Iowa Student Loans

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With a population of just over 3 million, Iowa is only the 30th largest state in the country in terms of population. Yet the Hawkeye State, once known primarily for its agricultural production, is home to some of the finest public, private, and religious educational institutions in the U.S. The state boasts three renowned public universities — the University of Iowa, Iowa State, and the University of Northern Iowa — as well as numerous baccalaureate colleges, master’s colleges, and specialized career institutes. Iowa also offers two law schools and two medical schools.

Iowa’s culture still reflects the state’s midwestern heritage, with its emphasis on hard work, family life, and stability. With its low crime rate and relatively small population, Iowa is known as one of the safest states in the nation. Yet communities like the capital city of Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Ames make the state a competitor in the fields of technology, scientific research, and the arts. If you’re considering a place to advance your education, Iowa combines the security of America’s Heartland with the excitement and diversity of some of the country’s top educational institutions.

Federal Student Aid

As you develop a plan for financing your education, remember that federal student loans are often the most affordable way to borrow money. The U.S. Department of Education issues loans at low fixed interest rates, with manageable repayment plans to help you repay your loans on time. Federal loans can often be consolidated, or combined into a single sum, to streamline the process of paying them off.

There is one major type of federal student loans: Direct Loans. You can apply by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

Direct Loans, the most common type of federal loan, fall into four different categories:

In addition to student loans, the U.S. Department of Education issues grants and scholarships to qualifying students. Unlike loans, these awards do not have to be repaid. Federal Pell Grants, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are the most popular forms of “free” federal aid.

Work-study jobs give you the opportunity to learn more about your chosen field while you earn money for academic costs or living expenses. Many public and private post-secondary schools offer work-study programs, which allow students to earn money for employment at a job related to their field of study. Like grants and scholarships, work-study funds do not have to be repaid.

State-Based Loans in IA

In addition to offering a wide selection of learning opportunities, Iowa sponsors several programs to help its students finance their educations. The Iowa College Student Aid Commission, the Iowa College Access Network, and Iowa Student Loan are three “go-to” organizations for student financial aid in Iowa. These organizations can help identify grants, loans, and other types of assistance that do not require repayment. They can also help you apply for state-based student loans.

Iowa Student Loan is non-profit corporation that has been in the business of helping students finance their education since 1979. This organization sponsors several private loan programs for college students. Private student loans can help fill the gap between grants, scholarships, work-study earnings, and savings, and the actual cost of attending college. Here are the three types of loans sponsored by Iowa Student Loan:

  • Partnership Advance Education Loans: Partnership Loans are available to Iowa residents and non-residents. Borrowers must have at least one co-signer (a parent or other adult who guarantees that the loan will be repaid), unless they can pass a credit check on their own. There are three different payment plans available, which allow you to start paying off the loan right away, or to delay repayment until after you graduate. If you choose to start paying off your loan immediately, you can get lower interest rates and more favorable terms. If you decide to pay only interest while you’re in school or to defer payments completely until you graduate, your interest rates and fees may be higher.
  • Iowa Alliance Private Student Loans: These loans are available to students who have been turned down for a private loan that requires a co-signer. To qualify, you must be a college student attending school (or accepted into a school) at least half-time. You must meet the criteria for satisfactory academic progress, and your credit must be approved by the lending institution. These loans require an origination fee, and interest rates are high compared with federal loans and many other private loans. Interest rates are not fixed, which means that they could be increased after you graduate. Both state residents and non-residents may apply.
  • Iowa Private Student Loans: Several banks and credit unions in Iowa issue private student loans to help students fill in gaps in their college expenses. Interest rates, repayment terms, and eligibility criteria vary, so it’s important to compare offers from more than one lender. Iowa Student Loan acts as the servicer for these loans, helping borrowers find funding and manage their loan repayment. With loans issued by credit unions, the borrower and/or co-signer must become a member of the credit union in order to participate.

Because they must be repaid with interest, private loans should not be your primary source of funding. However, if you explore your options carefully and don’t borrow more than you can afford, private loans can be a useful tool for funding your education.

Iowa Grants and Scholarships

cu student loansWhether you dream of attending a private college, a state university, a vocational school, or a professional program in Iowa, there are numerous grants and scholarships to help you reach your goals. Many of these programs are open to state residents only, so it’s important to review the eligibility requirements before you apply. Here are a few of the most popular programs:

There are many other scholarship and grant programs available to students in the Hawkeye State. The more “free” financial aid you can put together to cover your expenses, the less debt you’ll have when you graduate from college and start your career.