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Educational Tools

Our innovative free online tools and annual award programs for parents and students help families understand the many aspects of college financing before they are faced with the first bill. The understanding of total college cost, student loan debt and repayment, and the ability to finance college is an important aspect of our nonprofit mission.

College Financing Tools

We continue to develop and offer industry-leading tools to help students and families learn about the importance of career planning, appropriate borrowing levels and how to achieve their educational goals, as part of our nonprofit mission.

Student Loan Game Plan

Student Loan Game Plan uses real borrower stories, maximum recommended borrowing levels based on college majors, and interactive planning and budgeting features to show students and families how debt may affect their financial future. Users see tips on how to reduce their need to borrow to pay for college.

Private student loan applicants experience Student Loan Game Plan as part of the application process for private student loans offered by Iowa Student Loan.

ROCI Reality Check

Students and families explore their potential return on college investment, or ROCI, based on specific college majors with ROCI Reality Check. After selecting the desired major users see jobs held by college graduates with a degree in that major; which of those jobs are considered to be on the career track for the major; average starting salaries and maximum recommended total student loan debt; estimated number of new jobs; and the proportion of graduates in the major that have the job.

College Funding Forecaster

Between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017, nearly 3,000 people used the College Funding Forecaster, which was introduced in March 2016 to help families estimate the total cost of a four-year college career based on a freshman-year financial aid award package. This tool allows families to input a single year's costs, expected aid, and student and family contributions and get a forecast of total cost to help them make more informed decisions about college choices.

The College Funding Forecaster was also used to help families who brought their financial aid award packet to one of the nine Award Letter Nights we hosted in eight locations around the state in March and April 2017.

Grad Degree Gauge

A large segment of today's student loan debt is taken on by students pursuing an advanced degree. Graduate student loans make up 43% of the total volume of student loans disbursed in the 2015–2016 academic year, according to the College Board's 2016 Trends in Student Aid report.

The Grad Degree Gauge, launched in November 2017, is designed to help students who are thinking about either moving directly from undergraduate to graduate education or returning to school from the workforce. Users:

  • Compare expected earnings between current degrees and additional grad degrees.
  • Weigh the expected borrowing level and cost to attain a graduate degree against estimated earnings.
  • Explore career opportunities for those with the desired graduate degree.

Parent Handbook

Also introduced in fall 2017, the Parent Handbook is a module of valuable tips to help families of students in sixth through 12th grades prepare for success in college and other postsecondary options. The Handbook addresses common questions and provides a roadmap for academic and financial success. Users choose the topics they are most interested in at their students' current stage and may request additional detailed information on any topic covered.

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