Facts About Iowa Student Loan
Iowa Student Loan was established in 1979 as a private, nonprofit corporation. Its mission is to help Iowa students and families obtain the resources necessary to succeed in postsecondary education. Iowa Student Loan has helped more than 392,500 students pay for college.
Based in West Des Moines, Iowa, the organization:
- Together with its subsidiary, employs more than 200 individuals.
- Is self-funded and self-capitalized.
- Is governed by a board of directors that, since its inception, has been appointed by the governor of Iowa.
- Does not have shareholders, nor does it receive state appropriations.
Operating as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, Iowa Student Loan is subject to strict regulation of its exempt purpose and use of funds. No funds may be used for the private benefit of any officer or director of the company.
How Iowa Student Loan Operates
Iowa Student Loan disburses its own private student loans. Its wholly owned subsidiary, Aspire Resources Inc., disburses private student loans on behalf of its partnering lenders; transmits student loan data among postsecondary institutions and lenders; and provides customer service on behalf of its external business partners and to borrowers with federal and private student loans.
Iowa Student Loan supports students and schools by providing innovative interactive solutions for their use as students apply for, receive and repay student loans. Iowa Student Loan reinvests its earnings in Iowans through vital programs targeted in the greatest areas of need. These include financial literacy tools to help borrowers make loan decisions; benefits to deployed U.S. service members; forgivable loans or grants to new Iowa nurse educators and teachers; supplemental private student loans with interest rate and credit subsidies; and financial and in-kind support of the Iowa College Access Network (ICAN), which offers free college planning services to students, parents and school counselors (ICAN is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization with its own board of directors).
Iowa Student Loan Products and Programs
Iowa Student Loan offers innovative products and services, developed specifically to best serve Iowa students and families.
- Borrower and Family Financial Education Programs
- Student Loan Game Plan. Introduced in 2010, Student Loan Game PlanSM is a unique interactive tutorial to help borrowers understand the consequences of overborrowing and discover how to avoid borrowing too much in student loans given their likely future income. Using real salary data based on the majors specified by users, Student Loan Game Plan gives applicants, cosigners, high school students and general users specific information on possible debt and budget scenarios, as well as tips on how to reduce overall borrowing.
- ROCI Reality Check and ROCI Tool. These interactive tools bring together valuable information to help students maximize their return on college investment, or ROCI. Users explore actual jobs and salaries attained by graduates of specific college majors as well as projected job openings and career information. ROCI Reality Check provides users with information on how to maximize their chances of obtaining the job they want.
- College Funding Forecaster. Incoming college freshmen and their parents can use the College Funding Forecaster to calculate estimated costs for a four-year college career based on the actual financial aid award packet students receive from their college. Estimated amounts are customizable for individual circumstances.
- Funding for College Expenses. A supplemental private loan — the Partnership Advance Education Loan® — that offers competitive interest rates and transparent terms to help students who have exhausted their other financial aid options and still cannot cover the actual cost of attendance.
- Assistance for Borrowers Repaying Student Loans. Iowa Student Loan, through Aspire Servicing Center, services both federal and private student loans, including programs offered by Iowa-area lenders. Borrowers consistently rate Iowa Student Loan high in customer service and in calendar year 2013 gave the company an aggregate rating of 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 is best.
Iowa Student Loan Reinvests in Iowans
Iowa Student Loan uses resources beyond what is required to fund its reserves to offer programs vital to Iowa students and families. Its board of directors works with policymakers, schools, lenders and other local partners to identify areas that are of the most critical need in Iowa. To directly impact these areas, Iowa Student Loan designs and supports local value-added programs and services, free college planning services, and loan forgiveness and grant programs.
Each year, Iowa Student Loan invests in programs for Iowa high schools, college-bound high school seniors and parents of college-bound high school students. Its current programs include:
Iowa Student Loan has operated loan forgiveness programs for nurses and teachers entering specified shortage areas. More than $4.7 million in forgiveness benefits has been paid to nurses and teachers in those programs, and payments to those in the programs are continuing.
Between 2010 and 2015, graduate-level nurse education students and new teachers were eligible for cash grants to recognize their work in critical shortage areas. Thus far, nearly $1.5 million has been awarded through these grant programs, with payments continuing through 2017 for recipients previously accepted into the program.
In addition, the Iowa Student Loan Armed Forces Interest Reduction Program recognizes service members who are or have been deployed during wartime efforts since Sept. 11, 2001. The program reduces interest to 0% on private student loans owned by Iowa Student Loan for up to 24 months for eligible borrowers in the U.S. Armed Forces. The program has provided more than $540,000 in reduced interest on private student loans held by U.S. service members.
Aspire Resources Inc.
Aspire Resources Inc. was originally created as ISL Service Corp. in 2001 as a wholly owned, for-profit subsidiary of Iowa Student Loan to perform functions not specifically included in Iowa Student Loan's original tax-exempt designation. Aspire disburses private student loans on behalf of its partnering lenders; transmits student loan data among postsecondary institutions and lenders; resells the computer software it develops; and provides customer service on behalf of its external business partners and to borrowers with federal and private student loans.
How Iowa Student Loan Differs from the Iowa College Student Aid Commission
Iowa Student Loan is a private, nonprofit corporation that receives no state appropriations. Iowa Student Loan finances student loans through bond issues and works with colleges, universities and financial institutions to make those loans available to Iowa students and their families. Through its Aspire Servicing Center arm, the organization services federal student loans and supplemental private student loans and works to help borrowers avoid default. The Iowa College Student Aid Commission, by contrast, is a state agency that is a political subdivision of the state of Iowa. Under state statute, it administers the state's scholarships and grants and performs research for the governor and legislature.