Iowa College Aid Insider - May 2014 Edition

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Financial Literacy Ceremonies held throughout state
College Decision Day in Council Bluffs and Davenport
GEAR UP Iowa Students Advance to Real World Design Challenge Championship
Iowa College Aid offers online student complaint process
All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship
2014-15 Awarding Parameters
Iowa Registered Nurse and Nurse Educator Loan Forgiveness Program
Certifying State Authorization to SEVIS - Private Nonprofits
I Have A Plan Iowa® Data Cleanup
Education Empowers


Financial Literacy Ceremonies held throughout state

As Financial Literacy Awareness Month came to a close, Iowa schools held Financial Literacy Certification events throughout the month of April to recognize students for achieving certification in the Iowa Financial Literacy Program.

Staff from Iowa College Aid joined representatives from EverFi Inc., the Superintendent of the Burlington Community School District and MidWestOne Bank, the local sponsor of the program in Burlington schools, to recognize students for becoming certified in financial literacy.

Three Iowa school districts are highlighted below:


Nearly 250 high school students were recognized for their efforts in becoming certified through the Iowa Financial Literacy Program, and an additional 150 middle school students were recognized for their efforts in becoming certified through Vault. Students were presented with their certificates, answered financial literacy related questions for a chance to win Iowa College Aid sunglasses and two lucky high school students’ names were drawn to receive $100 from MidWestOne Bank.


Students at Remsen-Union High School in Remsen, Iowa were also recognized for completing the Iowa Financial Literacy Program. A ceremony to acknowledge 27 seniors who reached certification status through the Iowa Financial Literacy Program was held this week at Remsen-Union High School. Guest speakers included Senator Bill Anderson, Remsen-Union Board of Education President Shirley Schroder, Iowa College Aid Outreach Coordinator Julie Ntem, and a business teacher. A student speaker spoke on the life importance of the concepts they had learned and shared that all students enjoyed the format of the web-based program. Students in grades 9-12, family members and faculty attended the event.

West Sioux

West Sioux High School recognized 14 students who completed the Iowa Financial Literacy Program. Principal Ryan Kramer and Iowa College Aid Outreach Coordinator Julie Ntem spoke and congratulated the students during an assembly with grades 9-12. The school was awarded a $1,000 technology grant and $250 team prize for submitting the 2014 IFLiP Video CLiP Challenge winning video. The prizes were sponsored by EverFi, Inc. A student from the winning team spoke about their community collaboration in creating the video and surprise in media attention after being selected for the winning video.


College Decision Day in Council Bluffs and Davenport

When staff at Iowa College Aid heard about First Lady, Michelle Obama’s new college access initiative, Reach Higher, we knew we needed to highlight the great work being accomplished in schools across the state. To kickoff her new initiative, the First Lady challenged schools to host Decision Day events where the senior class members commit to postsecondary education. Iowa College Aid’s GEAR UP Iowa team reached out to schools, with Council Bluffs and Davenport West jumping on board. Highlights from their events are included below. Iowa College Aid hopes to coordinate even more College Decision Day events next year as part of a statewide initiative.

On Wednesday, April 30th, students at Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln High Schools in Council Bluffs, Iowa participated in College Decision Day. The event was a partnership between Iowa Western Community College, Iowa College Aid, Council Bluff Community School District and GEAR UP Iowa. From 8 am – 12 pm, students from each high school had the opportunity to come to the commons area and sign a certificate stating their intent to attend the college of their choice. Students also signed a large banner to hang in the school and had a chance to ask questions about financial aid, student loans and admissions.

College Decision Day at Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson High School
Nancy Ankeny from Iowa Dept. of Ed, and Heather Doe from Iowa College Aid assist students at College Decision Day at Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln High School

On Thursday, May 1st, students from West High School in Davenport held an assembly for juniors and seniors to recognize College Decision Day. Students from the senior class celebrated their college decisions and were recognized in groups according to the schools they will attend in the fall. Students from the junior class were also invited to jump-start the college planning process. All students were given the opportunity for Q&A with representatives from Hamilton Technical College, Western Illinois University, St. Ambrose University, Augustana College, Blackhawk Community College, Hawkeye Tech Community College, Scott Community College, AIB College of Business and Kirkwood Community College.

Share your college access initiatives with the hastag #ReachHigher

GEAR UP Iowa students Advance to Real World Design Challenge Championship

Several GEAR UP Iowa high schools competed on the Real World Design Challenge State Championship over the weekend at the Science Center of Iowa. The Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) is an annual competition that provides high school students, grades 9-12, with the opportunity to work on real world engineering challenges in a team environment. Each year, student teams are presented with a challenge that confronts the nation’s leading industries. Students utilize professional engineering software to develop solutions and generate presentations that convincingly demonstrate the value and real world application of those solutions. The 2014 challenge focused on increasing corn crop yield by detecting the European Corn Borer through the use of a Drone or UAV.

