Student Loan Indebtedness Decreases

 University of Northern Iowa student loan indebtedness decreases by 10% over the past three years, currently averaging $23,151 per undergraduate

Breaking away from national trends in student borrowing, the University of Northern Iowa has seen its average student loan indebtedness decrease by 10% over the past three years.  The average undergraduate student now graduates have borrowed $23,151, 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 $3.4 million today (a 78% decrease). The average private loan debt upon graduation is $11,494 compared to $17,892 in 2009-10 (36% decrease). The number of student borrowing private education loans has also decreased, 346 students graduated with private education loan debt compared to 597 in 2009-10 (42% 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 five years ago.  At the national level, UNI is currently the number one public university in administering the TEACH Grant.  In FY13, 621 TEACH Grant recipients, totaling $2.2 million awarded.  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.  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:

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.)