A community college official says academic institutions in Iowa have to get creative to avoid losing students amid the overall population declines. Those concerns come as a new partnership is being launched to better help community college students obtain a bachelor’s degree.
Students at Des Moines Area Community College will be able to earn their Bachelor’s Degree through the University of Northern Iowa, which will offer a physical presence at the community college. Anne Howsare Boyens is the provost at Des Moines Area Community College. She said the writing is on the wall when it comes to future enrollment.
According to the 2018 Census data, Iowa has gained nearly 100,000 residents since 2010. But most of that growth was in urban areas. Two-thirds of Iowa counties lost population over that same period. Boyens said programs such as this can help fill the void with older students who already have established family roots and can’t travel to a university to complete their education.
Boyens says partnerships between community colleges and four-year institutions aren’t new. But she said with the average age of their students now at 28 years old, they need to keep working to adapt to their needs.
Students who graduate from the program will earn a Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree. If the Iowa Board of Regents endorses the plan, the initiative will begin in the fall of 2020