Financial Aid Programs:

A full list of Federal and state financial aid programs can be found at 

Apply for college and university financial aid

Some colleges and universities also have institutional financial aid programs available (either through their own resources, or provided by donors). 

Some may rely on the FAFSA for eligibility (if based on financial need), but colleges may also have an institutional application that is required to apply for some of these institutional programs (you may want to make a quick call to the financial aid office at the college(s) or universities that you are considering to see if they have a separate application for institutional aid programs).

Others may consider your GPA, ACT/SAT scores, or other academic achievement or involvement data (merit-based scholarships).

Complete the FAFSA:

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at on or after January 1, 2012. 

You will need tax information to complete the form, but you can use estimated information if your taxes are not yet completed (we urge you to complete the FAFSA as soon after January 1 as possible, as many scholarship and grant programs have deadlines). 

This will serve as your application for most Federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs.

Complete the Iowa Financial Aid Application:

After finishing the FAFSA, click on the “Start your state application” link on the FAFSA confirmation page to route directly to the Iowa Financial Aid Application. 

You will apply for most state programs by completing the FAFSA (we use the FAFSA as the application for all state programs that we can), but Iowa also has some unique programs that serve members of the Iowa National Guard, children aging out of foster care, seniors that participated in the Iowa State Fair, and low income students with high GPAs. 

The Iowa Financial Aid Application can be accessed by clicking on the button shown below at or

Private Scholarship Searches:

Many scholarship programs exist that are privately funded by community organizations or foundations. 

A number of links to free scholarship searches are provided below.  The IHaveAPlanIowa web portal provides a scholarship search function for students.  Many of the scholarships listed on this site come from national scholarship databases.  under the “Scholarship Sources” heading (about 1/3 of the way down the page), you will find a list of free scholarship searches and specific scholarship providers.  provides a list of scholarships that our agency has been notified about.

Certain organizations in your local community may also offer scholarships to local students.  High school counselors may know about any of these specific opportunities in your community. 

The link below provides a quick search of community foundations in Iowa, searchable by area:

603 E. 12th ST., FL 5th  Des Moines, IA 50319  P: 877-272-4456  F: 515-725-3401

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