Parent Times: The University of Iowa
 
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SPRING 1999-00
Volume 43, Number 3

IN THIS ISSUE

Study in Summer? Almost 12,000 Students Say "Yes"

Listening to Students: President Coleman Finds Them 'Invigorating'

First and Foremost: Ten Standouts Launch Program That Gives High School Seniors an Early Start on College

Your Tuition Payment: Building Our Students' Future

Financial Aid: The Buffer Zone Between Students and Higher Education Costs

Investing in Your Student's Future

Accents: Problem or Opportunity to Learn?

A Challenge From Frank

Parent Times Briefs

University Calendar


 

Who helps pay for your child to attend the University? That may seem like a silly question, so soon after you’ve written a tuition check.

But if your student receives scholarship or grant money, it’s not as silly as it seems. In 1998, more than 47,000 alumni, faculty members, staff, and other friends of the University contributed $52.1 million in outright gifts to the University of Iowa Foundation, and $13.5 million of that amount was designated to support student financial aid. This was a 42.7 percent increase over the $9.4 million designated for student financial aid in 1997.

In addition, people notified the Foundation that they had established wills or trusts that will yield an estimated $40.1 million in the future, and of that amount, $17.7 million, or 44 percent, will support student financial aid.

So many people whom students will never know have taken an active interest in their education.

The gifts fully support the select undergraduate merit awards, such as the Presidential, Opportunity at Iowa, Deans, National Merit/Provost, and Enrichment scholarships. New scholarship money also will help the University diversify its undergraduate student body, increase the annual retention rate, improve student commitment to the four-year graduation plan, and increase overall graduation rates.

Scholarships are one facet of student financial aid. Others include grants, part-time or work-study jobs, and loans.

Loans

Over the four years that The University of Iowa has participated in the federal direct loan program, average indebtedness of Iowa students has gone down. Mark Warner, director of the Office of Student Financial Aid, says, "We attribute this to an increased awareness of students and parents of the amounts actually needed to pay their expenses. Most borrowers are trying to limit their borrowing to what is necessary, and 27 percent of our students do not borrow at all."

Federal Loan Indebtedness for a Graduating Senior
by Academic Year

000
Borrowers Only
All Students
1994-95
$13,554
$ 9,894
1995-96
16,880
12,322
1996-97
16,241
11,855
1997-98
15,494
11,310
1998-99
15,109
11,018

The University’s default rates for the federal Stafford and Perkins loan programs have run significantly below national averages, Warner says.

Student Jobs Available

All campus employers have been having difficulty filling jobs, both work-study and ordinary part-time positions, Warner says. He attributes this problem to an increase in local job opportunities and competitive wages. To try to help University offices hire, the Office of Student Financial Aid offers a fall Student Job Fair that is open only to campus employers. Employment opportunities are included in all award packets and orientation materials.

Currently, students do office work, laboratory work, computer-related jobs, childcare and tutoring, academic and scientific research, and service positions (food, laundry, parking, security, mail delivery).

Work-study positions, which go to students on the basis of need, are funded by state and federal work-study programs, departmental budget allocations from state appropriations, federal non-work study grant support, and private funds. The trend with the federal work-study portion has been to require institutions to use more money to support community service, reading tutor, or family literacy projects. In 1998-99, 15,207 students were employed. 2,003 in work-study programs earned $3.3 million, while 13,204 students in non-work-study positions earned $23 million. Of the work-study positions, 252 students worked in community service on campus and 140 in a service program off campus. America Reads hired 56 students as tutors.

Regulation Will Make Dropouts Repay Aid

Starting next fall, the U.S. Department of Education will demand that students pay back portions of their Pell Grants and other federal aid funds that are not used for education.

The new rule was one of several announced last November that will take effect in July 2000. The rule applies to students who withdraw from college on or after October 7, 2000.

Under a complex formula in the rule, students who withdraw will owe the portion of aid that was never used for classes, minus a 50 percent discount that the government will offer. All students who owe at least some of the repayment will get that discount. Students will have 45 days to pay back the funds or to agree to a payment plan with the college or the Department of Education.

The rule has sparked controversy for months between educational institutions and the government. Some higher education officials warned that the rule could force many institutions to change their aid-refund policies. They also warned that low-income students might be deterred from enrolling if they thought they might owe the government money, while others would lose eligibility for future aid because they would not be able to pay back the funds on time.

 

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