Student Loan Indebtedness Decreases

University of Northern Iowa student loan indebtedness decreases by 13% over the past six years, currently averaging $22,313 per undergraduate

Breaking away from national trends in student borrowing, the University of Northern Iowa has seen its average student loan indebtedness decrease by 13% over the past six years.  The average undergraduate student now graduates having borrowed $22,313, down from $25,735 in 2010.

The overall decline in borrowing can be attributed to three primary factors:

1.) Additional loan counseling for students who consider private lending options. In 2007-08, the Office of Student Financial Aid started one-on-one counseling for students seeking private loans.  Private loan borrowing has decreased from a total of $15.3 million in 2007-08 to $3.6 million today (a 77% decrease). The average private loan debt upon graduation is $13,614 compared to $17,892 in 2009-10 (24% decrease). The number of student borrowing private education loans has also decreased, 178 students graduated with private education loan debt compared to 597 in 2009-10 (70% decrease).

2.) The number of teaching majors taking advantage of the Federal TEACH Grant Program designed for students planning to teach in a high-need field. UNI has actively participated in the Federal TEACH Grant Program since its inception during the 2008-09 academic year.  At the national level, UNI is currently the number four public university in administering the TEACH Grant.  During 2014-15, 488 students took advantage of the program, totaling $1.7 million.  The TEACH Grant provides up to $4,000 for a total of $16,000 to an undergraduate.

3.) Financial literacy initiatives, including the Live Like a Student courses. Live Like a Student, along with other money management outreach, has sparked an interest among students related to their personal finances.  The free, non credit Live Like a Student courses were first offered in 2010-11 and emphasizes the importance of:

o    Budgeting and having financial goals

o    Living within your means

o    Understanding how actions today will affect one’s financial future (Live like a  student now, so you don’t have to later.)  All students in the course are  required to review their loan indebtedness and project where their past  borrowing may lead them.