans, other than the annual gift tax exclusion and 5-year gift-tax averaging. Massachusetts 529 plans have a high cumulative contribution limit of $400,000 per beneficiary.

Read more
Tax Benefits of Massachusetts 529 Plans

Massachusetts 529 plans offer the standard federal and state tax benefits, as well as a state income tax deduction based on contributions to the state’s 529 plan.

Read more
Saving and Paying for College in Massachusetts

Massachusetts offers several college savings, grant and scholarship programs to help Massachusetts residents pay for college in Massachusetts.

Read more
How to Open a 529 Plan in Massachusetts

This step-by-step guide to enrolling in the Massachusetts U.Fund 529 college savings plan makes the process easier for parents and grandparents to understand how to open a 529 plan in Massachusetts.

Read more
Answers to Common Questions About Saving for College

Saving for college is a top priority for many families. But, some parents hesitate to open a 529 plan because they are confused about how they work. Here are answers to 10 common questions about saving for college that can help you plan for your child’s future.

Read more
College Savings Can Make a Big Difference on Student Loan Debt

What the press and the public don’t talk about – but should – is the game-changing impact savings-minded parents have on their children’s student loan debt load. Every dollar they save for college is a dollar less their children will have to borrow.

Read more
Financial Aid Fraud

If you’re thinking about committing fraud on a financial aid application, don’t. You will get caught. Not only will you ruin your own future, but you will also ruin your children’s future. You will also be depriving deserving students from the financial aid funds they need to pay for college.

Read more
Award Letters: Five Signs You’re Getting a Lousy Financial Aid Deal

Many financial aid award letters leave mom and dad scratching their heads in confusion and unsure if what they’re seeing is a good or bad financial aid package. There are a few signs, however, that the financial aid offer will fall short of the family's need.

Read more
Student Loans in the United Kingdom with Lessons for the U.S. System

The student debt crisis isn’t restricted to the United States. Graduates in other Western countries also struggle with the cost of their college educations. While student loan systems differ substantially between nations, the situations in other countries provide useful contrast to the state of student debt in America.

Read more
Is High School Too Late to Start Saving for College in a 529 Plan?

Many families get a late start on saving for college. Parents who open a 529 plan when their child is a high school freshman can still take advantage of the federal (and sometimes state) tax benefits, even if college is only a few years away. Any amount saved for college will reduce the child’s future student loan debt.

Read more
Can You Use a 529 Plan to Pay for Coding Bootcamp?

529 plan funds can be used to pay for a coding bootcamp taken at an eligible college or university. Distributions used to pay for a course offered through a private compare are considered non-qualified. Other ways to pay for coding bootcamp include scholarships, student loans, income share agreements and deferred tuition plans.

Read more
Timing of 529 Plan Distributions Must Match Qualified Expenses

After years of diligently saving, the last thing a parent wants is to owe taxes and penalties when they withdraw from their 529 plan account. To make the most of your college savings, it’s important to pay attention to the timing of 529 plan withdrawals.

Read more
Calculating How Much Clients Can Afford for College

Learn how to help your clients determine how much they can afford to pay for college. This involves using all available resources, including 529 plans and financial aid, and keeping student loans to a minimum. These four questions will help you start the discussion.

Read more
FAFSA deadlines

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an application for financial aid from the federal government,state government and most colleges. The FAFSA application season officially starts on October 1. Students should file the FAFSA ASAP to maximize the amount of financial aid for which they are eligible.

Read more
Families Are Saving More than Ever in 529 Plans

The College Savings Plan Network (CSPN) recently announced that total 529 plan balances have reached a record high of just over $352 billion. The total number of 529 plan accounts has risen to 14 million.

Read more
What is the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Students submit the FAFSA to apply for financial aid for college from the federal government, state governments and most colleges and universities. About 20 million students file the FAFSA each year. Financial aid includes grants, scholarships, student employment and student loans.

Read more
What is the Kiddie Tax?

Before the Kiddie Tax, parents could save on taxes by putting investment accounts in a child’s name. The Kiddie Tax closed this loophole by taxing children’s passive income at higher rates. Investments in a 529 plan are not subject to the Kiddie Tax.

Read more
How to Grow Your Practice With 529 Plans

As college costs continue to rise, parents and grandparents are seeking help from financial professionals to help with college funding. College is a major expense, and the amount a family invests in a 529 plan can have a big impact on their overall financial plan. Helping families with college funding can help you grow your client base and increase assets under management.

Read more
What’s the Difference between a Deferment and a Forbearance?

Private student loans may consider deferments and forbearances to be synonymous, but there are important differences with regard to federal student loans. Both deferments and forbearances provide borrowers with a pause in their student loan payments. The difference between a deferment and a forbearance affects who is responsible for paying the interest on a federal student loan.

Read more
Can You Use a 529 Plan to Buy or Rent a Car?

You cannot use a 529 plan to buy or rent a car. Transportation costs, including the costs of purchasing and maintaining a car, are considered non-qualified expenses. Students can save on transportation costs by renting a car, using a rideshare service or riding a bike or electric scooter.

Read more
Student Loan Late Fees

Student loan late fees are charged when a borrower does not make the monthly student loan payments on time. The definition of a late payment and the amount of the late fee varies, depending on the lender and loan program.

Read more
How to Avoid Late Payments on Student Loans

There are several simple ideas that can help borrowers avoid making late payments on their student loans. These ideas include signing up for auto-debit, using text alert reminders, budgeting, changing the payment due date, changing the repayment plan, increasing income, deferments and forbearances.

Read more
Celebrate College Savings Month

September is widely recognized as College Savings Month. As kids to head back to school, the topic of affording college tuition looms large for many parents. For families who haven’t started saving, September is a great time to consider opening a 529 plan.

Read more
Can You Use a 529 Plan to Pay for Online Classes?

Students may use a 529 plan to pay for online courses offered through at an eligible institution. Taking online courses is a popular way to save money on college tuition. According to data from Babson Survey Research Group, nearly one-third of college students took at least one distance education course in 2016.

Read more
Will I Get a 529 Plan State Tax Break If I Move to Another State?

Whether it’s for a new job or another personal reason, relocating your family to a new state can be overwhelming. As you establish residency in your new state, it’s important to review your state’s rules regarding state income tax benefits for 529 plan contributions.

Read more
College Tuition Prepayment Options

At some private colleges, students can potentially save thousands on tuition costs by prepaying for upcoming academic terms. But, despite the cost savings, there are some potential drawbacks to using a college’s tuition prepayment plan.

Read more
Gender Disparities in Student Loan Debt

Student loan debt affects certain demographic groups differently. In particular, women hold more student loan debt than men, in part because they are more likely to enroll in college and more likely to borrow. They also experience wage differences that make it more difficult for them to pay off their student loans.

Read more
How Parents Can Save Money on their Taxes

Raising your child from infancy and guiding them along life’s journey to prepare them for college is a commitment that takes years and thousands of dollars to sustain. Fortunately, Uncle Sam offers eligible parents a way to soften this financial hardship during tax season, including tax credits for college and tax credits for just having children.

Read more
Major Enhancements to Florida’s 529 Savings Plan

The Florida Prepaid College Board announced new enhancements to the state’s 529 college savings plan. The enhancements are part of the Board’s “Win Florida” vision, which aims to offer reliable 529 plan management, diversified investment options and low fees to Florida families who are saving for college.

Read more
What's the Difference between Subsidized and Unsubsidized Student Loans?

The federal government pays the interest on subsidized federal student loans during in-school and grace periods, when the student is enrolled on at least a half-time basis. The federal government also pays the interest during other periods of authorized deferment, such as the unemployment deferment, economic hardship deferment and military service deferment.

Read more
Capitalization of Interest on Unsubsidized Student Loans

The federal government does not pay the interest on unsubsidized loans during a deferment or forbearance and the interest on subsidized loans during a forbearance. If the borrower does not pay this interest as it accrues, it is capitalized by adding it to the loan balance, leading to interest being charged on interest.

Read more
Will I Get a State Tax Break If I Use an Out-of-State 529 Plan?

For most families, a 529 plan is the most effective way to save for college. Contributions are made with post-tax dollars, earnings grow tax-deferred and distributions are completely tax-free when used to pay for qualified higher education expenses. You may also be eligible for state income tax benefits, depending on where you live and which 529 plan you contribute to.

Read more
Can You Use a 529 Plan to Pay for Day Care?

Day care tuition is not considered a qualified 529 plan expense. If a 529 plan distribution is used to pay for day care tuition, the earnings portion of the distribution is subject to ordinary income tax and a 10% penalty.

Read more
Federal Income Tax Form Simplification Complicates FAFSA Form

Recent changes in federal income tax returns affect the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), starting with the 2020-2021 FAFSA. The 2020-2021 FAFSA, which families begin filing on October 1, 2019, replace requirements based on IRS Forms 1040A and 1040EZ with IRS Form 1040 Schedule 1.

Read more
Why Borrowers Don’t Qualify for Loan Forgiveness

A recent GAO report provides new insights into why borrowers don’t qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). It seems that both the borrowers and the PSLF servicer may be at fault.

Read more
Emergency Student Loans

No college student wants to face a mad scramble for emergency funds in the event of a personal financial crisis, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. When times are tough, emergency student aid or emergency student loans may fit the bill, but there are no shortage of twists, turns and some turbulence involved with getting an emergency loan on the fly.

Read more
GAO Finds Flaws with Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report reviewing the performance of the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF). The report finds that the process of applying for loan forgiveness is not clear to borrowers and could be simplified. The GAO also recommends improvements in the U.S. Department of Education’s efforts to publicize TEPSLF.

Read more
How to Get a Student Loan Without Parental Help

There are several ways college students can get student loans without a parent borrower or cosigner. These include federal student loans, increasing federal student loan limits by qualifying as an independent student, getting a private student loan with someone other than the parent as a cosigner and tuition installment plans.

Read more
What is a Custodial 529 Plan Account?

Families saving for college may set up a custodial 529 plan account. A custodial 529 plan account is a 529 plan owned by a minor child, who is also the named beneficiary on the account. Custodial 529 plan accounts offer many of the same benefits as a traditional 529 plan account, but there are also some key differences.

Read more
How to Move Your Student Loans to a Different Lender or Servicer

Some borrowers don’t like their current lender or servicer. There are several options for moving their student loans to a different lender or servicer, depending on whether the loans are federal student loans or private student loans.

Read more
Do You Need an Emergency Fund While You Are Enrolled in College?

College students should build an emergency fund into their budgeting for college costs. The emergency fund will help them cover unexpected expenses, reducing the likelihood that they will be forced to drop out of college because of a financial shortfall.

Read more
How to Prepare Your Child for College (Ages 16-18)

With college just around the corner, it’s time for your child to finalize the college application and admissions process. Here are the final steps to focus on as your child prepares for college during their junior and senior year of high school.

Read more
College Majors with the Highest Unemployment Rates

College students looking for a reliable income in their working years may want to bypass majors which have unemployment rates above 6.5%. Unfortunately, there are more occupations than you might think that fall into the category of having a high unemployment rate.

Read more
College Majors with the Lowest Unemployment Rates

Getting a good job is one of the top reasons why many students enroll in college. Finding a career that is fulfilling, pays well and has low unemployment and underemployment rates can yield career stability.

Read more
Need More Time to Pay Off a Student Loan? Take These Steps

Most college graduates and their parents have a six-month grace period before repayment begins on their student loans. For students who graduated in May or June, that means payments are due starting in November or December. But, what if you need more time to pay your student loans? There are options that can further delay your student loan payments.

Read more
How to Prepare Your Child for College (Ages 11-15)

As your child gets closer to high school age there are opportunities to start preparing for college academics, financial aid and even college life. Here are steps you can take to prepare for college starting when your child is in middle school.

Read more
Racial Disparities in Student Loan Debt

Certain racial minorities appear to be disproportionately affected by student loan debt. The debt burdens carried by black, Latino, and Native American students are much greater than those shouldered by white and Asian students. The most dramatic differences are the astronomically higher student loan debts of black students.

Read more
Legal Documents for Students Who Are Headed to College

Before your child crosses through the ivy-covered gates on the start of their college journey, there are a bunch of legal documents you might need. These documents include a FERPA waiver, HIPAA authorization, health care proxy, living will and a general power of attorney. It’s also a good idea to review your health insurance and homeowner’s insurance policies to make sure your child is covered.

Read more
How to Prepare Your Child for College (Ages 5-10)

College may be the last thing on your mind as your child begins elementary school, but there are important steps you can take to prepare a young child for college.

Read more
Key Steps to Take as Your Student Loan Grace Period is Ending

Your student loan vacation period is over and it’s time to get back to work, now that your student loan grace period is coming to an end. The student loan grace period starts after you graduate (or drop below half-time enrollment) and typically lasts for six months after your college graduation.

Read more
529 Plans Receive Favorable Treatment on the FAFSA

The impact of a college savings account has on financial aid eligibility depends on the type of account, and who owns the account. 529 plan accounts owned by a parent or dependent student generally have a more favorable impact on financial aid eligibility than other types of investment accounts.

Read more
How to Prepare Your Child for College (Ages 0-4)

There are steps you can take to start preparing your child for college, even during the earliest stages of their life, such as opening a 529 plan. If you have a baby or toddler, your focus right now should be saving money for college.

Read more
The Pro 529 Evaluator Helps You Stay Compliant with Regulations

Financial professionals who sell 529 plans are required to act in their clients’ best interests and must adhere to the rules of the MSRB. The Pro 529 Evaluator is a tool designed to help financial professionals confidently recommend 529 plans while staying compliant with rules and regulations.

Read more
How to Evaluate Income-Share Agreements

Income-share agreements, or ISAs, are alternatives to student loans. But, unlike student loans, where you can compare interest rates and fees, how do you determine whether an ISA is expensive or not?

Read more
How to Make Sure Your Grandchild’s 529 Plan is Used for College

A 529 plan account owner, not the beneficiary, controls the assets in the 529 plan account and may not use the funds for their intended purpose. Grandparents who are concerned about contributing to a parent-owned 529 plan may consider opening a 529 plan in their own name or opening a custodial 529 plan for their grandchild.

Read more
How to Save for Graduate School

Earning an advanced degree can help boost your career and potentially lead to a higher salary. But, graduate school is expensive, and students who aren’t prepared for the costs end up in serious debt. Learn about how to save for graduate school and ways to cut costs.

Read more
The FAFSA’s Asset Protection Allowance Continues to Crash

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) shelters a portion of parent assets using an asset protection allowance (APA). The asset protection allowance has dropped significantly since peaking in 2009-2010 and continues to decline. If current trends continue, the asset protection allowance will disappear completely in just one more year, by the 2021-2022 FAFSA.

Read more
Surge in Number of Colleges Cutting Tuition

The number of colleges pursuing tuition resets (tuition cuts) has surged in recent years. From 1987 through 2011, an average of one college a year cut tuition rates. From 2012 through 2018, the number of colleges cutting tuition increased tenfold to an average of 10 colleges per year, peaking at 18 in 2018.

Read more
Can You Flee the Country to Escape Your Student Loans?

College graduates face a harrowing financial future, with a decade or more of substantial student loan repayment ahead of them. It’s no wonder that some borrowers seek to avoid repaying their student loans by leaving the U.S. But for most, the trade-offs will be untenable.

Read more
Grow Your Practice with Grandparent 529 Plans

529 plans are an effective tool for clients who want to help pay for a grandchild's college education. But, a grandparent's financial gift may hurt their grandchild’s eligibility for need-based financial aid. Here are some important points to cover when discussing 529 plans and college funding with your clients.

Read more
When Does an Income-Share Agreement Make Sense?

Income share agreements (ISAs), while not widespread, have crept into the financing mix for some colleges and universities, as an alternative to loans like Federal Parent PLUS loans and private education loans. ISAs may be attractive if parent borrowers are ineligible for Parent PLUS Loans and private student loans are cost prohibitive.

Read more
GAO Finds Signs of Fraud in Income-Driven Repayment Plans

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found signs of potential fraud involving more than 110,000 borrowers who are repaying their federal student loans in income-driven repayment plans. These borrowers may have understated their income or overstated their family size to reduce their student loan payments in the income-driven repayment plans.

