Why Iowa college students are poised to slide even deeper into loan debt”
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DES MOINES REGISTER REPORT: $30K and climbing: Why Iowa college students are poised to slide deeper into loan debt
“In Iowa, the student debt load has grown at a slower but still alarming pace, rising 28 percent over the past decade to an average $29,800, according to The Institute for College Access & Success.
While the vast majority of college graduates repay their student loans, there are worrisome signs that future students will be forced to borrow even more to get their degrees:
- Congress is considering scrapping some loans and grants aimed at low-income students, including the subsidized Stafford Direct Loans on which the federal government pays the interest while students are in school. In 2016-17, more than 71,000 Iowa students received $259.7 million in direct loans, aimed at low-income borrowers. Congress also is considering dropping the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program that provides grants to low-income students.
- State legislatures are decreasing funding to public universities and community colleges. In Iowa, for instance, state funding to the three public universities is now less than in the 2015 fiscal year. Mid-year budget cuts are expected this spring and there’s uncertainty about next year’s state funding.
- The cost of college is soaring. Several of Iowa’s four-year private schools have posted 3 percent to 6 percent increases to their 2018-19 cost estimates. Iowa students who attend the state’s public universities likely face tuition increases of up to 4 percent.