Iowa College Aid Insider: Teaching & Advising College-Bound Students (Dec. 2017)

Iowa counselor ratio better than average, but higher than ideal

Iowa’s average student-to-counselor ratio is 418:1, below the U.S. average of 482:1 but still well above the American School Counselor Association recommendation of 250:1. According to ASCA, Iowa had 505,311 students and 1,209 counselors in the 2014-15 school year. More stats on counselor ratios:

  • Twenty states and the District of Columbia have lower ratios than Iowa.
  • Only three states—New Hampshire (227:1), Vermont (202:1) and Wyoming (219:1)—meet the ASCA recommendation. 
  • The highest ratio is in Arizona (924:1).

See the complete list of ratios by state.

Help students avoid winter brain drain

Summer isn’t the only time when students can slide. Learning loss is associated with winter break, too. The phenomenon is especially detrimental to high school students, who might be prepping for college entrance exams and whose grades will show up on transcripts. Here are ways your students can keep their brains engaged over the winter break:

  • Keep reading. Even if no reading is required over break, encourage students to put their nose into a book or e-reader. These books might be related to their academic or career interests, or they might be strictly for fun. Reading of any kind increases cognitive function. Explore a winter break reading list from Goodreads.
  • Play games. This doesn’t mean first-person shooter video games. We’re talking about complex board games like Risk, Othello, Master Mind or Scrabble. Not only do they stimulate the brain, they can also promote positive interaction between teenagers and their families.
  • Stay physically active. Students can take walks to enjoy holiday lights, engage in snowball fights or hit the gym. Any of these activities are good for brain function, memory and attention span.
  • Visit a museum. Winter break provides a great opportunity to explore art, science or history museums, whether close to home or in cities where families are gathering.   
  • Try a MOOC. Hundreds of universities offer Massive Open Online Courses, many of them free. Shorter, self-paced courses are ideal for winter break. Find a list of MOOCs.
  • Review. Students don’t have to—and shouldn’t—spend their entire break focused on studies. But a quick review of notes on the last day or two of break can ease the back-to-school transition, especially if the semester didn’t end before break.

FAFSA deadlines are around the corner 

After a barrage of publicity surrounding the FAFSA opening in October, the hubbub has died down. But deadlines will start hitting early in the new year. Here are the three different types of FAFSA deadlines your students should watch for:

  • College deadline. This is usually the earliest deadline to hit, and it varies from school to school. You can check individual schools’ websites or use the “Directory of Iowa Colleges and Universities” in Your Course to College.
  • State deadline. For the 2018-19 academic year, Iowa’s deadline is July 1, 2018, although some individual programs might have earlier deadlines. You can find program-specific deadlines on our website.
  • Federal deadline. For the 2018-19 academic year, the federal deadline is June 30, 2019. Corrections and updates must be submitted by September 14, 2019. 

Remember: Some programs make awards only until funds run out, so filing earlier is always better. 


Printed from the Iowa College Student Aid Commission website on May 25, 2018 at 12:18am.