Iowa Student Loan Review: Nonprofit Option for Loans, Refinancing

November 21, 2020 Loans & Finance

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You might think federal student loans and private student loans are your only borrowing options for school. But there’s a third option to consider: state student lenders, such as Iowa Student Loan.

Iowa Student Loan is a nonprofit that helps students face their college costs head-on with competitive interest rates, as well as offer refinancing options for those who already have loans. To learn more about this lender, let’s touch on the following topics:

Iowa Student Loan reviews: the basics
Benefits and features of Iowa Student Loan options
How Iowa Student Loan stacks up against other borrowing options
Iowa Student Loan refinancing
How to set up your Iowa Student Loan login and apply online
Deciding if Iowa Student Loan is right for you

Iowa Student Loan reviews: the basics

Despite its name and history, Iowa Student Loan offers private student loans for students attending college around the country. Here’s an overview of what Iowa Student Loan offers:

Iowa Student Loan Partnership Loan: This is a private student loan offered to current undergraduate and graduate students who are attending a nonprofit college or university.
Iowa Student Loan College Family Loan: The College Family Loan is a private student loan open to anyone (not just parents) who wants to help pay for the educational costs of an eligible college student.
Iowa Student Loan Partnership No-Cosigner Loan for Graduates: This product is for grad students looking to borrow independently to cover remaining costs for their second degree.
Iowa Student Loan Reset Loan: The Reset Loan is open to both current and former students hoping to refinance their education debt. It’s also possible to refinance as a parent borrower or medical resident.
Iowa Student Loan scholarships: The nonprofit also offers cash scholarships to parents saving for college, high school seniors in Iowa and high school seniors in neighboring states who intend to attend an Iowa college.

Note that Iowa Student Loan also owns Aspire Resources, a for-profit subsidiary that provides customer service to borrowers among other functions. While Aspire serviced federal student loans in the past, its function today mainly involves business-to-business services.

Benefits and features of Iowa Student Loan options

Iowa Student Loan recommends that college students or those borrowing for a college student view these loans as supplemental to other forms of student aid, including federal student loans.

Still, Iowa Student Loan offers many benefits for borrowers looking for affordable college financing options. Check out the major features available for each Iowa Student Loan option below.

Partnership Loan
College Family Loan
No-Cosigner Loan for Graduates
Reset Loan

Who can use this loan? Current undergraduate or graduate students Anyone looking to help an eligible student pay for college Graduate students applying without a cosigner Current and former students as well as parents and medical residents
Student loan terms 10 or 15 years 10 or 15 years 10 or 15 years 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
Repayment options in school Immediate, interest-only, or full deferment Immediate, interest-only, or full deferment Immediate, interest-only, or full deferment Immediate
Minimum credit score 670 670 670 670
Loan fees None None None None
Interest rate discounts 0.25% for autopay 0.25% for autopay 0.25% for autopay 0.25% for autopay
Discharge for death or disability Yes Yes Yes Yes
Option to add cosigner/s Yes Yes No Yes
Cosigner release Yes No n/a Yes

Besides the No-Cosigner Loan for Graduates, Iowa Student Loan allows borrowers to apply with one or two cosigners, either to qualify or score a lower interest rate. This is an especially unique feature, as most lenders allow customers to select just one cosigner. Just keep in mind that cosigners assume equal legal responsibility for repayment when they join your loan agreement.

How Iowa Student Loan stacks up against other borrowing options

Thanks to its affordable student loan rates and a lack of fees, Iowa Student Loan’s in-school borrowing options are low-cost compared with many other private student loans.

Iowa Student Loan’s rates also compete with those offered on some federal student loans, such as PLUS loans. Here’s a comparison of Iowa Student Loan in-school borrowing options versus federal student loans, as of Nov. 10, 2020 .

Iowa Student Loan Partnership Loan
Iowa Student Loan College Family Loan
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan (2020-21)
Federal Parent PLUS Loan (2020-21)

Fixed rates 4.60% to 6.85% APR 4.60% to 6.85% APR 2.75% for undergraduates; 4.30% for graduate students 5.30%
Variable rates 3.57% to 5.55% APR Not offered Not offered Not offered
Loan fee None None 1.057% 4.228%
Who is eligible? Students only Parents or family members of student Students Parents of students

Some private student loans enter full repayment as soon as they’re disbursed. Iowa Student Loan reviews several repayment options with its borrowers:

Immediate full repayment of principal and interest (with a 10-year term)
Interest-only payments while the student is enrolled, with a six-month grace period after enrollment ends before full payments are required (10-year term)
Full deferment of payments while the student is enrolled, including a six-month grace period (15-year term)

Both students and College Family Loan applicants need a minimum credit score of 670 to qualify. You might need to meet additional requirements as Iowa Student Loan reviews additional credit factors. To get your application approved, you can also add a creditworthy cosigner if you can’t qualify on your own.

Iowa Student Loan refinancing

Iowa Student Loan also offers student loan refinancing for both Iowa residents and nonresidents. Its flexible refinancing terms give borrowers the freedom to choose an option that makes sense for them.

A shorter term will mean lower rates and less interest overall. A longer term, however, will come with lower monthly payments, which will be more affordable for borrowers with a low income relative to their student loan balance.

Borrowers can refinance between $5,000 and $300,000 in student loans, with the following choices of loan lengths and rates (current as of Nov. 10, 2020) :

Term (years)
Rate (APR)
5 3.50% to 5.59%
7 3.90% to 5.99%
10 4.05% to 6.30%
15 5.13% to 7.48%
20 5.63% to 8.03%

Note that your rates might differ based on your creditworthiness and refinancing amount. You can also reduce your rate by 0.25 percentage points when you enroll in automatic payments.

Here are the eligibility requirements you must meet to qualify for Iowa Student Loan refinancing:

A current debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of 40% or less, including mortgage or rent
A credit score of 670 or higher, with better scores qualifying for lower student loan refinancing rates
A credit history free of recent derogatory marks such as delinquencies, charge-offs, repossessions, collections, foreclosures and the like

If you don’t meet the above requirements, you can add a cosigner to improve your chances of approval.

Also note that Iowa Student Loan reviews its products to remove student loan refinancing origination fees and prepayment penalties.

How to set up your Iowa Student Loan login and apply online

Iowa Student Loan offers online applications for all of its student loan products.

Iowa Student Loan only provides custom rate estimates with a soft credit check on its Reset Loan — not on its Partnership, Graduate and College Family loans. To know what rates you would pay for those products, you might have to complete a full student loan application and incur a hard credit inquiry that could ding your credit slightly.

However, Iowa Student Loan provides fairly comprehensive rate tables that outline the loan offers for different repayment terms and credit scores.

Deciding if Iowa Student Loan is right for you

Iowa Student Loan reviews come down to this: It’s a possible alternative to other types of student loans. But you could need a cosigner to qualify, and you won’t get the same protections as you would with federal student loans.

So it’s probably a good idea to max out your eligibility for federal student aid before turning to state student loans or private student loans. Once you’ve hit your federal borrowing limits, review Iowa Student Loan to ensure it could be a good option.

However, before borrowing, check out our guide to paying for college in Iowa, which includes tips on grants and scholarships that don’t need to be repaid.

And if you’re looking to refinance, also hunt down your best possible rate. By comparing your options, you can feel confident you’ve found a student loan refinancing offer with the most attractive terms and conditions.

Andrew Pentis contributed to this report.

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