A dedicated leadership team with decades of student funding and education experience working with management to ensure adherence to the corporate mission, which includes providing the resources Iowa families need to successfully complete college, begin a career and repay any student debt.
Message from the Board Chair
Iowa Student Loan has helped families navigate postsecondary education, including the various aspects of financing college, since 1979. And each year we find ways to help make that journey more successful for Iowa students and their families.
Our unique suite of customizable, online financial literacy tools offers resources and information anyone can use to make wise college funding decisions on their path to college success. These tools, Student Loan Game PlanSM and ROCI Reality Check, were created to help users better understand the true financial cost of college and what can be done to reduce the need to borrow, in addition to calculating an overall return on their college investment.
Use of these tools was again a requirement for our 2015 scholarship program. In its second year, the Iowa Financial Know-How Challenge: Senior Scholarship required high school seniors to complete both tools and a related assessment prior to being entered to win one of 20 individual $1,500 scholarships.
Parents were also rewarded for increasing their financial know-how. The Save Now, Save Later: College Savings Plan Parent Giveaway gave parents a chance to experience a version of our tools geared specifically for parents and cosigners before being entered for a chance to win a $1,500 boost to a College Savings Iowa account for their student.
In 2015 we also strived to share these financial literacy tools and resources with even more Iowans, regardless of whether they borrow from us, through participation in statewide financial literacy efforts and events, and through our partnership with the Iowa College Access Network.
For families whose journey requires a supplemental private student loan, we made updates to our Partnership Advance Education Loan® (Partnership Loan), which is intended to fill any gaps in funding college after all other student financial resources have been exhausted. These updates now provide potential borrowers with three in-school repayment options — immediate, interest-only or deferred — and provide transparent fixed-rate and variable-rate options up front. Also this year, we formed strategic partnerships to offer new and additional education finance options.
In 2015 we continued to provide quality customer service for borrowers with private and federal loans through a counseling approach. For members of the armed forces and individuals working in shortage-areas, we also offered repayment assistance.
Within this annual report, I'm pleased to share more details on the accomplishments Iowa Student Loan made in 2015 to deliver on its nonprofit mission to help Iowa students and families obtain the resources necessary to succeed in postsecondary education.
Christine L. Hensley
Chair, Iowa Student Loan Board of Directors
Experienced Team of Leaders
Iowa Student Loan is governed by a board of directors appointed by the governor of Iowa and representing education, financial services and the general public. The board provides extensive oversight and checks and balances, ensuring Iowa Student Loan adheres to its mission and meets its obligations.
In 2015 board members provided oversight through frequent policy, financial and audit reviews. Of note, the board adopted a revised Commitment to Fair Lending policy to ensure we treat all individuals fairly and equitably, avoiding discrimination, during the lending process.
The board also made the decision to end our contract with the U.S. Department of Education as a Direct Loan servicer. Although we invested very significant resources into becoming eligible for and performing this servicing work, and our employees performed at a high satisfaction level among customers, additional account volumes needed to achieve efficiencies for a financially viable venture were never realized.
Ridding ourselves of the burdens associated with Direct Loan servicing allowed us to shift primary focus and needed reserves to our various community reinvestment programs and other education financing initiatives.