Read more
Using Your State Income Tax Refund to Save for More College

Finding room in your budget for college savings can be challenging. Some families may prefer to make lump sum 529 plan contributions throughout the year instead of, or in addition to automated monthly contributions. A lump sum lump may come unexpectedly, such as from an inheritance or lottery winnings, or a recurring annual windfall such as an income tax refund.

Read more
Presidential Candidate Positions on College Financial Aid

A score of Democratic and Republican candidates for U.S. President have taken positions concerning college affordability and student loans. The details of their proposals may help differentiate among the candidates.

Read more
How to Rollover a Prepaid Tuition Plan to a 529 Savings Plan

Prepaid tuition plans allow families to pre-pay all or a portion of future college costs at today’s prices and can act as a hedge against college inflation. But, prepaid tuition plans are more restrictive than 529 college savings plans, and may not be the best option for some students. Here are some things to consider before you rollover a prepaid tuition plan to a 529 college savings plan.

Read more
Historical Federal Student Loan Interest Rates and Fees

The interest rates on federal student loans are among the lowest interest rates available to college students. Interest rates on Federal student loans reset annually on July 1, based on the last 10-year Treasury Note auction in May. Previously the interest rates were pegged to the 91-day T-Bill, 12-month T-Bill or Constant Maturity Treasury (CMT).

Read more
Historical Federal Student Loan Limits

Federal student loans have annual and aggregate limits on the maximum amounts that may be borrowed. These dollar limits are in addition to cost of attendance caps on the amounts that may be borrowed. The loan limits depend on degree level, year-in-school and dependency status.

Read more
Student Loan Servicers

A student loan servicer performs customer service functions for a student loan, such as sending out statements and coupon books, collecting payments and responding to borrower questions. The servicer may also provide a secure web site that borrowers can used to review their loan status, current balance information and payment history, and to make payments on their loans.

Read more
Student Loan Repayment Assistance Programs

Employers offer their employees student loan repayment assistance as a recruiting and retention tool. With a student loan repayment assistance program, or LRAP, the employer makes monthly student loan payments to the employee’s lender, helping the employee to repay their student loans quicker.

Read more
College is More Affordable when Families Plan Ahead

More families had a plan to pay for college than last year, according to Sallie Mae’s 12th annual “How America Pays for College” report, 44% compared to 40%. The families who planned ahead had more available options, spent more money on college and were more satisfied with their college decision and how they paid for it.

Read more
How to Help a Teen Save for College with 529 Plan Gifting

It’s important to benchmark your college savings progress as your child enters their teenage years. If you find your savings are coming up short of your goal, you may want to consider asking friends and family to make a 529 plan gift contribution. Every dollar contributed to your teen’s 529 plan is one dollar less they will have to borrow in student loans.

Read more
Student Loan Statistics

More than two-thirds of Bachelor’s degree recipients in the Class of 2019 graduated with an average of $29,900 in student loan debt. Collectively, 45 million student loan borrowers owe $1.6 trillion in federal and private student loan debt. These, and other student loan statistics, were first developed by Mark Kantrowitz, the nation’s leading expert on student loan debt.

Read more
Statistics Concerning Student Loan and Borrower Characteristics

As borrowers grow older, they tend to make progress in repaying their student loan debt, to a point. The remaining borrowers are increasingly the ones who struggle to repay their student loans. Older borrowers are more likely to be in deferment, forbearance or default. Student loan debt also varies by the type of college and the location of the college.

Read more
Student Loan Repayment Statistics

Student loan repayment statistics suggest that many student loan borrowers are struggling to repay their student loans. However, these statistics are attributable mostly to borrowers who drop out of college and not to borrowers who graduate. College dropouts have the debt, but not the degrees that can help them repay the debt. Thus, we don’t have a student loan problem, at least not yet, so much as a college completion problem.

Read more
Total Student Loan Debt Outstanding

There is a total of $1.6 trillion in student loan debt outstanding, owed by 45.1 million borrowers, as of Q1 of 2019. Total outstanding student loan debt demonstrates linear growth and will reach $2.0 trillion by the end of 2023 or beginning of 2024, if current trends continue.

Read more
Average Student Loan Debt at Graduation

Two-thirds (69%) of Bachelor’s degree recipients in the class of 2019 graduated with federal and private student loans, an average of $29,900 per borrower. The average parent loan debt was $37,200 among the 14% of parents of Bachelor’s degree recipients who borrowed to pay for their student’s college education. It does not include parent loans borrowed for other children.

Read more
Colleges that Cater to Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

College is a difficult adjustment even for neurotypical students. The lifestyle changes necessitated by college enrollment can be even more of a shock for autistic students. Some colleges offer special programs to address the unique needs of autistic students.

Read more
How to Take Advantage of College Tuition Discounts

With college tuition costs skyrocketing, private colleges are increasingly offering more generous financial aid packages to struggling students – with tuition discount rates doubling in the last decade. What’s behind the tuition discount trend and how can students get in on the deal?

Read more
Earn Cash Back for College this Summer with Upromise

Summer spending season is here. This year, instead of busting your budget, why not earn cash back for college as you enjoy summer fun with your family? Upromise® is a program that helps families save for college by doing the things they do every day. Upromise members can earn cash back each time they shop online through Upromise or dine at participating restaurants.

Read more
Does a Sibling’s 529 Plan Assets Hurt Financial Aid Eligibility?

Assets held in a student’s 529 plan are considered when determining the student’s financial aid eligibility. A sibling’s 529 plan assets may also be considered, depending on whether the sibling’s 529 plan is a parent-owned 529 plan or a custodial 529 plan, and which college the student attends.

Read more
Employer-Paid Tuition Assistance

Some employers offer tuition assistance as an employee benefit. Employees who receive employer paid tuition assistance can exclude up to $5,250 of the benefit from federal income taxes each year, as long as certain qualifications are met. Tax-free education assistance is intended for the employee, but not their spouse or dependents.

Read more
Can You Use a 529 Plan to Pay for Health Insurance?

You cannot use a 529 plan to pay for health insurance, but many colleges require students to have health insurance. College students have the option to stay on their family’s health insurance, enroll in a campus health plan or purchase their own insurance plan.

Read more
Parents are Packing on Parent PLUS Loans, A Big Problem

There’s a disturbing new trend on the college loan borrowing front, and it’s parents and not students who are negatively impacted. The data over the past several years shows that parents who help pay for their children’s college costs are increasingly doing so by borrowing instead of saving.

Read more
Investment Time Horizon

Knowing your investment time horizon will help you select the appropriate mix of investments to help you reach your goals. A parent’s investment time horizon for a 529 plan will depend on their child’s age and whether they are using the funds to pay for college or K-12 tuition.

Read more
How to Evaluate the Risk of Investment Glide Paths

Measuring the risk of age-based investment glide paths and target date funds is challenging because they consist of a series of portfolios, as opposed to a single static portfolio. With a static portfolio, the risk is the percentage of the portfolio’s assets that are invested in equities (e.g., stocks). This white paper defines the risk of an investment glide path as the average of the initial and final percentage equities.

Read more
How to Cut College Admissions Application Fees

College application fees are on the rise, and that’s not good news to students and families who may be applying to multiple colleges. College-bound students spend more than half a billion dollars on college admissions application fees each year.

Read more
Questions to Ask Admissions on a College Campus Visit

Taking your high school student on a college tour is a rite of passage for both the student and the parent. But, too often it doesn’t deliver maximum impact on the family’s college experience because many parents aren’t asking the right questions.

Read more
College Preparation for Autistic Children

Some parents worry about what happens to their college savings if their child doesn’t go to college, perhaps because the child is later discovered to be a special needs child. But, some special needs children can go to college, especially high-functioning children on the autism spectrum.

Read more
What Happens When You Borrow Too Much Money for College?

People who borrow too much money for college may struggle to repay their student loans in a reasonable amount of time. They are more likely to be late with their student loan payments, or even go into default. Missing loan payments ruins their credit, affecting access to credit cards, auto loans and home mortgages. Borrowing too much money can also cause delays in major life-cycle events that are part of the American dream.

Read more
Student Loan Debt Causes Delays in Achieving Major Financial Goals

Borrowing too much money for college can cause delays in major life-cycle events, such as buying a car, getting married, having children, buying a home and saving for retirement. Student loan payments may divert funds that could be used to achieve these financial goals. Although student loan stress correlates with the amount of debt, low income seems to contribute more to student loan default than high debt.

Read more
What Happens When You Default on Student Loans?

When borrowers default on their student loans, the consequences are severe. Default ruins the borrower’s credit, limiting access to future forms of consumer credit. The borrower will have to pay collection charges, which can significantly increase the cost of the debt. The federal government has very strong extrajudicial powers to compel repayment of federal student loans.

Read more
The Best 529 Plan Investments Based on a Child’s Age

Parents should review their 529 plan investment options periodically to make sure they are still on track to meet their goals. With only 18 years from birth to college, your investment objective may change quickly from growth to preserving capital.

Read more
Don’t Let These Myths Stop You from Opening a 529 Plan

To get the most value from your 529 plan, the best time to get started is right not. Don’t let these common misconceptions keep you from opening a 529 plan.

Read more
How to Open an Advisor-Sold 529 College Savings Plan

Advisor-sold 529 plans are only available through licensed financial advisors who work for a broker-dealer or registered investment advisor. A financial advisor may help a family select and open a 529 plan, create a college savings investment strategy and offer guidance when it is time to pay for college.

Read more
New SEC rules require financial advisors to act in investors' best interests

The SEC recently adopted new rules to help protect investors from bad advice, high fees and conflicts of interest when buying investment products from financial advisors. Under the new rules, financial advisors who earn commissions (brokers) will be held to a higher standard of conduct when recommending investment products such as IRAs and 529 plans.

Read more
What are the Differences between the FAFSA and CSS Profile?

Students submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for college financial aid from the federal government, state government and most colleges and universities. For many colleges and universities, the FAFSA is the only form students need to file. However, some colleges require a supplemental form called the CSS Profile in addition to the FAFSA. The CSS Profile differs from the FAFSA in many ways, including more than twice as many questions.

Read more
Financial Aid Eligibility Requirements

Applicants for federal student aid must satisfy certain eligibility requirements. Other forms of financial aid have similar eligibility requirements, as well as a few additional restrictions, such as age and state residency requirements.

Read more
Citizenship Requirements for Financial Aid Eligibility

Federal student aid is available only to students who are U.S. Citizens, U.S. Nationals, U.S. Permanent Residents or one of a limited number of types of eligible noncitizens. Most state, college and private scholarship programs use similar criteria for their own financial aid programs.

Read more
How to Apply for Financial Aid for College

Financial aid can be complicated, but the steps you need to take to apply for financial aid are simple. File the FAFSA and, if necessary, the CSS Profile. File these forms every year, even if you got nothing other than loans last year. Also, search and apply for scholarships. The only way to get financial aid is to apply.

Read more
Dual Enrollment vs. AP Classes

Dual enrollment and Advanced Placement (AP) classes both offer an opportunity for high school students to earn college credit while in high school. However, there are some key differences between AP and dual enrollment classes, such as how college credit is earned and the availability and costs of classes.

Read more
10 Rules for Superfunding a 529 Plan

Superfunding is a term sometimes used to describe large 529 plan contributions using 5-year gift tax averaging. It can be a great way to jumpstart a child's or grandchild's college savings account, since it allows individuals to contribute a big lump sum in one year without gift tax consequences. Here are a few rules and tips to keep in mind when considering superfunding a 529 plan.

Read more
Which College Expenses Qualify for Education Tax Benefits?

The federal government offers a number of tax incentives to help offset college costs. Tuition and fees always count as a qualified expense for these tax incentives, but other expenses, such as room and board and transportation, may or may not be covered depending on the education tax benefit.

Read more
Which is best: 529 college savings plan or Roth IRA?

It’s safe to assume that many families have added college planning to their list of financial resolutions for 2015. The average cost of sending a child to a four-year public university is over $75,000 today, which means if you have a young child you can expect to pay over $150,000 when their time comes. If you have more than one child or choose a private school, your total college costs could easily end up totaling more than the price of your home.

Read more
Student Loans Will Cost You Double

Every dollar you borrow will cost about two dollars by the time you repay the debt. So, before you use student loan money to pay for something, ask yourself if you’d still buy it at twice the price.

Read more
Some Colleges Have Very High Parent Borrowing Rates

Nationally, more than 14 percent of parents of Bachelor's degree recipients borrowed Federal Parent PLUS loans to help their children pay for college. At some colleges, however, a much greater percentage of parents are taking on parent loans. This is especially true at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Read more
Can Saving $10 Per Week Really Pay Half a Student’s Student Loan Debt?

New data from the College Savings Plan Network (CSPN) estimates that just $10 stashed away per week in a 529 plan will raise about $15,000 in 18 years. That’s half of the estimated student loan debt facing new graduates, according to CSPN. Does this really work?

Read more
How to Choose a Bank Account for New College Students

Incoming college freshman have a long “must do” checklist before they hit campus, and getting a good bank account should be at the top of that list. A bank account provides a way for new college students to organize and manage their money, while teaching them to be stronger stewards of their (likely) limited finances.

Read more
Is there an Income Cutoff on Eligibility for Financial Aid?

Parents sometimes wonder whether it is worthwhile to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), especially if they think their income is too high to qualify for need-based financial aid. But, there are no simple income cutoffs on financial aid eligibility, in part due to the complexity of financial aid formulas.

Read more
Should I Pay Off My Mortgage Early or Save for College?

Instead of saving for college in a 529 plan, some families pay off their mortgage early to free up future cash flow. Families should consider their mortgage interest rate, the liquidity of their assets and whether or not they plan to stay in their home before deciding to pay off their mortgage early.

Read more
Saving for College While Repaying Your Own Student Loans

Parents who are still repaying their own student loans, but have to save for their own children’s college costs, are between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Some parents are stuck repaying student loans they borrowed as college students themselves or loans they borrowed on behalf of their older college-bound children, with younger siblings still needing college financing help.

Read more
How Do State Funding Cuts Affect Tuition Inflation?

In the quest to diagnose the cause of rising tuition costs, state disinvestment has emerged as one of the more likely explanations. Cuts to education funding are low-hanging fruit in times of economic exigency. Even when the economy recovers, funding typically does not return to prior levels and thus inflated tuition persists.

Read more
Everything you need to know about Parent PLUS Loans

If you're a parent considering a PLUS loan to help pay for your child's education, read on for everything you need to know first.

Read more
Everything you need to know about the Federal PLUS Loan

The Federal PLUS Loan is an unsubsidized federal education loan for graduate students and for parents of dependent undergraduate students. The Federal PLUS Loan, also known as a Federal Direct PLUS Loan, is available after the student exhausts eligibility for Federal Stafford Loans.

Read more
Everything you need to know about the Federal Stafford Loan

The Federal Stafford Loan, also known as the Federal Direct Loan, is the largest and most popular student loan program. The Federal Stafford Loans are low-cost loans borrowed by students to pay for their college education.

Read more
How Single Parents Can Save for their Children’s College Education

Single parents – especially single moms who struggle to obtain adequate child support and have to live on a single income – have an uphill climb in generating enough college savings for their children. The good news is that there are ways for single moms and dads to set aside enough money for college. It isn’t easy, but single parents can get the job done.

Read more
Pros and Cons of Dual Enrollment

Students can save on college costs by earning dual-enrollment credits in high school. Here is a list of the biggest pros and cons to consider when deciding whether or not to take dual-enrollment classes.

Read more
Best STEM Programs and Competitions for Gifted Students

As the parent of a gifted student, you want to make sure your child gets the best opportunities to challenge and enrich them. While a challenging school curriculum is an excellent start, special programs and competitions for STEM students can give talented science and math students extra advantages, including college credits, scholarships and networking opportunities.

Read more
AARP: Student Loan Crisis Affects Older Americans Too

A new student loan study from the American Association of Retired People (AARP) reports that the student loan balances are growing most rapidly among older Americans. Student loan default rates also increase with borrower age.

Read more
What is Dual Enrollment?

Dual enrollment classes are college-level classes that count for high school and college credit. Students who complete dual enrollment classes generally take fewer classes in college and save money on total college costs.

Read more
Transferring Colleges? Check these Items off Your List First

Making the decision to transfer colleges is one that college students shouldn’t take lightly. Consider that all of your credits may not transfer, financial aid does not transfer and when you transfer matters. But, students who successfully transfer are more likely to graduate.

