Financial Aid and Student Loans in Iowa

No matter where you live, the best first step that a prospective college student can take is determining how to make college affordable. It’s no different in Iowa, where college tuition and fees average $27,512 per year at four year schools, making it rain 19th in the nation in terms of affordability. 

As part of our state by state guide to financial aid, in this article we explore the scholarship programs, grant opportunities, and student loan options available for prospective students attending college in the state of Iowa.

What Scholarship Programs Does Iowa Have?

If you’re a prospective student who’s eager to reap the rewards of your outstanding academic accomplishments, then you could benefit significantly from investigating the different scholarship programs described below.

Fastweb, Niche, and Collegeboard are also sites that could help you match your situation with scholarship programs available nationwide, but here are three notable scholarships in Iowa.

All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship

The All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship is a merit and needs-based scholarship. It is available for prospective students who are planning to attend in-state college and seek financial assistance.

The scholarship amount awarded changes each year, but from 2019 to 2020, it stood at $4,644. Full-time students who are new to the scholarship program are eligible to receive funds for eight semesters in total.

Eligibility requirements state that the scholarship is intended for Iowa resident students attending in-state college or university. Students must have graduated from an Iowa high school or some equivalent within two years’ time of application.

No prior college or university credits must exist—the scholarship is for first-time college students. A minimum of three semester hours is required for an undergraduate degree plan.

Both a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and an Iowa Financial Aid Application (IFAA) are required as part of the application process.

Gov. Terry E. Branstad Iowa State Fair Scholarship

The Governor Terry E. Branstad Iowa State Fair Scholarship is intended for prospective college students graduating high school and participating in the Iowa State Fair. The amount awarded is up to $5,000, and there are ten scholarships awarded each year.

The scholarship is need-based and participatory-based. It will not be assigned to any students who are not seeking or requiring financial assistance to attend college in Iowa, specifically.

A committee stands to judge and award scholarships based on the following points:

  • The prospective student must illustrate a need for financial assistance to attend college or a university in Iowa.
  • An essay about the student’s experience at the Iowa State Fair is required.
  • The student must attend and actively participate in the Iowa State Fair.
  • The student must engage in and demonstrate some form of community service.

Robert D. Blue Scholarship

The Robert D. Blue Scholarship awards up to $1,000 to prospective Iowa college and university students. The scholarship is merit-based, and explicitly focusing on literary ability, scholastic ability, truth, courage, fellowship, and “moral force of character.”

The scholarship is intended for high school seniors who’ve already chosen and enrolled in a college or university based in Iowa.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • The prospective student must be a resident of Iowa and seeking in-state enrollment to a college or university.
  • A 500-word essay is part of the application process.
  • Minimum GPA requirements.
  • Two letters of reference.
  • Verifiable proof of financial assistance needs must be provided.

What Grant Programs Does Iowa Have?

Iowa offers an impressive list of scholarships to award students funds based on merit, but Iowa is not lacking in grants targeted at helping students in financial need, either.

Peruse the grant descriptions below for a better idea of what option each offers and whether you may be eligible to apply.

Iowa National Guard Educational Assistance Grant

The Iowa National Guard offers educational assistance in the form of federal tuition assistance (FedTA) as well as the National Guard Educational Assistance Program (NGEAP). The FedTA covers up to $250 per semester hour or $167 per quarter-hour. It goes up to $4,000 per year but does not cover full tuition costs.

The NGEAP requires prospective students to be active members of the Iowa National Guard and covers up to full tuition costs. The State Board of Regents determines the tuition rate awarded.

The FedTA and the NGEAP can be combined along with State Tuition Assistance to give students a powerful financial boost to make their college-based goals come to fruition.

Iowa Tuition Grant

The Iowa Tuition Grant is awarded to Iowa residents currently enrolled in a private in-state Iowa college or university. The awarded amount is determined by the State Board of Regents that determine the average tuition and fees.

Eligibility includes residing in Iowa and attending a private in-state college. The scholarship is for undergraduate degree programs and is based on financial needs.

A FAFSA must be submitted by July 1 of the year before application.

You must also have EFC (Expected Family Contribution) eligibility.

