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Insider tips for the week of October 4, 2021

  10 things to know about getting into your dream college – Eric Hoover shares 10 takeaways from his hundreds of interviews with admission deans. Our favorites: Express your authentic self, don’t take rejection personally because admissions officers aren’t looking for students that just fit one description, and colleges want to be your first choice.…

admission road map

Insider tips for the week of September 6, 2021

  Mission drives admission – Rick Clark writes a wonderful piece explaining why certain students get admitted when others don’t, and encourages students to consider what their mission in admission is before applying anywhere. An important read to share and discuss with your student.   Why undecided is a great college major – Dr. Deborah…

Jay Benanav Q and A: Your High School Senior and Imminent Financial Aid Tasks

  College Inside Track founder and nationally recognized college admissions financial aid expert Jay Benanav responds to a few of the moment’s most pressing financial aid issues, in this wide-ranging interview:  The need for conscious student responses to financial aid questions on college applications, how need- and merit based aid configure with financial form (FAFSA…

writing college essay

Insider tips for the week of August 2, 2021

  3 college statistics to know if you want to pay less – Many families only look at college statistics in terms of getting into college, when they are just as important in determining how much they pay for college. DIY College Rankings covers three big ones to understand.   5 best essays – The…

girl pretending to be scary

Insider tips for the week of June 28, 2021

  FAFSA changes delayed – The significant FAFSA changes recently approved by Congress will be delayed by year, due to the complexity of overhauling the entire system. Federal Student Aid (FSA), the agency in charge of implementing the changes, said they will now be rolled out for the 2024-25 school year. The earliest families can…

FAFSA changes passed by Congress

FAFSA changes

  The COVID relief bill passed at the end of 2020 also included some significant changes to the FAFSA. While the changes do not go into effect until the 2024-25 school year, that year’s FAFSA will use tax information from 2022, so there are nearer-term considerations. And because the FAFSA is completed each year a…

grandparent happy about fafsa changes

College Planning Changes for Grandparents

  The stimulus bill passed at the end of 2020 also included some significant changes to how grandparent contributions are treated on the FAFSA. According to financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz, cash contributions from grandparents, including distributions from grandparent-owned 529 plans and direct tuition payments to colleges, will no longer hurt a student’s eligibility for…

multiple students

FAFSA change for families with multiple students

  At first glance, the recent changes to the FAFSA appear to be a good thing: A simpler form with far fewer questions, increased financial aid eligibility for low income families, and a formula change reducing any penalty for grandparents who contribute to college. But another formula change could prove to be extremely painful to…

broken heart

Filling out the FAFSA when there are divorced parents

Completing the FAFSA when parents are divorced is one of the most confusing scenarios for families, because custodial terms and who claims the child on the tax return do not necessarily apply. Further complicating things is that the rules for divorced parents are changing along with a number of other key FAFSA changes starting with…

4 guidelines for taking on student loan debt

Identify the average starting salary for the field the student is planning to go into, and the family should not have any more than that number in total education loans. Considering a school that would leave you with $35,000 debt for an undergraduate electrical engineering degree? That would pass the test for an acceptable amount…