Student Impact Grant

Student Impact Grants provide funding for a variety of University of Iowa undergraduate and graduate student activities outside the classroom, such as research, travel, and service projects. The goal is to enable students to pursue opportunities that might not otherwise be possible without financial assistance.

The President's Office has generously allocated $7,000 per semester to help enhance the student experience through these grants. The designated funds come from generous philanthropic gifts made by alumni and friends who have chosen to provide unrestricted support to the university.

Grants are awarded twice a year. Applications are typically accepted for the summer/fall semester beginning in January and for the winter/spring semester beginning in September.

The grants are made possible by a partnership between the Office of the President and Student Advancement Network (SAN).


Award Application Process

Applications will be considered for funding based on the timeline below. An online form will be available for students and student groups to use when the application period opens. A maximum of $7,000 in total grants will be awarded. Grant amounts will range from $100-$1,000 awards.


  • January 18 – Application opens
  • February 19 – Application deadline (5 p.m.)
  • April 15 – Grant recipients will be notified for funding requests for summer and fall 2021 semesters
  • April 27 – Academic year 2021 Winter/Spring grant recipient presentations detailing how the funds were used and how the grant impacted recipient’s Iowa experience. This event is open to the public.
  • April 28 – Signed Grant Recipient Agreement form due
  • May 5 – Award transfers/payments for Summer 2021 projects
  • August 10 – Award transfers/payments for Fall 2021 projects

Student Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants must be enrolled full time as a University of Iowa undergraduate or graduate student for the fall 2021 semester and be in good standing as defined in the University of Iowa Code of Student Life.
  • Student groups or organizations must be recognized by the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership or by a University of Iowa department.
  • Program/expense cannot be fully covered by other grants or funding methods.
  • Program/experience must abide by all university guidelines. Grant funding does not permit activities that conflict with these guidelines.
  • Program/experience must abide by all university guidelines concerning COVID, including but not limited to gathering size or travel. Grant funding does not permit activities that conflict with these guidelines.
  • Funding requests must be shown to improve or enhance the student experience. Recipients will share about this outcome during a biannual Student Impact Grant Presentation event.
  • Once a student receives a grant, they are not eligible for another University of Iowa Center for Advancement student grant within the next three years.
  • Grants are not renewable.

Review Process

Members of the University of Iowa Student Advancement Network will review all submissions and make a recommendation. A University of Iowa Center for Advancement employee will oversee the scoring and review process. After review, recommendations will be sent to the Office of the President, which will make the final decision on all grant awards.

Awardees will then be notified of their selection to receive a grant, and payment will be provided by the Office of the President through a transfer to the student's U-Bill or student organization's account. The University of Iowa Office of Student Financial Aid has advised that these grants will not affect other financial aid that a student may receive.

Iowa Magazine
Explore the Spring 2021 edition of the Iowa Magazine.
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Before they could make one giant leap for mankind, Apollo 11's astronauts had to fly through the radiation belts discovered by James Van Allen. PHOTO: F.W. Kent Collection of Photographs, University Archives A journalism student interviews professor James Van Allen in the early 1960s. Editor's note: In Old Gold, University archivist David McCartney looks back at the UI's history and tradition through materials housed in University Archives, Department of Special Collections, University of Iowa Libraries. Old Gold is no mathematician. This of course comes as no surprise to his friends. The fact was established early on, at age 9, when he was unable to "get" long division in fourth grade. Eventually, he learned the protocol. Let's just say, though, that Old Gold was never destined to appreciate the intricacies of differential equations and leave it at that, shall we? PHOTO: F.W. Kent Collection of Photographs, University Archives. A graduate student in the Department of Physics reviews data from Explorer IV in 1959 in the basement of what is now MacLean Hall While clueless with complex variables, Old Gold has been a bit of a science nerd for most of his life. Such interest blossomed 50 years ago this summer thanks to the highly anticipated Apollo 11 lunar landing. At age 13, Old Gold was?as we say in Iowa?just dang giddy about the historic manned space mission. So many elements of it fascinated him: Crossing a new frontier, waiting about two seconds for a usually instant radio transmission to be completed, and a dose of bragging rights and Cold War-era patriotism?"We got there first!" Old Gold still has his tape recordings of CBS television's coverage of that momentous event of July 20, 1969, including news anchor Walter Cronkite's pronouncement of "whew, boy!" when the Eagle landed. Nervous NASA employees and millions of viewers were suddenly both thrilled and relieved by the occasion. While Old Gold was thrilled, he admittedly didn't sense relief, as he failed to appreciate the possibility of real danger to the astronauts at the time. Indeed, the danger was revealed about a decade before, when State University of Iowa professor James A. Van Allen (36MS, 39PhD) of the Department of Physics released data gathered from the unmanned Explorer I mission confirming the presence of radiation belts encircling the earth at various altitudes but less than 25,000 miles from the earth's surface. Physicists determined the radiation contained in these belts could be a barrier to manned and unmanned space exploration unless proper precautions were taken: protective shielding for the spacecraft, protective suits for the astronauts. They also determined that, to keep exposure to radiation at a minimum, any spacecraft traveling through the Van Allen belts would need to attain a certain velocity. Imagine jumping through a fiery hoop, as though such a daring feat could be done safely. Despite this barrier, the goal to send a man to the moon?regrettably, women were not considered for admission at the time?was stated by President John F. Kennedy on May 25, 1961: "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space program in this period will be more impressive to mankind." Within the scientific community, there was considerable disagreement over whether NASA should devote resources to manned space flights. Many, including Van Allen, advocated for unmanned missions which could, in their view, gather data from new sources more efficiently. According to Abigail Foerstner's fascinating book, "James Van Allen: The First Eight Billion Miles" (University of Iowa Press, 2007), Van Allen hailed the accomplishments of the first generation of astronauts, but also expressed doubts on JFK's goal as early as October 1961. Such "blunt goals," he said, could undermine scientific competence in the quest for more meaningful data harvesting and research. The Mercury and, later, Apollo missions nonetheless moved forward. They did so, ironically, thanks to Van Allen's significant findings. The radiation belt data culled from Explorer I and subsequent unmanned missions supervised by Van Allen allowed NASA to plan its missions accordingly. NASA determined that an astronaut's exposure to radiation would be less than five percent of the level considered allowable by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The front page of the Daily Iowan on July 19, 1969, in anticipation of the Apollo 11 landing to occur the next day. The mathematical breakdown: OSHA's standard for radiation safety allows exposure of up to 300 rads (the unit of measurement for absorbed doses of ionizing radiation) in an hour. 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