Teams from Clinton High School, Central Lee High School, Marshalltown High School, and West High School in Davenport competed at the State Competition held at the Science Center of Iowa on April 13, 2014. Matt Geraghty, Real World Design Challenge State Coordinator, announced Davenport West High School (Falcon Fever) as the 2014 Iowa state winner. This is Davenport West High’s 3rd state title. West High School team members Pardeep Saini, Derek Geiken, Nicole Kraft, Tuyen Nguyen and Carina Grady will represent Iowa in the national challenge held in Washington, D.C., in November. All team members were awarded a $1000 scholarship to University of Iowa or Iowa State University from RWDC.

West High School Project Lead the Way instructors Jason Franzenburg and Greg Smith worked tirelessly with the team, and provided excellent coaching, which led the team to finish 1st for the third time in a row.

Iowa College Aid online student complaint process

With the update to our new Iowa College Aid website, some links to important forms and information have changed. Many schools have inquired about our Student Complaint Process.

The new link to our online student complaint form is:

All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship

Last week, 533 students were designated to receive the All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship.  This scholarship requires that recipients have a cumulative high school GPA of at least 2.5 and demonstrate financial need on the FAFSA. Students who graduated from an alternative high school program or participated in a federal TRIO program while in high school were given priority consideration.

A total of 7,689 All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship applications were received between January 1 and March 1 for the 2014-15 application cycle, which is considerably higher than the total of 2,704 applications received during the same timeframe for the 2013-14 application cycle. 

Of the students designated:

  • 253 plan to attend an Iowa community college
  • 79 plan to attend a private college/university in Iowa
  • 201 plan to attend an Iowa regent university

The 2014-15 scholarship awards are $7,853 for students attending a 4-year college/university and $4,630 for students at a community college. While the scholarship is good for one year only for those attending a 4-year college/university, students at a community college can renew their award for a second year if certain conditions are met.

2014-15 Awarding Parameters

On Wednesday, April 30, Iowa College Aid officially released the 2014-2015 awarding parameters for the Iowa Vocational Technical Tuition Grant, Kibbie Grant and Iowa Tuition Grant for students attending eligible private proprietary colleges and universities in Iowa. Staff also increased the 2014-2015 Iowa Tuition Grant maximum award from $4,450 to $4,550 for students attending Iowa’s private not-for-profit colleges and universities. In total, these awarding parameters commit just under $58 million in state grant appropriations to Iowa students for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Iowa Registered Nurse and Nurse Educator Loan Forgiveness Program

Iowa College Aid recently selected 33 nurse educators and four registered nurses from a total of 260 applications for receipt of awards under the Iowa Registered Nurse and Nurse Educator Loan Forgiveness Program. This loan repayment program is state-funded and provides annual loan repayment funds for registered nurses and nurse educators for up to five years of employment in the state of Iowa.

Certifying State Authorization to SEVIS - Private Nonprofits

Iowa College Aid recently received two calls from financial aid directors at Iowa private non-profit, degree-granting institutions requesting assistance in responding to a Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) requests. These requests ask schools to certify the beginning date of their authorization to operate in Iowa.

Iowa Code provisions first authorized Iowa’s private, non-profit, degree-granting institutions to operate in Iowa under an exemption from registration, based on meeting the institutional eligibility conditions to participate in an Iowa grant program. That authorization first appeared in Iowa Code Section 261B.11 in 1997. Generally, new code provisions are effective on July 1 immediately after the legislative session in which the new code provisions were enacted. Therefore, one could use a beginning date of July 1, 1997.

Iowa Administrative Code now identifies, by name, the private non-profit colleges that are authorized to provide postsecondary educational programs in Iowa without additional oversight.  A school that appears on this list may also choose to use the effective date of these Administrative Code provisions, January 15, 2014, as the beginning date of its authorization to operate in Iowa for the purpose of reporting to SEVIS. See For the complete list of schools authorized under these Administrative Code provisions, view Chapter 21, pages 4 and 5.

Please call or e-mail Carolyn Small, Postsecondary Registration Coordinator, at (515) 725-3413 or if you have additional questions or need further assistance.

I Have A Plan Iowa® Data Cleanup

As the school year winds down, we’d like to remind districts to review student accounts connected to their site in I Have A Plan Iowa®. To ensure accurate data is reported to the Iowa Department of Education, it is important that duplicate accounts are merged and students no longer enrolled at a building are released. A new process to automatically merge system-identified duplicate accounts will occur this summer, so districts are encouraged to review and manage their data before the school year ends. Districts who use a particular format for accounts will want to pay special attention to their data. If you need assistance with account cleanup, please contact your IHAPI trainer or call 877-272-4456.

Education Empowers

Education Empowers, the official blog of Iowa College Aid, provides practical, informative and engaging tips and insight related to financial aid and college planning. Blog post topics for the months of April and May include information on high-demand jobs in Iowa, preparing an elevator speech, reasons to start at a community college, how to dress for success and a student’s perspective on the importance of financial literacy.

Printed from the Iowa College Student Aid Commission website on May 26, 2018 at 8:55am.