At a Glance:
Iowa Student Loan offers a variety of loan products including the Partnership Advance Education Loan, which supplements existing aid; the College Family Loan, which is designed for parents, family members, or friends; and the Reset Refinance Loan, which is designed for those looking to refinance their debt to lock in better rates or more affordable payments.
For many students, loans play a vital role in their pursuit of a college education, but the widespread need doesn't necessarily mean the process to obtain funding is easy. Fortunately, Iowans looking to pursue their academic dreams may be able to turn to the Iowa Student Loan Company for financial assistance if they have exhausted other resources such as federal student loans from the U.S. Department of Education.
Iowa Student Loan was established in 1979, and since then, this private, nonprofit lender has helped over 392,500 students pay for college. In addition to their primary lending efforts, Iowa Student Loan also created and maintains Aspire Resources Inc. Aspire performs a variety of functions such as disbursing private student loan funds and transmitting student loan data to postsecondary institutions, not included in or possibly due to the 501(c)(3) designation of Iowa Student Loan.
Iowa Student Loan Overview
The primary goal of Iowa Student Loan is to provide financial assistance to families who have exhausted other aid sources, specifically those provided by the federal government. To do this, the company offers three specific private loan products.
Overall, loan products provided by Iowa Student Loan offer a competitive annual percentage rate that is typically lower than top competitors. However, loan products from this financial institution are designed for those with good credit (670 or higher), and therefore some applicants may not meet eligibility requirements without a cosigner. This is similar to other private student loan lenders, however.
Jump to a specific loan:
Comparing student loan options is the best way to save money on the cost of college
- Find the lowest interest rates and best terms on the market.
- We match you with the best providers for free in under 5 minutes.
- Doesn't affect your credit in any way.
Partnership Advance Education Loan (Partnership Loan)
Sometimes, a single source of financial aid simply isn’t enough to cover the expenses associated with tuition, room and board, and books. The Partnership Loan is one student loan option that helps students and parents by acting as supplemental aid with a loan amount that can fill the gaps between existing aid and total educational costs.
To be eligible for the Partnership Loan, you must have a FICO score of 670 or higher (though there is a cosigner option), be an Iowa student attending a college or university within the U.S., or a student from any state attending a school in Iowa. Further, only student loan borrowers accepted, enrolled, or currently attending school at a full-time or half-time status will be accepted.
The current fixed rate for this loan ranges between 5.56 and 6.86 percent, which makes it one of the most affordable when compared to other lenders like Wells Fargo, Discover, and Sallie Mae, sometimes by as much a 4.99 percent. The Partnership Loan is also available with a variable interest rate between 5.87 and 7.42 percent. Though the lower variable rate is slightly higher than that provided by their competition, the cap is significantly lower (3.3 percent less than major competitors).
College Family Loan
Unlike the Partnership Loan, which is open to students and parents, the College Family Loan is designed specifically for parents of high school students who are going to college and cannot be applied for or cosigned by the student. As such, repayment and the repayment options remain the sole responsibility of the parent, even after the student leaves school (i.e. the loan is non-transferable).
Applicants must have a FICO score of 670 or above, a debt-to-income ration below 25 percent, and the ability to show two years of continuous employment, though the employment requirements are waived for retirees and disabled persons.
Rates are fixed and based on the repayment and loan term. Those who choose the Immediate Payment plan will receive an interest rate between 5.50 and 6.30 percent, while those who choose a deferred payment plan will receive an interest rate between 5.80 and 7.22 percent. As of July 1, 2018, the fixed interest rate for the Federal Direct PLUS Loan, which is a federal loan designed for parents, has a fixed interest rate of 7.60 percent, making the College Family Loan the more affordable option for eligible borrowers.
Reset Refinance Loan (Reset Loan)
In addition to primary loan products, Iowa Student Loan also offers a student loan refinancing option through the Reset Refinance Loan. This loan can allow eligible borrowers the opportunity to secure lower monthly payments, better rates, or simpler repayment plans.
The Reset Refinance Loan can be used to refinance different student debt federal loans, including subsidized and unsubsidized undergraduate and graduate loans, as well as PLUS loans, private education loans, and student loans that have been previously consolidated or refinanced.
To be eligible for this loan, applicants must have a FICO score of 690 or above and a debt-to-income ratio that does not exceed 25 percent. Further, borrowers and cosigners who have defaulted on a private or federal loan will not be eligible.
Rates are fixed and currently range from 3.50 to 7.50 percent. There is a variety of student loan refinance financial products available on the market today, so some borrowers may find a better deal through other top refinancing companies like Commonbond, SoFi, and Lendkey – though this certainly doesn’t suggest that the Reset Refinance Loan isn’t competitive among those top contenders.
Before refinancing through Iowa Student Loan, it’s best to shop around and find the best rate and whenever possible find lower interest rates for your current debt and credit score. This is made easier by the fact that Iowa Student Loan extends rate quotes using the information from a soft credit inquiry.
Iowa Student Loan has a variety of loan products and resources that can help student borrowers and parents secure and manage the funds they need to meet the financial obligations associated with higher education. Additionally, students who have already paid for their schooling may find they can secure an interest rate reduction or lower repayments for their repayment term through the Reset Refinance Loan by obtaining a new loan for their student loan debt.
Overall, the interest rates are highly competitive, but because of the credit score and credit history requirements, the benefits provided by Iowa Student Loan may be slightly out of reach for anyone with average or poor credit or those with a debt-to-income ratio that exceeds 25 percent.
As with any private loans, there are certain things not available from Iowa Student Loan that are available with federal loans, such as income-based repayment and loan forgiveness options, which is why federal student loans should be the first option for most borrowers before exploring private student loans.
Author: Jennifer Lobb
Student Loan Guides
Student Loan Reviews