Iowa College Aid Insider - December
Ensure FAFSA Completion in Your School
Your Course to College Available in Spanish
GEAR UP Iowa Partners with Treasurer of State
Happy Holidays from Iowa College Aid
Governor Branstad Marks Record-Breaking Day in Office
Iowa to Receive National Governor Association Grant
Iowa College Aid Holiday Hours
Iowa College Application Campaign events are wrapped up and thanks to the efforts of high schools across the state, many more Iowa seniors have taken that first step and applied to college. Now it is important to ensure those students stay on track by applying for financial aid. The FAFSA Completion Initiative is step two of Iowa College Aid’s 3-Step Process to building a college-going culture. Participation in the FASFA Completion Initiative provides school counselors and high school leaders a resource to monitor FAFSA completions and better help students to access higher education.
Participating high schools will have access to a secure, online system on January 4th, 2016 where FAFSA submission and completion statistics for their students can be tracked. Schools will be able to access the FAFSA status, including those students who did not start the process at all, for each student the school provides in a file to Iowa College Aid. 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 process, but with the FAFSA season just a few short weeks away, it is a good time to get started. Additional information can be found on Iowa College Aid’s website or by contacting Keyli Keifer.
Thanks to translation assistance from DMACC and Grinnell College, Your Course to College, Iowa College Aid’s premiere college planning guide, is now available in Spanish. This free resource is full of information to help students as they prepare for college and careers after high school. A favorite among Iowa high school counselors and college coordinators, the guide covers everything to help student make the transition to college easier. To order a supply of Your Course to College in Spanish, please contact Marlu Abarca.
An important goal of GEAR UP Iowa is to engage students and their families in the college planning process. Many Iowa families are not financially prepared for the costs of college and have underutilized resources, such as 529 college savings plans. This become even more pronounced among low-income and minority families where the participation rate in College Savings Iowa, the State’s 529 plan, is significantly lower than that of more affluent families.
To work towards closing this gap, GEAR UP Iowa has partnered with the Iowa Treasurer of State to both educate and provide opportunities for GEAR UP families to enroll in College Savings Iowa. College Savings Iowa offers families numerous tax incentives and the money saved can be used at any eligible educational institution in the United States and abroad, including colleges and universities, vocational and technical schools and graduate schools.
Thanks to College Savings Iowa’s generous pledge of $18,000 ($3,000 per year for six years), GEAR UP Iowa families who open new accounts will receive $50 in the form of a matching contribution. GEAR UP Iowa students with already existing College Savings Iowa accounts will receive a $25 contribution in their accounts. New accounts can be opened with as little as $25 and families can continue to add to their accounts on a regular basis, or when it is convenient.
We are excited about this new partnership and look forward to helping more GEAR UP Iowa families save for their children’s future!
Wishing you a happy and safe holiday season!
On Monday, December 14th, 2015, Governor Terry Branstad spent his 7,642nd day in office, surpassing New York Governor George Clinton’s record. This milestone makes him the nation’s longest-serving governor of all time. Governor Branstad held office as Iowa governor from 1983 to 1999 and reassumed the position in January 2011.
The Governor commemorated the momentous occasion in two different events during the day: an Iowa Capitol Open House and a Milestone Dinner Event held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center. There he celebrated with roughly 1,300 people, including John Dickerson, host of Face the Nation. Iowa College Aid Executive Director Karen Misjak also had the opportunity to attend the dinner event honoring Governor Branstad, with proceeds from both the dinner and the Governor’s recently released biography going towards a new Iowa History Fund.
Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds announced this month that the State of Iowa has been awarded a National Governors Association grant, worth $100,000, to scale work-based learning that will connect Iowa’s youth with STEM middle-skill careers. The grant aligns with the efforts of the Future Ready Iowa Initiative to ensure Iowans have the skills they need for rewarding careers and Iowa’s employers have the skilled workforce they need to grow and innovate.
Iowa is among six states – Indiana, Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah and Washington – whose submitted proposals were selected by the NGA Center for Best Practices Policy Academy on Scaling Work-Based Learning, and will focus on connecting 16 to 29 year-olds with middle-skills career opportunities in STEM industries.
Iowa College Aid will be closed on Friday, December 25th for Christmas. We will reopen Monday, December 28th at 8:00 a.m. Iowa College Aid will also be closed on Friday, January 1st for New Year’s Day and will reopen on Monday, January 4th at 8:00 a.m.