Iowa Student Loans: Debt Stats, Repayment Programs and Refinancing Loans

 August 7, 2021
How Student Loan Hero Gets Paid

How Student Loan Hero Gets Paid

Student Loan Hero is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). Student Loan Hero does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero is an advertising-supported comparison service. The site features products from our partners as well as institutions which are not advertising partners. While we make an effort to include the best deals available to the general public, we make no warranty that such information represents all available products.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Logo

We’ve got your back! Student Loan Hero is a completely free website 100% focused on helping student loan borrowers get the answers they need. Read more

How do we make money? It’s actually pretty simple. If you choose to check out and become a customer of any of the loan providers featured on our site, we get compensated for sending you their way. This helps pay for our amazing staff of writers (many of which are paying back student loans of their own!).

Bottom line: We’re here for you. So please learn all you can, email us with any questions, and feel free to visit or not visit any of the loan providers on our site. Read less

Refinance Student Loan rates starting at 1.74% APR

1.74% to 9.51% 1
VARIABLE APR

Visit Lender

1.89% to 5.90% 2
VARIABLE APR

Visit Lender

2.05% to 5.25% 3
VARIABLE APR

Visit Lender

  • Variable APR

In Iowa, borrowers have an average federal and private student loan balance of $29,956, 18% less than the national average of $36,689 and sixth-lowest in the country.

To help make the cost of a college education more affordable, the state has multiple scholarships and grant programs for its residents. There are also several student loan repayment assistance programs for existing student loan borrowers who live and work in the state.

Here’s what you need to know about your repayment options for Iowa student loans.

Iowa student loans: Borrowers owe average of $29,956 in federal, private debt — and more facts

Iowa student debt overview
Average balance $29,956
Total outstanding debt $13.7 billion
Number of borrowers 0.5 million
Average total monthly payment $268
Note: Averages include federal and private student loan debt.

To limit your college expenses, opting for a public in-state university can be a smart idea. Iowa has three four-year public universities: The University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University.

In addition, the state has numerous community colleges to choose from, and its selection of private colleges includes the University of Dubuque, Northwestern College, Grinnell College and Drake University.

If you decide to go to school within the state, you may qualify for one of Iowa’s six grant and scholarship programs:

  • All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship: This scholarship is for Iowa students who attend eligible Iowa colleges and universities, and it covers a portion of their tuition and fees. For the 2020-21 academic year, the maximum scholarship is $4,644 and is renewable for up to eight full-time semesters.
  • Future Ready Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarship: Iowa high school graduates and adult learners can receive funds for the remaining gap between federal and state financial aid and the cost of tuition and qualified fees at their selected school (community colleges and accredited private institutions).
  • Iowa National Guard Service Scholarship: Iowa National Guard members who attend eligible Iowa colleges and universities may receive up to 100% of the regent tuition rate. For the 2020-21 academic year, the regent tuition rate is $9,274.
  • Iowa Tuition Grant: Iowa residents enrolled at one of the state’s private colleges or universities may qualify for a grant to cover some or all of tuition and fees.
  • Iowa Vocational-Technical Tuition Grant: Iowa residents who enroll in career or technical education programs at Iowa community colleges can receive up to $900 a year for up to two years with this grant.
  • Kibbie Grant: Iowa residents enrolled at state community colleges and pursuing specific career or technical education programs can qualify for this grant that pays for up to 50% of the average Iowa community college tuition and fees. Recipients can receive the grant for up to two years.

Student loan debt in Iowa’s largest county: Polk

Student loan debt in most populous Iowa county
County Average student loan balance Average monthly student loan payment
Polk $30,114 $263
Note: Limited to counties with a population of at least 300,000 residents; averages include federal and private student loan debt.

Student loan debt by ZIP code in Iowa’s largest city: Des Moines

Loan repayment programs for Iowa residents

Besides federal loan forgiveness programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness, Iowa residents with student loan debt may be eligible for one of the state’s loan repayment assistance programs.

