Applying for Financial Aid

Paying for College What is Financial Aid?

Financial aid is money that helps you and your family pay for college. Last year approximately 80 percent of Iowa Western students received financial aid.

There are different types of financial aid you may be eligible for, such as grants, work-study, student loans, and parent loans.

  • Grants: Free money that you don’t have to pay back. Grants are offered to students with the most financial need based on information provided on the FAFSA application.
  • Work-study: Also based on financial need. If you qualify for work-study, that means you have the option to apply for work-study jobs on campus, such as working in the library or wellness center. Open jobs are posted on the Student Employment page in ROC. If you get a work-study job, the money will be paid directly to you like any other job. Work-Study and Student Employment
  • State aid: There are also some grants available from the state for Iowa residents who qualify, like the Iowa Last Dollar Scholarship. Be sure to complete your FAFSA by July 1st for a chance at state aid.
  • Direct Loans: Money you borrow and have to pay back with interest after you are done with school. Direct loans come directly from the U.S. Department of Education, have a low-interest rate, and flexible repayment options. You must be enrolled in 6 or more credit hours to be eligible to borrow student loans.
  • PLUS LoansLoan options for parents to borrow to help pay for their student’s education. Students must still complete a FAFSA before a parent can request a PLUS loan. PLUS loans are based on credit, and payments start right away unless a deferral is requested. If a parent applies for a PLUS loan and is denied, their student may then be eligible for additional loan money. Student must be enrolled in 6 or more credit hours for parents to be eligible to borrow a PLUS loan.

The first thing you need to do is apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). That is how the Department of Education receives your information so they can tell you what financial aid you are eligible for.

Schedule Not Sure Where to Start?

Schedule An Appointment

The FAFSA can be intimidating and confusing, especially the first time. ICAN staff members can help you and your family complete the FAFSA application and it’s FREE

Mon.-Thur. 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM


(Click on Schedule Now to book your appointment.) 

Contact USFinancial Aid Contact

Filling out FAFSA Before you fill out FAFSA

There are a couple of things you need to do to prepare for the FAFSA.

  1. Create an FSA ID Your FSA ID is a username and password you will use to login to the FAFSA. It is also how you will sign your FAFSA at the end of the application.
    1. If you are a dependent student, a parent will also need an FSA ID.
    2. FAFSA will ask you questions to decide if your parents’ information is needed. 
    3. Go to to create your FSA ID.
  2. Gather necessary information The FAFSA will ask for your personal and financial information. It may also need information for your parent if you are a dependent student, or your spouse if you are married. Have the items below ready when you complete a FAFSA.
    1. Social Security number
    2. Tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned.
    3. Alien registration number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)

Filling out FAFSA Completing the FAFSA

Once you’ve created your FSA ID and gathered the necessary information, you are ready to fill out the FAFSA.

Complete your FAFSA online at

Here are a couple of important tips:

  • Make sure you include Iowa Western on your FAFSA.
    • Our school code is 004598. 
      If you do not include Iowa Western on your FAFSA we will not receive your information.
  • Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT). 
    • If you have already filed your taxes, the IRS DRT can save you time by transferring your information onto your FAFSA.

Check Check Your Status and Next Steps in ROC

About a week after you submit your FAFSA, you’ll get an email from Iowa Western that updates you on the status of your financial aid and your next steps. There are two common scenarios:

  1. You need to send more information: One in three students is selected for verification by the Department of Education. The verification process asks for additional documentation to verify that the information on your FAFSA is correct. You will have to complete all required paperwork before you can receive financial aid.
  2. You have been awarded financial aid: Your financial aid award will let you know what types of aid you are eligible for. If you need to take out loans to cover your bill, there will be additional steps you will need to take, such as accepting your loan, master promissory note, and loan entrance counseling. 

You can view and complete your next steps through Financial Aid Self-Service in ROC. Log into your ROC account and go to the Self-Service Menu in the upper right-hand corner, then click on Students>Financial Aid>Financial Aid.

If you have any questions on the required documents or your financial aid award, contact the Financial Aid Office at, or (712) 325-3277, or stop by the Welcome Center in Clark Hall.

Note: All students are required to provide proof of a High School Diploma or High School Equivalency before financial aid money can be disbursed.

Satisfactory Progress Satisfactory Academic Progress

Once you receive financial aid, there are requirements from the Department of Education that you will need to meet in order to continue to receive financial aid in future semesters. These requirements are called Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Your SAP status will be measured at the end of each semester you are enrolled in, even you are not using financial aid. SAP measures the following:

  1. Pace: To show you are making progress towards your degree, you must successfully complete (earn a grade of D or higher) two thirds, or 67 percent, of the credit hours that you attempt. Failing and dropping classes will affect your pace, so to talk to your advisor before dropping classes.
    1. GPA: Your cumulative GPA must be 2.0 or higher. This means your grades will affect your ability to receive financial aid. Talk to your teachers and use your resources to help you be successful.
    2. Maximum Time Frame: You must complete your degree within a 150 percent time frame. For example, if your degree requires 60 credit hours, you must complete your degree within 90 credit hours. Once you go over 150 percent of your degree’s credit hours, your aid will be terminated.

Your SAP Status

You will receive an email after the end of each semester about your SAP status. There are four different SAP statuses:

  • Good Standing: Student has met all SAP standards and is eligible to receive financial aid for future semesters.
  • Warning: Student did not meet the required pace or GPA. Students may receive financial aid while on warning. At the end of the warning semester, if the student does not meet SAP requirements, they will be placed on termination and will no longer be eligible for financial aid.
  • Termination: When a student has two consecutive terms of not meeting the SAP standards they will be placed on termination. A student on termination is not eligible for further financial aid.
    • To regain financial aid eligibility after termination, a student is required to regain a cumulative 2.00 GPA and/or raise her cumulative completion rate to 67 percent, at her own expense, or complete a Termination Appeal form.
  • Probation: The status assigned when a financial aid appeal has been approved. Probation is a status that is eligible for financial aid.

Termination Appeal Process

If you are on financial aid termination and you had extenuating circumstances that prevented you from meeting satisfactory academic progress, you can submit a termination appeal. Extenuating circumstances include personal illness or accident, serious illness, or death within your immediate family or other circumstances beyond your control.

  • To file an appeal, submit the Termination Appeal form and all required documents.
  • The appeal will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Office and you will be notified of a decision via your IWCC email.

For questions about the appeal process, email