Iowa College Aid Insider - January
The 2016-17 FAFSA and Iowa Financial Aid Application Now Available
FAFSA Completion Initiative Picks Up Where the College Application Campaign Left Off
College Changes Everything Planning Grant Results in Cradle-College-Career Collaboration
Iowa College Aid Video Showcases Career Pathway Academy
Federal Perkins Loan Program Extension Act of 2015
eFile for a Fast Income Tax Refund
Iowa College Aid FY 2015 Annual Report Available Online
On January 1, 2016, students began completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Iowa Financial Aid Application for the 2016-17 academic year. The FAFSA is a standardized federal form used to determine eligibility for federal, state, and in some cases, institutional financial aid, and the Iowa Financial Aid Application is the State of Iowa’s supplemental application that collects information in addition to what is collected on the FAFSA for state grant and scholarship eligibility.
Upon completion of the FAFSA, all Iowa residents have the option to link directly to the Iowa Financial Aid Application. This not only streamlines the federal and state financial aid application process for Iowa’s students but also solidifies access to the Iowa application for individuals who may not be informed of its availability. Iowa is one of a handful of states that have implemented this service for its residents; in 2014-15, almost 80% of students that completed an Iowa Financial Aid Application came directly from the FAFSA. To date, over 3,300 Iowans have utilized this service for the 2016-17 application, with over 2,700 Iowans eligible to complete the Iowa Financial Aid Application.
The College Application Campaign held last fall saw 78 participating high schools from across Iowa. During campaign events, more than 3,500 students utilized time during the school day to research college opportunities and complete college applications with assistance from volunteers such as school counselors, college and university representatives and college access professionals. Additionally, through an optional student survey to 1,300 students, Iowa College Aid learned that almost 25% of students surveyed would not have applied to college if it wasn’t for the College Application Campaign and almost 75% of students surveyed are interested in additional college-access information.
Whether your school participated in the College Application Campaign or not, now is the time to continue your student’s progress and excitement about higher education by promoting the completion of the FAFSA. Iowa College Aid can aid your FAFSA completion efforts by providing student-specific FAFSA completion information through the FAFSA Completion Initiative. Participating high schools will have access to a secure, online system where FAFSA submission and completion statistics for their students can be tracked. This data helps ensure that students are filling out the FAFSA, which determines their eligibility for federal student aid – a key factor in families’ college decisions.
To participate in the FAFSA Completion Initiative, schools must enter into a data sharing agreement with Iowa College Aid. There is no deadline to register for the initiative! Although the FAFSA season has already begun, your school can still benefit from participation. Additional information can be found on Iowa College Aid’s website or by contacting Keyli Keifer.
Last April, Iowa College Aid awarded a $10,000 Planning Grant to the United Way of Wapello County to support efforts to increase the college attainment rate in Ottumwa as part of the agency’s “College Changes Everything” initiative. The grant enabled the United Way of Wapello County, working with the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, to organize and initiate a community-based local college access network (LCAN) dedicated to increasing college attainment among Ottumwa students.
“We want to improve the percentage of people who attend and graduate from college and also get certified in many of the programs offered by our community colleges,” said Ottumwa Mayor Tom Lazio. “Not only does the additional education and training increase earning power, it provides more opportunity for people to live and work in rural Iowa.”
Now, less than a year later, the effort has established C3, which stands for Cradle – College – Career. C3 is a collaboration of education, business, government, labor and non-profit sectors, working together to increase the number of Ottumwa students and citizens who are ready for, have access to, and persist in reaching their education goals to obtain a college degree or credential.
Ottumwa is the first Iowa community preparing to publish its common agenda outlining the groups goals, key strategies and measures.
Iowa College Aid has co-produced a 7-minute video with the Sioux City Community School District, a GEAR UP Iowa district, highlighting the district’s Career Pathway Academy program. Sioux City representatives approached the agency to create a way to both promote the academies to Sioux City parents and start to develop video messaging around the idea of career pathway and technical education training. Iowa College Aid worked with a team of students from Sioux City’s Filmmaking Career Pathway Academy, shooting footage and conducting interviews with teachers, students and Sioux City business leaders. The video has been well-received and earned praise from educational professionals:
“This is exceptionally well done! Without doubt, we need more productions like this across the state.” – Christopher Duree, Ph.D., Chancellor, Iowa Valley Community College District
“I am going to send it to our national CTE organizations,” said Pradeep Kotamraju, Ph.D., Career and Technical Education (CTE) Bureau Chief for the Division of Community Colleges. I am sure they can use the program as an example of for what CTE of the future should look like.”
For more information on the Sioux City Career Pathway Academy program video or to propose a video project with your school district, please contact Eric Olson.
President Obama signed the bill last month, extending the Federal Perkins Loan program for two additional years. Under the extension, new loans would be limited to undergraduates with remaining financial need after Direct Loan eligibility (subsidized and unsubsidized). The bill does prohibit on a final basis any new Perkins Loans after September 30, 2017.
A summary of the program changes is available on the NASFAA website.
90% of Iowans filed their income tax return electronically last year! Join your friends and neighbors - get your Iowa income tax refund in 10 days or less when you file electronically. eFiling is fast, safe, and easy!
You may qualify to e-File for free! The Iowa Department of Revenue website features links to software companies offering online filing of income tax returns. File your federal and Iowa income tax returns together from the Department's Web site.
File electronically! Good for the environment. Good for you.
“College is no longer a luxury; it’s the new minimum to succeed in today’s global economy.” That is why everything we do at Iowa College Aid is to help make a college education possible for every Iowan. In order to get more Iowa students to and through college or to start and complete a workforce credential, we need to think and work differently than we ever have before. At Iowa College Aid, we work to change the mind-set around college attainment in expanding the definition of college and shining a light on opportunity gaps. Learn how Iowa College Aid has worked to accomplish these goals in the FY 2015 Annual Report, available online.
Education Empowers, the official blog of Iowa College Aid, provides practical, informative and engaging tips and insight related to financial aid and college planning.