Student with computer in study space

Iowa Access Initiative

Iowa Access Initiative

Grinnell’s Iowa Access Initiative is a need-based financial aid program dedicated to talented, accomplished students from our home state of Iowa. The initiative makes it possible for all qualified students from Iowa to attain a world-class education without leaving the state. At a minimum, all qualified students receive nonrepayable grants for the full cost of tuition and fees. To be eligible for the Iowa Access Initiative, students must:

  • Be admitted to Grinnell College.
  • Submit a completed application for financial aid by the appropriate deadline.
  • Have a total annual family income below $75,000 and limited assets.*
  • Graduate from an Iowa high school after Jan. 1, 2018.
  • Enroll as a first-time, full-time undergraduate student.

Beyond grant assistance for tuition and fees, students may be eligible for additional financial aid to pay for room, board, and personal expenses, depending upon their family’s demonstrated financial need.

Grinnell continues to meet the full demonstrated need of any student admitted to the College (even those who do not qualify for the initiative) through a combination of grants, scholarships, student loans, and on-campus employment. Grinnell determines a student’s financial need through a careful, individual assessment of each family’s financial aid application.

How do I apply for the Iowa Access Initiative? Who determines my eligibility?

Applicants to the Iowa Access Initiative should follow the standard application process for needbased financial aid. In addition to the FAFSA, applicants should submit the CSS Profile, parent tax returns and associated W-2s, and, if applicable, a CSS Profile for their noncustodial parent. The Office of Financial Aid will review application materials to determine eligibility for the initiative. For full consideration, be sure to meet all financial aid deadlines.

What if I don’t live in Iowa or don’t meet the income requirements?

Grinnell is one of less than 2 percent of colleges and universities in the United States (and the only one in Iowa) that will meet the full demonstrated financial need of all enrolled students through a combination of scholarships, grants, loans, and student employment. This makes a Grinnell education accessible to all students, regardless of where they live.

We know there are many exceptional students in Iowa who may not be eligible for need-based financial aid but who deserve a scholarship to honor their achievements. For these students, Grinnell College awards, at a minimum, the Founder’s Scholarship of $12,000 annually. For more information regarding merit scholarships at Grinnell, visit our website.

We’re here to provide free, confidential financial aid counseling to all interested applicants. Our staff will review your family income and assets and provide you with a financial aid package to meet your demonstrated financial need.

How is financial eligibility calculated?

Using the information provided on the CSS Profile, Grinnell calculates family income by combining all available sources of income. This includes components of the adjusted gross income (AGI) such as wages, interest, dividends, business income, and retirement withdrawals, as well as untaxed income (e.g., pretax contributions to retirement, child support, living allowances, and employer benefits). In our calculation, Grinnell will use income from the custodial and noncustodial parent(s), when applicable. Financial assets will also be considered.

If I am eligible for the Iowa Access Initiative, what will my financial aid package include?

At a minimum, qualified students will receive grants totaling the full cost of tuition and fees. Some students will be eligible to receive more financial aid to assist with the costs of room, board, and miscellaneous expenses. Grant sources may include funds from the College or state and federal government programs. The Office of Financial Aid will review each application to determine eligibility for additional financial assistance (beyond what is awarded for the Iowa Access Initiative) and develop a financial aid package that includes a combination of grants, loans, and work-study.

Do I need to apply for financial aid each year?

Yes, every student selected for the Iowa Access Initiative must reapply for financial assistance every year. In most cases, students with similar financial circumstances from one year to the next receive similar financial aid awards each year. Grinnell is committed to providing a consistent aid package for up to eight semesters, but need-based aid must be renewed on a yearly basis and is not automatic. We will remind you when it is time to complete financial aid forms in future years.

What is “demonstrated financial need”?

Demonstrated financial need is the cost of attending Grinnell minus how much your family is expected to contribute toward your education. Simply stated, we give every student enough financial aid to match the amount that their family should need as determined by a thorough review of the family’s financial circumstances using the CSS Profile needs-analysis methodology.

Which year’s income will Grinnell use to determine my eligibility?

Grinnell will use the base year income required on the CSS Profile. For example, 2016 income will be used for the 2018–19 CSS Profile.

Are Iowa transfer students eligible for the Iowa Access Initiative?

Unfortunately, you must be a full-time, incoming first-year student and graduate from an Iowa high school after Jan. 1, 2018 to be eligible for this particular financial aid program. Please check with our Office of Financial Aid to explore other possibilities.

*Final eligibility is determined through a comprehensive assessment of family income and assets.