Winners Announced for 2017 Save Now, Save Later Program

Parents across the state of Iowa are getting a $1,000 boost to their student’s College Savings Iowa® account this winter, thanks to Iowa Student Loan’s Save Now, Save Later: College Savings Plan Parent Giveaway.

Fifty parents have been chosen as winners in the program’s fourth year. Each parent will receive the $1,000 deposited directly to the College Savings Iowa account of their registered child. The registration period ran during September and October and was open to Iowa residents who have a student in grades six through 12 at an Iowa school.

“This program really helps highlight the importance of saving for college and being proactive with planning for your child’s future,” said Shari Higgins, a 2017 winner from Nevada. “The information presented was useful and something I can come back to later as I have questions.”

Parents who registered had a chance to experience the Parent Handbook, a new online educational module from Iowa Student Loan. The handbook provides financial literacy tips for parents with students in middle school or high school.

After the registration period, entries were chosen at random from nearly 4,000 qualified participants. Iowa Student Loan works directly with College Savings Iowa on the giveaway. College Savings Iowa is the state’s direct-sold 529 program, administered by State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald.

Winners of the Save Now, Save Later program:

Name City Name City
Kelsey Lorenzen Davenport Kristin Johnson Urbandale
Erika White Vinton Shari Higgins Nevada
Dawn Atwood Colfax Heather Kingsbury Vinton
Shanan Redinger Hanlontown Jennifer Sassman Waverly
Rhonda Sirfus Johnston Jennifer Tischer Mount Vernon
Michele Foreman Cedar Rapids Mary Hauptmann Algona
Kelly Willis Waverly John Flint Cedar Falls
Melissa Korell New Sharon David Finley Estherville
Rhea Wright Perry Karen Hamilton Council Bluffs
Rosely Imler Knoxville Susan Swartzendruber Knoxville
Amanda Lawless Saint Lucas Jason Carlson North Liberty
Jamie Carlson Guthrie Center Mary Dietrich Pleasant Hill
Sara Laures Cedar Falls Amy Carlisle Griswold
Amy Wilson Coralville Tami Wise Urbandale
Andrea Juergens Adel Lee Brungardt Council Bluffs
Dawn Gunderson Muscatine Nicole Metcalf Climbing Hill
Jody Fairbanks Anamosa Mundi McCarty Solon
Stephanie Gengler Merrill Julie Borelli Carroll
Andrea Masteller Clive Angela Beer Cedar Rapids
Amanda Salyars Muscatine Christina Hlas Adel
Eric Kovaleski Bouton Gayle Shatek Mason City
Kathy Oulman Forest City Regina Critchlow Carlisle
Tim Bloom Newton Tracie Rogiers Buffalo
Thomas Evans Dubuque Jody Sturmer Blue Grass
Amy Hammer Cedar Falls Scott McCarty Ottumwa

By: Iowa Student Loan 

 

Giveaway for Educational Costs Approaches End

Iowa Student Loan’s most recent award program is coming to a close soon. The College Funding Forecaster Giveaway allowed Iowa high school students and their parents or guardians to enter drawings for awards after completing the online tool College Funding Forecaster.

Nearly 500 eligible registrants were entered into weekly drawings for two $250 awards for educational expenses. Over the course of the giveaway, $5,000 in weekly prizes were distributed to the drawing winners who completed the required steps to claim the prize.

High school 2017 graduates and their parents or guardians were also eligible to be entered into the grand prize drawing for two $1,500 scholarships to be paid directly to the winning student’s college in fall 2017. More than 400 registrants were eligible for that drawing, which will be conducted by an independent third party at the end of June. Winners will be notified in July, and the results will be published on the Iowa Student Loan website.

This was the first year for this giveaway, which encouraged Iowa families with college-bound students to use the free College Funding Forecaster tool to estimate total out-of-pocket expenses for a four-year undergraduate degree.

All Iowa Student Loan’s scholarships and programs play an important role in educating Iowa students and families about college planning and financing and in providing financial resources to help offset college costs. So far, nearly 17,000 students, parents and guardians from across the state have registered to receive valuable information, and more than 200 recipients have received more than $300,000 in awards.

Mark your calendar for the upcoming Save Now, Save Later: College Savings Plan Parent Giveaway, which opens near the beginning of the 2017–2018 school year.

