Recent Stories

Parents Can Be At Risk When Filling A Federal Student Aid Gap


Parents who take out loans to help their kids pay growing student tuitions may end up in financial straits, with debts growing quickly with each student. If parents don’t plan for college expenses, they can face decreased disposable income and having to skimp on retirement savings in order to pay home mortgages and student loan debts, experts said in interviews with IowaWatch. “As parents pay for their house and pay, or help pay, for their kid’s college, if they sign loans for one or two or however many kids, it could delay their retirement,” said Carol Jensen, author of "College Financial Aid: Highlighting the Small Print of Student Loans." Families often turn to private loans that parents co-sign or to federal parent PLUS loans taken out in a parent’s name when grants, scholarships and federal student loans aren’t enough to cover college costs. “Parents are the only ones left to pick up the tab. Continue Reading →

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Governor On Board With University Funding Plan


A controversial new funding distribution plan for Iowa’s three state universities, proposed by the Board of Regents, appears to have strong support from Gov. Terry Branstad. “It makes sense to me that the focus should be on giving higher educational opportunities for Iowa in-state students,” Branstad said in an IowaWatch interview. Continue Reading →

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Iowa Chinese Students Struggle To Adjust, Feel Lack Of Support

Old Capitol photo

The University of Iowa has intensely recruited Chinese students since 2007, but has made little progress fostering their assimilation to campus life. In some respects, an IowaWatch investigation has found, the university’s practices make interactions with domestic students more difficult and increase isolation. Continue Reading →

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Many Iowa Employers Look For Study Abroad Experience


GOING GLOBAL special report: studying abroad experience can give graduates valuable skills in areas such as communication and collaboration, in addition to cultural awareness, an increasingly sought-after trait in a global economy. Continue Reading →

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Huge Debts Temper Job Searches For 2014 College Graduates In Iowa

Sara Harrington (right), assistant director of academic progress and loans at the University of Iowa’s Office of Student Financial Aid, meets with UI junior Alyssa Lattner on May 1, 2014, to discuss Lattner’s financial aid situation.

Plenty of seniors on Iowa college campuses interviewed this spring for an IowaWatch report on college debt and attitudes about finding a job have been in an 'in-the-now moment'. They will graduate soon and many of them don't have solid plans for paying the bills. Continue Reading →

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Graduating Debt-Free Gave Students A Jump In Job Market


DES MOINES, Iowa -- Some hard work and a little luck has left a handful of graduating seniors at Drake University free of any student-loan debt, and anxiety about wading into the workforce. Erin Hassanzadeh, 21, a graduating broadcast major from Bloomington, Minnesota, who has accepted a Fulbright scholarship to teach English in Korea, said she has saved wages from work she has done since she was 13. Her first job was helping out at her parents’ restaurant back home. She also got help from her parents and a generous scholarship from Drake, she said. “I’m very thankful for that,” she said. Continue Reading →

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Graduating Early Does Not Loosen The Job Market


OSKALOOSA, Iowa -- Jessica Magill received her associates of arts degree from Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa right before graduating from high school in 2012 in Sigourney. On Saturday, May 10, she graduated from William Penn University with a degree in business management at the age of 20. Although she got ahead in her college education she wasn’t sure about her job prospects yet. Perhaps her interviews at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in the Orlando, Fla., around the start of June after she graduates will land her a job in hospitality. “I’ve done a lot of research between the two companies and several similar companies,” she said. Continue Reading →

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