Read more
An Insider’s Guide to College Merit Scholarships

Scholarships and non-need-based grants are a great way to curb college costs, but getting merit aid isn’t easy. Merit scholarships are awarded to high-achieving students. But, it’s not just about academics, although high grades and admissions test scores are a significant factor in the merit scholarship calculus. Other important attributes include demonstrating strong leadership qualities, volunteering and superior abilities in a specific area.

Read more
Can you pay for dual enrollment classes with a 529 plan?

Students may use a 529 plan to pay for dual enrollment tuition and fees at an eligible institution. However, 529 plan distributions used to pay for other dual enrollment expenses, such as books and supplies, are considered non-qualified.

Read more
Refinancing with a State Education Lender

Some borrowers can lower their interest payments and simplify their finances by refinancing their federal and private student loans with a state education lender. State agencies and state chartered non-profit corporations have a funding advantage that enables them to make loans with lower interest rates than commercial lenders.

Read more
Taking a Semester Off? Make These Moves with Your Student Loans

Taking a semester off from college doesn’t have to be a big deal, but it can be if you don’t handle the financial side of the equation correctly. When you drop below half-time enrollment, your student loans start using up the grace period before repayment begins. Interest on unsubsidized and private student loans will be charged.

Read more
529 Plans Remain a Mystery for Most Americans

A new study from Edward Jones revealed that Americans lack knowledge about the features and tax benefits offered by 529 plans. Few parents ranked saving for college as a top financial goal and 36% do not save for college at all.

Read more
Are Lavish Facilities Responsible for Tuition Inflation?

Pundits try to pin the cause of tuition inflation on various factors, such as the increasing availability of student loans, reductions in state funding, rising numbers of highly paid administrators, and increases in enrollment. A pet theory in the popular press blames investment in lavish recreational facilities and luxury dormitories. Contributing factors include tuition discounting, technology and economic change, and regulatory costs. But, no single factor fully accounts for tuition inflation.

Read more
How to Have the College Money Talk with your Children

If parents don’t talk to their children about college affordability and student loans, who will? Talking to your children about paying for college and student loans can be an uncomfortable subject. Parents sometimes struggle to have these conversations with their children. However, it’s best that your children hear about these topics from you first, rather than learn the hard lessons that come with enrolling at a high-cost college and borrowing too much money.

Read more
Hidden College Costs

Not all college costs appear on the college bill, which is often limited to tuition and required fees. Sometimes room and board will be included, if the student is living in campus housing. But, hidden college costs can add hundreds or thousands of dollars of unanticipated expenses each year. Most students should budget for an additional $300 to $500 per month for extra costs.

Read more
Are Custodial Accounts a Good Option for Parents Saving for College?

Custodial savings accounts are getting a closer look from parents saving for college, with about 2 percent of parents using them to save for college. They work just like bank savings accounts and anyone in (or out) of the family can contribute to custodial accounts for college, among other benefits. Recent changes in the tax treatment of custodial accounts have reduced the financial benefits of saving for college in a custodial account.

Read more
How to Get Friends and Family to Pitch in on College Savings

For many parents, convincing friends and family to give the gift of college stills feels a bit awkward. These tips will give you a few ideas on how to get friends and family to pitch in and help grow the dollars in your child’s college fund. Birthdays, baby showers, graduations and major holidays all present an opportunity to get a gift with a long-term impact on the child's future instead of the usual wrapping paper and cardboard boxes.

Read more
Are Scholarships Taxable?

Scholarships used to pay for tuition and textbooks are generally tax-free, while scholarship amounts used to pay for other college costs, such as housing, meal plans and transportation, are taxable. The student must also be a degree candidate for the scholarships to be excluded from income. The scholarship also cannot be fee for services, with a few exceptions.

Read more
FDIC-insured 529 plans (2019 edition)

Savingforcollege.com has published an update of FDIC-insured and NCUA-insured products in the marketplace for 2019. The report, first published in 2017, compares the federally-insured investment options offered by 529 college savings plans.

Read more
Can You Rollover Funds from a 529 Plan to a Coverdell ESA?

You cannot rollover funds from a 529 Plan to a Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA). However, Coverdell ESAs allow tax-free outbound rollovers to other Coverdell ESAs and to 529 plans with the same beneficiary or a beneficiary who is a family member of the current beneficiary.

Read more
Interest Rates on Federal Student Loans Drop for 2019-2020

Interest rates on federal student loans decrease by a bit more than half a percentage point for new loans made on or after July 1, 2019. The new interest rates are 4.529% for Federal Stafford loans for undergraduate students, 6.079% for Federal Stafford loans for graduate students and 7.079% for Federal PLUS loans.

Read more
Avoid these 8 Mistakes When Opening a New 529 Plan Account

Parents should carefully consider all of their options when setting up a new 529 plan account to save for college. Making the wrong decision can be costly and detrimental to a family’s college savings. Here are six common mistakes to avoid when opening a new 529 plan.

Read more
18 States Offer FDIC-Insured 529 Plan Options

18 states offer 529 plan options that are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), including high yield savings accounts and bank certificates of deposit (CDs). FDIC-insured investments are suitable for families who want to preserve capital in their 529 plan without taking on excess risk.

Read more
Senator Marco Rubio Proposes a New Type of Federal Student Loan

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) proposes to replace interest with a fixed financing fee that is added to the loan balance. The financing fees will be 25% for Federal Direct Stafford Loans and 38% for Federal Direct PLUS Loans. Financing fees may be easier for borrowers to understand than level amortization of traditional student loans.

Read more
When to consider a Coverdell ESA to 529 plan rollover

Up until recently, the Coverdell ESA was the only tax-advantaged account designed to save for elementary and high school expenses. But the signing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017 expanded the definition of 529 plan qualified higher education expenses to include $10,000 per year in K-12 tuition, giving families another option.

Read more
The Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax and 529 Plan Contributions

The Generation-Skipping Transfer tax (GST) is a federal tax on 529 plan contributions and other property transferred to a beneficiary who is at least 37 ½ years younger than the donor. Since the GST was introduced in 1976, wealthy grandparents can no longer avoid taxation by “skipping” their own children and leaving inheritance directly to their grandchildren.

Read more
College Savings Makeovers

College is a major expense, and families without a plan for their children could risk jeopardizing their retirement and future financial independence. New parents, parents of high school students and grandparents all turn to financial advisors for help with college planning.

Read more
When Is a Federal Consolidation Loan a Good Idea?

Consolidating several federal student loans into a single Federal Direct Consolidation Loan may help student loan borrowers lower their monthly loan payments and simplify their finances. Consolidation also provides parent borrowers with access to income-driven repayment and loan forgiveness options. But, consolidation resets the clock on Public Service Loan Forgiveness to zero and prevents borrowers from targeting the highest-rate loans for quicker repayment.

Read more
How to choose a 529 plan

With so many 529 plans to choose from, we know that getting started can be a little overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. Here's how to find the best 529 plan in four easy steps.

Read more
Do Student Loans Cause Graduates to Boomerang?

Millennials have been dubbed the “boomerang generation.” After moving out of their parents’ homes and enjoying a period of independence, they move right back in. This has been attributed to everything from the enduring consequences of the Great Recession to shifting social mores to student loans. However, student loan debt does not appear to be among the primary factors driving Millennials back to the nest.

Read more
Private Parent Loans

Even when parents save for college, sometimes the college savings and financial aid falls short of covering the college’s net price. Some parents borrow private parent loans to close the funding gap and ensure that their son or daughter has the funding needed for another year on campus. Private parent loans are like private student loans, but with the parent as the sole borrower.

Read more
Automatic Investing in a 529 Plan

Automatic investing in a 529 plan is a proven strategy to help families save more for college. Families who have to remember to make a 529 plan contribution each month are likely to forget and miss out on potential tax-free earnings growth. Investors will also benefit from dollar-cost averaging.

Read more
When is a State Tax Break Better than Lower Fees on a 529 Plan?

Sometimes, an out-of-state 529 plan may provide a better financial value than an in-state 529 plan. When saving for college, always consider your own state’s 529 college savings plan, if the state offers a state income tax deduction or tax credit based on contributions to the state’s 529 college savings plan. But, an out-of-state 529 plan may offer lower fees. Which option saves more money?

Read more
An Alternative to 529 Plan Superfunding

Superfunding a 529 plan can help jump-start a child’s college savings while sheltering a large amount of assets from the donor’s taxable estate. However, wealthy grandparents may be able to make a larger tax-free gift by using up part of their lifetime gift and estate tax exemption.

Read more
Who is a Member of the Family of a 529 Plan Beneficiary?

A 529 plan account owner may change the beneficiary at any time without tax consequences when the new beneficiary is a family member of the current beneficiary. The IRS provides a broad definition of family member, which includes the beneficiary’s blood relatives and relatives by marriage and adoption.

Read more
Celebrate 529 College Savings Day

Many states are promoting May 29 (5/29) as a day with special meaning, and are looking to boost interest and participation in their 529 savings programs with various sweepstakes, contests and incentives.

Read more
How to Open a 529 Plan

This step-by-step guide to opening a 529 college savings plan makes the process easier for parents and grandparents to save for college.

Read more
When You Should Not Change Your 529 Plan Beneficiary

529 plans offer the flexibility to change the beneficiary to a qualifying member of the current beneficiary’s family without tax consequences. However, in some cases changing the beneficiary is not necessary to maximize tax consequences. Here are situations when you should consider keeping your current 529 plan beneficiary.

Read more
How to Choose a College

The deadline for accepting a college’s offer of admission is May 1, otherwise known as Decision Day or the National Candidate’s Reply Date. With just a few weeks before the deadline, how do you decide which college admissions offer to accept?

Read more
Is the Forgiveness of All Student Loans Feasible?

Wouldn’t it be great if student loan debt could just be wiped out? Proponents argue that student loan forgiveness would simultaneously assist debtors and stimulate the economy. Opponents contend that these figures are flawed and inflated, offering little real public policy benefits. Increasing Federal Pell Grant funding would do more to increase college access and success, reducing student debt long-term.

Read more
How much is your state's 529 plan tax deduction really worth?

In addition to federal tax benefits, many states offer full or partial state tax deductions for contributions to a 529 plan. Over 30 states, including the District of Columbia have such incentives available.

Read more
Why You Should Change Your 529 Plan Beneficiary

Families may change the beneficiary on a 529 plan to a qualifying member of the family of the current beneficiary at any time without tax consequences. This flexibility may help families avoid paying taxes and penalties on unused 529 plan funds and can be used as a strategy to avoid limitations around 529 plan rollovers and investment options. Here are several reasons why a family might consider changing their 529 plan beneficiary.

Read more
Get Aggressive about College Savings

If you think the price of college is astronomical today, wait to you hear about the cost of a college education 20 years from now. To ensure that you can afford to pay for a top college tomorrow, you need to get aggressive about college savings today.

Read more
How to Change the Beneficiary on Your 529 Plan

529 plans are designed to help save for the future education costs of a single beneficiary. However, the 529 plan account owner may change the beneficiary to a qualifying family member at any time without tax consequences by completing a form on the 529 plan’s website.

Read more
Master College Work-Study Programs with These Timely Tips

A new report states that colleges can do much better with work-study programs, especially in the area of matching up students with work-study jobs that mirror their career intentions. The report has practical implications for students who seek part-time student employment on or near campus.

Read more
Last-Minute Financial Aid Tips

You just got your financial aid award letter, but the financial aid package isn’t enough. What can you do to bridge the gap between the financial aid you received and the money you need to pay for college?

Read more
How to Reduce Student Loan Stress

College graduates who have student loans are more likely to suffer from stress and depression than college students who graduate without student loan debt. Understanding the causes of student loan stress can help borrowers address these challenges and take steps to reduce their student loan stress.

Read more
Advantages of Advisor-Sold 529 Plans

Families saving for college may choose to invest in an advisor-sold 529 plan or a direct-sold 529 plan. Direct-sold 529 plans typically have lower fees, but advisor-sold 529 plans offer unique advantages that may be worth the extra cost to some investors.

Read more
How to Open a 529 Plan in Texas

This step-by-step guide to enrolling in Texas’s 529 college savings plans makes it easier for Texas parents and grandparents to open a 529 plan.

Read more
How to Open a 529 Plan in Florida

This step-by-step guide to enrolling in Florida’s 529 college savings plan makes the process easier for parents and grandparents to save for college.

Read more
Florida 529 Plan Contribution Limits

There are no annual contribution limits for Florida 529 plans, other than the annual gift tax exclusion and 5-year gift-tax averaging. Florida 529 plans have a high cumulative contribution limit of $418,000 per beneficiary.

Read more
Texas 529 Plan Contribution Limits

There are no annual contribution limits for Texas 529 plans, other than the annual gift tax exclusion and 5-year gift-tax averaging. Texas 529 plans have a cumulative contribution limit of $370,000 per beneficiary.

Read more
Tax Benefits of Florida 529 Plans

Florida 529 plans offer the standard federal and state tax benefits, but do not offer any special state income tax benefits on contributions to the 529 plans because Florida does not have a personal state income tax.

Read more
Tax Benefits of Texas 529 Plans

Texas 529 plans offer the standard federal and state tax benefits, but do not offer any special state income tax benefits on contributions to the Texas College Savings Plan or Lonestar 529 Plan. Texas does not have a personal state income tax.

Read more
Federal vs. Private Student Loans

Families have several options for financing college costs, including federal student loans, federal parent loans, private student loans and private parent loans. Most borrowers should look to federal loan programs first, as they typically have more favorable terms than those available from private lenders.

Read more
Bill Moves Forward to Allow 529 Plans to Repay Student Loans

The House Ways and Means Committee unanimously passed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, which aims to improve savings habits in the United States. The legislation proposes expanding the benefits of 529 plans, including adding student loan repayments as a qualified expense.

Read more
The Reason Why Some Parents Do Not Save for College

Not much is known about the reasons why some parents do not save for college. But, one possibility is that nobody is periodically telling them about the need to save for college.

Read more
Student Loans Will Follow You to the End of Time

Most types of debt, aside from child support and taxes, are subject to a statute of limitations, typically ranging from three to six years, and in some cases up to fifteen years dating from the last activity on the account in question. This means that while the debt does not disappear, creditors are prevented from winning a judgment against the debtor in court in order to collect after that period. Private student loans have a statute of limitations, but federal student loans do not.

Read more
How to Rollover U.S. Savings Bonds into a 529 Plan

Interest on certain U.S. savings bonds is excluded from income if the savings bonds are used to pay for qualified higher education expenses or rolled over into a 529 college savings plan, prepaid tuition plan or Coverdell education savings account. The process for reporting a savings bond rollover can be a little confusing, but nevertheless is straightforward.

Read more
Six Signs It Might Be Time to Switch 529 Plans

The 529 plan you choose can have a big impact on your ending balance when it's time to pay for college. However, a family's needs may change over time and sometimes it makes sense to switch 529 plans. Here are some of the most common reasons why a family might consider switching 529 plans.

Read more
U.S. Department of Education Discriminates against Zombies

A review of guidance published by the U.S. Department of Education demonstrates that the U.S. Department of Education discriminates against zombies in the awarding of federal student aid funds. The guidance also uses insensitive language that offends the undead, such as repeated references to “living expenses.” This is despite the fact that some senior members of the administration may, in fact, be zombies themselves.

Read more
The Real Deal on Student Loan Income-Driven Repayment Plans

Income-driven repayment plans can help student loan borrowers buried by burdensome debt. These repayment plans establish a more affordable student loan payment by basing the monthly loan payment on the borrower’s ability to pay, as a percentage of the borrower’s discretionary income. But, these student loan repayment plans may not work for everybody:

Read more
How to Pay Off Your Student Loans by Age 30

This article describes several different scenarios in which a borrower can pay off their student loans by age 30. One involves total student loan debt equal to annual income. Another involves total student loan debt that significantly exceeds annual income.

Read more
Signs a Student Loan Repayment Company Might Be a Scam

Student loan borrowers have enough on their plates without being victimized by unscrupulous student loan debt repayment firms. Whether it’s an unscrupulous debt consolidation scam or a loan services company that promises to eliminate your loans entirely, student loan borrowers need to take aggressive steps to protect themselves from financial fraudsters – who seem to be everywhere these days. Beware of companies that charge up-front fees for credit repair services.

