UNI@IACC is Creating Opportunity for Iowans

In partnership with Iowa’s community colleges, UNI is proposing easing the process for adult and place-bound learners to move from an associate’s degree to a bachelor’s degree, which studies show increases earnings over their lifetime. UNI is developing partnerships with Iowa community colleges to bring greater access to a four-year degree. A new $1.6 million state appropriation request will help solidify this partnership into the future. The goal of UNI@IACC (Iowa Community Colleges) is to remove barriers and provide adult and place-bound learners access to affordable, high-quality pathways to Iowa's in-demand careers. The overwhelming majority of this request is planned for student scholarships.

VISION
UNI is focused on preparing Iowa’s future-ready workforce. We are committed to serving students across our state, including adult and place-bound learners who are unable to uproot their lives to pursue an undergraduate education. The University of Northern Iowa has developed partnerships with Iowa community colleges to bring greater access to a four-year degree. The goal of UNI@IACC (Iowa Community Colleges) is to remove barriers and provide adult and place-bound learners access to affordable, high-quality pathways to Iowa’s in-demand careers.

OUR APPROACH
In 2020, UNI launched the UNI@DMACC partnership that provides graduates from DMACC’s Urban Campus with an opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s degree from UNI without leaving their workplaces and communities. With an average student age of 27, the UNI@DMACC program has seen steady enrollment growth. In just two years, 66 students are now enrolled in one of the five online Bachelor’s degree offerings through the partnership. Degrees offered include: Elementary Education (BA); Managing Business and Organizations (BAS); Management: Business Administration (BA); Criminal Justice (BAS); and Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS).

UNI@IACC would expand the successful UNI@DMACC model statewide, offering on-site student support services and high-quality distance education degrees to adult and place-bound learners in urban and rural Iowa communities. In addition to enhancing the current partnership with DMACC, UNI would create partnerships with Western Iowa Technical Community College, Iowa Western Community College and Indian Hills Community College. UNI@IACC students will develop relationships with UNI faculty and staff through interactions inside and outside the classroom, and they will receive comprehensive recruitment, advising, and career counseling and placement support from full-time student support specialists on their campus. UNI@IACC students who meet income and academic eligibility criteria will also receive a scholarship that covers the difference between community college and UNI tuition.

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.

FEDERAL AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN SCALE-UP FUNDS
To launch UNI@IACC, UNI is requesting $6.5 M in one-time American Rescue Plan program scale-up funds appropriated through the Governor’s office and the Iowa Department of Education. Approximately half of these funds will support scholarships while the other half will cover mission-critical personnel and operating expenses on each UNI@IACC site.

FY23 STATE BUDGET REQUEST
$1.6 M in general fund revenue is being requested from the Iowa Legislature to support UNI@IACC student financial scholarships and limited operating expenses to assure the access and affordability for adult and place-bound learners. This ongoing funding request would be increased over the next couple of years as this funding will replace the one-time federal dollars to maintain the program into the future.

RETURN ON INVESTMENT
UNI believes the UNI@IACC model will have the capacity to immediately serve 300 additional Iowans each year through the launch of this initiative. UNI expects the number of students served to grow as new pathways and opportunities are being created between UNI and community colleges across Iowa.