By: Iowa Student Loan

Thirty Iowa Seniors Receive College Scholarship from Nonprofit

High school seniors from across the state earned $2,000 for college while learning important financial literacy skills through the 2016–2017 Iowa Financial Know-How Challenge: Senior Scholarship sponsored by Iowa Student Loan®.

More than 3,500 Iowa high school seniors registered for the scholarship between November 2016 and February 2017. Of those, nearly 2,000 completed two online financial literacy tutorials and a related assessment to qualify for one of 30 scholarships. The 30 recipients were those who scored highest on the assessment and, because of a tie for top scores, received the highest scores on an independently judged essay.

“Students face high college costs and, for many, the related student debt,” said Christine Hensley, chair of the Iowa Student Loan board of directors. “We know the decisions students make about spending, college choice and college major may have a significant impact on the amount of debt students need to take on. This scholarship is one way we encourage high school students to experience our online tools to learn about the concepts of minimizing debt and making responsible borrowing decisions. Each year that we offer this program, students, parents and educators comment on the valuable lessons gained through the scholarship qualification process.”

The tools, along with tips that registered students received by email through the scholarship period, are designed to help students avoid the pitfalls of heavy student loan debt, Hensley said. Student Loan Game Plansm and the ROCI Reality Check were developed by Iowa Student Loan to help students understand the consequences of college borrowing and discover how to maximize their return on college investment, or ROCI.

“The Iowa Financial Know-How Challenge: Senior Scholarship has provided me with helpful tips and advice to save money, budget my expenses, and overall become a more financially responsible student while in college,” said Jordan Turner, a 2017 graduate of Linn-Mar High School and a 2016–2017 scholarship recipient.

Charlotte Lenkaitis, another recipient and a 2017 graduate of Ames High School, agreed. “This scholarship and the tips that I learned throughout the process will help me to minimize my need to borrow money for college. By making smarter decisions now, I am giving myself greater opportunities for success in the future,” she said.

Each recipient’s high school will also receive a $500 award to improve or implement financial literacy and scholarship programs.

Program Future

Although details are not yet finalized, Iowa Student Loan anticipates offering the scholarship next academic year. More about the Iowa Financial Know-How Challenge: Senior Scholarship is available at www.IowaStudentLoan.org.

Scholarship Recipients

The following students each earned a $2,000 scholarship. Iowa Student Loan will send scholarship funds directly to recipients’ colleges.

Student Name Student High School Student Name

Student High School

Katiana Anderson Johnston Gabriel Mintzer Valley (West Des Moines)
Noah Berthusen Waukee Kaytlyn Mulford Iowa Falls-Alden
Amber Brincks South Winneshiek Sophie Nielsen Dowling Catholic
Emily Bruinsma Pleasant Valley Matthew Parcher Northwood-Kensett
Sophie Catus Johnston Isaiah Passmore Crestwood
Janielle Cobler Ottumwa Jacob Peake Southeast Polk
Cole Drenth Alta-Aurelia Hailey Pullman West Sioux
Ashley Erne Harris-Lake Park Ethan Schmitz Columbus Catholic
Dakota Fouts Waukee Brandon Svoboda Okoboji
Tyler Groathouse Waukee Cameron Trentz Pleasant Valley
Collin Hillinger Lawton-Bronson Jordan Turner Linn-Mar
Adriana Jorgenson Linn-Mar Sreeja Vepa Urbandale
Alexander Kock AR-WE-VA Ryan Wagner Fort Dodge
Morgan Koenen Linn-Mar Nichole Winter Maquoketa Valley
Charlotte Lenkaitis Ames Damon Wolter Keokuk

By: Iowa Student Loan

Nonprofit, State-Based Student Loan Organizations Publish Recommendations for Improving Higher Education Financing

Iowa Student Loan’s mission is to provide the resources necessary for students to succeed in postsecondary education. You’ll see the ways Iowa Student Loan, a state-based nonprofit, and other similar student loan organizations support students and families through recommendations for improving higher education financing.


Nonprofit, State-Based Student Loan Organizations Publish
Recommendations for Improving Higher Education Financing

Education Finance Council Releases White Paper Outlining
Recommendations for Improving Student Loan Program

Education Finance Council (EFC), the national trade association representing nonprofit and state-based student loan organizations, released on Monday a new white paper, “Helping Families Plan and Pay for College: Recommendations for Improving Higher Education Financing,” that highlights the important role of nonprofit and state-based student loan organizations and makes recommendations for improving higher education financing to better enable students and families to successfully plan for and finance their postsecondary goals.