Read more
Are Private Student Loans Eligible for Loan Forgiveness?

With many private student loan borrowers graduating with excessive student loan debt, one of the biggest hopes these borrowers have is student loan forgiveness. However, finding loan forgiveness for private student loans can feel like a daunting task. In general, there isn’t a lot you can do if you want your private student loans forgiven. However, there are some circumstances in which a private student loan might be discharged.

Read more
How to Compare Student Loans

Borrowers have a lot to consider when comparing student loan programs. In addition to the interest rate and fees paid on the loan, applicants need to determine whether a fixed or variable interest rate is the better option, and which repayment terms make the most sense for their circumstances. Lender flexibility and customer service may also be important, especially if the borrower encounters difficulty repaying the loan. Total payments should be considered in addition to monthly loan payments.

Read more
How to Switch 529 Plans

Almost every state has at least one 529 plan, and each 529 plan is unique in terms of fees, underlying investments and available benefits. When a 529 plan no longer meets a family’s needs, it might make sense to switch 529 plans by rolling the funds into a new 529 plan.

Read more
What is the Difference between Student Loan Delinquency and Default?

When a borrower fails to make payments by the due date, their student loan may be reclassified to a dreaded “d” category — delinquency or default. A student loan is delinquent if any payments are past due. If the loan installments remain past due for long enough, the student loan eventually is placed in default.

Read more
Why Do Some Students Borrow Private Student Loans?

The majority of student loans are federal. Federal student loans are a popular option because they offer low fixed interest rates, flexible repayment, no credit check (except for PLUS loans) and loan forgiveness. Nonetheless, some students choose to borrow private student loans. Here are some reasons why.

Read more
Federal Student Loans Provide Superior Benefits

Students should borrow federal first, because federal student loans offer superior benefits as compared with private student loans. Federal student loans are better than private student loans. Parent loans and private student loans should be considered only after the student has reached the loan limits on federal student loans.

Read more
Lifetime Learning Tax Credit

The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit (LLTC) allows eligible taxpayers to claim an annual tax credit of up to $2,000 to help cover college and continuing education costs for themselves, a spouse or dependent children. The LLTC can be claimed once per taxpayer per year and for an unlimited number of years.

Read more
Pitfalls of Parent Loans

After a student reaches the federal student loan limits, parents can borrow to help their children pay for college through Federal Parent PLUS loans, private parent loans and by cosigning private student loans. These borrowing options, however, come with several potential pitfalls.

Read more
How to Withdraw Money from Your 529 Plan

Money saved in a 529 plan can be withdrawn tax-free to pay for qualified education expenses. It’s up to the 529 plan account owner to calculate the amount of the tax-free distribution and how they want to receive the funds. Withdrawal requests can usually be made on the 529 plan’s website, by telephone or by mail.

Read more
Can You Use a 529 Plan to Pay for Trade School?

529 plans can be used to pay for postsecondary education at any eligible institution, including trade schools. Trade school programs typically take less than two years to complete, and cost significantly less than a bachelor's degree from a 4-year college.

Read more
Don’t Count on Getting Student Loan Forgiveness

With burgeoning student debt on the minds of matriculants and graduates alike, student loan forgiveness programs offer a sliver of hope to worried borrowers. Those entering certain professions or meeting certain income requirements may qualify for forgiveness of their federal student loans after a certain period. However, many borrowers do not ultimately qualify for student loan forgiveness and the future of student loan forgiveness programs is uncertain.

Read more
Can Mr. Rogers Help Hike 529 Plan Usage?

The College Savings Plan Network (CSPN) is teaming up with Fred Rogers Productions to promote the benefits of a 529 college savings plan. The partnership is aiming their educational campaign at two-year-old eyes locked in on the highly-watched children’s TV show “Daniel Tiger” and the parents who mind them.

Read more
How to Fill a College Savings Gap

Even after years of saving in a 529 plan, many parents come up short when it’s time to pay for college. It may be tempting to dip into retirement savings or take out an excessive amount of student loans to fill the gap but doing so may put your (or your child’s) future financial security at risk.

Read more
Legacy Admissions

Most of the top colleges in the United States consider an applicant’s relation to alumni in the admissions process. This approach, which may give children or relatives of alumni an advantage in the admissions process, is commonly called legacy admissions or legacy preferences. Here’s what you should know about legacy admissions, how it may affect you and why it’s a hotly debated topic in making college access a reality for more students.

Read more
Jump-Start College Savings with a No-Spend Month

Looking for a quick way to boost your child’s college savings? Consider a no-spend month. By limiting purchases to necessities only for 30 days, parents can potentially free up hundreds of dollars to contribute to a 529 plan.

Read more
The Biggest College Financial Aid Package May Not Be the Best One

Deciphering college financial aid letters isn’t easy. Many college financial aid award letters blend student loans, student employment, scholarships and grants together in random fashion, blurring the difference between free money and money that must be earned or repaid. Bigger isn't always better. Consider the net price, not the bigger aid offer. Appeal for more aid, if necessary.

Read more
American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC)

The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) allows eligible parents to claim an annual tax credit of up to $2,500 per student to help cover college costs. The AOTC is also available to dependent students, as long as certain income and other criteria are met. Tax-free distributions from a 529 plan are limited to qualified expenses that were not counted toward the AOTC.

Read more
Great Questions to Ask the College Financial Aid Office

The more you know about financial aid, the better your experience will be for the next four years on campus. To clarify the college financial aid experience, let’s take a deep dive into ten questions every collegian (and his or her parents) should ask when they speak with the college’s financial aid office after receiving the college’s financial aid award letter.

Read more
Young Americans Owe $1 Trillion in Debt, Not Just Student Loans

A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York states that the U.S. 18-to-29-year-old demographic owes a total of $1 trillion in debt, as of December 31, 2018. Student loans represent the largest category of debt, at more than a third of the total.

Read more
Income-Driven Repayment

Income-driven repayment plans base the loan payments on a percentage of the borrower’s discretionary income, as opposed to the amount owed. Generally, if a borrower's total student loan debt at graduation exceeds their annual income, they will have a lower loan payment under an income-driven repayment plan.

Read more
Revised Pay-As-You-Earn Repayment (REPAYE)

Revised pay-as-you-earn repayment (REPAYE) is an updated version of the pay-as-you-earn repayment (PAYE) income-driven repayment plan. It eliminates the eligibility restrictions in the PAYE repayment plan. As with the PAYE plan, loan payments are based on 10 percent of discretionary income. But, loan payments are not capped at standard repayment and there is a marriage penalty. Also, the repayment term is 300 payments (25 years) instead of 240 payments (20 years) if the borrower has any graduate student loans.

Read more
Pay-As-You-Earn Repayment (PAYE)

Pay-as-you-earn repayment (PAYE) is an income-driven repayment plan that bases student loan payments on 10 percent of the borrower’s discretionary income, which is defined as the amount by which adjusted gross income exceeds 150% of the poverty line. The remaining debt is forgiven after 240 payments (20 years). Generally, borrowers whose debt at graduation exceeds two-thirds of their annual income will have a reduced monthly payment under PAYE.

Read more
Income-Based Repayment (IBR)

Income-based repayment (IBR) is an income-driven repayment plan that bases student loan payments on 15 percent of the borrower’s discretionary income. The remaining debt is forgiven after 300 payments (25 years). Generally, borrowers whose debt at graduation exceeds their annual income will have a reduced monthly payment under IBR.

Read more
Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)

Income-contingent repayment (ICR) was the first income-driven repayment plan. Income-driven repayment plans base student loan payments on a percentage of the borrower’s discretionary income, as opposed to the amount owed. Income-driven repayment plans are intended to be a safety net, in case the borrower graduates with too much student loan debt.

Read more
Interest Rates on Federal Consolidation Loans

Federal consolidation loans combine two or more federal student loans into a single loan, with the interest rate based on the weighted average. This can simplify repayment of your student loans. While these loans can be helpful in some cases, it’s important to understand how interest rates on federal consolidation loans work before jumping in.

Read more
What is Discretionary Income?

Discretionary income is the income that remains after subtracting allowances for mandatory expenses, such as taxes and basic living expenses. The term discretionary income is used in connection with financial aid need analysis and income-driven repayment plans.

Read more
The New 401(k)? Employer-Sponsored 529 Plans Shift into High Gear

Parents saving for college tend to look under every rock and couch cushion for some extra cash to cover future college costs. Now, employers are helping by providing easy access to 529 college savings plans with payroll deduction and matching contributions.

Read more
Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers

Teachers may be eligible to cancel their student debt through several different student loan forgiveness programs, including Teacher Loan Forgiveness and Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Learn more about these types of programs and how to qualify and apply.

Read more
Avoid these 529 withdrawal traps

Once you've entered the 529 withdrawal phase, it's important to understand the rules. Here are six mistakes to avoid so that you won't end up paying taxes or penalties.

Read more
Is There a Student Loan Bubble?

At the end of 2018, outstanding student loan debt stood at $1.57 trillion according to the Federal Reserve, up from $1.0 trillion in 2012. Projections put the amount at $2.0 trillion by 2024. Such a large amount of debt raises questions as to whether there is a student loan bubble.

Read more
The Best Tools to Help You Save for College

College is a major expense for most families. 529 plans are designed to help save for college, but many parents are confused about how they work. Fortunately, there are several tools available that help with selecting and opening a 529 plan, scheduling contributions and inviting friends and family to contribute.

Read more
Changes May Be Coming for Selective Service and Financial Aid

A federal court ruling has turned the Selective Service registration requirement on its head, and that could have big ramifications for college students seeking financial aid.

Read more
College Savings Tips for Working Parents

The cost of raising a child from birth to age 17 has risen to $233,610, not including college savings. Even households with two working parents may struggle to find room in their budget for 529 plan contributions. But, there are ways working parents can take advantage of their additional income to cover a child’s future education costs.

Read more
How to Afford College Textbooks

For many college students, textbooks are a big part of out-of-pocket costs. According to a recent Cengage survey, buying textbooks and course materials are a top source of financial stress for students, second only to tuition expenses. Before heading to the campus bookstore, students should consider other ways to access textbooks, such as renting, borrowing or buying used editions.

Read more
Using your 529 plan to pay for room and board

Room and board costs make up a large portion of a student’s total college bill, second only to tuition. If you’ve been saving for college in a 529 plan you can withdraw funds tax-free to pay for room and board, but only if certain requirements are met.

Read more
States that Do Not Conform with Federal 529 Plan Tax Laws

529 plans were added to the Internal Revenue Code in 1996 to authorize federal tax-free status of qualified tuition plans. Federal tax benefits of 529 plans include tax-deferred investment growth, tax-free distributions for qualified education expenses including up to $10,000 in K-12 tuition and tax-free 529 plan rollovers. However, some states do not fully conform with the federal laws regarding qualified tuition programs.

Read more
The Fine Art of Writing a College Scholarship Essay

College scholarships can be a valuable item – maybe the most valuable item - in your college funding toolbox. Scholarships are free money that do not need to be repaid, and come with the gift of prestige. The path to earning a scholarship is filled with lessons learned that you can apply for a lifetime.

Read more
Alphabeticity Bias in 529 Plan Portfolio Selection

When faced with complicated decisions, such as a choice among many possible 529 plan portfolios, consumers often choose the first option listed. Since portfolios are typically listed in alphabetical order, this can lead to a preference for portfolios with names that begin with letters earlier in the alphabet, called alphabeticity bias.

Read more
How to Pay for College without Student Loans

Student loans are designed to help college students pay for the cost of their education. But with an average student loan balance of nearly $30,000 for a Bachelor’s degree alone, it’s worth looking for other ways to pay for college.

Read more
How to Save More for College

Many parents have trouble saving money for college. After day-to-day expenses and competing financial priorities, it may seem like there is little leftover to fund a 529 plan. But, in some cases what seems like a monetary problem is actually a psychological problem that can be fixed by changing your habits.

Read more
6 ways to spend leftover 529 plan money

It's every parent's dream: your child gets a gigantic scholarship to college and you've got thousands of dollars leftover in your college savings account. What to do?

Read more
What Should You Do If Your FAFSA Requires Verification?

About one in three financial aid applications are selected for verification. The family is required to verify financial records listed on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form before they can receive college financial aid.

Read more
Emergency Student Aid Programs

Some colleges offer students money for emergencies on top of the financial aid they already receive. Knowing that emergency student aid programs exist, and how to ask for financial help, can save students hundreds of dollars or more in unforeseen costs. It can also prevent students from dropping out of college because of a relatively small but unexpected bill.

Read more
The Complexity of Payroll Withholding for Student Loan Payments

Senator Lamar Alexander has proposed automatically deducting student loan payments from borrowers’ paychecks. This is an elegant idea that would save the federal government about $1 billion a year in collection costs. Payroll withholding of student loan payments isn’t as simple as it might seem initially, but the problems aren’t insurmountable.

Read more
What you can pay for with a 529 plan

529 plans offer tax-free withdrawals when the funds are used to pay for qualified higher education expenses. In general, this includes costs of attending an eligible college or university. Starting January 1, 2018, this definition is expanded to include up to $10,000 in K-12 tuition expenses per beneficiary per year.

Read more
What you can't pay for with a 529 plan

529 plans are tax-advantaged accounts designed to save for college, but the tax benefits are only available when the funds are used to pay for qualified expenses. Distributions used to pay for some college expenses are considered non-qualified and may be subject to income tax and a 10 percent penalty on the earnings portion.

Read more
How Do Student Loans Work?

If you need money for college, you might be considering a student loan. But before you apply for one, it’s important to understand how they work.

Read more
New Year’s Resolutions to Help Pay Off Student Loans

February is the month of lapsed New Year’s resolutions. Forget about the ones you won’t keep, and instead, focus your energy on your financial health. Several small, easy steps can build a strong foundation that will help reduce and eventually eliminate your student loan debt.

Read more
How Does Your State’s 529 Plan Income Tax Benefit Work?

Taxpayers in over 30 states may claim a state income tax deduction or tax credit for contributions to a 529 plan. However, each state has its own rules regarding the type of tax benefit, and the amount of 529 plan contributions eligible for a state tax deduction or credit each year. Understanding how 529 plan state income tax benefits work can help parents make an informed decision when selecting a 529 plan for their child.

Read more
History of Student Loans: Bankruptcy Discharge

Until 1976, student loan debt could be discharged in bankruptcy proceedings. That year, largely baseless claims that student debtors were abusing the bankruptcy system led to the first restrictions on bankruptcy discharge of student loan debt. These restrictions were tightened even further in the ensuing decades. Little progress has been made in reversing them despite concern that they have unfairly biased the system against indebted college graduates.

Read more
How Do Student Loans Affect Your Credit Scores?

Federal and private student loans are reported to the three major U.S. credit bureaus. Like any other debt, delinquencies and defaults will affect the credit history and credit scores of the borrower and the borrower's cosigner, if any. But, there are also several ways in which student loans affect credit scores differently than other types of debt.

Read more
Don't Count on Using a 529 Plan for State Tax Breaks on K-12 Tuition

The definition of qualified higher education expenses now includes tuition at K-12 schools. However, in some states, 529 plan distributions used to pay for K-12 tuition may be taxable at the state level, and any state income tax benefits claimed may be subject to recapture.

Read more
How Does Your Credit Score Affect Student Loan Interest Rates?

With federal student loans, everyone pays the same interest rate, regardless of their credit scores. With private student loans, on the other hand, your credit score (and the credit score of your cosigner) has a major impact on what interest rate you ultimately pay. If you have excellent credit, you may even qualify for a lower interest rate that is competitive with the fixed interest rates on federal loans.

Read more
My Child Turned 18. Can I Still Claim a 529 State Tax Benefit?

Families who contribute to a 529 plan may be eligible for a state income tax deduction or credit, depending on where they live. A state income tax benefit may be claimed each year contributions are made, including before, during and after the beneficiary attends college.

Read more
Are 529 Plan Contributions Tax Deductible When Used for K-12?

Contributions to a 529 plan are made with after-tax dollars, and therefore are not tax deductible at the federal level. However, some families using a 529 plan to pay for K-12 tuition may qualify for a state income tax deduction or tax credit for 529 plan contributions.

Read more
Who Is Responsible for a Student Loan in Case of Divorce?

