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Iowa Student Loan private student loans review

Iowa residents and students may qualify for rates starting at 5.5%.’s rating: 3.8 / 5.0


  • Best for Iowa students and residents looking for rates comparable to federal PLUS loans.
  • Pick something else if you don't have a cosigner or two.

3.52% to 6.15%



Max. Loan Amount


Min. Credit Score


Product NameIowa Student Loans
Minimum Loan Amount$10,001
Max. Loan Amount$300,000
APR3.52% to 6.15%
Interest Rate TypeVariable
Fixed rate4.60% to 7.40%
Minimum Loan Term20 years
Maximum Loan Term7 years
RequirementsIowa resident or non-Iowa resident attending an eligible school in Iowa at least half time, satisfactory academic progress, 670+ credit score, DTI of 40% or lower, continually employed for past two years, US citizen or permanent resident, strong credit history

Review by

Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 1,000 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Business Insider, CNBC and the Simple Dollar feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.

Expert review

Iowa Student Loan Partnership Loans could be an affordable supplement to federal aid if you live or go to school in the state. With rates comparable to federal PLUS loans, you might end up getting a better deal than with other private lenders.

However, its lack of loan terms means you might not have as much flexibility when it comes to repayments as you would with other providers. You’ll also face strict credit and employment requirements, so you’ll likely need to bring on a cosigner or two.

Still not sold? See our list of other lenders that might be a better fit for you.

First, am I eligible?

Iowa Student Loan Partnership Loans are designed for students to apply with at least one cosigner. Students must meet some requirements on their own, but can have help meeting credit and employment requirements.

Student requirements

Students must meet the following requirements to be eligible:

  • Iowa resident or student. You need to be either from Iowa or attend a school in the state.
  • Attend an eligible school. Iowa residents must attend a degree-granting Title IV school, and out-of-state borrowers must be enrolled at an eligible Iowa school.
  • Enrolled at least half time. You need to be enrolled or planning on enrolling at least half time — as defined by your school.
  • Make satisfactory academic progress. You must be making satisfactory academic progress, according to your school’s standards. Typically, this means at least a C average or a 2.0 GPA.

Credit requirements

Student or cosigners must meet the following requirements:

  • 670 credit score or higher. You must have good to excellent credit to qualify.
  • 40% debt-to-income (DTI) ratio or lower. Your monthly bills can’t be more than 40% of your monthly income before taxes. If you don’t have rent or mortgage payments, your DTI must be 25% or lower.
  • Employed for past two years. You must have continually worked for the past two years, unless you’re retired or receive disability benefits.
  • Minimal late payments. You can’t have more than two payments more than 30 days late or one payment more than 60 days late on your credit report over the past two years.
  • No bankruptcies. You won’t qualify if you filed for any type of bankruptcy in the past.
  • No overdue accounts. You can’t have any charge-offs, repossessions, judgments, collection accounts, garnishments, foreclosures or tax liens.
  • No defaults on student loans. You won’t qualify if you failed to repay private or federal student loans in the past.

How do Iowa Student Loan Partnership Loans work?

Iowa Student Loan Partnership Loans are supplemental student loans, meaning they’re meant to cover educational costs left after federal aid. While you’re not required to fill out the FAFSA to qualify, it’s encouraged.

Student loans start at $10,001 and can cover up to 100% of your educational costs, after deducing financial aid and federal loans. However, they come with a lifetime limit of $300,000.

How much do Iowa Student Loan Partnership Loans cost?

Iowa Student Loan Partnership Loans don’t come with any fees, so the main cost you need to worry about is interest. Borrowers have a choice between fixed and variable rates.

Fixed rates range from 5.5% to 7.22%, depending on your credit score and repayment plan — immediate repayments come with lower rates than interest-only or deferred repayments. Variable rates run from 3.52% to 8.1% and can get as high as 21%, depending on the state of the economy.

What’s the difference between fixed and variable rates?

Does Iowa Student Loan offer any discounts?

It does. Borrowers can qualify for a 0.25% interest rate discount if you sign up for automatic repayments.

What are my repayment options?

Iowa Student Loan has three different repayment options that each come with different rates and terms:

Immediate repayments

  • Fixed rates: 5.5% to 6.3%
  • Variable rates: 3.52% to 7.68%
  • Loan term: 10 years

This option requires you to make full repayments as soon as your school receives your funds. Immediate repayments come with the lowest rates of the three. But it has a shorter term, which translates into higher monthly repayments.

