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University of Iowa Starts Tuition-Free Summer School

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa is piloting a new program for summer school students. It’s called the Hawk Tuition Grant and allows qualifying students to take up to 12 credit hours for free.

“If you get behind on a few credits, if you have to drop a class, or if you change your major, we give you an opportunity to make up that lost time and still finish by the end of the eighth semester,” said Beth Ingram, Associate Provost at the University of Iowa.

Administrators hope the program raises Iowa’s four-year graduation rate. That number jumped from 48% last year to 51% this year, but University officials want further improvement.

“We think we can do better,” Ingram said. “We’d like to move that four-year graduation rate up even higher.”

In order to qualify for the grant, students had to be full-time, freshmen in 2013 and in-state residents.

The grant does not apply to older students.

“You’re a little jealous when you hear about it,” said Ryan Griffith, a junior taking summer class at the University of Iowa. “For me it was just kind of disappointing.”

But he hopes new students will save money through the program, even if he can’t.

“I would encourage more people to take advantage, and I think they will as time goes on,” Griffith said. “Your freshman and sophomore summers are the time to do it.”

Of the estimated 4,400 students eligible for the grant, only 200 are on campus and using the money this summer.

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