When a married couple gets divorced or separated, who is responsible for repaying the student loans and parent loans? The answer depends on whether the loans were borrowed before or during the marriage, whether the couple lives in a community property state, whether there is a prenuptial agreement and whether the ex-spouse cosigned the loans.

Read more
Credit Cards for College Students

Now that your child is legally an adult and is college-bound, he or she might be eager to get their first credit card. Although credit cards have long been a hallmark of financial independence for young people, today, students under 21 face greater credit card barriers than previous generations.

Read more
How to Automate Your Student Loan Payments

Have you ever been gripped by nausea because you suddenly remember you missed a payment? Automating your bills, especially your student loans, will help relieve your worries. Automation within the financial world is easy and protects your financial health. Auto-pay will automatically withdraw your student loan payment from your checking account. You may even save some money, along with peace of mind.

Read more
Should You Refinance Federal Student Loans into Private Student Loans?

Student loan refinancing offers lower interest rates, better repayment terms, and consolidated payments. But refinancing is not for everyone. Consider the pros and cons of refinancing federal loans into private student loans carefully before moving forward.

Read more
Women Owe Two-Thirds of Student Loan Debt

While student loan debt impacts both men and women, women shoulder the greater share of the burden. According to a study from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), women owe more money and struggle more to pay it off, making student loan debt a serious women’s issue. Given high levels of student loan stress, it’s no wonder that borrowers delay getting married, buying a home and having children.

Read more
Rehabilitation of Defaulted Federal Student Loans

If you’re in default with one or more of your federal student loans, you’re not alone. In the last few years, about 10% to 15% of borrowers have defaulted within three years of entering repayment. If you are in default, though, there is a way out called rehabilitation. Rehabilitation clears the default from your credit history and stops wage garnishment and the offset of income tax refunds.

Read more
Using a 529 plan to pay for K-12? These states offer tax benefits.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act expanded the definition of 529 plan qualified expenses to include up to $10,000 per year in K-12 tuition. Twenty-one states have conformed to the new tax law, and offer a state tax deduction or credit for 529 plan contributions when the funds are used to pay for K-12 tuition.

Read more
History of Student Loans: The Bennett Hypothesis

In a 1987 op-ed in the New York Times entitled “Our Greedy Colleges,” then-Education Secretary William J. Bennett ventured a theory that linked federal loan subsidies and the rising cost of tuition. His hypothesis has dominated debates surrounding the cost of postsecondary education for decades.

Read more
How to Maximize Financial Aid for Out-of-State Colleges

If you’re a student or family member looking for a better financial deal from an out-of-state college, there are a few rules of the road you’re going to need to follow. Public colleges do indeed aggressively charge higher prices for academic entrance to state colleges and universities, when dealing with out-of-state and international students. But, there are options that can help defray the cost.

Read more
What Are the Key Differences among Age-Based Asset Allocations?

Differences in performance of age-based investment glide paths are attributable to several key characteristics in the asset allocations. Savingforcollege.com analyzed 180 age-based investment options offered by all 85 of the 529 college savings plans for which data was available in Q3 of 2018. The report, Characteristic Differences among Age-Based Investment Glide Paths, identifies eight key characteristics that contribute to differences in investment performance.

Read more
Federal Student Loan Myths

Federal student loans make it possible for you to pay for a college education, but like any debt, you should be smart about it. Here are a few of the myths about federal student loans and the facts that will help you make informed decisions about your student loans.

Read more
Marriage Penalties with Student Loans

Getting married to the love of your life is exhilarating, but when the honeymoon is over and couples have to make tough financial decisions it can become stressful. Knowing about marriage penalties with student loans can help you make informed choices on how to file your taxes and budget your earnings after you say, “I do.”

Read more
Beware of the New College Student Tax Penalty

The loss of the personal exemption in the tax cut legislation implicitly creates a new tax on college students. Although the Child Tax Credit was doubled to compensate for the loss of the personal exemption, the tax credit is available only for children under age 17. The new tax credit for other dependents does not fully compensate for the lost personal exemption for college students, since it is worth less than half as much.

Read more
What is the Difference between a Cosigner and a Credit Reference?

Most students will not qualify for a private student loan on their own, due to a thin or nonexistent credit history. More than 90% of undergraduate private student loans require a creditworthy cosigner. The role of a cosigner can be confusing, especially for a parent who is new to student loans. Cosigners sometimes believe that they are merely giving a credit reference, to assure the lender that the student fully intends to pay back the loan. In reality, a cosigner is taking on a much more serious legal and financial obligation.

Read more
Student Loan Debt Hinders Retirement Plans for Baby Boomers

A report from Guardian Life Insurance Co. revealed that Baby Boomers are the fastest-growing category of student loan debtors. Over half of 54- to 60-year-olds say college debt is preventing them from meeting financial goals, including retirement. Baby Boomers with student loan debt may consider refinancing their loans or exploring employer loan repayment assistance.

Read more
Unum Offers Innovative Student Debt Relief Program

Hundreds of companies are offering Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAPs) to help employees repay their student loans. Financial protection provider Unum is expanding on this concept by allowing employees to exchange leftover paid time off (PTO) for student loan relief.

Read more
What is a Grace Period?

A grace period on a student loan is a break between the end of school and the start of repayment. The grace period starts when the student graduates or drops below half-time enrollment. Most grace periods last six months, but some loans do not have a grace period.

Read more
What Should You Look for In a College Meal Plan?

Choosing your meal plan on campus isn’t usually a high priority for college students and their families – but maybe it should be. Nobody’s ever going to call it fine dining, but a college student has to eat, and since there is usually a price tag attached to that experience, you might as well select the best meal plan you can – and understand how to maximize that scenario.

Read more
More Americans Give the Gift of College, Setting 529 Plan Records

Many 529 plans reported double-digit increases in gift contributions during the 2018 holiday season. This could be a sign that grandparents and other loved ones are becoming more comfortable with giving the gift of college. Parents may also be taking advantage of online tools and registries offered by 529 plans that make asking for gifts and receiving gifts easier.

Read more
How to Choose a High-Yield Savings Account

High-yield savings accounts offer higher interest rates than traditional savings accounts. High-yield savings accounts are good options for college students, parents and recent college graduates. But, how do you choose the high-yield savings account that best meets your needs?

Read more
Can a 529 Plan Be Used to Pay for Summer Camp?

You cannot use a 529 plan to pay for summer camp costs. Summer camp expenses can add up, but there are ways families can bring costs down. For college students, 529 plans can be used to pay for study abroad and other summer programs offered through an eligible college or university.

Read more
TEACH Grants Undergo Deadline and Reconsideration Makeover

The U.S. Department of Education is tweaking its Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant, standardizing the certification dates and issuing a new rule on allowable instances where grant recipients can “reconsider” grants that have turned to student loans.

Read more
What You Need to Know about the TEACH Grant

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education, or TEACH Grant, provides up to $4,000 per year in grants to help pay for college. However, if the grant recipient fails to teach for four of the eight years after graduation, the grant will turn into a loan, with interest accruing retroactively from the date of disbursement.

Read more
How Student Loan Debt Affects Home Ownership

Student loan debt is commonly reported as an obstacle to home ownership. The Federal Reserve released a report examining the relationship between student loan debt and the decreasing rate of young adult home ownership. While it can be a challenge, it is possible to balance student loan debt with plans to buy a home.

Read more
History of Student Loans: The Free Tuition Movement

The free-tuition movement in the United States finds its roots in the Morrill Act of 1862, which instituted a system of low-cost land grant colleges. Although there was never a national mandate, the contemporary free-tuition movement has found some success at the state level and hundreds of College Promise programs have proliferated at the city level.

Read more
Strategic Default Does Not Save Money on Student Loans

Strategic default is a practice where a borrower intentionally defaults on a loan to obtain a settlement for less than what is owed. When it comes to student loan debt, however, strategic default is not an effective solution. Unless you qualify for student loan forgiveness, paying down your college debt is the best way to get rid of it.

Read more
Annual and Aggregate Student Loan Limits

Annual and aggregate loan limits specify the maximum amount that may be borrowed from a student loan program per year and in total. Student loan limits vary depending on the type of loan, the student’s degree level, year in school and dependency status, the college’s cost of attendance, other aid received by the student and the loan program.

Read more
Should You Use Extra Money to Pay Off Student Loan Debt or Invest?

If you end up with a little extra money in your bank account — from a tax refund, a bonus, or from living below your means — you may wonder what you should do with this cash. Should you put it toward your student loan or invest it?

Read more
Life after Student Loan Debt

With the cost of college increasing every year, more students and parents are leaving higher education with ballooning student loan debt. If you’ve finally gotten out from under the weight of your student loans or your child’s student debt, you might be wondering what’s next? The hundreds of dollars you save by having paid off your student loans can be put to good use, helping you achieve other goals.

Read more
Collection Charges on Defaulted Federal Student Loans

If you’re struggling to make payments on your federal student loans, the last thing you want is to default. At that point, the U.S. Department of Education can refer your account to a debt collection agency. Not only can the process damage your credit, but you’ll also be on the hook for the cost of collection charges on your own debt.

Read more
What Are the Tradeoffs of Federal and Private Loans for Parents?

When it comes to financing college costs, it’s important to find the right loan. After the student has exhausted the Federal Direct Stafford loan limits, there are several borrowing options available to parents, including Federal Parent PLUS Loans, private student loans and private parent loans. What are the pros and cons of these loans?

Read more
FINRA Gives Firms Until April 1 to Self-Report 529 Plan Share Class Violations

FINRA’s new 529 Plan Share Class Initiative allows firms to self-report any issues with 529 plan share class recommendations and supervision by April 1 to avoid fines. FINRA hopes the initiative will help to remedy potential violations and return money to affected investors as quickly and effectively as possible.

Read more
Questions Cosigners Should Ask Before Cosigning a Student Loan

Many lenders require a cosigner for a private student loan. This limits their risk and ensures the loan is repaid even if the borrower misses payments or defaults. But, cosigning a student loan comes with inherent risk to the cosigner and isn’t something to take lightly Cosigners should ask some key questions before agreeing to cosign a loan.

Read more
Five Steps to Securing Your Dream College Internship

The college internship market is growing, albeit slowly, at a 1.7% clip in 2018, according to data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Follow an internship action plan to improve the odds of landing your dream internship.

Read more
Five Elements of a Great College Internship

College internships have long been viewed by colleges, students and employers as a “win-win-win” proposition. For students, an internship can provide real-world experience, professional training and a paycheck.

Read more
Student Loan Garnishment

When a borrower defaults on a student loan, the lender may be able to obtain a wage garnishment order to seize part of the borrower’s wages to repay the debt. The Treasury Offset Program (TOP) also allows the federal government to offset Social Security benefit payments and income tax refunds.

Read more
Private Student Loan Myths

Surprisingly, many student loan borrowers have serious misconceptions about how private student loans work. Here are several myths about private student loans and the truths behind each one.

Read more
Start Early with College Savings

Financial gurus often tout the benefits of starting early when saving for college, and at face value, that seems like a logical strategy. After all, the earlier you start saving money, the more time there’ll be for earnings to compound and the more money you’ll have 18 years later.

Read more
Fixed vs. Variable Interest Rate Student Loans

Student loans either have a fixed interest rate or a variable interest rate. All federal student loans carry a fixed rate for the life of the loan. Private lenders, such as banks, credit unions and other financial institutions, typically offer both fixed and variable interest rate options. Which type of interest rate is best depends on the borrower's specific circumstances.

Read more
How to Manage Your Student Loans When Facing a Financial Hardship

When student loan borrowers face financial difficulty, such as job loss or a medical emergency, keeping up with student loan payments can be challenging. There are solutions available to help borrowers avoid defaulting on their student loans, regardless of whether they are facing a short-term hardship or long-term hardship.

Read more
Renting College Textbooks – A Primer

College students have enough on their plate financially, even before they get to campus and have to shell out more cash for textbooks. At some colleges, the cost of textbooks exceeds the cost of tuition. Renting textbooks is an option for cutting the costs of college textbooks.

Read more
Using a 529 Plan to Pay for Continuing Education

Adults returning to college can use a 529 plan to pay for continuing education, undergraduate courses or graduate courses offered at an eligible college or university. Parents may use leftover funds in a child’s 529 plan account, or adults can open their own 529 plan account to pay for qualified higher education expenses. Residents of some states are eligible for a state income tax deduction or credit for 529 plan contributions, no matter how long the funds are held in the 529 plan account.

Read more
How Student Loan Interest Works

Interest is a fee charged by a lender for the use of borrowed money. For example, student loan borrowers are charged interest on the money received from education lenders. However, many student loan borrowers do not understand how interest works.

Read more
Signs You Need a Cosigner for Your Student Loans

One way lenders minimize the risk of making a student loan is by requiring a creditworthy cosigner. More than 90% of private student loans to undergraduate students require a cosigner. A cosigner is responsible for repaying a student loan if the student borrower is unable or unwilling to repay the debt. This reduces the risk for lenders and ensures that the loan is repaid on time and in full. There are several reasons why a borrower might be required to have a cosigner for their student loans.

Read more
How to Appeal for More Financial Aid for College

If you didn’t get enough financial aid, you can always ask for more. The worst that can happen is the college financial aid administrator says “no.” But, to increase the chances of a successful appeal, it is important to understand how the appeals process works. Appealing for more financial aid depends on presenting the college financial aid office with adequate documentation of special circumstances that affect the family’s ability to pay for college.

Read more
How to Optimize Your Student Loan Refinancing Experience

There’s no shortage of student loan borrowers who wish they had a time machine, and could go back in time to make better decisions on their college financing decisions – especially on their student loans. Since time machines are the stuff of science fiction, student loan borrowers may need to refinance their student loans to keep their personal financial lives manageable. If you believe refinancing your student loan is a good idea, then the way forward is having a good blueprint to maximize your student loan refinancing experience.

Read more
When is Refinancing Your Student Loans a Bad Idea?

Refinancing your student loans is a bad idea if it doesn’t add up financially, and won’t save you much money. Worse, some refinancing scenarios could lead to higher fees and higher payments, and take some much-needed leverage out of the equation.

Read more
How to Avoid the 10% Tax Penalty on Non-Qualified Distributions

The earnings portion of a non-qualified distribution from a 529 plan is subject to income tax at the beneficiary’s rate, plus a 10 percent tax penalty. There are, however, several exceptions in which the 10 percent tax penalty does not apply, such as death or disability of the beneficiary and receipt of a qualified scholarship by the beneficiary.

Read more
Cheap Dating Ideas When You Owe Student Loans

It is your turn to plan date night. When you have student loans, you worry that date night will involve spending money you don’t have, especially if you follow the crowd with entertainment followed by an expensive dinner. Don’t sweat it. No matter what your interests are as a couple, you can have a date night that won’t hinder your debt payoff plan. Spend time instead of money for a fun date night.

Read more
Pay College Costs Monthly with Tuition Installment Plans

Tuition installment plans provide an alternative for families who can afford to pay for a child’s college education, but not in one big lump sum at the beginning of a semester or quarter. Tuition installment plans, also called tuition payment plans or deferred payment plans, split college costs into equal monthly payments. This makes budgeting for college costs more manageable.

Read more
How to Complain about Your Student Loans

There are many reasons why a borrower or cosigner might wish to complain about their student loans. They want a solution to the problems they have experienced. They want to hold the lender or servicer accountable for their problems. There are several key steps to filing an effective complaint about a federal or private student loan.

Read more
How Long Does It Take to Repay a Student Loan?

College graduates worry that they will be stuck repaying their student loans for decades, even during retirement. The amount of time it takes to repay a student loan in full depends on the type of loan, the amount borrowed, the interest rate and the repayment plan the borrower selects, as well as the use of deferments and forbearances. Borrowers typically take no more than 16-19 years to repay their federal student loans.

Read more
History of Student Loans: Origins

How education is funded and how students pay for it has changed significantly since the inception of the first American colleges. Postsecondary education was once free or very inexpensive, a far cry from the exorbitant sums now expected of students even at state universities. The student loan system that now saddles most students with significant debt is only 60 years old. The evolution of student loans has been attributed to a series of social and economic developments, from changing enrollment demographics to the Industrial Revolution to the World Wars.

