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If you’re planning to attend one of Iowa’s 58 colleges and universities, then you might need the help of financial aid, scholarships, or Iowa student loans to help you pay for it.
While there are less expensive community colleges in the Hawkeye State, the price tag will rise if you attend a four-year school in Iowa. For example, in-state residents living on campus at the University of Iowa can expect to pay more than $25,000 per year.
Here are four ways to pay for school in Iowa:
- Scholarships and grants for Iowa students
- Federal student loans
- Iowa school student loans
- Private student loans
1. Scholarships and grants for Iowa students
Here are several options to look into:
- Iowa College Aid scholarships: Created by the Iowa General Assembly in 1963, Iowa College Aid gives out over $68 million per year in scholarships, loan forgiveness, and grants.
- Iowa Student Loan scholarships: Although this organization primarily provides student loans as well as education about paying for college, it also offers scholarships worth $1,000 to $2,000 for Iowa high school seniors.
- Bright Scholar Award: The Bright Scholars of Iowa provides full-ride grants to a few of the top Iowa high school seniors who would otherwise lack the means to attend college.
- Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa scholarships: This program offers a range of scholarships for high school students and adults. While most are available for one year, some are two-year, four-year, or even renewable.
- Des Moines Women’s Club scholarships: This group offers 18 scholarships from $1,500 to $2,500 to Iowa women who excel in areas like STEM, literature, education, theater, and more.
- James B. Morris Scholarship Fund: This scholarship fund has given over $1 million to Iowa minorities — including Black, Native American, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Latinx students — over the past 30 years.
2. Federal student loans
Another reason to fill out the FAFSA is to apply for federal student loans, which are typically a good place to start if you need to take out debt for school.
This is namely because they come with federal benefits and protections, such as access to income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness programs.
Here are the main types of federal student loans you might be eligible for as an Iowa student:
- Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students with financial need. They also don’t accrue interest while you’re in school, meaning you’ll have less to pay off after you graduate.
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to both undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of financial need. Unlike subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans will accrue interest while you’re in school.
- Direct PLUS Loans are available for students attending graduate school as well as for parents. Keep in mind that PLUS Loans generally come with higher interest rates than subsidized and unsubsidized loans. They also require a credit check.
|Loan type||Who qualifies?||Interest rates|
|Direct Subsidized Loans||Undergrad students with financial need||2.75%*||$3,500 to $5,500 per year|
|Direct Unsubsidized Loans||Undergrad, graduate, and professional students||Undergrad: 2.75%*|
Graduate and professional: 4.30%*
|Dependent undergrad: $5,500 to $7,500 per year ($31,000 total limit)
Independent undergrad: $9,500 to $12,500 per school year ($57,500 total limit)
Graduate and professional: $20,500 per year
($138,500 total limit)
|Direct PLUS Loans||Parents, graduate students, and professional students||5.30%*||Cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received|
|*Federal student loan rates for the 2020-21 academic school year.|
Learn More: Average Cost of College in the U.S.
3. Iowa school student loans
Some colleges and universities also offer their own Iowa student loans that you might qualify for. Since these are all independently-managed programs, it’s best to get in touch with your school’s financial aid department to see what options you might have and find out how to apply.
Here are a couple of programs available from Iowa schools:
- University of Iowa Self-Service Short-Term Loans: These aren’t meant to finance the full cost of your education. Rather, these are short-term, interest-free loans of up to $500 to help you get by if you run into a temporary financial snag.
- Saint Ambrose University private alternative loans: These loans are meant to help students who need help to fill financial aid gaps. Saint Ambrose University partners with certain lenders to offer fast-tracked private loans for their students.
Check Out: Paying for College at Public Universities
4. Private student loans can help fill the gaps
If you’ve exhausted your scholarship and federal student loan options, private student loans could be a good way to fill any gaps left over.
You might even be able to qualify for a lower interest rate on a private student loan than a federal student loan, depending on your credit.
If you decide to take out a private student loan, be sure to consider as many lenders as possible to find the right loan for you.
Credible makes this easy — you can compare your prequalified rates from multiple lenders in two minutes. Each lender in the table below is a Credible partner available to Iowa residents.
|Lender||Fixed rates from (APR)||Variable rates from (APR)||Loan terms (years)||Loan amounts|
|3.61%+||2.14%+||5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20|
(depending on loan type)
|$1,000 - $200,000|
|4.24%+1||1.68%+1||5, 10, 15||$1,000 - $350,000
(depending on degree)
|3.34%+2,3||1.04%+2,3||5, 8, 10, 15||$1,000 up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance|
|4.09%+7||1.99%+7||7, 10, 15||$1,000 - $200,000|
|3.75%+||N/A||10, 15||$1,500 or $2,000 up to school’s certified cost of attendance
(depending on school type and minus other aid received)
|4.25% - 12.59%9||1.13% - 11.23%9||5, 15||Up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance|
your credit score. 100% free!
Lowest APRs reflect autopay, loyalty, and interest-only repayment discounts where available | 1Citizens Disclosures | 2,3College Ave Disclosures | 7EDvestinU Disclosures | 8INvestEd Disclosures | 9Sallie Mae Disclosures
Iowa students have plenty of options to pay for college
When it comes to paying for college, most college students end up taking out a mixture of federal and private student loans. While scholarships, grants, and federal student loans should generally be your first choices, private student loans could help cover any leftover expenses.
If you decide that a private student loan is right for you, remember to consider as many lenders as possible. This way, you can find a loan that fits your needs. With Credible, you can easily check your prequalified rates with multiple lenders at once.
Before you borrow, find out how much you’ll owe over the life of your federal or private student loans using our student loan calculator below.
Enter your loan information to calculate how much you could pay
With a $ loan, you will pay $ monthly and a total of $ in interest over the life of your loan. You will pay a total of $ over the life of the loan, assuming you're making full payments while in school.
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Keep Reading: Average Student Loan Interest Rates