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Simpson to cover tuition for students of families earning $60,000 or less


Simpson College officials today announced a new financial aid initiative they hope will spur moderate-income families to take another look at the private college. 

With the Simpson Promise, the college will cover the full cost of tuition for families that have a 2016 adjusted gross income of $60,000 or less. 

“There has been a lot of talk about making college affordable,” Simpson President Jay Simmons said at a news conference at the school’s main campus in Indianola. “We decided it was time to take action.” 

Under the initiative, which will begin with the fall 2018 semester, students who qualify will pay just room and board costs, along with fees. Their subsequent tuition through their senior year will be limited to paying the difference between the base tuition when they began the program and any tuition increases. 

Simmons said that the college throughout its history has had 25 percent to 40 percent of its students in that equivalent income category, but that figure has recently dropped to the lower end of that range. He estimated that between 100 and 150 students will qualify for the program, whose goal is to make the private college accessible to more families. 

In addition to the family income qualification, students must: 

  • Be an Iowa resident and a 2018 graduate of an Iowa high school. 
  • Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) no later than July 1, 2018, and be eligible for federal aid. 
  • Reside on campus. 
  • Be a full-time accepted incoming first-year student. 

Simmons said the college has also considered the needs of incoming students whose family incomes do not qualify under the guidelines. The college awards more than $27 million in scholarships and grants to its current students, he noted. 

“We have creative ways to lessen the burden on their families as well,” he said. “We regularly review the amount spent on merit and need-based scholarships, and that will be increasing for students who begin their college careers in the fall of 2018.”

Another Central Iowa private college, Drake University, a year ago took a different approach to addressing college affordability that began this fall. To read that Business Record story, click here

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