Read more
Companies that Repay Your Student Loans

Millions of employees enter the workforce with student loan debt each year. Modern companies face immense competition and are looking to attract and retain top talent. This has given rise to a new type of employee benefit where some companies are willing to help employees repay their student loans.

Read more
Remember John Bogle's Advice When Saving for College

John C. Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group, has died at age 89. Bogle was known as the father of index investing, a low-cost, passive strategy that aims to match returns of a broad market index, such as the S&P 500 Index. Many 529 plans offer Vanguard index funds as underlying investments.

Read more
What Do I Do If My Federal Parent Plus Loan Is Denied?

Are you frustrated because your Parent PLUS loan was denied? Don’t worry; there are still opportunities for your child to receive the aid they need for their education.

Read more
How to Build Good Credit as a College Student

Good credit can open up financial possibilities that are otherwise hard to achieve, so it makes sense to start building good credit as soon as possible. That can be tricky when you’re a student but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If graduating with good credit is one of your goals, there are steps you can take to achieve it.

Read more
When Is Refinancing Your Student Loans a Good Deal?

Is refinancing your student loans a good idea? In some cases, yes, there are good reasons for refinancing your student loans, with getting a lower interest rate at the top of that list. In others, however, refinancing your student loans doesn’t add up financially and won’t save you much money. This article considers when refinancing a student loan is worthwhile.

Read more
How to Build an Emergency Fund after Graduation

A crucial step for financial security is having an emergency fund of about half a year’s salary. No job is secure and life has been known to throw curve balls. An emergency fund can provide a buffer for unemployment or unanticipated expenses.

Read more
How to Settle Your Student Loans at a Discount

If you’ve defaulted on your federal student loans, you may be able to settle with the collection agency for less than what you owe. There are three standard settlement offers that collection agencies are authorized to accept without prior approval by the U.S. Department of Education.

Read more
What happens to student and parent loans if the borrower dies?

Having a hefty student loan balance can make you feel like you might be paying off that debt for the rest of your life. But, what would happen if you die before your loans are paid off?

Read more
How to Freeze a Child's Credit

A new law requires credit bureaus to offer free credit freezes for adults and children under 16. Freezing a child’s credit helps protects them from identity theft, including financial aid fraud. Children are an easy target for identity thieves, since it can take years to discover that a child’s identity has been compromised or stolen.

Read more
Bad Advice about Borrowing for College

Borrowing money for college is a major catch-22: You might not be able to afford college without student loans. But, when it comes time to repay the student loans, you might not be able to afford the loan payments. Taking out student loans for college can be helpful and necessary, but not all advice about borrowing is good advice.

Read more
Effective Ways to Curb Your Student Loan Debt Today

An ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure when it comes to student loans, but, once you borrow the money, the debt is water under the bridge. Yet, there are a few ways to deal with the debt now, even after the fact.

Read more
States are Beginning to Offer 529 Plan Investment Options for K-12

Louisiana and Kentucky are the first states to offer 529 plan investment options specifically designed to help families save and pay for K-12 tuition. Louisiana launched the START K12 Program, a separate 529 plan for K-12, and Kentucky will offer new investment options based on college or K-12 enrollment dates.

Read more
Weird Ways to Repay Your Student Loans

As the average student loan debt balance climbs, so does the number of weird ways to repay student loans. Game shows, mobile apps, sweepstakes, and crowdfunding sites are some of the options now available to student loan borrowers. In addition, several places are offering student loan repayment assistance for those willing to pick up and move.

Read more
How to Use Crowdfunding to Cover College Costs

Crowdfunding is a means of raising money online from a large number of people. Crowdfunding has been used to raise money to provide relief for hurricane victims and financial aid for starving people in Africa, to get capital for start-up companies, to pay for medical treatment, and to achieve other worthwhile goals. Some students also use crowdfunding to pay a portion of their college costs or to repay student loans.

Read more
What is a Master Promissory Note?

When it comes to paying for college, most students have to turn to student loans and parent loans to foot the bill. However, many students and parents don’t fully understand what they’re getting into; they just sign their name on the bottom of the Master Promissory Note (MPN). The Master Promissory Note is a legal contract that specifies the terms and conditions and other details of your federal student loans.

Read more
Turn $1 into $10,000 for College

Would you believe that you can turn $1 into $10,000 for college? This is not a Ponzi scheme or a bet on Bitcoin, but rather a rule of thumb based on the fundamentals of saving for college. Saving a dollar a day can yield $10,000 for your child’s college education.

Read more
Six Ways Student Loan Debt Can Get Out of Hand

Too many U.S. college borrowers are drowning in student loan debt, and the problem is only getting worse. That’s why it’s so important for student loan borrowers to recognize the “red flags” that can lead to an unmanageable student loan debt problem, and take direct action to eliminate that problem.

Read more
Student Loan Interest Deduction

The student loan interest deduction lets borrowers deduct all or part of the interest they pay on their federal student loans and private student loans. While you’re likely frustrated with the fact that a chunk of your monthly student loan payments goes towards interest, the student loan interest deduction can reduce the cost of that interest. You can claim the student loan interest deduction even if you use the standard deduction.

Read more
Move Here for Student Loan Repayment Assistance

Several states and a few towns and counties offer student loan repayment assistance for borrowers willing to relocate. The financial incentives range from about $5,000 to $50,000 or more. Most programs require four or five years of residency to receive the maximum award.

Read more
How to Make Extra Payments on Your Student Loans

Borrowers who have extra money often want to repay their student loans more quickly, to save on interest and to get started sooner on pursuing their dreams. Instead of just paying the minimum on their student loans, they want to pay extra to expedite the repayment process.

Read more
How to Repay Your Student Loans by Volunteering

Volunteering can be a great way of giving back, whether in your own community or in a far-flung corner of the world. In addition to exposure to new experiences and the psychological benefits of altruism, volunteering can be a great way to build a professional network. Volunteering also offers an opportunity to earn education awards that can help repay student loan debt.

Read more
How to Save for College When You're Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Almost 1 in 10 working Americans earning $100,000 or more live paycheck to paycheck, according to a report from CareerBuilder. With little or nothing left over after meeting financial obligations each month, saving for college might seem impossible. But, even a small amount invested wisely in a 529 plan can make a big difference when your child is ready for college. Here are some ways even families on a tight budget can build substantial college savings.

Read more
The Most Common Mistakes When Borrowing Student Loans

Not all student loans are created equal. Some student loans have advantages and some have disadvantages. Avoid these common mistakes that have cost consequences when borrowing a student loan. Understand your borrowing options and do your research before taking on student loan debt.

Read more
The Most Common Mistakes When Repaying Student Loans

Making a mistake in repaying your student loans will cause you stress and cost you money. Ten tips will help you avoid student loan planning and payment mistakes.

Read more
Defense of Infancy for Student Loans

The defense of infancy is one way borrowers may attempt to deny responsibility for their student loans. With the defense of infancy, a borrower disputes their legal obligation to repay a debt by asserting that they lacked the legal capacity to sign the loan promissory note due to being under the age of majority. The defense of infancy applies to private student loans but not to federal student loans.

Read more
Emotional Investing Mistakes to Avoid When Saving for College

Saving for a child’s college education can be an emotional journey for parents and grandparents. But, making emotional investment decisions with your college savings can have negative consequences that will keep you from reaching your goals.

Read more
Understanding the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

If a borrower defaults on their student loan debt, the lender can hire a debt collection agency to recover the debt. These agencies, whether hired by a private lender or the federal government, are subject to the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). Anyone who has been contacted by a debt collection agency should understand their rights under the FDCPA, what happens if those rights are violated, and how to best communicate with debt collectors.

Read more
Is Givling a Good Idea for Student Loan Borrowers?

Givling is a mobile app that is part trivia contest and part crowdfunding for student loan borrowers. Participants can win a weekly cash prize by answering a series of true/false questions correctly. They may also qualify to have up to $50,000 of their student loans repaid through crowdfunding. Using the app may be a fun way to try and reduce student loan debt, but borrowers should understand their prospects for success before spending significant money.

Read more
How to Get or Refinance a Mortgage as a Student Loan Cosigner

Cosigning a student loan can affect the cosigner’s ability to qualify for a new mortgage or to refinance a current mortgage. As a cosigner, you could face higher interest rates or be denied a mortgage altogether. Although it might seem stressful at first, there are financial moves you can make that could help you get or refinance a mortgage.

Read more
What is Capitalized Interest?

Capitalized interest is accrued but unpaid interest that is added to the principal balance of the loan. Not only does this increase the amount of debt, but it leads to compound interest, where interest is charged on the capitalized interest.

Read more
Several Cities Offer Free College Tuition Programs

Several U.S. cities and municipalities offer government-sponsored free tuition programs. These programs are either completely or partially free, and most have conditions and mandates that student recipients must follow, similar to the restrictions on state free college tuition programs.

Read more
Do Student Loans Have Prepayment Penalties?

There are no formal penalties for prepaying federal student loans or private student loans. Lenders are banned from charging additional fees when a borrower makes extra payments on their student loans or pays off the student loan balance early. However, a few additional steps may be necessary to ensure that student loan prepayments are applied to the principal balance of the loan with the highest interest rate.

Read more
How to Qualify for Cosigner Release

More than 90% of private student loans are borrowed with the help of a cosigner, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). But, cosigning a loan can affect the cosigner’s credit, such as limiting the cosigner’s ability to buy a home or refinance a mortgage. As a result, cosigners would like to be released from their obligation to repay the debt. Understanding how cosigner release works can help borrowers qualify for cosigner release.

Read more
How to Give Your Child Skin in the Game with College Financial Planning

Don’t want to talk to your kids about money? Think you need to shield them from overwhelming financial decisions? You might be missing an opportunity to teach fiscal skills using one of the most substantial and impactful purchases in both of your lives: a college education. College is a transition from a sheltered existence to the real world.

Read more
How Much Parent Loan Debt Is Too Much Debt

Borrowing too much parent loan debt can affect a parent's ability to retire on time and with as little debt as possible. It is important to understand how much parent loan debt is too much, and what you can do if you borrow more than you can afford to repay.

Read more
Is the student responsible for repaying a Parent PLUS loan?

Many Parent PLUS Loan borrowers are curious about who’s responsible for repaying a Parent PLUS Loan. Is it strictly limited to the parent? Or can the student step in and handle it? There are some very specific rules in place that dictate who must pay back the debt.

Read more
How to Get a Cosigner for a Private Student Loan for College

If you need a private student loan for college, you probably also need a cosigner. Only about ten percent of undergraduate students can qualify for a private student loan on their own, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Apart from helping you secure the loan, having a financially responsible cosigner may also reduce the interest rate on your private student loan.

Read more
How to Buy a House when You Have Student Loans

For many college graduates, the American Dream of owning a home seems blocked by a wall of student loan debt. But, home ownership is still possible, if you understand how student loans affect your debt-to-income ratio.

Read more
Can You Be Arrested for Not Repaying Your Student Loans?

The potential consequences of unpaid student loans can be serious, ranging from damaged credit and lawsuits to even arrest. Even though the United States no longer has debtors’ prisons, it is still possible today to be arrested for unpaid debt, including unpaid student loan debt, if you fail to appear in court.

Read more
More States are Offering Free College Tuition – But Does It Work?

As of December 2018, 20 U.S states provide free tuition programs for low- and middle-income families who want to send their sons and daughters to college. Most of these free tuition programs are limited to community colleges.

Read more
Repayment Options for Parent PLUS Loans

You helped your student get through college by taking out a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan. These loans, which are your responsibility to repay, enter repayment 60 days after full disbursement or 6 months after your student graduates or drops below half-time enrollment. There are several options for repaying Parent PLUS Loans.

Read more
New Year’s College Savings Resolutions

New year’s resolutions often include financial goals such as paying down debt and saving money for retirement. Parents who are saving for college should also use this time to review and improve their college savings strategy. Here are nine college savings resolutions to get you on the right track for the year ahead.

Read more
The Freezer Method for Dealing with Student Loans

Student loan debt can be overwhelming. Mail concerning loan payments, updates and forms to fill out only intensifies the problem. This leaves students buried in a pile of documents to deal with along with their schoolwork. One strategy that some people employ when handling student loans is called the freezer method.

Read more
Do You Need Good Credit to Get a Student Loan?

Student loans and parent loans are made by the federal government and by private financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. Credit underwriting criteria for federal loans depend on the type of loan. But, private lenders always require a review of the borrower’s creditworthiness before approving a loan.

Read more
What is the Net Price?

Just as each person on an airplane pays a different price for their ticket, students sitting in a lecture hall on a college campus may pay a different price for their education. Each student pays their own net price, which is a discounted sticker price. Knowing how the net price is calculated is crucial to understanding college pricing and what your student will pay for their college education.

Read more
Cost of Attendance

A college’s annual cost of attendance, also known as the sticker price, includes tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies and equipment, transportation and miscellaneous personal expenses. The cost of attendance may also include dependent care costs and special needs expenses.

Read more
How to Get Student Loan Forgiveness for Parent Loans

Parents are increasingly facing a student loan debt burden of their own, as they borrow parent loans to help their children pay for college. These parents want to know if their parent loans are eligible for student loan forgiveness and, if so, how to qualify for loan forgiveness on their parent loans.

Read more
Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965

The Higher Education Act of 1965 is the legislation that authorizes most federal student aid programs. Major changes in student aid policy occur when the Higher Education Act of 1965 is periodically reauthorized. The Higher Education Act is supposed to be reauthorized every 4-5 years, but the delay between reauthorizations has been increasing with each successive reauthorization. The Higher Education Act of 1965 is overdue to be reauthorized.

Read more
How Do Trust Funds Affect Financial Aid for College?

Trust funds must be reported as the beneficiary’s asset on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), even if access to the trust is restricted. Trust funds can significantly reduce a student’s eligibility for need-based financial aid.

Read more
Beware of Refinancing Student Loans

There are some serious flaws in refinancing your student loans. Some websites generate revenue by advertising refinancing options and they may not have your best interests at heart. Avoid these refinancing mistakes by understanding how the process works for your specific situation.

Read more
Pausing Student Loan Payments Can Cost You Plenty

If you’re struggling to make ends meet, asking your student loan provider for a payment break may seem like a good idea at first glance – but think again. Forbearance can add thousands of dollars in interest to a student loan.

Read more
Beware of student loan scams

According to the U.S. Department of Education, millions of borrowers are struggling to repay their federal student loans. Desperate for financial relief, some of these borrowers jump at enticing offers for lower monthly payments and loan forgiveness. Unfortunately, many of these opportunities are too good to be true, leading borrowers to fall prey to student loan scams. To avoid becoming a victim of a student loan scam, learn how these scams work and the warning signs of a student loan scam.

Read more
Paying for College with Your 401(k): Wise Move or Bad Choice?

As an alternative to traditional student loans, borrowing against your 401(k) to pay for a child’s or grandchild’s college education presents advantages and disadvantages. Experts caution against 401(k) loans because they will impact your own retirement situation. However, a 401(k) loan might be a viable option for you under certain circumstances. In other cases, it may be the only option.

Read more
Statute of Limitations on Student Loan Debt

Borrowers who have defaulted on their student loans can be sued by their lender to collect the debt. They may also be subject to garnishment of their wages and offset of income tax refunds. These borrowers need to understand whether and how the statute of limitations applies to their student loan debt. Otherwise, they may unintentionally reset the clock on time-barred debt.

Read more
Can you work your way through college?

Rising college costs and nearly stagnant wage growth have made it impossible for today’s students to work their way through college. Students without college savings will have to look for other ways to reduce costs or choose a less expensive college.

Read more
Five Mobile Money Apps for the Financially-Minded College Student

There’s no doubt that smart phone mobile apps have become a way of life – especially for younger Americans. From preparing a college savings budget to taking leftover change and steering it to college loan payments, mobile apps have much to offer college students.

Read more
Are Student Loans Good Debt or Bad Debt?

Some financial experts maintain that there is no such thing as good debt. In a sense, they are correct. It’s never ideal to owe money. However, there are some categories of debt that provide discernible benefits to their borrowers, while others are purely detrimental. Student loans possess characteristics of both.

Read more
How to Cut Spending to Save Money to Repay Student Loans Faster

Making more than the minimum payment on your student loans is one of the most effective ways to pay them off faster. A larger payment reduces the total amount of interest you will pay. You will need to take a hard look at your budget to reach a balance of zero more quickly.