In summary, the Iowa Tuition Grant details are as follows:

  • Intended for currently enrolled Iowa residents in private college or university
  • Amount awarded determined by the Board of Regents
  • Undergraduate enrollment
  • Enrolled at an eligible Iowa private college or university
  • FAFSA and EFC required

Iowa Vocational-Technical Grant

The Iowa Vocational-Technical Grant is intended for Iowa residents currently enrolled in a degree program or technical education program at an in-state college. The amount awarded is not to exceed $900 annually and spans a two-year full-time enrollment period.

Students must be Iowa residents to be eligible.

Requirements dictate a minimum of three credit hours in an approved study program.

The Iowa Vocational-Technical Grant is needs-based and students must apply with a FAFSA.

Kibbie Grant

The Kibbie Grant, also known as the Iowa Skilled Workforce Shortage Tuition Grant, is also a need-based grant for prospective students residing in Iowa.

Only specific approved careers and programs are eligible for awards, which covers up to half of the average community college tuition and fees in Iowa (under a two-year period).

It is a need-based grant, so students will need to fill out and submit a FAFSA to be eligible.

What Student Loan Programs Does Iowa Have?

Student loan programs ought to be viewed as a last resort since grants and scholarships are far more cost-effective. Significant consideration and planning are needed before and after college to secure the best financial future for you and your loved ones.

Iowa Student Loan

Iowa does offer a state student loan program. Created in 1991 by a nonprofit organization based in the state, the loan’s rate vary between 4.6% and 6.91%.

Federal Student Loans

Students seeking university or college education in Iowa may also apply for and receive financial aid via federal student loans. Complete and submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to apply.

You can learn more by clicking here.

Private Co-Signed Student Loans

Private student loans offer additional assistance for students who may already have applied or received federal student loans. Many options are available in terms of co-signed student loans. For example. Learn more about private co-signed student loans here.

No Co-Signer Student Loans in Iowa

Funding U offers no co-signer student loans to eligible students attending college or university in Iowa. Eligibility requirements dictate a minimum GPA to be maintained, as well as consideration of the graduation rate of your chosen institution. If you’re looking for further financial assistance in addition to any federal student loans, you can learn more here.

NOTE: Funding U does not offer loans to residents of the state of Iowa.  However, if you are attending a school located in Iowa and are a resident of another state that is eligible you may apply.

What Schools Does Funding U Lend To In Iowa?

Funding U’s no co-signer loans are meant for students attending four-year, non-profit, or undergraduate degree-granting universities. Funding U does not lend to for-profit schools, 2-year schools, graduate, or trade schools.

Eligibility and requirements include minimum comprehensive GPA and are also created in observation of graduation rates. For individual schools to be added, the attending students are expected to meet specific 6-year graduation rates. Learn more in-depth information about eligibility and requirements here.

The table below provides every school in Iowa that Funding U lends to currently.

School NameFreshman
6 yr
Grad Rate
Briar Cliff UniversityNoNoNoNo4555
Buena Vista UniversityNoNoYesYes5477
Central CollegeNoYesYesYes7281
Clarke UniversityNoNoYesYes6375
Coe CollegeNoNoYesYes6681
Cornell CollegeNoYesYesYes7681
Dordt CollegeNoYesYesYes7381
Drake UniversityNoYesYesYes7887
Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological SeminaryNoNoYesYes5183
Graceland University-LamoniNoNoYesYes5162
Grand View UniversityNoNoYesYes5067
Grinnell CollegeNoYesYesYes8496
Iowa State UniversityNoYesYesYes7587
Iowa Wesleyan UniversityNoNoNoNo2259
Loras CollegeNoNoYesYes6876
Luther CollegeNoYesYesYes7983
Maharishi University of ManagementNoYesYesYes7075
Mercy College of Health SciencesNoNoNoNo4238
Morningside CollegeNoNoYesYes5170
Mount Mercy UniversityNoYesYesYes7175
Northwestern CollegeNoNoYesYes6977
Saint Ambrose UniversityNoNoYesYes6778
Simpson CollegeNoYesYesYes7080
University of DubuqueNoNoNoNo4359
University of IowaNoYesYesYes7386
University of Northern IowaNoNoYesYes6581
Upper Iowa UniversityNoNoNoNo4356
Wartburg CollegeNoNoYesYes6779
William Penn UniversityNoNoNoNo3553

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