Health Care Loan Repayment Program

The Health Care Loan Repayment Program gives eligible health care professionals up to $6,000 — or 20% of their outstanding student loan balance, whichever is less — to repay their federal student loans.

In return, award recipients must work full time for at least five years in a designated service commitment area. The following health care professionals are eligible for the program:

  • Advanced registered nurse practitioners
  • Nurse educators teaching full time at eligible Iowa colleges and universities
  • Physician assistants
  • Registered nurses

Loan repayment eligibility lasts for a maximum of five consecutive years.

Health Professional Recruitment Program

The Health Professional Recruitment Program provides eligible health care professionals up to $12,500 in loan repayment assistance. Recipients can receive the award for up to four years, for a maximum of $50,000 in assistance. As part of the program, health care providers must agree to work in high-need areas.

The following health care professionals are eligible for this program:

  • Osteopathic doctors
  • Physical therapists
  • Physician assistants
  • Podiatrists

The program can only be used to repay federal Stafford loans (commonly known as direct loans) and grad PLUS loans. However, borrowers who refinance their loans after signing a contract can continue to receive the benefit if they contact Iowa Student Aid and provide loan documentation.

John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program

A federally funded program, the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program helps public defenders and prosecutors in Iowa repay their loans. In exchange, award recipients must agree to remain in their positions for at least three years. Only federal student loans are eligible for this program.

Rural Iowa Veterinarian Loan Repayment Program

To address a critical shortage of veterinarians in rural Iowa communities, the state created the Rural Iowa Veterinarian Loan Repayment Program. Individuals who practice in designated locations for at least four years can receive up to $60,000 in federal student loan repayment assistance. To qualify, individuals must be licensed (or in the process of becoming licensed) to practice veterinary medicine in Iowa.

Teach Iowa Scholar Program

Qualified teachers who teach in Iowa schools in designated shortage areas can get up to $4,000 a year in student loan repayment assistance through the Teach Iowa Scholar Program. Teachers can qualify for up to five years of assistance.

To qualify, teachers must meet the following requirements:

  • Teachers must have graduated from a teacher preparation program on or after Jan. 1, 2013, in the top 25% of their teacher preparation program.
  • Teachers must secure full-time employment in a designated shortage area at a school district, educational service agency, charter school or accredited nonpublic school recognized and approved by the Iowa Department of Education.
  • Teachers must have a valid Iowa teaching license.

Iowa federal student loan borrowers younger than 25 owe less than national average — and more comparisons

How to refinance Iowa student loans

Nearly 5% of Iowa student loan borrowers owe $100,000 or more. With high interest rates, borrowers with six-figure debt can pay thousands more than they originally borrowed, due to interest charges — which could make them excellent candidates for student loan refinancing.

By refinancing their student loans, creditworthy applicants may qualify for lower interest rates, helping them save money over the life of their repayment terms. They could also reduce their monthly payments and consolidate their federal and private student loans, simplifying repayment.

In Iowa, one lender that offers student loan refinancing is Iowa Student Loan. It has refinancing options for:

  • College graduates
  • Parents
  • Medical residents
  • Medical and dental professionals
  • Students currently in school

This lender offers fixed-interest refinancing loans and allows borrowers to apply with a cosigner to increase their chances of qualifying for a loan.

But before refinancing your loans, make sure you’ve considered both its advantages and drawbacks. For instance, when you refinance federal loans, you transfer them to a private lender and lose access to federal loan benefits, such as forbearance and eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

While some refinancing lenders offer forbearance and deferment programs if you experience financial hardship, their programs may have shorter postponement terms and different eligibility requirements than federal programs.