“We are thrilled to release this white paper that both spotlights the current work of nonprofit and state-based organizations and serves as an outline for improving the higher education financing system. Our members work diligently to put families first by providing top-notch advisory and outreach services, consumer-friendly education loans, and comprehensive assistance and guidance for borrowers experiencing personal hardship or financial difficulties,” said EFC President Debra J. Chromy. “It is within that framework that EFC is pleased to present a set of common-sense policy recommendations that will minimize confusion by simplifying and streamlining programs and processes, save money for borrowers and the federal government, require consumer protections that put borrowers first, and assist more families in achieving their higher education dreams.”

In 2016, EFC Members directly worked with over 2.5 million families to help them successfully plan, save, and pay for college. And, during the 2015-16 fiscal year, nonprofit and state-based organizations helped over 76,000 students and their families close the gap in college funding with more than 87,000 loans, totaling $1.1 billion.

With this background and expertise in working with students, families, and borrowers, EFC members present a number of policy recommendations to better support families’ abilities to plan and pay for college, including:

  • Support nonprofit and state-based organizations’ college access, counseling, and financial literacy initiatives and explore ways to leverage the existing infrastructure of these organizations;
  • Preserve tax-exempt bond financing (Private Activity Bonds) for education loans;
  • Reduce repayment options to three plans (standard, graduated, and income-based) and combine existing forgiveness programs into a single program;
  • Require all income-driven repayment (IDR) programs to, at a minimum, cover the interest accruing on the loan balance to avoid negative amortization;
  • Require the disclosure of annual percentage rates (APR) for federal student loans;
  • Create a mechanism for borrowers to give the Education Department advance permission to automatically access their tax information for the limited purpose of determining eligibility for all IDR plans;
  • Exempt federal and private education loans discharged due to death or total and permanent disability of a borrower from income tax on the amount discharged;
  • Provide higher education institutions with authority to reduce loan limits for certain borrowers and require all non-federal education loans to be certified by a higher education institution official;
  • Amend the Preferred Lender List statute to allow schools the ability to recommend to students and families loans offered through nonprofit and state-based organizations; and
  • Allow all Federal Direct Loan servicers the ability to service consolidation loans, so that borrowers do not need to transition to a new servicer at this crucial point in the repayment process.

Download the white paper here.

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It’s Time to Have “The Talk”

TheTalk

How will your children know what to do in a situation that life throws at them if you don’t talk to them about it first?

Many parents assume that because they are adept at handling finances that their children will be too—by osmosis, perhaps? But your children, especially those heading to college for the first time this fall, need to be shown how to be financially responsible.

You may often hear about “financial literacy” as a key to producing financially responsible individuals, but a better term may be “financial well-being.” The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau recently published several documents related to this concept that outline an approach that advocates for consumers to achieve a state where they can:

  1. “fully meet current and ongoing financial obligations,
  2. feel secure in their financial future, and
  3. make choices that allow enjoyment of life.”

They describe having these three traits as “financial well-being.”

To achieve a state of financial well-being, one must be armed with more than knowledge. To make sound financial decisions one needs to be able to locate and process reliable information related to those decisions. Where can your children get this information? There are so many sources available online and in print, but kids need parental involvement in the process. It’s time for “the talk” about financial responsibility.

Discuss the three parts of financial well-being mentioned above with your children. Talk to your kids about what it costs to actually live the lifestyle they are accustomed to living. Discuss appropriate use of credit cards; explore credit scores; help them understand a mortgage; and discuss how to find the best deal when shopping for a loan—especially if they will need to take out a student loan for college. It’s OK if you need to look up financial terms like APR, equity or collateral—look them up together and learn together.

loanphotoLay out the problems with making only minimum monthly payments on credit cards—the required disclosure box on any credit statement can help show what happens when you pay only the minimum payment each month. Your children will most likely be shocked at the amount of time to pay off even a relatively small bill and the amount of interest that will be paid.

Find a loan calculator online and show them how much they will need to pay each month after they get out of college (if they have student loans). Ask them what they think they will need to earn in their first year at their first job to “feel secure in their financial future” and to enjoy the lifestyle they envision, knowing that student loan payments may be a given on top of a mortgage, a car payment and other expenses.

