University of Northern Iowa President Mark Nook announcing the UNI@IACC program on campus Tuesday afternoon. Submitted photo

The University of Northern Iowa announced Tuesday it is launching the UNI@IACC (Iowa Community Colleges) initiative to increase access to four-year degrees for adult and place-bound learners across Iowa.

Starting this fall, Iowans with an associate’s degree from any of Iowa’s 15 community colleges will be able to earn a UNI online degree without relocating. UNI@IACC expands on the UNI@DMACC partnership that began in 2020.

“UNI@IACC brings the personalized touch that defines a UNI education to adult learners throughout our state,” UNI President Mark A. Nook said in a news release. “One of UNI’s greatest strengths is our ability to identify and remove barriers to access and success that many learners face. UNI@IACC represents a major leap forward to assure access for more Iowans through this dynamic and innovative program that leads to in-demand careers in their hometowns.”

Qualifying degree programs are in high-demand areas: managing business and organizations, management: business administration, criminal justice, elementary education, human services, technology management or a bachelor of liberal studies.

UNI is also launching the Future Ready Iowa Scholarship program for participants of UNI@IACC. Similar to the Last-Dollar Scholarship initiative offered by Future Ready Iowa, the scholarships will cover the difference between UNI and community college tuition costs.

Gov. Kim Reynolds authorized $4.166 million from Iowa’s portion of American Rescue Plan Act funds to support the new program.

“Through partnerships with community colleges across Iowa, UNI@IACC meets students right where they are in their rural communities, removing barriers that may have prevented them from pursuing higher education,” Reynolds said in the release.

Student support personnel will be placed on community college campuses in the coming school year to offer advising and resources.

Des Moines Area Community College and Western Iowa Technical Community College in Sioux City will have support specialists this fall with more added at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs and Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa next spring.

Gabriela Olivares, UNI’s interim dean of the graduate school, will lead the implementation of UNI@IACC. More information about the UNI@IACC program is available at iacc.uni.edu.