The Hawkeye Completion Grant is a new program that helps students with positive academic progress, good non-academic conduct, and demonstrated financial need pay their university bills, to support their retention and graduation at the University of Iowa. Each semester, students are required to pay their university bill in order to register for classes or to graduate. With the high cost of college, and the ever-increasing nature of those costs, some students are not able to pay their university bills on time, leaving them at the end of the semester unable to register for classes or to graduate. Last fall semester, over 500 students still had a remaining university bill and of those students, 63% of them were third- and fourth-year students. These shortfalls occur for various reasons, including unmet financial need. Nationally, students who do not register on time, often leave their higher education institution at a disproportionate rate compared to their peers.
The University of Iowa Student Government, the Office of Student Financial Aid, the Office of the Dean of Students, and Academic Support and Retention worked together to develop the Hawkeye Completion Grant. Students with satisfactory academic progress, good non-academic conduct, and demonstrated financial need are contacted by the Office of Student Financial Aid and encouraged to apply for the grant. The funding for the grant is limited, so it is important that students apply as soon as they are able in order to qualify for the program. The committee works to ensure all of the student’s resources to pay for the university bill are exhausted then reviews options for utilizing the grant. The grant also inspired Hawkeyes to help Hawkeyes as demonstrated by the quote below.
“I really appreciate that I was selected to receive the grant, but my tax return came in and I was able to pay off the remainder of my U-Bill. I no longer need the grant, and with the possibility that someone may need it more than I do, I would like them to have it.”
The University of Iowa received a rose from the Des Moines Register for the work on the Hawkeye Completion Grant and the retention and graduation support the grant provides. 55 students have received the Hawkeye Completion Grant for the spring and summer sessions and were able to register for summer/fall 2018 or graduate from The University of Iowa. The average grant amount has been approximately $1,000. The committee hopes to sustain the program in order to continue to provide the support necessary to decrease the number of students withdrawing or leaving the institution early due to financial concerns.