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.

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.

Iowa State Student Taking Advantage Of Having No Debt

AMES, Iowa — Emily Funk is the only person in the circle of people she knows at Iowa State University who will graduate this month without debt. “My dad died when I was a senior in high school, and he left a bunch of money for me and my brothers to go to college,” Funk, 24, of Davenport, said. “It’s only for school. That’s the only way we can use the money.”

She will have some money left to attend graduate school but will have to borrow some, and also work for a year. Funk said she’s taking a year off of regular schooling to improve her research and language skills, and to read books for fun.

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.