Despite its name, Iowa Student Loan is actually a national student loan lender. It offers undergraduate, graduate, and parent student loans to borrowers all over the country, and students aren’t limited to Iowa-based universities. 

The lender is a non-profit organization that has been in operation for more than 40 years. As a non-profit, it’s able to offer competitive interest rates and low fees, making its loans an affordable option to pay for school. 

However, Iowa Student Loan may not be the right lender for everyone. It does have a fairly high minimum credit score requirement and limited repayment options. Our review of Iowa Student Loan covers all the bases so you can make an informed decision.

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Pros

  • Apply with up to two co-signers

  • No origination, application, or late fees

  • Co-signer release available after 24 months of payments

Cons

  • Limited repayment terms

  • Variable rates not available on all loan types

  • High minimum credit score

Pros Explained

  • Apply with up to two co-signers: Student borrowers who apply for a Partnership Loan—Iowa Student Loan’s option for undergraduate and graduate applicants—can add up to two co-signers to their application. Most lenders only allow you to add one, so being able to add an additional co-signer is a unique benefit that can increase your chances of qualifying for a loan. 
  • No added fees: Iowa Student Loan doesn’t charge origination fees, application fees, or late fees. 
  • Co-signer releases available after just 24 months: If you have a co-signer and want to remove them from your loan later on, you can apply for a co-signer release after making 24 monthly payments on time. Other lenders may require you to make 36, or even 48 monthly payments, before you’re eligible for a co-signer release, so that’s a significant advantage. 

Cons Explained

  • Limited repayment terms: Both Partnership Loans and College Family Loans have limited repayment terms. Borrowers only have two options: 10 years and 15 years. Other lenders offer more loan terms, so you may have more flexibility by working with another lender. 
  • Variable rates not available on all loans: College Family Loans—designed for parents and family members who want to help students pay for college— are only eligible for a fixed interest rate, not a variable rate
  • High minimum credit score: Iowa Student Loan requires borrowers or co-signers to have a FICO score of at least 670. According to Experian, one of the major credit bureaus, approximately 33% of the population doesn’t meet those criteria. 

Student Loans Offered by Iowa Student Loan

Iowa Student Loan provides student loans to undergraduate and graduate students. It also offers loans for parents, family members, and others who want to help students finance their education. 

Partnership Loan

The Iowa Student Loan Partnership Loan is for undergraduate and graduate students. It has competitive interest rates and borrowers can choose between fixed and variable rate loans. You can borrow up to the total cost of attendance and can also qualify for a 0.25% rate reduction when you sign up for automatic payments. 

The Partnership Loan has no application fees, origination fees, or late fees, and you can add up to two co-signers to your loan application. 

Variable Rates 5.01% - 6.91%
Fixed Rates 4.60% - 6.85% 
Loan Amounts Up to the total cost of attendance
Loan Terms 10 or 15 years

(Lowest rates include 0.25% autopay discount)

College Family Loan

Unlike other lenders, which only allow the parents of undergraduate students to take out student loans, Iowa Student Loans has more options. With its College Family Loan, parents, family members, and others who want to help students with their undergraduate or graduate costs can qualify for a loan. 

College Family Loans only have fixed interest rates, and there are no origination, application, or late fees. You may borrow up to the student’s total cost of attendance. 

Variable Rates N/A
Fixed Rates 4.60% - 6.85%
Loan Amounts Up to the total cost of attendance
Loan Terms 10 or 15 years

(Lowest rates include 0.25% autopay discount)

Loan Eligibility

To qualify for a loan, you must meet the following requirements: 

  • Your monthly payments for approved credit, including rent, car loans, credit cards, and the student loan you’re applying for cannot exceed 40% of your gross monthly income.
  • You must be continuously employed over the past two years (employment requirement is waived for retirees, disabled persons, or those receiving verified income from other sources).
  • You need to have a minimum credit score of 670.
  • You must have no more than two accounts reporting 30-day delinquencies and no delinquencies of 60 days or more in the past two years.
  • You cannot have a history of charge-offs, repossessions, collections accounts, foreclosures, or wage garnishments
  • You must not have declared bankruptcy in the past.
  • You must not have defaulted on federal or private student loans in the past.