It’s never too early to learn about financial well-being. So gather the kids and start the process of providing them with the knowledge they need to be successful. They will thank you later.

By: Iowa Student Loan

30 Iowa Seniors Receive College Scholarship

SrScholarship-Winners-BlogImage

Iowa High School Seniors Each Earn $2,000
for Demonstrating Financial Know-How

High school seniors from across the state earned $2,000 for college while learning important financial literacy skills through the 2015–2016 Iowa Financial Know-How Challenge: Senior Scholarship sponsored by Iowa Student Loan.

More than 4,300 Iowa high school seniors registered for the scholarship between November 2015 and March 2016. Of those, more than 2,200 completed two online financial literacy tutorials and a related assessment to qualify for one of 30 scholarships. The 30 winners were those who scored highest on the assessment and, because of a tie for top scores, received the highest scores on an independently judged essay.

“High student loan debt levels are a legitimate concern,” said Christine Hensley, chair of the Iowa Student Loan board of directors. “The scholarship is a great way to expose high school students to the concepts of minimizing debt and making responsible borrowing decisions right at the time they are making college decisions. We hear from parents every year that the process of experiencing our online tools as part of the scholarship qualification opens up enlightening conversations with their students.”

The tools, along with tips that registered students received by email through the scholarship period, are designed to help students avoid the pitfalls of heavy student loan debt, a continuing concern for college graduates in Iowa and nationwide, Hensley said. Student Loan Game Plansm and the ROCI Reality Check were developed by Iowa Student Loan to help students understand the consequences of college borrowing and discover how to maximize their return on college investment, or ROCI.

“The [scholarship] was extremely insightful to just how many expenses there really are in college,” said Ian Kubbe, an Ottumwa High School senior and one of the 2015-2016 recipients of the scholarship. “I strongly recommend this scholarship opportunity to any high school senior, not only for the financial benefit it provides, but also the helpful information about loans, college expenses and how to budget your money correctly.”

“This year we expanded the scholarship program to award more students with more college funds and to recognize the role high schools play in educating their students about important college financing concepts,” said Steve McCullough, president and CEO of Iowa Student Loan. “This initiative is a tangible aspect of our mission to help Iowa students and families successfully pay for postsecondary education.”

Each recipient’s high school also received a $500 award to improve or implement financial literacy and scholarship programs.

Program Future

Although details are not yet finalized, Iowa Student Loan anticipates offering the scholarship next academic year. More about the Iowa Financial Know-How Challenge: Senior Scholarship is available at www.IowaStudentLoan.org.

Scholarship Recipients

The following students each earned a $2,000 scholarship. Iowa Student Loan will send scholarship funds directly to recipients’ colleges.

Student Name Student School Student Name Student School
Veronica Augustine West High School (Davenport) Brandi Miller Waverly-Shell Rock High School
Aaron Bertini Glenwood High School Kaylee Puttmann MOC-Floyd Valley High School
Jared Davis Hempstead High School Lindsey Reicks Solon High School
Crystal Eppling Le Mars High School Alexandra Reifert Wilton High School
Jason Fisher Nashua-Plainfield High School Bradley Ritter Baxter High School
Rebecca Fuhrmeister Pleasant Valley High School Rebecca Roberson Akron Westfield High School
Leah Gibbs Easton Valley High School Lauren Ronnfeldt Regina High School
Nicole Giesemann Bellevue High School Amber Snyder Wilton High School
Hailey Gross West Central Valley High School Alexandria Sturtz North Polk High School
Jenny Ha Linn-Mar High School Jordan Thomas Southeast Polk High School
Alexander Hall East Mills High School Sarah Todd Columbus Community High School
Ian Kubbe Ottumwa High School Jack Turner Dowling Catholic High School
McKenna Lloyd Xavier High School Cierstynn Welcher Van Buren High School
Lindsay Mahaney Bishop Heelan Catholic High School Carter Wolf Southeast Polk High School
Nathan Maughan Albia High School Sarah Zelle Linn-Mar High School

By: Iowa Student Loan

Winners Announced for 2015 Save Now, Save Later Program

SNSL-Blog-Winners

Parents across the state of Iowa are getting a $1,500 boost to their student’s College Savings Iowa® account this spring, thanks to Iowa Student Loan’s Save Now, Save Later: College Savings Plan Parent Giveaway.

