Innovation in higher education funding

Stefanie Botelho's picture

Grand View University announces the reinvention of how students and their families finance their college degrees. The university is piloting “whole-degree financing” to help students and their families make their college education more affordable and predictable – and reduce student debt -- by planning for the entire four-year degree, rather than a year or semester at a time. Grand View’s Financial Empowerment Plan (FEP) enables families to know what their degree will cost and to plan for the long term.

Incoming 2014 freshmen are eligible for the pilot, with 150 having expressed an interest to date. Students and their families begin with intensive, personal and individual interaction with coaches who help analyze a family’s finances and develop a comprehensive four-year financing plan that accompanies a four-year plan of study. Coaches also help students discern career paths and understand the earning potential of various career choices, attempting to match borrowing levels to the expected salary levels for those career choices. And the plan of study lays out a clear path to graduation in four years. There is no additional cost to students and families who choose to participate.

Families have begun meeting with a Financial Empowerment Coach, outlining the student’s initial Financial Empowerment Plan, which includes:

• Guaranteed levels of tuition, room and board for four years.

• The personalized financial plan that clearly spells out institutional aid, other scholarships or grants, student loans, and a monthly payment for four years to cover any remainder.

• Estimated monthly payments and term for student loans after graduation.

• A budget for student living expenses.

“For us, it was a no-brainer,” says Steve Wieland from Westside, IA, whose daughter, Haley, will be a freshmen this fall. “It was nice to know exactly what we are paying this early in the process.”

Thus far, projected borrowing is below reported overall national averages for the class of 2012, below averages for the same class at private not-for profit schools, and below Grand View’s historical averages. The Financial Empowerment Plan provides Grand View students and their families with increased affordability and predictability for the four years of their undergraduate education, as well as a higher likelihood of the student remaining in school to graduate.

Discussion and footage from the press conference can be found here:

This document lays out more details of the Financial Empowerment Plan:

For more detailed information, contact Carol Bamford, VP for Marketing and Communication at Grand View at or 515-263-6129.

Grand View University is a private, not-for-profit institution founded in the 1890s located in Des Moines, IA.