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High School Seniors Receive College Scholarship from Nonprofit

Recipients from Surrounding States to Attend Iowa Colleges

June 22, 2017

Five high school seniors from Illinois, Minnesota and Missouri each earned $1,000 for college while learning important financial literacy skills through the 2017 Come 2 Iowa Senior Scholarship sponsored by Iowa Student Loan®.

Nearly 650 high school seniors from Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin registered for the scholarship this spring. To be eligible for one of the five $1,000 college scholarships, participants completed two online financial literacy tutorials and a related assessment and indicated their intention to attend an Iowa college or university in fall 2017. The five recipients were those who scored highest on the assessment and, because of a tie for top scores, received the highest scores on an independently judged essay.

"Students from surrounding states who wish to come to college in Iowa often face higher tuition and costs than in-state students," said Christine Hensley, chair of the Iowa Student Loan board of directors. "This consideration, as well as the decisions students make about spending and college major, may have a significant impact on the amount of debt students need to take on. The scholarship qualification process encourages students to experience our online tools to learn about the concepts of minimizing debt and making responsible borrowing decisions."

The tools, along with tips that registered students received by email through the scholarship period, are designed to help students avoid the pitfalls of heavy student loan debt, Hensley said. Student Loan Game PlanSM and the ROCI Reality Check were developed by Iowa Student Loan to help students understand the consequences of college borrowing and discover how to maximize their return on college investment, or ROCI.

The Come 2 Iowa Senior Scholarship "will help me avoid taking out student loans for the many years of college I have ahead of me," said Derek Jones, a 2017 graduate of Argenta-Oreana High School in Illinois who plans to attend Grinnell College this fall and eventually earn a doctorate degree before entering a career as a professor at a research university. If he does need to take on debt, he says the lessons he learned during the scholarship process "will enable me to be a responsible borrower and stay within my recommended borrowing limit."

Abby Klahs, a 2017 graduate of St. Pius X High School in Festus, Missouri, who will attend Iowa State University this fall as a biology major en route to earning a doctorate, said, "I am grateful for the information and continuing resources that Iowa Student Loan has provided my family and I."

The Come 2 Iowa Senior Scholarship is one of several scholarships and programs sponsored by Iowa Student Loan to raise awareness of its free online smart borrowing tools, which educate students and families on important college planning and financing concepts.

More about the Come 2 Iowa Senior Scholarship is available at

Scholarship Recipients

The following students each earned a $1,000 scholarship. Iowa Student Loan will send scholarship funds directly to recipients' colleges.

Student NameHometownIntended College
Benjamin AlmquistRoseville, MinnesotaIowa State University
Matthew CarsonMackinaw, IllinoisIowa State University
Derek JonesDecatur, IllinoisGrinnell College
Abby KlahsBloomsdale, MissouriIowa State University
Erin WilliamsBurnsville, MinnesotaDrake University

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Media Contact

Megan Garrett, Corporate Communications & Media Relations, (515) 273-7145,

Additional Resources

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