In this second year of the program the number of awards was increased from 20 to 30 to benefit even more Iowa families. Registration opened Aug. 13, 2015, and ran through Nov. 30, 2015. The program was open to Iowa residents who have a student in grade nine, 10, 11 or 12 at an Iowa high school.

“Additional funds for a child’s (College Savings Iowa) account will encourage parents to continue funding their accounts,” said Jeff McGuire, a winner from Hiawatha. “Every bit helps defray the rising costs of college.”

Parents who registered were required to complete the co-signer version of Student Loan Game PlanSM, a free online, financial education tool offered by Iowa Student Loan, with versions for students and for parents. After the registration period, entries were chosen at random from about 1,000 qualified participants.

“I think (the program) is a good way to show the impact of borrowing,” said Greg Fritz, a winner from Pocahontas. “Too many people don’t think about all of the interest that they have to pay. And saving is easy, even if you can only start small.”

All 30 winners will have a $1,500 deposit made into a new or existing College Savings Iowa account for their eligible child. Iowa Student Loan works directly with College Savings Iowa on the giveaway. College Savings Iowa is the state’s direct-sold 529 program, administered by State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald.

Iowa Student Loan plans to launch the Save Now, Save Later: College Savings Plan Parent Giveaway again in the fall.

View the full news release.

Winners of the Save Now, Save Later program are:Blog-WinnerTable


By: Iowa Student Loan

Partnership Creates Greater Access to Financial Literacy Tools

ICAN_Plaque

Students and families now have the chance to gain even greater access to personalized college planning and financing information while visiting a few of the Iowa College Access Network’s (ICAN) locations.

ICAN, a Student Loan Coach contributor, recently teamed up with Iowa Student Loan to create mobile learning stations in three of its 11 office locations.

Providing statewide outreach, ICAN helps more than 500,000 students, parents and education professionals prepare for life after high school each year. An important aspect of that preparation includes financial planning for college.

For the past few years, ICAN has provided visitors instructions to Iowa Student Loan’s online smart borrowing resources and tools. These tools help families borrow less for college, and target majors that lead to jobs. Now, with the help of the learning stations, students and parents will be able to experience those tools while on-site at three ICAN locations, allowing for immediate discussion of personalized results and options with ICAN’s team of highly-qualified student success advisors.ICAN_Station

The tablet- and laptop-based stations have been set up at ICAN center locations in Hiawatha, Ankeny and Coralville. The stations provide the technology needed to access Iowa Student Loan’s suite of financial literacy tools — Student Loan Game PlanSM and ROCI Reality Check — in addition to other resources regarding college financing.

Student Loan Game Plan is an interactive educational resource demonstrating how student loan debt can affect a student’s financial future. It provides customizable results based on major interests and individual situations, and provides an action plan to help reduce the need to borrow for college. During the month of July 2015, 14 percent of users were able to reduce the amount of student loan debt they planned to incur by an average of $1,800 after using Student Loan Game Plan.

The ROCI Reality Check provides users with job prospects, earning potential and maximum suggested student loan debt loads based on a student’s chosen major, allowing them to see the potential return on college investment, or ROCI.

By: Iowa Student Loan

Parents: Register to Win a $1,500 College Savings Plan Deposit

Save-Now-Save-Later

A college savings account is a great way to set your future college student up for success by helping them to possibly reduce debt later in life.

Iowa Student Loan’s Save Now, Save Later: College Savings Plan Parent Giveaway is a great way to give that savings account a boost.

Now through Nov. 30, you can register to win one of 30 deposits of $1,500 to a College Savings Iowa© account. All you need to do is complete the one-time registration process, including completion of the cosigner version of Student Loan Game Plan, an online educational tool.

Enter now to win a $1,500 deposit

“(The program) is a great way to support Iowa’s youth who are approaching the college years,” said Michele Stiles, of Des Moines, a 2014 winner. “It helps parents plan and save ahead for college so that both parents and students are more financially prepared as students enter college.”

Eligible registrants are:

  • an Iowa resident;
  • and a parent or legal guardian of a high school student in Iowa (grades 9, 10, 11 or 12).

Winners will be selected in December, and notified in January 2016.

Read the full news release

By: Iowa Student Loan

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