A significant expansion of the eligibility for a long-standing grant program for Iowa non-profit college students means more families will qualify for tuition assistance this fall. The Iowa College Student Aid Commission (ICSAC) announced the expansion for the Iowa Tuition Grant (ITG), awarded to financially eligible students who attend one of Iowa’s independent, non-profit colleges or universities.
“We’re very pleased the Commission has updated the eligibility criteria for the ITG,” said Gary Steinke, President of the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (IAICU). “This is the first time in ten years the award threshold has been changed,” Steinke said.
The Iowa Tuition Grant was established in 1969 by the State of Iowa to provide tuition assistance for Iowa students of financial need who wish to attend a non-profit institution within the state. Students qualify based on their financial need as determined by the U.S. Department of Education’s financial aid form, called the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which most students planning to attend college typically complete. The FAFSA estimates how much a family can be expected to afford for college tuition. The Iowa College Aid Commission then selects a particular level of expected family contribution below which a student is eligible for the Iowa Tuition Grant. That expected family contribution threshold has been raised to $15,000 from the previous $13,500.
Just as important according to Steinke is that the maximum size of the grant eligible students can receive has been raised up to $6,000 per academic year. “The Governor and Legislature increased funding for the program by a little over $1 million this year, so the Commission was able to raise the size of the grant,” he said. About 10,000 students received an Iowa Tuition Grant last year.
“These are both great developments for families looking at an Iowa non-profit college as the best learning environment for their students and need some financial assistance,” said Steinke. “It’s important to remember the ITG is a grant, not a loan, so this is a very important help for families trying to minimize borrowing for the cost of college.”