Borrowers in Repayment
For nearly 15 years, Iowa Student Loan and our wholly owned subsidiary Aspire Resources Inc. has provided customer service on behalf of our external business partners and to Iowa Student Loan's borrowers with federal and private student loans.
Since January 2015, employees of Aspire Resources Inc., have been providing customer service for borrowers under the name Aspire Servicing Center.
Federal Direct Loan Servicing
Between 2012 and 2015, we provided customer service on more than a million loans for borrowers across the nation through Aspire. The extensive knowledge of staff and high customer service ratings played key roles in expanding the contract to include portfolios of partner not-for-profits in Colorado, Rhode Island and Kentucky.
Although we invested very significant resources into becoming eligible for and performing the servicing work at a high customer satisfaction level, additional account volumes needed to achieve efficiencies for a viable venture were never realized and we could no longer justify use of our limited resources to support this program, rather than our targeted programs for Iowa students and families.
In August and September 2015, we ended the contract by transferring all federal Direct Loan accounts to the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA), another member of the U.S. Department of Education's (Department) federal student loan servicing team.
The endeavor to expand staff expertise into additional student lending areas resulted in refocusing resources, knowledge and skills on programs directly benefiting Iowans.
Grants and Forgiveness Programs
Borrowers with a career in specified shortage areas and the armed forces have made a commitment to fill a need. In return, we provide grants, loan forgiveness and interest reduction programs to help those borrowers succeed at repaying their loans.
Programs for Shortage-Area Workers
We have made a tradition of providing student loan benefits to college students and graduates who need additional resources to succeed. For many years, our programs benefitted college graduates who filled career gaps in education and nursing. Although our focus has moved on with the onset of external funding programs, we continue to honor financial commitments to current participants.
Iowa Student Loan Nurse Educator Grant
The Iowa Student Loan Nurse Educator Grant Program has touched 128 nurse educators in Iowa's two- and four-year colleges who are also graduate-level students. These recipients have received more than $680,000 in grant funds.
Additional grants will continue to be awarded to current participants through the program's sunset in Fall 2016.
Loan Forgiveness for Nurses and Teachers
More than $5 million in loan forgiveness funds have been awarded to nurse educators, registered nurses and teachers filling specific shortage-area needs. Allocated funds for this program will be distributed to current participants by Aug. 20, 2017.
Interest Reduction for Armed Forces
Service members who are serving on active duty are eligible to have interest on private student loans owned by Iowa Student Loan reduced to 0.00% for up to 24 months. Through the Iowa Student Loan Armed Forces Interest Reduction Program, more than $500,000 in interest has been forgiven for 650 service members since 2001.