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Iowa College Aid

About Course to College


The Future Ready Iowa goal

Improving college attainment is critical to the growth of Iowa's economy. A report released by the Branstad-Reynolds Administration in collaboration with the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (Georgetown Center) projects that by 2025, 68 percent of all jobs in Iowa will require postsecondary education.

In addition, as educational attainment increases, income increases and the percentage of the population living in poverty decreases. For Iowans with only a high school degree, the poverty rate is three times higher than those with a bachelor's degree or higher. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey)

Building a college-going culture

The goal of Course to College is to promote a college-going culture in schools, school districts, communities, and throughout the state of Iowa.

Iowa College Aid defines college as a degree-awarding institution. Completion is defined as the act of earning a postsecondary degree, certificate, or credential.  

Course to College recognizes the following college pathways:

  • Associate and bachelor’s degrees
  • Certificate and credential programs
  • Registered Apprenticeships
  • Industry certifications

What is Course to College?

An all-encompassing program to support high schools in creating a college-going culture through five steps: prepare, apply, finance, decide, and go. Iowa College Aid provides the essential support and resources for schools to cultivate a college-going culture from college preparedness through the transition to higher education. High schools that create a strong college-going culture are more likely to have students who pursue postsecondary education.


As early as elementary school, it is important to begin preparing students to think about what they want to do when they complete high school. Course to College programming enhances district plans, provides strategies to build a college-going culture, and supports school staff in coordinating exploration opportunities.


As part of a national effort to assist students, especially those from underserved populations, Course to College programming promotes a statewide application campaign. Participating schools offer time throughout the school day for students to complete an application and assist them in navigating the admissions process.


Targeted data allows schools to identify seniors who have not completed or filed a FAFSA and offer follow-up assistance. Iowa College Aid provides student-specific data through partnerships with the U.S. Department of Education, the Iowa Department of Education, Area Education Agencies, and high schools.


School events and activities recognize high school seniors for their college decision and encourage the college aspirations of underclassmen. Activities and events are held on or around May 1 to coincide with the date most seniors must inform a college of their plans to enroll.


Once students choose a college, they still need to take major steps during the summer between high school graduation and the start of their college classes. Course to College programming fights “summer melt” by ensuring that students fulfill their requirements before their courses begin, setting them up for success on Day One.

Register for Course to College

Please email us for more information.