Scholarship investment launches ‘tuition equity’ initiative for UNI@DMACC students

Scholarship investment launches ‘tuition equity’ initiative for UNI@DMACC students

Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) graduates seeking a bachelor’s degree through the University of Northern Iowa will now have one of the most affordable options in the state of Iowa thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines Catalyst Circle.

The Catalyst Circle awarded UNI@DMACC, the online degree completion partnership between the two schools, a $250,000 grant to fund academic scholarships that will effectively allow students to complete a UNI degree for the cost of DMACC tuition. The need-based funding will help bridge an average tuition gap estimated at $1,000 per semester for UNI@DMACC students.

“We appreciate the Catalyst Circle’s investment in educational opportunities that will create a community-wide impact in the growth of Des Moines’ high-demand workforce while elevating the quality of life for students and their families,” said UNI President Mark Nook. “We are thankful for the Catalyst Circle’s support as we build and scale the UNI@DMACC partnership, an innovative program that responds to the needs of Iowans.”

“The opportunities this scholarship will provide for UNI@DMACC students and their families is an investment in our entire community,” said Sunnie Richer, Catalyst Circle chair. “We’re pleased to support this important initiative that will make college degrees affordable and accessible while cultivating talent for our growing community.”

The Catalyst Circle’s investment matches $250,000 already secured from corporate and individual donors for the scholarship initiative. 

UNI@DMACC launched in the fall of 2020 with a goal of making a bachelor’s degree affordable and accessible to the more than 5,000 students who make up Iowa’s most diverse college campus at DMACC Urban in downtown Des Moines. The partnership expands on a 25-year history of collaboration between DMACC and UNI — an elementary education 2+2 program offered in Carroll and Ankeny that has graduated hundreds of elementary educators since 1995. UNI@DMACC includes four degree programs:

·       Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS)

·       Bachelor of Applied Science in Criminal Justice

·       Bachelor of Applied Science in Managing Business and Organizations

·       Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education

Offered entirely online, all degrees will help meet emerging workforce needs in the Des Moines metro area, with potential for other academic offerings in the future.

UNI@DMACC is part of Building Community, a $24 million fundraising campaign to support the construction of a new STEM and Student Life facility at the DMACC Urban Campus. In addition to DMACC faculty and staff, UNI academic counselors will be onsite at the new facility to support current and future UNI@DMACC students. 

The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines Catalyst Circle gift was made through the UNI Foundation. For more information about UNI@DMACC, visit