Interest-only repayments

  • Fixed rates: 5.7% to 6.42%
  • Variable rates: 6.08% to 7.78%
  • Loan term: 10 years, starting after the grace period

This option allows you to only pay off the interest that adds up while you’re in school and for six months after you drop below half time. Making minimal repayments that you can afford as a student means you’ll have a smaller loan balance when you’re on the hook for full repayments.

Deferred repayments

  • Fixed rates: 5.8% to 7.22%
  • Variable rates: 6.38% to 8.1%
  • Loan term: 15 years, starting after the grace period

With deferred repayments, you can hold off on repaying your student loans until six months after you drop below half time. It has the highest rates out of the three options and is the most expensive.

That’s because interest starts adding up as soon as you start taking out the loan. When your repayments begin, all that unpaid interest gets added to the loan balance. Essentially, you’re paying interest on interest.

Does Iowa Student Loan offer deferment or forbearance?

It does. Students can apply for deferment with its servicer Aspire under the following circumstances:

  • Financial hardship
  • Military service
  • Medical residency or internship program

You can get started on your application by contacting Aspire’s customer service team. Typically, you need to provide documents showing that you meet Aspire’s deferment criteria.

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Compare up to 4 providers

Top reasons to consider Iowa Student Loan

From its competitive rates to its comprehensive website, here are a few perks of borrowing from Iowa Student Loan:

  • Rates compare to federal loans. Depending on your options and credit rating, you might even be able to get a better deal with Iowa Student Loan.
  • Multiple cosigners. You can apply with more than one cosigner to strengthen your application even more.
  • Cosigner release. You can apply to take your cosigner off your loan after making 24 on-time repayments in a row.
  • Students under 18 OK. Minors can qualify for a student loan as long as their cosigner is the age of majority.
  • Comprehensive website. You can find all of the essential information about Iowa Student Loans on its website without having to contact customer service.

Drawbacks to borrowing from Iowa Student Loan

Consider these potential drawbacks before taking out an Iowa Student Loan Partnership Loan:

  • Limited term options. You only have a choice between 10- and 15-year terms. And even those options aren’t available with all repayment plans.
  • Only for Iowans. You can only qualify for this loan if you’re an Iowa resident or attend an eligible school in Iowa.
  • Strict employment requirement. You or your cosigners must have had steady employment for the past two years in order to qualify.

What do borrowers say about Iowa Student Loan?

As of February 2019, there’s nearly nothing online about Iowa Student Loan. While it gets an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), it only has four customer reviews that scored it an average of 1 out of 5 stars. Most were complaints about the quality of its customer service.

Iowa Student Loan doesn’t appear on Trustpilot, and borrowers are even silent about their experiences on popular forums like Reddit. This is likely due to the limited clientele it serves.

What to expect when signing up

Before applying, make sure you meet Iowa Student Loan’s eligibility requirements. Follow these steps to get started online:

  1. Go to the Iowa Student Loan website.
  2. Scroll down and click Private Student Loans.
  3. In the left-hand menu, click Apply Now under Partnership Loan.
  4. Answer a few questions and click Apply Now.
  5. Read the loan application and credit agreement before clicking Enter Applicant Information.
  6. Read and acknowledge the application disclosures before checking the acknowledgement box and clicking Next.
  7. Follow the directions to complete and submit your application.
  8. Wait to hear back from Iowa Student Loan for further instructions.

Cosigners can apply by following steps one through four and clicking If you’re a cosigner, begin the addendum now.

Who is Iowa Student Loan’s servicer?

Iowa Student Loans uses Aspire to service its student loans. Aspire is a subsidiary of Iowa Student Loans, though it also handles repayments from other student loan providers.

As an old-school servicer, it still mostly relies on paper forms, meaning it might take a little longer to make changes to your account. But it’s also one of the few that lets you stop by and solve your problem in person or pay with a debit card.

More about Iowa Student Loan

Iowa Student Loan is a nonprofit corporation that aims to help residents of the Hawkeye State have more access to higher education. Founded in 1979, this Des Moines-based lender has funded nearly 400,000 student loans. While it’s a self-funded organization, the governor of Iowa appoints its board of directors.

See how this lender stacks up to the competition with our guide to student loans.

Frequently asked questions

Student loan ratings

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We rate student loan providers on a scale of 1 to 5 stars based on factors like transparency, costs and customer experience. We don’t take into account elements like eligibility criteria, state availability or payment frequency — we save that for our reviews.

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