The U.S. Department of Education has designated February as Financial Aid Awareness Month, and this year there’s a lot to talk about. On December 21, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, another relief package in response to the pandemic. Included in the bill were several provisions related to education, including many changes to financial aid. Here are some key highlights.Continue reading “Financial Aid Changes on the Horizon”
It’s tax time, and your kitchen table is littered with papers and forms. As if this isn’t bad enough, you recently paid your child’s college semester bill, and you don’t know where you’ll find the money to pay the taxes that you expect to owe. Well, you might finally catch a break. Now that your child is in college, you might qualify for one of two education tax credits — the American Opportunity credit and the Lifetime Learning credit. And because a tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction against taxes owed, it’s more favorable than a tax deduction, which simply reduces the total income on which your tax is based.Continue reading “Education Tax Credits”
Every year, the College Board releases updated college cost data and trends in its annual report. Although costs can vary significantly depending on region of the country and college, the College Board publishes average cost figures, which are based on a survey of approximately 4,000 colleges across the country.
Following are cost highlights for the 2020-2021 academic year.1 Because many residential colleges shifted to an online model this year, the College Board estimated 2020-2021 room and board figures to be the same as 2019-2020, adjusted for a 1% inflation rate.
“Total cost of attendance” includes direct billed costs for tuition, fees, room, and board, plus a sum for indirect costs that includes books, transportation, and personal expenses, which will vary by student.Continue reading “New College Cost Data for 2020-2021 School Year”
Even in normal times, it can be challenging for families to cover college expenses without borrowing money and/or risking their own retirement security. For the 2019-2020 academic year, the cost of in-state tuition, fees, room, and board at a four-year public college averaged $21,950, and the total for a private college approached $50,000.1Continue reading “College Disrupted: Students Face High Costs and Pandemic Impact”
Your child has applied to several colleges, and the financial aid awards are starting to arrive. But when you take a look, they’re less than what you expected. Or maybe your returning college student got less aid than he or she did last year. Is there anything you can do to get more financial aid?Continue reading “How to Land a Better Financial Aid Package”
The FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the federal government’s financial aid application. The FAFSA is a prerequisite for federal student loans, grants, and work-study. In addition, colleges typically require the FAFSA before distributing their own need-based aid and, in some cases, merit-based aid.Continue reading “When Should I File the FAFSA?”
If you’re the parent or grandparent of a current or prospective college student, you might be interested to learn what’s new in the world of higher education.Continue reading “What’s New in the College World?”
You’ve put in the hard work as a college student and finally received your diploma. Now you’re ready to head out on your own. And though you may not have given much thought to your financial future when you were in college, you have new financial challenges and goals to consider. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to start on the right track with your personal finances.Continue reading “Financial Advice for Recent College Graduates”
Year over year, participation in 529 plans continues to rise.1 Anyone can open an account, lifetime contribution limits are typically over $300,000, and there are tax benefits if the funds are used for college. Here are some common questions on opening an account.Continue reading “Rules on Opening a 529 Plan Account for College”
If you’re the parent of a high school student who’s looking ahead to college, it’s important to have a grown-up conversation with your child about college costs. A frank discussion can help both of you get on the same page, optimize the college search process, and avoid getting blindsided by large college bills.