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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 18, 2006

New Section 8 Housing Rules Close Loopholes

Some University of Iowa students may soon discover that they are no longer eligible for low-income, subsidized housing and may have to find other accommodations. On Dec. 30, 2005, the Federal Register published new Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rules affecting eligibility for Section 8 housing.

The new rules say that a student's parents' or guardians' income must be considered when determining whether the student is eligible for subsidized housing, unless the student is older than age 23, married, has children and/or dependents, or is a veteran. These are the same rules that apply when a student seeks financial aid. Also, the new rules will take into account housing/room and board allocations that are specified in scholarships.

The new rules are in response to legislation advocated by the University of Iowa and sponsored by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa to close loopholes in HUD's Section 8 housing program that allowed occupancy in low-income housing by students who may not legitimately need such housing. 

"The University of Iowa is pleased to be a partner in resolving this matter and is grateful to Sen. Harkin for his rapid and effective attention to this issue," said UI President David Skorton.

UI Provost Michael Hogan and UI Vice President Phillip Jones, who spearheaded the UI's efforts to address this issue, wrote in their Oct. 12, 2005 letter to HUD's Regional Office: "We are deeply concerned that any University of Iowa student not in need of public housing assistance may be displacing or could displace a family that is in need of affordable housing." (For complete text of the letter: http://www.uiowa.edu/~provost/docs/hud.pdf).

The letter was copied to Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson, as well as the Iowa congressional delegation. On Oct. 18, 2005, Harkin introduced legislation closing the loopholes, and the measure was signed into law by President Bush on Nov. 30.

Also, according to the Federal Register, "HUD strongly encourages public housing agencies, owners, and management agents administering Section 8 programs to, as soon as it is practicable, recertify existing Section 8 participants." (For the full text of the Federal Register announcement: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20051800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2005/05-24672.htm).

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Parrott, steven-parrott@uiowa.edu, phone 319-335-0552, cell 319-530-6972