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Iowa State Daily

Federal financial aid on 13-year national decrease, one-year Iowa increase

Hannah Olson
Beardshear Hall from Central Campus.

According to the Iowa Board of Regents Annual Student Financial Aid Report, the total financial aid awarded to undergraduate and graduate students increased from $1.06 billion in 2021-22 to $1.12 billion in 2022-23 at regent universities. 

Federal financial aid has dropped since 2010-11 for all U.S. colleges and universities. In 2010-11, about $236.2 billion in federal aid was provided to U.S. students, decreasing to $133.0 billion in 2022-23. 

Financial aid is provided in the form of grants, scholarships, campus employment and loans, and is available to all eligible regent university students. 

The Iowa Board of Regents declares financial aid comes from four primary sources:

  • The federal government (the U.S. Department of Education)
  • The institution (Regent university financial aid distribution by the offices of student financial aid, academic colleges and university foundations)
  • The state of Iowa
  • Other (private organizations, foundations and companies)

For public Iowa universities, federal financial aid increased by 3% in 2022-23 after a five-year decline. In 2008-09, regent university students received $467.8 million, which increased to $503.4 million in 2020-21. In 2022-23, the number was $496.7 million.

Institutional financial aid has gradually grown to fill the gaps of the decrease in federal financial aid. In 2008-09, institutional aid was providing $43.1 billion to U.S. colleges and universities, rising to $76.9 billion in 2022-23. 

Institutional financial aid for undergraduate students in the United States had increased annually for more than a decade, but declined 4% from 2021-22 to 2022-23. 

Institutional financial aid for Iowa public university students continued to grow. Financial aid was at $254.4 million in 2008-09, rising to $462.7 million in 2022-23. 

“Iowa State is committed to providing competitive financial aid packages to significantly lower the cost students and their families pay. With the decline in federal support, the university increased institutional aid for students,” said Chad Olson, the director of student financial aid. “We feel this commitment is making a difference. In the past 10 years, the percentage of students who graduate with debt has dropped from 68% to 56%, and 44% of students graduate with zero debt.”

For Iowa public university students, most student loans are provided by the federal government, and the universities offer most of the scholarships, grants and campus employment opportunities. 

In 2022-23, federal aid provided $362.3 million to Iowa public university students in loans, while the Iowa universities supplied $500,000. 

Federal aid offered $94 million in grants and scholarships. At the same time, the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa contributed $313.5 million in grants and scholarships to their students.  

Undergraduate students at Iowa public universities received 67% of all regent university student financial aid, which totaled $748.8 million of the $1.12 billion in 2022-23. 

In 2022-23, 41% of regent undergraduate financial aid came from the federal government, another 41% from regent universities, 18% from private organizations and the remaining 1% from the state of Iowa. 

Undergraduates used 64% of the $362.3 million in federal loans taken out by regent university students in 2022-23. They also used 79% of the available institutional grants and scholarships, which was equivalent to $248 million. Lastly, 37% of the institutional employment is $55.1 million. 

The Iowa Board of Regents states its mission is to “make education as affordable as possible. The universities continue to support students, particularly undergraduates, using institutional financial aid.” 

The institutional aid available to undergraduates increased for the third year in a row, starting at $283 million in 2021-22 to $303 million in 2022-23, a 7% increase in one year. 

In 2020-21, Iowa State offered $112 million in university grants and scholarships provided to undergraduates, increasing the grants and scholarships to $124 million in 2022-23. 

“As a land-grant institution, it is the university’s mission to make higher education accessible and affordable to all students,” Olson said of Iowa State. “Helping students achieve their goal of earning a degree benefits the entire state.”

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