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Release: August 6, 1999

UI offers financial assistance program for students affected by farm economy

IOWA CITY, Iowa – University of Iowa President Mary Sue Coleman announced today that UI students who have been adversely affected by current problems with the farm economy may take advantage of a new financial assistance program called the University of Iowa Farm Access Program.

Beginning immediately, the UI will offer bridge loans to help qualified students pay tuition and fees. In addition, the UI Office of Student Financial Aid will hire additional financial advisers as needed, and all financial aid staff members will receive specialized training on the issues and circumstances affecting the economic well-being of families that get their income from farming and farm-related occupations.

In addition to the bridge loans available during the 1999-2000 academic year, the UI Farm Access Program will offer a new grant program that eligible students can use to help cover tuition and fees for the 2000-2001 academic year. The grants will consist of awards of up to $1,000 per year, based on need. They will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds are expended. They may be renewable for up to four years.

Students who make use of the UI Farm Access Program remain eligible for all other forms of financial aid available through the UI.

"It's very important that we respond to the recent changes in the agricultural economy," Coleman said. "We want to ensure that a University of Iowa education remains accessible to all qualified students. This program is not only for students from farm families, but for all those who are directly affected by the downturn in the agricultural economy."

Students who are concerned that they will be unable to pay their university bills are encouraged to meet with a staff member in the Office of Student Financial Aid. The student's financial circumstances will be reviewed and an extended payment plan may be developed as warranted.

The farm-related financial assistance programs are open to full-time undergraduate students who can demonstrate financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and who have a significant loss in income related to the farm economy.

For more information, contact the UI Office of Student Financial Aid, 1-800 553-4692 or (319) 335-1450.