Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) has received a grant sub-award in partnership with Kirkwood Community College that will provide more financial assistance for low-income eligible students through the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) Food Assistance Employment and Training (FA E&T) program.
NICC was selected as a community college partner for the grant sub-award in part because of the College’s expansive 5,000-square mile, eight-county service area with a substantial percentage of residents who have not earned a high school diploma or a high school equivalency diploma (HSED) and qualify for food assistance through the FA E&T program.
Just under half of northeast Iowa residents, 49.2%, reported a high school diploma, HSED or less as the highest educational level attained – higher than the 42% reported statewide, according to EMSI, Inc. Of this population, 8.08% of residents aged 25 and older live in poverty.
Higher education often seems unattainable for community members who are experiencing severe economic hardship and food insecurity. Often faced with barriers such as unreliable transportation, unpredictable and long work hours, childcare needs and health barriers, the time and financial investment to earn a post-secondary credential can seem impossible.
The grant sub-award to NICC for Fiscal Year 2018 (pending approval of federal budget) will provide financial assistance for students who receive Food Assistance through the Iowa Department of Human Services and enroll in one of 19 Career Pathway Certificate programs offered at the College. NICC will use the grant funds and state GAP funding to pay for tuition, educational support services and other support services for eligible students.