If you do not meet the criteria for income and credit scores on your own, you will need a co-signer to qualify for a loan. 

Is Loan Prequalification Available? 

No. Iowa Student Loan does not have a prequalification tool, so you have to submit an application and go through a credit check to find out if you’re approved. However, Iowa Student Loan does post its eligibility criteria—including its debt-to-income and minimum credit score requirements—so you can get an idea of whether or not you’d qualify for a loan ahead of time. 

Loan Fees

Iowa Student Loan doesn’t charge any fees. There are no application fees, origination fees, or late fees. If you decide to pay off your loan early, there is no prepayment penalty. 

Loan Discounts 

The lender offers a 0.25% discount for borrowers who sign up for automatic payments. 

Repayment Options

There are three repayment options available for both Partnership Loans and College Family Loans: 

  • Immediate repayment: With this repayment plan, you begin making payments right after the loan is disbursed. 
  • Interest only repayment: While the student is still in school, you only make payments against the interest each month. 
  • Deferred repayment: Under a deferred repayment plan, you don’t make any payments until the student graduates from school. 

Rewards

If you are an Iowa resident or plan on attending college in Iowa, make sure you check out the scholarships offered by Iowa Student Loan. It offers four different scholarship programs, with awards worth up to $2,000. 

Are Co-Signers Required? 

While co-signers are not required, adding a co-signer (or two, since Iowa Student Loan allows you to add multiple) can help you qualify for a loan if you don’t meet the lender’s requirements on your own. It does allow borrowers to apply for co-signer releases after making 24 monthly payments on time. 

Forbearance and Loan Discharge Options

While Iowa Student Loan does not post its forbearance policy on its website, it does encourage borrowers experiencing financial issues to contact its customer service department. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for assistance to help you avoid becoming delinquent. 

In addition, Iowa Student Loan has a general loan discharge program in cases of death or disability. If the student passes away or is totally and permanently disabled, the loan is discharged. That’s true even for College Family Loans where the borrower is a parent or family member. 

Length of Time for Loan Approval and Disbursement

Iowa Student Loan does not list how long it takes for loan approval and disbursement on its website. However, most private student loans take several weeks to process and certify with your college, so you should apply far in advance to make sure you get the money you need on time. 

Is Student Loan Refinancing Available? 

Yes. Iowa Student Loan offers student loan refinancing for undergraduate and graduate student loans, parent loans, and medical resident loans. The loans have fixed interest rates and no origination, application, or late fees. 

Before applying for a loan, check out the best student loan refinancing companies

Customer Service

Iowa Student Loan’s education loans are serviced by Aspire Servicing Center. It has provided loans to 400,000 borrowers—a relatively small amount for a lender— and is not included in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Student Loan Ombudsman’s Report. 

The customer service team is based in Iowa. You can contact customer support by email or by calling 844-268-2203 during the following hours: 

  • Monday through Thursday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CST)
  • Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (CST)

Apply for a Loan from Iowa Student Loan

Before applying for a loan, make sure you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Private student loans should only supplement federal aid, including grants and federal loans, so exhaust all federal financial aid before moving forward with your Iowa Student Loan application. 

Once you’re ready to proceed, you can apply for a loan online. You should be prepared to provide the following information: 

  • Name
  • Address
  • Social Security number
  • Employer name (If applicable)
  • Income (If applicable)
  • Loan amount requested
  • School name
  • Cost of program
  • Expected financial aid, if any
  • Co-signer information (if applicable) 

Verdict

Iowa Student Loan is a national lender that offers low-cost loans and allows you to add more than one co-signer to your application. With the ability to qualify for a co-signer release after just 24 months of payments, it’s a good alternative to some other lenders. 

However, it has limited repayment options. Other lenders offer more loan terms and longer repayment options, giving you a more affordable monthly payment. And, Iowa Student Loan has a high minimum credit score, which may make it difficult for some borrowers to qualify for a loan. 

Before you decide on a lender, it’s a good idea to compare offers from multiple private student loan companies to find the best rates and terms for you. 

Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of student loan lenders. We collected over 45 data points across more than 15 lenders—including interest rates, fees, loan amounts, and repayment terms—to ensure that our content helps users make the right borrowing decision for their education needs.