Read more
Get Ready for the Start of Student Loan Repayment

Student loan repayment begins six months after the student graduates or drops below half-time enrollment. There are several steps that student loan borrowers should take during the grace period, before the start of repayment, to ensure that the repayment begins smoothly.

Read more
NextGen 529 – Client Direct Series: 529 plan review

The NextGen 529 Client Direct Series is a direct-sold 529 plan available nationwide. Investors can select from BlackRock mutual funds and iShares exchange traded funds (ETFs). The plan is administered by the Finance Authority of Maine, which offers matching grants for eligible Maine residents.

Read more
Celebrate National Maple Syrup Day with Scholarships

December 17, National Maple Syrup Day, is a day of special significance to Savingforcollege.com. After he retired, our founder, Joe Hurley, started producing maple syrup and honey on his farm, Kettle Ridge Farm.

Read more
How to Make Sense of College Financial Aid Award Letters

Parents may be vexed on how to figure out exactly how much their son or daughter is getting in a financial aid package, and with good reason. Financial aid award letters are extremely confusing, making it difficult to understand how much the college will really cost.

Read more
Should you switch 529 plans if you move to another state?

Families who are moving to another state may consider switching 529 plans to maximize state income tax benefits. Federal tax law allows one tax-free 529 plan rollover per 12-month period. However, each state has its own rules regarding eligibility for income tax benefits and tax treatment of 529 plan rollovers.

Read more
College Savings Glossary

Some of the terminology involved in college savings plans can be confusing. This glossary defines some of the more complicated terms.

Read more
How to Transfer a Parent PLUS Loan to your Child

Federal Parent Plus loans are borrowed by the parent of a dependent undergraduate student to help the student pay for college. The Parent PLUS loan cannot be directly transferred from the parent to the child. Instead, there are a few options for shifting responsibility for the Parent PLUS loans to the child. But, parents should carefully consider the tradeoffs before adding Parent PLUS loans to the child’s student loan burden.

Read more
How to Figure out Your 529 Plan “Glide Path”

While many 529 college savings plans offer standardized glide paths that reduce risk as the child gets closer to college, these paths are one-size-fits all.

Read more
How to pay off parent loans more quickly

Today’s parents are borrowing record high student loans to cover their children’s college costs. In turn, many are struggling to repay the large balances, forcing them into longer repayment terms. Following a few key strategies should help them repay their student loans more quickly.

Read more
How to get a Federal Parent PLUS Loan with bad credit

Parents of dependent undergraduate students can apply for a Federal Direct PLUS Loan to help cover the family’s share of college costs, beyond the financial aid package. Before applying for a Parent PLUS loan, it is important to understand how your credit history affects loan eligibility. Even if you do have bad credit, that does not mean you are automatically ineligible or unable to change that status.

Read more
How to Earn Extra Money to Repay Student Loans

Making extra payments can save interest on your student loans. While you could cut your budget or tighten up your spending, it is not the only option for freeing up extra money to pay back student loans. If you do not want to cancel your Netflix subscription, consider increasing your income instead.

Read more
The Goldilocks Student Loan: When College Debt Is Just Right

While mom and dad are worried about getting enough money for their kids’ college education, there’s another potential problem that flies under the college financing radar – borrowing more student loan money than you actually need and incurring larger financing costs as a result.

Read more
How to open a direct-sold 529 plan

Families saving for college can enroll in a direct-sold 529 plan by completing a form on the 529 plan’s website. Direct-sold 529 plans are convenient and generally offer low fees, but the account owner is responsible for selecting and monitoring the 529 plan’s underlying investments.

Read more
Closed School Discharge for Students and Parents

If a college closes while a student is enrolled or soon after the student withdraws, and the student is unable to complete the educational program at another college, the student and parent may be entitled to a discharge of their federal student loans that were borrowed to pay for the closed school.

Read more
State tax incentives for employer 529 plan matching

States encourage residents to save for college by offering state income tax breaks, matching grants and scholarships for families who use 529 plans. Some states also drive 529 plan participation through employers by offering a tax incentive for contributions to employee 529 plans.

Read more
College Savings Plans Increase College-Going Rates

Opening a college savings plan is one of the best ways of increasing the odds that a child will go to college. Research has shown that even a small college savings plan statistically improves college-going rates no matter the level of household income.

Read more
529 plans that offer ETFs

After a 529 plan is opened, the next step is to select an investment portfolio that will help maximize college savings. Parents may want to consider a 529 plan portfolio that contains exchange-traded funds (ETFs). ETFs can be a low-cost way of investing in a total stock market or index portfolio.

Read more
529 plan gifts may be deductible on state income tax returns

One of the most effective ways to help a child save for college is by funding a 529 plan. Investments in a 529 plan grow tax-free and will not be taxed when the beneficiary uses the money for college. The gift giver may also qualify for a state income tax deduction or credit for 529 plan contributions, regardless of who owns the account.

Read more
Should you have a separate 529 plan to save for K-12?

Families can now use a 529 plan to save and pay for up to $10,000 (per year, per beneficiary) in tuition expenses at K-12 schools. If you're thinking of using a 529 plan to save for K-12 tuition, you should consider keeping your K-12 savings separate from your college savings plan.

Read more
How to give the gift of college savings

A gift of college savings is a meaningful alternative to traditional birthday, holiday, baby shower and graduation gifts. Many 529 plan gifting platforms allow friends and family to make a secure electronic deposit to a child’s 529 plan account.

Read more
529 plan contribution deadlines for state tax benefits

As we head into the final weeks of 2018 you may be looking for ways to reduce your taxable income. If you’re currently saving for college, you may qualify for a state income tax credit or deduction for contributions to a 529 plan.

Read more
Student Loan Deferment for Active Cancer Treatment

Federal student loan borrowers who are undergoing active treatment for cancer may defer repaying their Federal Direct student loans for the duration of treatment and for 6 months afterward. Interest does not accrue on any Federal Direct student loans during the active cancer treatment deferment, not even on unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford loans.

Read more
Cancer Scholarships

More than 15,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. An even greater number of parents of college-age children die of cancer. Cancer is a source of stress on a family, both financial and non-financial. Cancer drains family resources that otherwise could help send their children to college. Cancer scholarships can help alleviate some of that stress.

Read more
Differences between Children’s Savings Accounts and 529 Plans

Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) and 529 college savings plans both help families save for a child’s college education. While any amount of college savings is better than none, there are several key differences between these two types of college savings accounts. These differences affect how the account is opened, how funds grow and how the money may be spent when college bills are due.

Read more
Bloomberg Gives $1.8 Billion to Support No-Loans Financial Aid

Philanthropist Michael R. Bloomberg, 76, is giving $1.8 billion to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, to support need-blind admissions and a no-loans financial aid policy. This is the largest gift ever made to a college or university.

Read more
Colleges with No-Loans Financial Aid Policies

More than six dozen U.S. colleges and universities have adopted no-loans financial aid policies. These policies eliminate loans from the financial aid packages of low-income students, replacing them with grants and work-study. Some of the colleges have extended their no-loans financial aid policies to also include middle-income students and some to all student aid recipients, not just low-income students.

Read more
Can you use a 529 plan to pay for graduate school?

A 529 plan may be used to pay for the beneficiary’s graduate school or professional school education. A distribution to pay for qualified higher education expenses at a graduate school or professional school will be considered a qualified distribution and therefore tax-free.

Read more
How to Increase Chances of Qualifying for a Student Loan Refinance

There are six steps that can improve your odds of being approved for a refinance of your private student loans, sometimes called a private consolidation loan. These include maintaining stable employment, ensuring sufficient income to repay the debt, keeping a low debt-to-income ratio, having a very good or excellent credit score, getting a creditworthy cosigner and shopping around for the best interest rates and fees.

Read more
Can you use a 529 plan to pay for travel costs?

You cannot use a 529 plan to pay for travel and transportation costs. The earnings portion of a distribution from a 529 that is used to pay for travel and transportation expenses will be considered a non-qualified distribution. Non-qualified distributions are taxable at the beneficiary’s rate, plus a 10% tax penalty, as well as recapture of state income tax benefits attributable to the distribution.

Read more
Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill for IRS Data Sharing for Student Aid

In a sign of renewed cooperation between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced legislation to enable sharing of IRS data with the U.S. Department of Education. The sharing of IRS data will help students who are applying for federal student financial aid.

Read more
Is it ever too late to start saving for college?

Ideally, parents should start saving for college as soon as their child is born (or earlier). But, even if your child is a teenager there is still time to take advantage of 529 plan benefits and reduce the amount they will have to borrow in student loans.

Read more
State Treasurer asks IRS to allow college savings for Pre-K

Mississippi State Treasurer Lynn Fitch wrote a letter to the IRS on November 5, 2018, asking the IRS to include preschool tuition as a qualified expense for 529 plans. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 expanded qualified expenses to include up to $10,000 per year per beneficiary in tuition for elementary and secondary schools. The IRS has proposed regulations that would limit the definition of elementary and secondary school to K-12, excluding Pre-K.

Read more
529 plan performance review: Q3 2018

Each quarter Savingforcollege.com analyzes the investment performance figures for thousands of 529 portfolios and ranks the 529 savings plans from best to worst for 1-, 3-, 5-, and 10-year investment performance. Our 529 plan performance rankings include plans that consumers can enroll in directly, as well as those sold through brokers and fee-based financial planners.

Read more
Top 10 direct-sold 529 plans: Q3 2018

The highly-anticipated Savingforcollege.com 529 plan rankings are here! This slideshow provides information on the top 10 direct-sold 529 plans, including performance score, program manager and how to enroll. Based on 3-year performance as of 9/30/18.

Read more
With Upromise, you can earn money for college every time you travel

Looking for ways to boost college savings? Families can earn rewards of 7% cash back or more by booking travel plans through the Upromise shopping portal. Earned college dollars can be automatically transferred to a linked 529 plan account.

Read more
Save for college while holiday shopping with Upromise

Holiday spending is on the rise, giving families more opportunities to grow their college savings with Upromise. Here are some ways to maximize your Upromise rewards as you shop for gifts, dine out at restaurants and more.

Read more
Is it ever too early to start saving for college?

Many new parents hesitate to enroll in a 529 plan because they want to plan for their own retirement and/or they’re not sure about the future. But, each day you wait to start saving for college you miss out on potential earnings growth in your 529 plan account. To get the most out of your 529 plan, the best time to start saving for college is right now.

Read more
Checklist for Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is complicated, with a lot of details. This checklist will help you make sure you satisfy all of the criteria. Pay attention to the details.

Read more
Celebrate National STEM Day with Math and Science Scholarships

National STEM Day, which occurs annually on November 8 (NOV8 = en-o-v-ate = innovate), presents an opportunity to explore scholarship opportunities in math, science, engineering and technology. Some of the most generous scholarships are available to students who are interested in math and science.

Read more
Can you use a 529 plan to pay for room and board?

If a 529 plan distribution is used to pay for room and board, it is a tax-free qualified distribution in certain circumstances and a taxable non-qualified distribution in other circumstances. The student must be enrolled as a regular student on at least a half-time basis.

Read more
Scholarships for Younger Children

Don’t wait until the senior year in high school to start searching for scholarships. There are many scholarships that children can win in younger grades, even in kindergarten.

Read more
Before you open a grandparent 529 account...

A 529 college savings plan can be a very effective way for grandparents to build a college fund for their grandchildren. However, there are a few questions grandparents must ask themselves before opening a 529 account.

Read more
Morningstar Publishes Paper about How to Increase Interest in 529 Plans

Morningstar Inc. has released a research paper about family use of 529 plans, New Lessons about 529s. The paper shows that getting middle-income families to shift college savings to 529 plans will yield increased investment returns. The paper also provides practical ideas for getting more families to invest in 529 plans.

Read more
What is a 529 Plan? (Video)

A 529 plan is a tax-free way of saving for college costs. Money in 529 college savings plans also has a minimal impact on the student’s eligibility for need-based financial aid for college. Since 2018, 529 plans can also be used to save for elementary and secondary school tuition.

Read more
How much do you really save by going to community college?

A popular strategy to reduce college costs is to start out at a community college and eventually transfer and graduate from a 4-year college. But, transferring colleges isn’t always a smooth process, and could end up costing you more than you expect.

Read more
Average 529 plan balance: How do you compare?

The average 529 plan balance has hit a record high. But, this amount may not be sufficient to cover future college expenses. The amount you should have saved for college depends on your child’s age and where they want to go to college. Find out if your college savings are on track

Read more
Want to retire early? Don’t forget to save for college.

The FIRE movement focuses on cutting spending and aggressively saving enough money to gain financial independence and retire early. But, followers of FIRE are not always considering future college costs, putting their children at risk for high student loan balances.

Read more
How to Open a 529 Plan in New York

This step-by-step guide to enrolling in New York’s 529 college savings plans helps parents and grandparents understand how to open a New York 529 plan.

Read more
Tax Benefits of New York 529 Plans

In addition to the standard federal and state tax benefits, New York 529 plans offer a state income tax deduction based on up to $10,000 in contributions to the state’s 529 plans.

Read more
New York 529 Plan Contribution Limits

There are no annual contribution limits for New York 529 plans, other than the annual gift tax exclusion and 5-year gift-tax averaging. New York 529 plans have the highest cumulative contribution limit of $520,000 per beneficiary.

Read more
New York 529 Plan Fees and Expense Ratios

New York 529 plans offer some of the lowest fees of any direct-sold 529 college savings plans.

Read more
529 plans save families billions of dollars in federal income tax

529 plans experienced record growth over the past decade. The number of 529 plan accounts, total assets in 529 plans and 529 plan account balances have hit all-time highs. A study from Pew Research reports a 25 percent increase in 529 plan federal tax savings from 2017-2017, and a similar boost in state tax savings.

Read more
Saving and Paying for College in New York

New York offers several college savings, grant and scholarship programs to help New York state residents pay for a public or private college education in New York.

Read more
Massachusetts to Seed Newborn 529 Plans with Birthday Contributions

All children born or adopted in Massachusetts in 2020 and beyond will be eligible for the SeedMA Baby program. This program deposits $50 to the Massachusetts 529 plans of newborn and recently adopted children in the state. A Massachusetts 529 plan must be opened by the baby’s first birthday or within one year of the child’s adoption.

Read more
Psst! Want to save $1,200 for college? Join Upromise.

Upromise is a loyalty program that rewards members with cash back for making purchases online, dining at restaurants or using the Upromise Mastercard. The rewards available through Upromise may seem small at first, but when deposited into a 529 plan they have the potential to grow into a significant amount that can help pay for college.

Read more
Common College Savings Mistakes

Rather than make a deal with the devil, it is smart to save for college in advance. Even so, it is possible to make mistakes that affect the amount of college savings, the earnings, or the financial aid or tax impact of the college savings plan.

Read more
Upromise revamps college savings program

Upromise, a program that allows members to earn money for college through everyday purchases, recently added new features and tools to simplify the college savings process. Upromise earnings can now be swept directly into any 529 plan, checking or savings account.

Read more
College Savings Horror Stories

Saving and paying for college involves some scary statistics. A 4-year college education could cost as much as $500,000 when today’s newborn children are ready to enroll. But, even if you think you’ve got the costs covered, you may make a mistake that ruins your child’s future.

Read more
Behind on college savings? Here’s how you can catch up.

With only 18 years to save and competing financial goals, many parents with good intentions fall behind on college savings. Although starting to save early is the best way to grow a 529 plan, there are some ways late-starters can catch up.

Read more
How to Pay for College

Paying for college is a complicated topic with an alphabet soup of acronyms like FAFSA, EFC and SAR. Parents worry about missing something important that will affect their child’s future. Thus, it helps to review all of the options for how to pay for college.

Read more
Top 10 tips to growing your 529 plan funds faster

Every investor wants to find a magical method for speeding up savings and increasing the return on investment. With college tuition inflation rates averaging about 6% to 7% over the last few decades, there is even more pressure on parents who invest in 529 college savings plans. Here are our favorite secret solutions for accelerating the growth of 529 plans.

Read more
Saving and paying for college in California

California offers several college savings, grant and scholarship programs to help California residents pay for college in California.

