Common Questions




Independent Students


What is Iowa State University's Cost of Attendance?

View the Cost of Attendance page.

How do I apply for financial aid?

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

What is Iowa State University's FAFSA school code?

ISU's school code is 001869.

What is Iowa State University's priority date for filing the FAFSA?

Iowa State's priority date for filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year is March 1st. If you have not filed your tax returns before this time period, it's okay to estimate to ensure you get the FAFSA filed by this date.

What is the status of my financial aid?

Current students can check the status of their financial aid on AccessPlus.

What happens if I withdraw from all of my classes?

Learn about Withdrawal Policies.

I want to move off campus next year. How will my financial aid change?

Your financial aid eligibility does not change if you live off campus. Students who live off campus are not billed by the university for housing. Aid that would have paid these charges will be refunded to you to pay your living expenses.

My parents no longer claim me on their tax form. Am I an independent for financial aid?

No. Whether your parents claim you on their taxes has no bearing on your financial aid. Financial aid dependency is determined by section three of the FAFSA.

How do I get money to pay my bill?

Learn how to pay your university bill.

How do I get in touch with the Office of Student Financial Aid?

Please see our contact page for more information.

Where can I learn more about the ISU Gift Certificate?

ISU Educational Gift Certificates are handled by the Iowa State University Treasurer's Office. The Treasurer's Office Provides more information about ISU Educational Gift Certificates.


What is the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized loan?

Much like the Federal Direct Stafford Loans, two categories of loans exist:

  • Subsidized loans are awarded based on need.
    The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest while the student is in school at least half-time.
  • Unsubsidized loans charge interest from the beginning of the loan until full repayment.
    Students can either pay the interest as they go or allow the unpaid interest to compound upon the principal.

What is a Private Loan?

Private loans are loans through private agencies that are willing to lend to students for education purposes. These loans are unsubsidized and allow the student to defer the payments until after they graduate or drop below half-time status. Learn more about Private Lenders.


How do I apply for scholarships at Iowa State University?

The university offers a wide variety of scholarships based on academic background, intended major, test scores, and co-curricular activities. To be assured of receiving consideration for the various academic scholarships administered by the university, freshman applicants should apply for admission nine to twelve months before their planned entry date. Once students are offered admission they are automatically considered for many of the academic scholarships administered by the university.

The university not only accepts scholarships from outside donors but encourages students to pursue such scholarship opportunities through their high schools, parents' employers, or involvement in activities through which scholarships might be available.

Additional scholarships, separated into categories, can be viewed under the 'Scholarships' menu, located at the top.

Independent Students

Am I an independent student?

Learn more about dependency status.

Does my financial status change if I quit my job to come to school?

Contact the Office of Student Financial Aid to learn more about adjusting your financial information to reflect special circumstances.

Does my financial aid increase if I have dependent children?

Contact the Office of Student Financial Aid to see if you can increase financial aid to assist with child care costs.

I'm worried about paying my university bill on time.

Your deadline can be extended with the fee payment plans. Learn about paying your university bill.

Should I tell the Office of Student Financial Aid if I'm receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) funds?

Yes. Be sure to let the Office of Student Financial Aid know after you receive your Financial Aid Award. If you have been offered any grants that would reduce your AFDC benefits, we will change the financial aid offer so your benefits will not be affected.

I'm struggling with my food budget.

If you are working while you go to school, you may be eligible to receive Food Stamps. If you have a child under the age of 18 who is deprived of support from one or both parents, you may be eligible for funding from Aid to Families with Dependent Children. The Iowa Department of Human Services in Ames can give you more information.
For information about these and other programs, call (515) 292-2035.

What benefits am I eligible for if I am a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?

Contact your local Veterans Affairs Office or visit the ISU Veterans Center website for more information on receiving VA Benefits.

Where can I go for financial counseling?

Visit the Financial Counseling Clinic at 4380 Palmer HDFS Building. There is no charge for Iowa State students to attend financial counseling.

Where can I get information on child care resources?

Contact the Child Care Coordinator for ISU, who reports through the Human Resources Division.