Student Funding Opportunities
Providing education funding sources that help students and families finance college, such as our Partnership Advance Education Loan® (Partnership Loan) and Skills Fund's bootcamp loans, as well as assisting borrowers through refinancing opportunities such as our Reset loan program.
Individuals wishing to further their education whether through traditional channels or accelerated learning opportunities often find roadblocks when it comes to funding that education. Our products and programs offer competitive financing and transparent terms, helping learners continue their journey.
When it comes to supplemental private loans, our goal has always been to offer loan programs with reasonable costs and transparent terms. We were able to improve the Partnership Loan this year with that goal in mind.
To provide lower-cost loans for students and families with good credit histories, we made the Partnership Loan a tiered interest rate program. This means that a loan's interest rate was based on either the borrower's or cosigner's FICO score. In keeping with our desire for transparency, we provide details on the qualifying FICO scores for the loan's four tiers and the interest rates associated with those tiers up front, before a student begins the application process.
We are especially proud of how the Partnership Loan compares to loans offered by national lenders. For example, we looked at the fixed-rate, deferred payment Partnership Loan and compared it to similar loans offered by the three biggest national student loan lenders. Our lowest rates are competitive with their lowest rates and our highest rates are much lower than their highest rates.
Accelerated Learning/Bootcamp Loans
We entered into a new venture in late 2015 with Skills Fund, an innovative startup company that provides financing for professionals attending highly skilled accelerated learning programs or bootcamps. Skills Fund ensures that coding, data science and other skills-oriented programs meet a stringent set of quality standards before providing access to competitive financing, as bootcamp students do not qualify for federal student aid.
Bootcamps may not be a typical form of postsecondary education, but they are aligned with our corporate mission and vision. Accelerated learning programs provide individuals with the education necessary to advance their career and fill high-need jobs within a number of industries. Participants can earn higher salaries and benefit from economic growth. Bootcamps directly correlate their success to that of a student's professional outcome.
We have formed a strategic alliance with Skills Fund to help them begin operations, originate loans and provide customer service for the loans.
Refinance opportunities such as our Reset loan program and Link Capital loans for medical professionals can help borrowers get a handle on repayment of multiple student loans and often decrease the cost of their loans.
Reset Loan Program
In 2014–2015, Iowa Student Loan offered a pilot program — Reset Consolidation LoanSM — to qualified individuals who wanted to refinance their existing student loans. We learned a lot about the challenges in providing such refinancing during that program, and we will be moving forward with variations of the Reset loan in 2016.
This is one example of Iowa Student Loan's responsiveness to the needs of Iowans and to the changing environment of student loan finance. Policymakers at both the local and national level, as well as the press, have called for innovative approaches to help graduates who have student loan interest rates that are higher than necessary. As Iowa's non-profit student loan provider, Iowa Student Loan is applying its resources and expertise to address this issue.
Additional competitive refinancing options for Iowans who meet specific criteria will soon be released as part of a second future variation we plan to call the Reset Refinance Loan. Details regarding this version of the loan program will be made available on our website soon.
Link Capital Loan Programs for Medical Professionals
In 2015, we also began an alliance with Link Capital, a startup that specializes in refinancing student loans for healthcare workers. Chicago-based Link Capital offers medical professionals ways to save over the life of their student loans by partnering with not-for-profit health systems to offer attractive refinancing loan options.
Currently, Link Capital offers two medical student loan refinancing options.
- A residency refinance loan for borrowers currently in their medical residency or fellowship. This loan features a deferment repayment period during the borrower's residency/fellowship and a three-month grace period.
- A medical refinance loan for medical professionals (physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and all other medical professionals) that requires borrowers enter repayment once the loan is finalized.
Customer service and pre-application phone calls regarding these loans are provided under the name Aspire Servicing CenterSM by Aspire Resources Inc. employees. Aspire is Iowa Student Loan's wholly owned subsidiary.