Read more
Tax benefits of California 529 plans

California 529 plans offer the standard federal and state tax benefits, but do not offer any special state income tax benefits on contributions to California’s ScholarShare 529 plan.

Read more
California 529 plan fees and expense ratios

California 529 plans offer some of the lowest fees of any direct-sold 529 college savings plans.

Read more
Nice new app for filing the FAFSA

The U.S. Department of Education’s new App for filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) makes the tortuous process easier, even fun.

Read more
How to open a 529 plan in California

A step-by-step guide to enrolling in California’s 529 college savings plan makes the process easier for parents and grandparents to understand and implement.

Read more
Free credit freezes

Consumers can obtain free credit freezes for themselves and their underage children starting on Friday, September 21, 2018, due to the passage of a federal consumer protection law earlier in 2018. Getting a credit freeze can help protect you from identity theft. Parents and graduate students should be aware of the possible impact of credit freezes on applications for the Federal PLUS loan.

Read more
Millions of students still fail to file the FAFSA each year

Despite increases in the percentage of undergraduate students filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year, millions of students who would have qualified for college grants still fail to file the FAFSA.

Read more
Dependency status on the FAFSA

Dependency status on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is based on many factors, including age, marital status, and military service. It does not depend on whether someone can claim you as a dependent on their federal income tax returns.

Read more
How to prepare for filing the FAFSA

There are several steps that students and parents can take in advance to prepare for filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is a free form that is used to apply for financial aid from the federal government, state governments and most colleges and universities.

Read more
How to apply for financial aid at more than 10 colleges on the FAFSA

The online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) provides space for applicants to list up to ten colleges. So, how do you use the FAFSA to apply for financial aid at more than ten colleges? This is one of the most common questions about the FAFSA.

Read more
Tax Reform 2.0 legislation will let 529 plans repay student loans

The House Ways and Means Committee released legislative language for Tax Reform 2.0 on September 10, 2018. Among other provisions affecting 529 college savings plans, the legislation proposes to allow families to use 529 plans to repay student loans.

Read more
Double your money with the rule of 72

The Rule of 72 is a simple rule of thumb for calculating how long it will take an investment to double in value. This, and other tricks of mental math, can help families figure out how to reach their college savings goals.

Read more
Updated guide to 529 plans now includes K-12 and ABLE plans

Now in its 12th edition, "Savingforcollege.com's Complete Guide to 529 Plans" has been expanded to include information on the recent expansion of 529 plans. Updates have made to include K-12 tuition as a qualified 529 plan expense and a new chapter covering 529 ABLE plans for individuals with disabilities has been added.

Read more
Parents turn to financial advisors for help with college savings

According to a new study from Fidelity, 64 percent of families said their financial advisor keeps them on track to meet college savings goals. Families who have a financial advisor are also more confident about their plan to save for college.

Read more
Number of children with 529 plans

Surveys show that less than a third of parents are aware of 529 college savings plans. Even more shocking, however, is the number of children with 529 plans. Less than 18 percent of children under age 18 have a 529 plan.

Read more
Is the Gerber Life College Plan a good investment?

The Gerber Life College Plan by Gerber Life Insurance promises guaranteed growth and the flexibility to use the money to pay for college or other expenses. But, the investment earnings are taxable and do not keep pace with college tuition inflation. The Gerber Life College Plan also offers inferior performance as compared with the return on investment available on FDIC-insured Certificates of Deposit and 529 college savings plans.

Read more
Age of majority

The age of majority is the age at which a minor child legally becomes an adult. The age of majority may differ from the age of trust termination, when a child gains control over a custodial 529 plan account and UTMA accounts. The age of majority and the age of trust termination vary by state.

Read more
California 529 plan contribution limits

There are no annual contribution limits for California 529 plans, other than the annual gift tax exclusion and 5-year gift-tax averaging. California 529 plans have a high cumulative contribution limit of $529,000 per beneficiary.

Read more
Help raise awareness of the power of 529 plans

Help us spread the word about 529 plans by talking to your friends, relatives, colleagues and neighbors. We’ve created talking points and other helpful resources to get you started.

Read more
529 savings plans and private school tuition

The 2017 tax reform package expanded 529 plan benefits to include tax-free withdrawals for private elementary, middle and high school tuition. The new law also allows traditional 529 accounts to be rolled into 529 ABLE accounts without taxes or penalty. This page includes all the information available on this and other new benefits of 529 plans as of January 1, 2018, and will be updated regularly as additional details become available.

Read more
College savings rewards credit cards

Several credit cards offer cash back to help families save for college. These credit cards automatically contribute the cash rewards to linked 529 college savings plans. Each 529 credit card has a different percentage cash back and a different set of linked 529 plans.

Read more
The truth about scholarships and 529 plans

Scholarships can help fill the gap when a family isn't able to save for their entire college bill, and they can put a coveted, more expensive school within reach. But just because you feel your child has a good shot at winning a scholarship one day doesn't mean you should hold off on saving with a 529. Here's why:

Read more
Income share agreements

Income share agreements are an alternative to student loans in which the borrower agrees to pay a percentage of their income for a specified number of years after graduation. Income share agreements are also known as ISAs. The total payments under an income share agreement may be higher than the total payments under federal and private student loans.

Read more
Coverdell ESA versus 529 plan

The Coverdell ESA offers superior investment flexibility, potentially lower costs, and tax free treatment for a wide range of elementary and secondary school (K-12) costs, compared to 529 college savings plans. However, the Coverdell ESA comes with limitations that could make a 529 plan more attractive for many investors.

Read more
7 myths and realities of 529 plans

Although they’ve been around for years and continue to gain popularity, there are still many common misconceptions about 529 college savings plans. Here are our responses to 7 of the most popular myths

Read more
The magic number for college savings

The day finally arrives when you get to bring your new baby home from the hospital. Maybe you've already given some thought to saving for her college education. If not, you can be sure that one of your friends will remark in a joking sort of way that paying for college in 18 years could put you in the poorhouse. So you ask yourself how much you really should be putting away for each month to prepare.

Read more
8 common 529 plan mistakes to avoid

Don't let these 8 common mistakes throw you off from maximizing your 529 plan's savings potential.

Read more
5 things to consider before doing a 529 plan rollover

There are a number of reasons why someone might want to change 529 plans. Perhaps your plan has been underperforming, or you maybe you moved and your new state offers a tax deduction for contributions. In the rare event that a state closes a plan, such as Tennessee's prepaid tuition program, account owners have the option to rollover their account value into a 529 college savings plan without penalty.

Read more
Trump administration tax rule may kill school voucher programs

The IRS issued a proposed rule on August, 23, 2018 that may unintentionally eliminate much of the funding for school voucher programs. The new rule is intended to block attempts to circumvent a cap on federal income tax deductions for state and local taxes.

Read more
Starting a 529 plan? Time to review your life insurance.

There are several reasons why a family might want to review their life insurance coverage when starting a 529 college savings plan, such as providing peace of mind and protecting family finances from unforeseen events. Your term life insurance policy should have sufficient coverage to fund the amount of future college expenses you plan to pay for.

Read more
Do you need life insurance coverage for your 529 plan?

There are several reasons why a family might want to get life insurance coverage when starting a 529 college savings plan, such as providing peace of mind and protecting family finances from unforeseen events. A term life insurance policy is sometimes necessary to protect a 529 college savings plan account.

Read more
Parents view college as a valuable investment, yet few plan ahead

Despite rising tuition costs, most families still believe college is a worthwhile investment. Yet when it comes to how they’ll pay for college, only 40 percent of families have a plan in place before the student enrolls, according to Sallie Mae’s How America Values College 2018 report.

Read more
Pitfalls of refinancing student loans

Beware the many pitfalls of refinancing student loans. Federal and private consolidation loans are fraught with hidden dangers and disadvantages that can present much peril for the unsuspecting borrower.

Read more
How to qualify for refinancing student loans

Refinancing private student loans can be challenging, with few borrowers qualifying for a private consolidation loan. Approval depends on credit scores, income, debt-to-income ratios and other factors. Nevertheless, there are a few steps borrowers can take to increase their odds of being approved to refinance their private student loans.

Read more
Top 10 direct-sold 529 plans: Q2 2018

The highly-anticipated Savingforcollege.com 529 plan rankings are here! This slideshow provides information on the top 10 direct-sold 529 plans, including performance score, program manager and how to enroll. Based on 3-year performance as of 6/30/18.

Read more
529 plan performance review: Q2 2018

Each quarter Savingforcollege.com analyzes the investment performance figures for thousands of 529 portfolios and ranks the 529 savings plans from best to worst for investment performance. These rankings include direct-sold and advisor-sold plans.

Read more
Fidelity removes 529 investment minimums, reduces expenses on index funds

Fidelity Investments recently announced changes to their product lineup, which include removing investment minimums for 529 college savings plans and lowering expenses on existing index funds.

Read more
Top 10 ways to maximize 529 plan benefits

Enrolling in a 529 plan is an important step toward saving for a child’s college education. But, are you taking advantage of all that a 529 plan has to offer? Here are 10 things you can do to maximize the value of your 529 plan and get closer to meeting your college savings goals.

Read more
Can a 529 plan be used to pay for college application fees?

Selective colleges charge college admission application fees of $40 to $90 each. With the addition of admissions testing fees, the total can be as much as $107 per college. That can easily add up to thousands of dollars if the student applies to an excessive number of colleges. So, it is not surprising that parents might want to use 529 plan funds to pay for college application fees and admissions testing fees.

Read more
How do 529 plans work?

A 529 college savings plan is a specialized savings account that is used to save money for college. The money in a 529 plan may be used to pay for the college expenses and K-12 tuition of the beneficiary, tax-free. Many families find that 529 plans work well, helping them achieve their college savings goals.

Read more
6 ways you can save for college

Learn about six common ways to save for college and the pros and cons of each: Mutual funds, custodial accounts, U.S. savings bonds, Roth IRAs, Coverdell ESAs and 529 plans.

Read more
Can a Roth IRA be used to pay for college?

A Roth IRA can be used to pay for college, but there are some advantages and disadvantages when compared with using a 529 college savings plan to pay for college. Although a Roth IRA may offer some tax advantages, distributions from a Roth IRA can hurt eligibility for need-based financial aid.

Read more
Can you use a 529 plan to pay for study abroad?

Distributions from 529 college savings plans can be used tax-free to study abroad, subject to certain restrictions. In particular, the distribution must be used to pay for qualified higher education expenses at an eligible educational institution. Eligible educational institutions include colleges and universities that are eligible for Title IV federal student aid.

Read more
How to win more merit scholarships

There are several strategies that students can use to win more merit scholarships. These strategies include an expanded search for scholarships and improvements in the student’s academic performance.

Read more
How to get more financial aid for college

There are several strategies that students can use to increase their eligibility for need-based financial aid for college. These strategies are based on the income, assets and demographics of the student and parents.

Read more
What if you didn’t save for college?

What are your options if you didn’t save for college, or didn’t save enough? Clearly, families who save for college have more flexibility in paying for college, but there are still a few options available for families who didn’t save for college.

Read more
10 easy ways grandparents can help pay for college

Many grandparents want to leave an educational legacy by helping fund a grandchild's college education. Grandparents recognize the value of education, and want to see their children graduate without excessive student loan debt. Learn about 10 different ways a grandparent can help pay for college, and the pros and cons of each.

Read more
IRS offers clarity on recent 529 plan changes

The IRS and the Department of the Treasury recently issued Notice 2018-58, which announced their intent to issue regulations on recent changes to 529 college savings plans, providing clarity to 529 plan owners and administrators.

Read more
New starting salary data can help parents set college savings goals

New data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) shows average starting salaries of students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2017 are up slightly from the previous year. These figures can help parents determine how much they need to save for their child’s future college education.

Read more
Tax reform 2.0 would allow parents to pay off student loans with 529 plans

House Republicans released an outline of “tax reform 2.0”, which builds on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed by President Trump in 2017. It includes provisions that would allow tax-free withdrawals from 529 plans to pay for home schooling costs, apprenticeship fees and student loan payments.

Read more
Comparison of 529 plans and Roth IRA for college savings

Both 529 college savings plans and Roth IRAs can be used to save for college. However, a 529 plan offers several advantages when the student enrolls in college and a Roth IRA is better when the student decides to not go to college.

Read more
Prepaid tuition plans

Prepaid tuition plans allow you to pre-pay future college costs today. There are currently 18 state-sponsored and one institution-sponsored prepaid plan (Private College 529 Plan), but only 11 are currently accepting new applicants, and nine of these have residency requirements.

Read more
Student debt is postponing retirement saving. Here’s how to stop it.

Taking out student loans can be an effective way to bridge a college savings gap. But a new study shows that having student debt, no matter how much, has an impact on future retirement savings.

Read more
5 tips for a tax-free 529 plan withdrawal

A non-qualified withdrawal from your 529 plan could mean having to pay income tax as well as a 10% penalty on the earnings portion of the distribution. These five tips will walk you through the withdrawal process and maximize the value of your college savings.

Read more
What is the FSA ID?

The FSA ID is an electronic signature used to sign the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and federal education loan promissory notes. The FSA ID consists of a username and password. The FSA ID is sometimes called a FAFSA ID.

Read more
How much to save for college

College is very expensive. College costs as much as a small mortgage, but without owning a home. Saving for college can help you pay for college costs and reduce student loan debt. The more you save, the less you need to borrow. But, how much should you save for college?

Read more
Best 529 plans for gifting

Some 529 college savings plans make it easier for families to give the gift of college than others.

Read more
Differences between federal student loans and private student loans

There are several important differences between federal student loans and private student loans, besides just the source of funds. These differences include cost, eligibility criteria, repayment options and safety nets. Generally, federal student loans are cheaper, more available and have better repayment options than private student loans.

Read more
College Completion Pledge

The College Completion Pledge increases college graduation rates by securing a voluntary commitment from incoming college students to graduate on time.

Read more
Should you use home equity instead of student and parent loans?

Consider the tradeoffs between home equity loans, home equity lines of credit and cash-out refinance, which may provide cost savings as compared with student and parent loans, and the greater risks if the borrower encounters financial difficulty.

Read more
How to calculate GPA

A student’s grade point average (GPA) can have an impact on money for college. Grandparents might reward good grades with contributions to the grandchild’s 529 college savings plan. Eligibility for private scholarships might be based on the student’s GPA. Great grades and test scores can affect a student’s admissions chances at the most selective colleges and universities.

Read more
What are sales charge breakpoints?

Some advisor-sold 529 college savings plans have up-front sales charges. For example, Class A shares may involve a sales charge of as much as 5.75%, but also involve lower annual expenses. A breakpoint reduces the sales charge on new investments when the total investments exceed a specified threshold.

Read more
Does refinancing student loans really save a lot of money?

Lenders that refinance private student loans often advertise that borrowers save tens of thousands of dollars by refinancing their student loans. The savings figures are based on the average estimated reduction in total payments over the life of the loan. Are these savings real, or is this just a marketing gimmick?

Read more
Reward good grades with 529 plan contributions

Rewarding good grades in high school with contributions to the student's 529 college savings plan may improve academic performance. It may also increase the odds that the student will enroll in and graduate from college.

Read more
The avalanche method beats the snowball method for paying off student debt

The snowball and avalanche methods pay down debt quicker by making extra payments. The snowball method applies extra payments to the loan with the lowest loan balance. The avalanche method applies extra payments to the loan with the highest interest rate. The avalanche method is more effective for student loans.

Read more
IRS Data Retrieval Tool

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) allows applicants to transfer income and tax information from their federal income tax returns into the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), simplifying the FAFSA. Both students and parents may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

Read more
How to transfer 529 plan funds to a sibling

There are a number of reasons why you might want to transfer 529 plan savings to a brother or sister. Some parents start with an account for their first child and want to split up the funds when the next baby is born. Or maybe one of your children decides not to go to college and you want to transfer the money to a younger sibling who will.

Read more
Beware of student loan debt relief scams

Beware of any organization that charges an up-front fee or monthly fee for student loan forgiveness or other forms of student loan debt relief.

Read more
Growth in student loan debt at graduation slows as borrowers hit loan limits

Increases in average student loan debt at graduation have slowed, based on an analysis of recently released federal government data. But, don’t start celebrating just yet. Borrowing has shifted from students to parents, especially at higher-cost colleges, because more students are reaching federal student loan limits.

Read more