$500,000 new appropriation
The UNI@IACC partnership provides community college students with easier access to a four-year degree. After earning an associate's degree at any of Iowa's community colleges, students can seamlessly earn a bachelor's degree from UNI in one of seven high-demand online areas, without ever having to leave their hometowns.
UNI is asking the Iowa Legislature to provide $500,000 in state funding to support UNI@IACC student financial aid scholarships and limited operating expenses to assure access and affordability for adult and place-bound learners currently in the program. The funding will provide an ongoing funding source to replace the one-time federal dollars (American Rescue Plan) used to start the initiative. The funding will allow UNI to fund the students currently in the program through the rest of the year.
UNI@IACC builds on the success of the UNI Online & Distance Education program, which 98% of distance students say they would recommend to others. While students who obtain their UNI degree won't be on the UNI campus, UNI is committed to helping these students feel like they are still part of the Panther family. One-way UNI is ensuring students get the high-touch personal sense of community that is the hallmark of a UNI education is by hiring full-time student support specialists located at Indian Hills Community College, Iowa Western Community College, Western Iowa Tech Community College and Des Moines Area Community College. These support specialists assist students throughout the admissions and financial aid process, answering questions and connecting them with helpful resources at UNI. The strength in UNI's partnership with UNI@IACC schools is evident in the numbers. UNI's overall transfer enrollment from Iowa community colleges increased 18 percent this fall, with enrollment from the current four UNI@IACC sites growing 40 percent.
This isn't about UNI offering courses. It's about UNI being able to partner with the community colleges, meet the needs of their local workforce, meet the needs of the students and develop a true partnership to better support the students that are in their community.
By automatically awarding Future Ready Scholarships to eligible students, UNI@IACC helps alleviate the barrier of cost that may prevent many students from pursuing a four-year degree. Future Ready Scholarships pay the difference between Iowa community college tuition and UNI tuition. These scholarships support students earning a bachelor's degree who, on average, earn 48% more than their peers who have taken some college but not completed a degree.
- The UNI@IACC program provides an innovative way for adult and place-bound Iowans to be able to complete their four-year degree in a way that saves them money, provides them with the necessary support, and prepares them for Iowa’s high-demand workforce.
- This bold and innovative strategy supports the Future Ready Iowa Initiative and is central to UNI’s mission to be open and accessible to the people of Iowa.