Parent Resources

We understand that paying for college may seem intimidating. Our staff are here to support you and your student through the process.

What is Financial Aid?

Financial aid consists of funds provided to your student and family to help pay for college expenses. These funds include grants, loans and work-study. Even if you don’t believe that your student will qualify for aid, we encourage you to apply. There are numerous needs-based programs available and you don’t want to miss a possible opportunity for assistance.

Applying for Financial Aid

You and your student’s first step in applying for financial aid is to complete the yearly Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA collects financial information to help measure a family’s ability to pay for college. The resulting calculation is called the Expected Family Contribution or “EFC.” Schools use the EFC to determine a student’s eligibility for financial aid. For more information on completing a FAFSA click here.

The FAFSA asks students a series of questions to determine if they are dependent or independent. Dependent students must provide parent information on the FAFSA even if they are not currently being supported by a parent(s). Click here for more information or to preview the dependency questions.
The FAFSA asks for basic information, such as name, date of birth, social security number, address, etc. as well as about your financial situation. The FAFSA asks for income information from two years prior. We encourage the use of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA. The Data Retrieval Tool pulls your tax information directly from the IRS to help with accuracy. You can preview all of the FAFSA’s parent questions on page three of the 2021-22 FAFSA worksheet.
Your student will receive an email from Iowa Western about a week after submitting the FAFSA. You and your student may be required to submit more information if your student is selected for verification. Since this communication will go directly to your student, please encourage them to check their Iowa Western email. For you to access to your student’s financial aid information from Iowa Western, your student will need to provide consent; see below.

Parent Access to Student’s Financial Aid Information

Due to federal privacy regulations known as “FERPA” (Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act), the Financial Aid Office is prohibited from sharing student information without written consent from the student. This is the case even when communicating with the parent(s).

If you will be working with our office on your student’s behalf, they will need to complete a consent form to give our staff permission to share financial record information with you, such as grants, loans, and financial documents.

Parent Plus Loan

Your student’s financial aid award may include a Parent Plus Loan. The Plus Loan is a federal loan that parents of dependent students can borrow to help pay for their student’s education expenses. Plus Loans are not determined by student need, but by parent credit history.

The Direct PLUS Loan may be of particular interest to students and parents who:

  • are not eligible for other types of financial aid
  • have remaining financial need after other forms of financial aid have been awarded. Note: If your student’s financial aid award does not cover costs, we encourage you to apply for a Plus Loan. If you are denied, your student may qualify for additional financial aid. If you are approved you are not obligated to borrow anything unless you complete the Master Promissory Note.

Plus Loans offer advantages compared to private education loans, including the stability of federal funding, a fixed interest rate, and repayment and deferment options. Click here for more information on Plus Loans.  

You apply for a Plus Loan online through Federal Student Aid using the FSA id you created for your student’s FAFSA application. The Plus Loan application requires a credit check. You will find out immediately after a credit check if you have been approved or denied for a Plus Loan.
After you complete the Plus Loan application and receive notice of approval, you will need to complete a Plus Loan master promissory note. Financial Aid staff will process your loan and a revised award notice will be emailed to your student.
Once Iowa Western is notified of a Plus Loan denial, your student’s financial aid award will be reviewed to determine eligibility for additional unsubsidized loan money. Your student will be notified via email if additional funds are available.