UNI student loan indebtedness decreases

Breaking away from national trends in student borrowing, the University of Northern Iowa has seen its average student loan indebtedness decrease by 10 percent over the past three years. The average undergraduate student now graduates having borrowed $2,500 less than in 2010.

Gov. Terry Branstad recently praised UNI for the three consecutive years of decline in student debt. "I think it's really important," Branstad said. "I feel very strongly that this is something I want to commend you [UNI] on."

Student loan indebtedness
UNI students during the fall 2013 commencement ceremony.

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

  • 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. Since then, private loan borrowing has decreased by 78 percent.

  • Increasing 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 is currently the number one public university in the nation administering the TEACH Grant; with 621 recipients last year, awarded a total of $2.2 million.

  • Financial literacy initiatives, including the Live Like a Student courses. All students in the course are required to review their loan indebtedness and project where their past borrowing may lead them. Live Like a Student also emphasizes the importance of:

    • Budgeting and having financial goals

    • Living within your means

    • Understanding how actions today will affect one's financial future

For information about student loans and financial aid, visit UNI's Office of Student Financial Aid website at uni.edu/finaid/.