Student Financial Aid at Iowa’s Public Universities

At its February meeting, the Board of Regents will receive the annual student financial aid report, detailing trends in financial aid awarded at the Regents universities. In 2021-22, the total amount of financial aid awarded to students (both undergraduate and graduate students) increased from $1.05 billion to $1.06 billion.

Financial aid comes from four primary sources; the federal government, the state of Iowa, private organizations, foundations and companies and the universities themselves. Federal financial aid for students declined for the fifth-straight year, while state and private aid increased slightly. 

Much of the increase in financial aid over the last five years can be attributed to institutional aid increases. In 2021-22, the Regents institutions awarded $439.4 million in aid to students, including $283.3 million to undergraduates. Institutional aid is largely comprised of grants, scholarships and on-campus employment. The majority (65%) of on-campus employment opportunities are graduate student assistantships.

This aid helps lower net costs for students who attend Iowa, Iowa State and UNI. Among four-year colleges and universities in Iowa, net price at the Regent universities ranks lower than almost all other institutions.  

Lower net costs result in less debt for students. The Regents universities again rank among the state’s best in terms of average debt for graduates.

Robust institutional aid is one way Iowa’s public universities keep costs low and ensure higher education access for Iowans.