Fact check: Declining debt at UNI

Published: January 14 2014 | 4:37 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:06 am in Fact Check,


As student tuition continues to increase for many young people across the country, we're checking Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's claim that student debt at the University of Northern Iowa decreased by eight percent last year.

Source of claim

Gov. Terry Branstad

As student debt continues to rise among young people, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is again supporting a tuition freeze for Iowans earning undergraduate degrees. Citing the University of Northern Iowa's success at lowering student loan indebtedness during his Condition of the State speech on Jan. 14, Branstad said student debt at the UNI decreased by 8 percent last year.

According to statistics kept by the financial aid department at UNI, there was about an 8 percent decrease in student debt between 2011 and 2012 and a 1.8 percent decrease in student debt between 2012 and 2013.

Student debt at UNI has decreased about 10 percent over the past three years. Joyce Morrow, director of financial aid at UNI, said that decrease can be attributed to the school's TEACH Grant program, financial literacy efforts and private loan counseling for students.


Branstad said student debt at the UNI decreased by 8 percent last year. In this case, it appears he is citing old data that isn't necessarily inaccurate. We gave him a score of mostly true.

You can view the UNI Financial Aid Report 2013 at http://www.uni.edu/finaid/sites/default/files/finaid-annual-report/UNI%20Financial%20Aid%20Report/files/basic-html/page1.html

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