Iowa College Aid Insider - October
October Declared as College Application Month in Iowa
Iowa College Aid at the Reach Higher FAFSA Meeting at the White House
First Generation Conference Hosted by GEAR UP Iowa
Stay on Top of Student Debt
State Program Continues to Help High-Need Students Gain Critical Workforce Skills
Iowa Insurance Division to Take Over the Iowa Financial Literacy Program
Make College Happen Challenge to Win $10,000
Resource Guide Available to Help Undocumented Youth
National Apprenticeship Week
The Iowa College Application Campaign, part of a national effort to build awareness of higher education within high schools and encourage all students to complete college applications, was set into motion this year with events held as early as September. With nearly 85 Iowa high schools participating, the importance for high school graduates to complete some type of education beyond high school is spreading across the state. While the Campaign may look different at each school, one commonality is that the seniors are given the opportunity to fill out a college application during the school day, with assistance from high school staff and other area volunteers. Students are also given information on the next steps after applying and filing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
Governor Branstad also took part in spreading the word of the importance of postsecondary education at a celebration event held on Friday, October 16th at North High School in Des Moines. The Governor signed a proclamation declaring the month of October “College Application Month”, spoke to the students about the importance of higher education and fielded questions from students.
On October 21, Iowa College Aid’s Keyli Keifer and Julie Leeper had the opportunity to be part of nationwide discussions about FAFSA Completion efforts at the White House’s Reach Higher FASFA Convening. First launched in the spring of 2014 by President Obama, the FASFA Completion Initiative allows states to share FAFSA data so that districts and schools can provide students the support they need to complete the process. As one of the first states to participate in the FASFA Completion Initiative, Keyli Keifer was also invited to sit on a panel of experts to share our experience with the implementation of our automated data tool.
Knowing the strong correlation between FAFSA completion and college enrollment, Iowa College Aid has included the FAFSA Completion Initiative into a statewide 3-step process for high schools to build a college-going culture. Participation in the Iowa FAFSA Completion Initiative requires school districts, high schools or other designated entities to enter into a data sharing agreement with Iowa College Aid and to have established relationships with the students they intend to serve. If you are interested in participating in the Iowa FAFSA Completion Initiative or have questions about the status of a data sharing agreement, please contact Keyli Keifer at 515-725-3456.
On October 16th, more than 100 education and community professionals from across the state gathered for the Engage. Empower. Support: Creating a Bridge of Opportunity for First-Generation Students conference, hosted by GEAR UP Iowa in partnership with Grand View University. The conference kicked off with a viewing of the College Board/Road Trip Nation documentary Why Not Us?, which follows four first-generation college students on a five-week long national journey where they visited with successful professionals from different sectors who were first-generation college students themselves. The viewing spurred discussion among the group representing K-12 schools, 2-year and 4-year colleges/universities, Iowa Department of Education, non-profit organizations and TRIO programs. Ideas where shared on how to empower and inspire first-generation students to attend and complete college.
Attendees also visited resource booths, heard from a first-generation student/alumni panel and attended their choice of concurrent sessions that included: Insights from Data, Theory and Practice; Barriers Students Must Face; and Immersion Programming for First-Year Underrepresented Students.
For many May 2015 college graduates, the grace period before they have to start making student loan payments is quickly coming to an end. November marks the first month many of these former students will be required to make a payment on the loans they received. The loan repayment process can be confusing and it is easy for many students to relocate without contacting their loan provider, making it even more difficult for their lender to provide them with important information and pressing deadlines.
To avoid future confusion and frustration with your student loans, follow these tips to make certain you are on track to pay off your debt with fewer headaches and in a shorter amount of time!
Iowa College Aid recently released a report providing an overview of the Skilled Workforce Shortage Tuition Grant Program, commonly referred to as the Kibbie Grant, for the 2014-15 award year. Named after former Iowa Senate President Jack Kibbie, the program provides need-based financial assistance to Iowa residents enrolled in high-demand career education and career option programs at Iowa community colleges.
Now in its fourth year, a total of 4,926 out of more than 23,000 applications were awarded Kibbie Grants for the 2014-15 academic year. Among other things, the report illustrates that:
- The top five programs of study in which recipients were enrolled included: registered nursing, licensed practical/vocational nurse training, automotive mechanic technician, welding technology/welder and child care provider/assistant.
- More than half of the recipients, 55.5%, had a zero EFC as compared to 31% for all undergraduate Iowa residents who completed a FAFSA.
- More than half of the recipients, 51.58%, were age 25 or older.
- 37.74% of the recipients came from families where the reported highest education level completed for both parents was high school or less.
More information about the Kibbie Grant, including all of the qualified programs of study identified by Iowa Workforce Development and Iowa’s community college presidents are detailed in the report which can be accessed in the Higher Education Data Center.
The Iowa Financial Literacy Program is a statewide initiative that Iowa College Aid launched back in 2010 to put digital financial education tools in the hands of educators at no cost to the school. Last year, over 330 Iowa schools participated in the program. We are very excited to announce that the Iowa Insurance Division has taken over the statewide sponsorship and the program will continue to be available to Iowa schools at no cost.
Vault – Understanding Money (demo video) empowers students in grades 4-6 to be smart financial decision makers while they are early in their cognitive development. By leveraging performance-based games, Vault immerses students in real-life financial scenarios that focus on skill building and responsible decision making.
EverFi – Financial Literacy (Iowa Financial Literacy Program) (demo video) is appropriate for grades 9 -12, building the foundation for students' future financial well being. Covering everything from Credit Scores to filling out the FAFSA, each module provides bite-sized, instructional animations to make each topic approachable and relatable to students.
The sponsorship transition from Iowa College Aid to the Iowa Insurance Division has already taken place. The process was seamless for current school users who will continue to work with Lincoln Hughes with EverFi for system use and questions.
If you do not currently use the program and would like more information, go to everfi.com/register, click 'teacher' and search for your school to get started or reach out to Lincoln at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
The Make College Happen Challenge is an opportunity for high school students to win awards ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 by explaining how they plan to pay for college.
The U.S. Department of Education has compiled this Resource Guide to assist and enhance State and local efforts to support undocumented youth at the secondary and postsecondary school levels.
The first national apprenticeship week will take place November 1-7, an opportunity for the National Apprenticeship Community to tell their story. Learn more about the celebration and how to participate.
Education Empowers, the official blog of Iowa College Aid, provides practical, informative and engaging tips and insight related to financial aid and college planning.
Iowa College Aid will be closed on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 in observance of Veterans Day. We will reopen on Thursday, November 12th at 8:00 a.m.