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.

Huge Debts Temper Job Searches For 2014 College Graduates In Iowa

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.

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Special Report: Iowa’s Opportunity Gap

This IowaWatch collaboration with four Iowa newspapers, published in fall 2013, is particularly pertinent during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday period. It tells you how and why gaps exist in home ownership, jobs and pay, education and crime exist among white, black and Latino Iowans.

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Internet Insults Follow Transgender UNI Homecoming Queen Crowning

Steven Sanchez’s life has been a whirlwind since becoming the first transgender student to win the University of Northern Iowa’s Homecoming queen competition on Oct. 11. Now, he is receiving negative feedback via Internet coverage of his unusual win, reading insults while being called a freak, pervert or an “it.”

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Women Fighting Back On Video Game Misogyny

Sex sells in the video game business but it often is based on portrayals of curvy women wearing suggestive clothing, if much at all, who are subservient to men during games. Some real women are fighting back, trying to crack what has been called a boys’ club.

A wall of graffiti by a railroad track along the Iowa River.  Photo taken May 11, 2013.

Graffiti: The Art of Expressive Vandalism

Story includes a time lapse of an Iowa City graffiti artist at work and a photo gallery. Graffiti art is many things to many people, ranging from art to vandalism, but sometimes both. “People have always written on walls,” says Kembrew McLeod, an associate professor of communication studies at the University of Iowa.

Iowa was among 26 states that received a failing grade.

Political spending by outside groups goes unmonitored

When it comes to telling voters who is spending money on political ads, Iowa fails. It got an “F” in a recent study on state disclosure policies for political spending by independent groups, or groups not connected to political candidates. Iowa was among 25 other states that received failing grades. This kind of anonymous spending threatens the transparency of elections, said Arthur Sanders, a political science professor at Drake University. If a group spends $10,000 on ads, voters have no way of knowing where the $10,000 came from.

Sara Harrington,  assistant director of grants and loans at the University of Iowa's Office of Student Financial Aid, talks on April 30, 2013, with senior Molly Good and graduate student Sarah Lobb about payment options for loans.

Student Debt for Iowa’s New College Graduates Remains High

IowaWatch project with college student journalists in Iowa shows that, despite growing numbers of state and federal programs aimed at improving students’ financial literacy and years of talk about Iowa’s high student debt, students continue to graduate with debt that will follow them long after they leave the classroom. This report includes video interviews from students affected by their debt.