Everybody's Go-To Methodical Mind

A student-aid guru, leaving behind the Web sites he built, moves to broaden his reach

Everybody's Go-To Methodical Mind 1

Lisa DeJong for The Chronicle

Mr. Kantrowitz poses with his Peterbald cat Mimsy. In all of Pennsylvania, he boasts, he is one of only two people who breed the Russian hairless cats.

Mark Kantrowitz breeds hairless cats. He solves complicated math problems. He collects aboriginal art, folds elaborate origami, restores early battery-operated toys. And then there's the hobby that has turned into his career: knowing absolutely everything about financial aid.

Mr. Kantrowitz, 46, is the brains behind FinAid, an encyclopedic Web site on the topic, and Fastweb, a scholarship search site. He devotes a good part of his considerable mental