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College Information


Iowa College Aid provides college and career planning tips for students in grades 8 - 12. These tips outline the steps students can take during that month to plan and prepare for their future. Following these tips will ensure that students are preparing for life after graduation and success as they continue education beyond high school!

8th Grade
1. Get involved in a summer reading program at your local library to keep your reading and comprehension skills fresh.
2. Talk to members of your family about the things they did after high school. This can help you to consider different options and think more critically about what careers would appeal most to you.
3. In your spare time, begin doing online research about colleges. In many cases, you can even watch a virtual tour on an institution's website.

9th Grade
1. Use your free time during this summer month to do some reading!
2. Find a part-time summer job to earn money and start saving for college.
3. Find an organization or cause that you care about that needs assistance and volunteer in your free time.

10th Grade
1. Take some time to discuss college expenses with your parents. Find out what they plan to help you pay for so you can plan for the remainder.
2. Spend time making positive connections with community members. They will be great resources for you when applying to college and for scholarships.
3. Consider spending time on a college campus. Whether you are attending a summer camp, going to a conference or just visiting for the day, a visit will be helpful.

11th Grade
1. Look over your class schedule for senior year and double check that you are on track for graduation based on the credits you need and the classes you plan to take.
2. Keep working at that summer job or spend time volunteering. Both will help you to build your resume and a job can help you save for college.
3. Create a budget for the coming year to make sure you can put money away to help pay for colleges expenses. It is much closer than you think!

12th Grade
1. If you have not already, attend your college orientation and register for fall semester classes.
2. If you are living with a randomly assigned roommate, reach out to them and decide together who will bring certain necessities for your dorm room.
3. Make a list of things you will need to pack for college so you do not forget anything.

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How the 2008 Act Assists Unaccompanied Homeless Youth in Obtaining Access to Post-Secondary Education

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 also includes provisions to assist homeless youth, as wel as youth in or coming from foster care. The 2008 Act makes homeless children and youth, and children and youth in or coming from foster care, automatically eligible for TRiO programs. The 2008 Act also requires TRiO programs to identify and make available services-including mentoring, tutoring, and other services-to homeless children and youth, and to children and youth in or coming from foster care. In addition, the 2008 Act permits TRiO Student Support Services program to secure temporary housing during breaks in the academic year for homeless students and for students coming from foster care. The 2008 Act also includes as permissible services under the Federal TRiO programs and GEAR UP program activities specifically designed for homeless children and youth and for children and youth in or coming from foster care.  In addition, the 2008
Act requires training programs under Staff Development Activities to include strategies for recruiting and serving homeless children and youth, as well as children and youth in or coming from foster care.

The definition of "homeless children and youth" under the law, as described above, children and youth are "homeless" for purposes of federal financial aid when they "lack a fixed, regular, and adequate night time residence. Homeless situations include "sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason; . . . living in
motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations" and other situations that are frequently associated with being homeless, such as living in homeless shelters, parks and cars.

All too often, financial aid office personnel fail to understand that a youth who is "couch surfing" at various acquaintances' residences or doubling up with relatives is homeless under the law. Thus, one public school respondent stated, "It is more difficult when a student is in a doubled up situation to get the financial aid....most of our students in our community double up with relatives or friends etc [because] youth shelters are always at capacity." And a college access respondent complained, "We have students who are essentially homeless but because they're not in a shelter, they don't have paperwork to get verification (ex. dad passed away and mom hasn't been involved for years and [mom] lives with family in a house that has no room for student, but student is attached to mom on the FAFSA).

The responses of some of the financial aid respondents themselves reflect the confusion and erroneous assumptions referred to by other respondents. For instance, one such respondent stated, "What we encounter is students that self-identify themselves as 'homeless' but have never been declared homeless by a school or homeless shelter but probably should have been. It's often a struggle for them to obtain enough documentation to successfully complete a Dependency Override." This response reflects several misconceptions.

Greetings from the UI REACH Program on the University of Iowa campus!  We are a two-year certificate program for students with disabilities.  Our vision is to empower young adults to become independent, self-determined individuals who contribute to the community and whose lives are personally rewarding.  UI REACH students are assisted in achieving greater independence through campus involvement, career development, collaborative research, coursework, and residence hall living.

The UI REACH Program accepts applicants from all over the country, and since 2008, we have awarded over $720,000 in needs-based scholarships!

“The UI REACH program and staff provide an unparalleled opportunity for students with intellectual disabilities to become independent and self-sufficient adults in a safe and nurturing environment on a Big Ten campus." Deborah A. Reed MD (Parent, Class of 2014)

To view a video featuring UI REACH students, please go here:

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