Financial Literacy Programs
Increasing financial literacy and promoting smart borrowing for college through innovative tools like Student Loan Game PlanSM and ROCI Reality Check as well as through student and parent awards.
Borrowers face continuing struggles to repay student loan debt after they leave college. Our innovative tools increase students' understanding of the impact student loan debt can have on their future finances and ways to minimize borrowing through smart planning and disciplined expenditures before they even apply for a student loan.
Student Loan Game Plan
Since 2010, Student Loan Game Plan has been helping students and borrowers understand the effects of borrowing too much for college and making a plan to reduce student loan debt.
Proven Features, New Appeal
On Oct. 21, 2015, a completely revamped high school version of Student Loan Game Plan became available online. This version spotlights the most important information by reducing text and providing interactive appeal through:
- Videos of borrower stories.
- An illustrated narrator.
- Options to compare various borrowing and financial scenarios.
- An animated video of tips to reduce the need to borrow.
All versions of Student Loan Game Plan highlight:
- The issues real borrowers have faced during repayment of their student loans.
- Customized estimated salaries based on actual salaries of graduates from specific majors.
- A suggested maximum borrowing level corresponding to expected starting salary.
- Total student loan payment amounts for realistic borrowing levels.
- A projected monthly after-college budget.
- Strategies to reduce the need to borrow.
- A customizable and printable action plan to reduce overall spending and borrowing.
Applicants for our private student loan programs, who experience Student Loan Game Plan as part of the online application process, consistently reduce planned loan amounts after using the tool.
"Student Loan Game Plan is very helpful because it gives specific figures to help you plan for the future. It really helped me think about college and plan ahead."
- Shuling Cheng, Johnston High School Graduate, 2015
ROCI Reality Check
ROCI Reality Check provides information on the return on college investment, or ROCI, students can expect from degrees of specific majors. ROCI Reality Check and the standalone ROCI Tool both provide many essential facts in one location for the ease of students. Users see information on:
- Jobs tied to specific majors.
- Starting salaries for common jobs.
- Potential for future job openings.
- Required training and responsibilities for jobs.
College Funding Forecaster
A new tool becomes available in February 2016 to help families understand the actual cost of a college degree. Using information provided in an award packet or available online, students can enter financial information for one year of college and calculate their total college funding gap for their entire undergraduate college career, not just the sticker price.
Student and Parent Awards
We have introduced and maintained several programs to encourage students and their families to become familiar with our suite of innovative tools as well as provide an opportunity to receive additional cash for college.
Iowa Financial Know-How Challenge: Senior Scholarship
This annual program awards substantial college scholarships to Iowa high school seniors while providing college financing and planning tips to thousands more. After registering online, students complete the high school version of Student Loan Game Plan, ROCI Reality Check and a related assessment to qualify for one of the college scholarships.
The 2015 Senior Scholarship program was open Jan. 19–Feb. 22, 2015, and awarded 20 scholarships of $1,500 each. More than 2,000 Iowa high school seniors from 98 counties registered. The final winners represented 17 schools.
- Alta-Aurelia High School
- Ballard High School
- Benton Community High School
- Boone High School (2)
- Easton Valley High School
- Guthrie Center High School
- Hempstead High School
- Johnston High School (2)
- Lamoni High School
- Linn-Mar High School
- Madrid High School
- North Iowa High School
- Northwood-Kensett High School
- Prairie High School (Cedar Rapids)
- Spirit Lake High School
- Urbandale High School (2)
- Valley High School (West Des Moines)
Scholarship recipients were recognized by Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Student Loan board and staff during a special award ceremony in Des Moines on May 8, 2015.
The 2015–2016 Iowa Financial Know-How Challenge: Senior Scholarship has been expanded to award scholarships of $2,000 each to 30 Iowa high school seniors. In addition, each recipient's high school will receive a complementary $500 award to supplement its scholarship and financial literacy programs. Registration opened Nov. 2, 2015, and runs through March 4, 2016. As of Dec. 31, 2015, approximately 1,700 students have registered.
Save Now, Save Later: College Savings Plan Parent Giveaway
The Save Now, Save Later program provides a $1,500 boost to 30 families' College Savings Iowa plans and, over the past two years, has exposed more than 3,100 parents and guardians to the cosigner version of Student Loan Game Plan.
This version of Student Loan Game Plan is designed to give parents and cosigners valuable information on how to work with their students to reduce the risk of overborrowing and improve their chances of financial success.
"(The program) helps parents plan and save ahead for college so that both parents and students are more financially prepared as students enter college."
- Michele S., 2015 Giveaway Recipient
Come 2 Iowa Senior Scholarship
This program, similar to the Iowa Financial Know-How Challenge: Senior Scholarship, awards scholarships of $1,000 each to two high school seniors from contiguous states who intend to attend college in Iowa.
Between Jan. 19 and March 31, 2015, 320 high school seniors from the contiguous states became aware of Iowa Student Loan and its financial literacy programs by registering for the Come 2 Iowa Senior Scholarship and completing the required responsible borrowing tools.
"Figuring out how to pay for college is definitely challenging and the online tools and assessment helped me better understand and weigh my options."
- Payton D., 2015 Scholarship Recipient