Single parents who are considering embarking on a college education within the State of Iowa have a number of good colleges and universities to choose from, and students are encouraged to contact the colleges directly to see if there are any additional sources of funding available directly, in addition to the usual federal and private sources.
There are two scholarship programs advertised within Iowa which single parent students are eligible for. One is available at the Kirkwood Community College in Iowa. The other scholarship which gives priority to single parents is the Wright, John R and Eloisie Mountain Scholarship at Iowa State University. Other general single parent grants and scholarships are worth pursing too, as the more funds available from grants, the less you need to borrow.
Just like all new students, single parents must first apply for funding through the FAFSA application form, which gives access to federal student loans which are the first and cheapest form of borrowing available.
Single parents most often fall into the group who are eligible for the Stafford subsidized student loan, which is a federal guaranteed loan on which the government assumes the interest payments until six months after student graduation. The federal Stafford subsidized loan is a fixed rate loan which you can determine the length of repayment on, and is not credit based, but needs based.
Once the FAFSA application is made the single parent student may then apply for a Pell grant, which is given to those students in most need of financial assistance, and unlike a loan does not need to be repaid. The federal Perkins loan is granted by the college you attend and is again based on financial need. Another option for students in financial need is the relatively new grant known as the FSEOG.
Within Iowa State there is the Iowa Student Aid Commission which is a government sanctioned agency which works in partnership with the Iowa State Loan Liquidity Company. Private student loans are available from the Student Aid Commission, but as with any private loan these are subject to credit checks. If your credit score isn’t high enough to qualify then a co-signer with a good credit score will be needed.
Private student loans are more expensive than federal student loans and should only be taken as a last resort if there is still a shortfall between federal loans, grants and other funding options. Always compare private loans from different lenders before committing yourself, as interest rates and fees will vary.
One excellent way of dealing with loans is available to those who consider teaching as an option upon graduation. The Iowa Teacher Shortage Loan Forgiveness Program is administered through the Iowa Student Aid Commission. Graduates from an Iowa State College who are prepared to remain in the state and teach at an underserved state school may have a portion of their student loans forgiven, up to $6000.
There is also a loan forgiveness program for graduates considering nursing as a career option. Both of these provide an excellent incentive as the graduating single parent will not have the additional stress of juggling loan repayments with work and running a family.
It pays to take the time to check out as many options as you can regarding student funding before you begin the application process. Once you do embark on college life it gives security to know that these issues are resolved so that you can spend more time on studying and raising your family.