This weekend more students will graduate with the assistance of a completion grant - an initiative of the
University Innovation Alliance
(UIA). As one of the 11 public research institutions of the UIA scaling the program, Iowa State University awarded the grant to 143 students who were at risk of being dropped from their classes or would have been unable to graduate because they had an outstanding balance of $1,000 or less.
Funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation has allowed Iowa State to award $73,237 in emergency aid to seniors from low-income families who are in good academic standing. While many are on track to graduate this week, some are in the process of completing the required financial literacy counseling with the intention of graduating in the summer or fall.
The completion grant is an effort to retain students and help them graduate. An effort that aligns with Governor Kim Reynold's plan to prepare Iowans for the jobs of today and tomorrow by ensuring 70% of Iowans have education or training beyond high school by 2025. In order to reach that goal, 127,700 more Iowans need to earn post-secondary degrees or other credentials. The Future Ready Iowa Act passed with unanimous, bipartisan support from the legislature and was signed by the governor last month.
Building on the UIA's model to test and scale innovations proven to improve student success, the 11 member universities will evaluate the impact of the completion grants after three years.
"The purpose of this completion grant is an experiment to see if students who receive the grant persist, leading to graduation," said Roberta Johnson, director of financial aid. "While there is no requirement to continue the program after three years, we already know that some students have difficulty
We hope that we can continue to fund the program toalleviate financial pressure and support college completion."
The state has no financial aid designated solely for students attending Iowa's public universities as the legislature eliminated the only need-based state program in 2015. Iowa ranks last in the nation for state-awarded, need-based financial aid to public university students, but first in the nation for students attending private colleges. Moving up one spot to 49th would require more than $20 million. Therefore, the Board of Regents has requested $12 million ($5 million for Iowa State) to support financial aid.
Iowa State University is committed to student success and upholding the land-grant mission of accessibility and affordability with the added charge of expanding access to a high-quality college education through the UIA. The university will continue to help students overcome barriers in pursuit of a degree
A note to graduating seniors:
Don't forget to
to the Alliance for Iowa State with your personal email as you will no longer have access to your Iowa State account upon graduating. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors and hope you continue reading our updates as alumni of Iowa State University. Congratulations!