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Iowa Scholarships and Financial Aid

Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships

Iowa has five different types of colleges and universities: Regent universities (The University of Iowa, Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa); independent colleges (i.e. Cornell College, Northwestern College, Simpson College); proprietary colleges (Ashford University, Kaplan University, Kaplan University-Davenport campus); community colleges (i.e. Clinton Community College, Hawkeye Community College, Southwestern Community College); and nursing and healthcare institutions (i.e. Allen College, Mercy College of Health Sciences, Des Moines University). Iowa students attending any of these post-secondary institutions are eligible to receive financial aid and scholarships. Federal financial aid is available to students who have financial need, and scholarships and/or loans are available to students who don’t meet the federal financial need requirements, but still need money for school.

Four Kinds of Financial Aid and Scholarships Available for Iowa Students

  • Federal financial aid—grants and low-interest loans
  • State financial aid—Iowa scholarship and grant programs
  • Iowa individual university and college scholarships
  • Outside scholarships from individuals, associations, and corporations/business

Federal Financial Aid for Iowa Students

Iowa students who have financial need may qualify for grants and low-interest loans from the federal government. To see if you qualify, file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is available January 1, the spring semester/winter quarter before the school year in which you will need the aid. Students should file as early as possible to be able to receive both grants and loans. The national deadline to file the FAFSA is usually June 30, the year in which you need the aid. The Iowa state deadline for the FAFSA is July 1 by midnight, Central Daylight Time. Your school may also have a FAFSA deadline. Check with your financial aid/scholarship office to be sure you don’t miss it.

After you submit your FAFSA, the financial aid office at your school will send you information on your financial package. The number of grants and loans offered to you will depend on your family’s income and savings, as reported on your FAFSA.

If you are not offered a financial aid package, you might still qualify for a loan from a private lender. Loans should be taken out as a last resort. Talk to a financial aid officer for more information.

For more information on federal grants and student loans, please see our Guide to Federal Grants and Guide to Student Loans.

Iowa Financial Aid Programs for Students

The state of Iowa provides financial assistance to its students. Here is a list of available grant and scholarship programs you may qualify for:

Iowa Grant
This grant is offered to Iowa students attending a Regent, independent, or community post-secondary institution in Iowa. Award amounts may be as high as $1,000. Submit a FAFSA as soon as possible to qualify.

Iowa National Guard Educational Assistance Grant
This grant is available to members of the Iowa National Guard. The maximum award amount is full tution coverage. Apply online or request a paper application from Iowa National Guard Headquarters, Military Personnel Office, 7700 NW Beaver Drive, Johnston, IA 50131-1902. The deadline is usually in August.

Iowa Tuition Grant
This grant is available to Iowa students attending a private college or university in Iowa. The maximum award amount is $4,000 a year, renewable up to three years. To qualify, submit a FAFSA at the earliest possible time.

Iowa Vocational-Technical Tuition Grant
Students who are studying vocational-technical careers may be eligible for this grant of $1,200 per year for two years. Submit a FAFSA to qualify.

Iowa Barber and Cosmetology Arts and Sciences Tuition Grant
Maximum grants of $1,200 a year are available to students attending barber and cosmetology schools in Iowa. Submit a FAFSA to qualify.

All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship
Students who participated in Federal TRIO Programs, graduates of unconventional high schools, and homeless youth are eligible for this scholarship that covers tuition and fees. To qualify, file a FAFSA application by the May 1 priority deadline and submit an online application.

Governor Terry E. Branstad Iowa State Fair Scholarship
Iowa students who have actively participated in the state fair are eligile to receive one of four scholarships ($500 to $1,000) in honor of previous Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad. Submit an online application by May 1.

Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship
This renewable $1,500 schoalrship is offered to Iowa seniors with high academic achievement. Applicants may be attending or planning to attend any post-secondary institution in the U.S. Please see website for current application procedures. Applications are due by February 1.

Robert D. Blue Scholarship
Awards between $500 and $1,000 are offered to students with high academic and literary achievement. Students are required to submit an essay. Apply online.

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Scholarship
Children of Farm Bureau members are eligible for this scholarship. Applicants must be enrolled at an accredited 2- or 4-year post-secondary institution. Download the 2009 application here and mail it by March 1.

University and College Scholarships for Iowa Students

Individual universities and colleges in Iowa have scholarships available to students who have been accepted into their programs. Their scholarships are usually based on merit, major, need, special ability, ethnic background, or any combination of these and more. For example, Iowa Lakes Community College offers the Spirit of Harmony Music Scholarship to music students who are in their second year, and the Tippie College of Business at University of Iowa offers the Accounting Freshman Scholarship to an incoming freshman student who is majoring in accounting.

Application procedures for Iowa university and college scholarships differ from campus to campus. Some scholarships, such as those based on merit, may be awarded through the office of admissions. For example, the University of Northern Iowa offers several merit scholarships through the admissions process. This means as long as students submit their application for admission on time, they will automatically be considered.

Some institutions, like Iowa Lakes Community College, require one general scholarship application for all scholarship. Other schools, such as the University of Iowa, require separate applications for department-sponsored scholarships based on majors.

Other Iowa Financial Aid—Scholarships Offered by Individuals, Organizations, and Businesses

Iowa financial aid also includes scholarships offered by Iowa residents, businesses, and organizations. Here is a list of some of the scholarships available to Iowa students:

Iowa College Foundation
The ICF is a nonprofit organization that supports Iowa students with financial assistance. They offer a large number of financial aid programs to help students with their post-secondary education.

Iowa Matthew Shepard Scholarship
The Eychaner Foundation created this Iowa scholarship program in honor of University of Wyoming at Laramie student Matthew Shepard who was murdered in 1998 for being openly gay. The scholarship is meant to support gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students in Iowa. Please refer to website for current application and due date.

The Iowa Arts Council
The Iowa Arts Council offers scholarhsips in the amount of $1,000 to $2,000 to full-time Iowa students who have an artistic ability in visual arts, performance arts, or literature. Download an application here. Applications are due February 9.

Professional Educators of Iowa (PEI) Scholarships
PEI offers scholarships in the amount of $150 to $2,400 to students and educators. Please refer to the website for additional information on individual scholarships and deadlines.

Iowa Newspaper Foundation Scholarships
Five Iowa scholarships are available to college students pursuing a career in a related field. Request an application from your high school counselor or the Iowa Newspaper Foundation at 319 E. 5th Street, Des Moines, IA 50309 or (515) 244-2145. Applications are due on February 13.

Iowa Grocery Industry Association
The IGIA offers many scholarships to Iowa students, including the Mary I. Fitzgerald Scholarship and the Asparagus Club Scholarships.

Three Things to Keep In Mind about Iowa Scholarships and Financial Aid

  • The state of Iowa offers 10 scholarships for students who have a variety of interests and are from a variety of backgrounds. Make sure you know which ones you qualify for by visiting your school’s financial aid office.
  • Scholarships offered through Iowa universities and colleges require different application procedures. Check with your financial aid/scholarship office for individual requirements to scholarships.
  • Be sure to check in your local community to see if businesses and individuals/families are offering scholarships to college-bound students.

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