Guide to University of Iowa’s Financial Aid & Student Loan Options

Written by: Kristyn Pilgrim
Updated: 3/16/20

When it comes to paying for school, it’s important to know what financial options you have at your disposal. With costs estimated at between $25,030 and $46,993 for undergraduate students at the University of Iowa, getting all the help you can get from scholarships, grants, and loans makes all the difference.

If you’re unaware of what financial aid and student loan options are available to you, it’s easy to miss out on some great opportunities. Scholarships, grants, and loans are only open to applicants for a limited time. With the help of this guide, you’ll be well informed on options that are out there, so you can take advantage of all financial aid available.

University of Iowa Scholarships

University of Iowa students have plenty of scholarship opportunities at their disposal. These are mostly merit-based scholarships that recognize students who earn high grades and participate in extracurricular activities and groups. 

Scholarships can be found through many different sources. Some of these include:

The University of Iowa Office of Student Financial Aid Scholarships

The University of Iowa’s Office of Student Financial Aid offers a few scholarships that you are automatically considered for when you file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), including:

The University of Iowa Office of Admissions Scholarships

The Office of Admissions at the University of Iowa has several scholarships available for first-year, transfer, and even international students. Some of these require applications, whereas you are automatically considered for others.

For more information, click here.

The University of Iowa Departmental and Other Scholarships

The University of Iowa has its own Scholarship Portal that you can use to search for various scholarships. You can also look to individual colleges and departments within the University of Iowa for other scholarship opportunities:

Keep in mind that scholarship deadlines vary, with most applications becoming available in the fall.

Non-University of Iowa Scholarships

There are hundreds of other scholarships that you might be eligible for that come from outside sources such as non-profit organizations, churches, and businesses.

To make the scholarship search easier, the University of Iowa recommends the following scholarship search sites:

The University of Iowa Scholarships and Student-Athletes

If you are a student-athlete (SA) or are interested in becoming one, it’s important to note that your eligibility for some scholarships may be affected. For more information, click here.

University of Iowa Grants

Grants are similar to scholarships in that they do not need to be repaid. What makes grants a little different is that they are usually non-merit-based and are awarded based on financial need instead.

Grants are available from the federal government, which requires you to first file the FAFSA before being considered. These are handed out on a first-come, first-served basis, so getting in your FAFSA early will help ensure funds are still available.

For information on some of the grants available to you, continue below.

Federal Pell Grant

Federal Pell Grants are need-based grants awarded to students with a demonstrated need, as determined when filing the FAFSA. The amount of money awarded varies year by year, depending on factors such as funding, number of credit hours you’re taking, and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The maximum award for the 2019-20 academic year for full-time students is $6,195. 

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

FSEOG Grants are another form of need-based grants that are awarded based on exceptional financial need, as determined when filing the FAFSA. You are required to be enrolled in at least six credit hours of classes each semester to remain eligible for up to a total of eight semesters.

Federal TEACH (Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education) Grant

TEACH Grants are available to education students who agree to teach for at least four years following graduation in a high-need field, in either a public or private low-income elementary or secondary school. The maximum award per year currently is set at $4,000.

IMAGES (Iowa Minority Academic Grant for Economic Success)

IMAGES is a need-based grant created by the University of Iowa and the state to help state residents with financial need to pursue their first undergraduate degree who are:

  • African American
  • Latino/Hispanic
  • Asian
  • Pacific Islander
  • American Indian
  • Alaskan Native

To maintain eligibility, you must be enrolled in at least six credit hours per semester, for up to a total of eight semesters.

Federal Work-Study at University of Iowa

Another financial aid option you should consider is the Federal Work-Study Program. Work-study is awarded to students with financial need, who express interest while filing the FAFSA. Work-study is a great way to make extra money to help pay for school while earning valuable real-world experience in a job related to your field.

The jobs you can get are much the same as any other part-time job, except with work-study jobs, the Federal Work-Study Program pays 50% of your wages. This makes employers much more likely to take student employees on, as they don’t have to cover the full wage. Work-study jobs are mostly found on-campus, though you can find some off-campus jobs at non-profit and government agencies, as well.

During the academic year, students may work up to 20 hours per week, as mandated by the State of Iowa. During school breaks, students may work up to 40 hours per week.

Student Loans for University of Iowa Students

It’s not uncommon for students to have to take out student loans to help pay for the University of Iowa. Student loans are available from a variety of lenders, with the best option typically being the federal government. The University of Iowa also offers short-term loans to its students, and if all else fails, there are also private student loans.

To apply for federal student loans, you must first file the FAFSA. To read more about the various federal student loans available, follow the links below:

University of Iowa Student Short-Term Loans

These are zero-interest loans available from semester to semester. Payment is due at the end of each semester, and to be considered, you must be enrolled during the semester in which you are applying.

Loan amounts come in at $200, $350, and $500 per semester.

Private Student Loans

Private lenders offer loans to students when their cost of attendance hasn’t been covered by other forms of financial aid and student loans. You’re typically not required to file a FAFSA to be eligible, but it is advised that you do so anyway. 

Private student loans are often seen as a last resort, and all other forms of financial aid should be ruled out before applying. Quoted interest rates are based on credit approval, and typically are higher than federal student loans.
To help you find the best private student loans, the University of Iowa provides their preferred lender list that you can use during your search. It’s recommended that you look at multiple options and compare interest rates, fees, and other terms before making a final decision.