Archive Links

Consumer Archive
CU System Archive
Market Archive
Products Archive
Washington Archive
150x172_CUEffect.jpg
Contacts
LISA MCCUEVICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
MICHELLE WILLITSManaging Editor
RON JOOSSASSISTANT EDITOR
ALEX MCVEIGHSTAFF NEWSWRITER
TOM SAKASHSTAFF NEWSWRITER

News Now

Consumer
Help pay for college without risking students aid
WASHINGTON, D.C. (11/9/09)--With the gap between the average annual cost of attending a four-year public university ($14,333) and the average annual amount of financial aid ($8,896) topping $5,400 a year, help from family members is becoming increasingly important. In fact, 65% of grandparents told the College Savings Foundation that they intend to chip in for their grandchildren’s higher education (CNNMoney.com Nov. 2). But as welcome as free money from a relative may be, unless you make the gift properly, it actually can reduce a student’s financial aid. A student must report assets to the government through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If money a student receives is considered income, it has the unfortunate effect of reducing the aid award by up to 50 cents on the dollar. Here are three alternatives from the Credit Union National Association for improving the amount of financial assistance you can deliver without negating the amount of financial aid:
* Good: Give money to the parent. This increases parental assets but, because of the way the aid calculation works, such a gift has a much smaller negative effect on the student's financial aid--less than 6%. Of course, be sure not to exceed the annual gift-tax exclusion, which is $13,000 for 2009. * Better: Participate in a 529 plan. Depending on the rules in your state, these International Revenue Service-authorized plans allow you to contribute up to $13,000 a year or a lump sum of $65,000. As long as the plan is in your name, its balance doesn’t become an asset to the student until distributions start flowing. The 529 plans come in two flavors--a savings plan that operates like an individual retirement account (IRA) or 401(k) investment account or a prepaid tuition fund. Unfortunately, recent stock market declines have squeezed prepaid funds, forcing some states to reject new enrollees and others to raise fees. In either case, it’s smart to consult with your financial adviser about 529 plan setup details. * Best: Help the new graduate pay off student loans to the tune of the annual gift-tax exclusion. This won’t help the student avoid debt, but neither will it harm aid eligibility. And as an added bonus, it’s a welcome reward for successfully earning a college degree.
Other Resources

RSS





print
News Now LiveWire
Gas prices have fallen for a record 88 days in a row says @AAAnews via @washingtonpost http://t.co/c52VTdqHEB
42 minutes ago
.@TheNCUA releases regulatory modernization initiative results (PDF link) http://t.co/pgLZe4aget
1 hours ago
#FinCEN seeks nominations of FIs, trade groups for membership on Bank Secrecy Act advisory group http://t.co/l5w58c277W
2 hours ago
MI pediatric dentist pledges $20K match to Hurley Children's Hospital if it wins @CUDirect's 20 for 20 http://t.co/Eq2nIPm6jo
2 hours ago
Kids learn budgeting with M&Ms http://t.co/SzXipTLX12
3 hours ago
150x172_Sign up for election newsUnite for Good Share your Stories100 Million CU Memberships