Sources

  • U.S. Department of Education data as of June 30, 2020
  • Anonymized My LendingTree June 2020 credit reports
  • Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax as of June 2020
  • mappingstudentdebt.org

Because the latter data is from 2015, researchers estimated the increase in student loan debt per borrower in the state using statewide data from anonymized credit reports.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 9 lenders of 2022!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
1.74% – 9.51%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

1.89% – 5.90%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.05% – 5.25%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

1.74% – 7.99%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit NaviRefi

1.74% – 7.99%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.74% – 7.99%6Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

1.86% – 6.01%Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Elfi

1.74% – 7.99%7Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Purefy

2.24% – 9.23%8Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Citizens

Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount

The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of June 1, 2022.


2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

All credit products are subject to credit approval.

Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.

As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

  1. Checking your rate with Laurel Road only requires a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
  2. Savings vary based on rate and term of your existing and refinanced loan(s). Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Review your loan documentation for total cost of your refinanced loan.
  3. After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship. During any period of forbearance interest will continue to accrue. At the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized and be added to the remaining principle amount of the loan.
  4. Automatic Payment (“AutoPay”) Discount: if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically from a bank account, the interest rate will decrease by 0.25% and will increase back if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically from the borrower’s bank account. The 0.25% AutoPay discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal to help pay the loan down faster.

Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.

Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.

Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.

Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.

KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

This information is current as of April 29, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
 


3 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it  endorse,  any educational institution.

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of  5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.

As of 5/17/2022 student loan refinancing rates range from 2.05% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.49% APR – 7.93% Fixed APR with AutoPay.


4 Important Disclosures for Navient.

Navient Disclosures

You can choose between fixed and variable rates. Fixed interest rates are 2.99% – 8.24% APR (2.74% – 7.99% APR with Auto Pay discount). Starting variable interest rates are 1.99% APR to 8.24% APR (1.74% – 7.99% APR with Auto Pay discount). Variable rates are based on an index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) plus a margin. Variable rates are reset monthly based on the fluctuation of the index. We do not currently offer variable rate loans in AK, CO, CT, HI, IL, KY, MA, MN, MS, NH, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, and VA.


5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

Fixed rates range from 3.49% APR to 7.99% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates from 1.74% APR to 7.99% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 8.95% APR; 15- and 20-year terms are capped at 9.95% APR. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.


6 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

Student Loan Refinance Interest Rate Disclosure Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 3.24% APR to 8.24% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 1.99% APR to 8.24% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. The maximum rate for your loan is 8.95% if your loan term is 10 years or less. For loan terms of more than 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95%. Please note, we are not able to offer variable rate loans in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX. Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account. Let us know if you have any questions and feel free to reach out directly to our team.


7 Important Disclosures for Purefy.

Purefy Disclosures

Purefy Student Loan Refinancing Rate and Terms Disclosure: Annual Percentage Rates (APR) ranges and examples are based on information provided to Purefy by lenders participating in Purefy’s rate comparison platform. For student loan refinancing, the participating lenders offer fixed rates ranging from 2.73% – 7.99% APR, and variable rates ranging from 1.74% – 7.99% APR. The maximum variable rate is 25.00%. Your interest rate will be based on the lender’s requirements. In most cases, lenders determine the interest rates based on your credit score, degree type and other credit and financial criteria. Only borrowers with excellent credit and meeting other lender criteria will qualify for the lowest rate available. Rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice. Terms and conditions apply.  


8 Important Disclosures for Citizens.

CitizensBank Disclosures

Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 2.24%-9.23% (2.24%-9.23% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.29%-9.73% (4.29%-9.73% APR). 

Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 5.37%- 8.81% (5.37% – 8.81% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 5.87% – 9.31% (5.87% – 9.31% APR).

Graduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 2.24% – 8.75% (2.24% – 8.75% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.29% – 9.25% (4.29% – 9.25% APR).

Education Refinance Loan for Parents Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 2.24%- 8.40% (2.24%- 8.40% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.29% – 8.90% (4.29% – 8.90% APR). 

Medical Residency Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 2.24% – 8.75% (2.24% – 8.75% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.29% – 9.25% (4.29% – 9.25% APR).