A new partnership between the University of Northern Iowa and Des Moines Area Community College aimed at helping location-bound students in Des Moines earn a college degree through UNI received a $1 million boost this week thanks to the generosity of UNI alumni.
The "UNI at DMACC" 2+2 program launching this fall at the DMACC Urban Campus in downtown Des Moines is part of UNI’s efforts to help multicultural students earn four-year degrees. DMACC’s campus is the first in Iowa with a majority of minority students, and the “UNI at DMACC” program marks the first partnership of this size and scale between a Regent university and community college.
Mark and Jill Oman, both University of Northern Iowa alumni and residents of West Des Moines, provided the generous gift to support the new program. Mark Oman, managing director of Oman Capital, is a first-generation college student who wanted to help others receive the same benefits that a bachelor’s degree provided him.
“UNI changed my life,” Oman said. “The ‘UNI at DMACC’ program will bring the same advantages of a four-year degree to students at DMACC’s Urban Campus without requiring students to leave their jobs, families and community.
“This program is a partnership of two very good institutions. Jill and I believe education is critical; it is the key to opportunity. ‘UNI at DMACC’ will expand access and provide an opportunity for people to earn a four-year degree.”
The new 2+2 program is specifically designed for students to complete their first two years at DMACC, with the remaining two years completed online through UNI. Degree options include a Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS) or Criminal Justice (BAS).
“Through their gift, the Omans are creating invaluable, meaningful change for our students,” said UNI President Mark A. Nook. “Their generosity will provide necessary support for the Urban Campus building project and help create a modern educational space to help students focus and succeed.
“The Omans mean so much to UNI — they immediately recognized the need and stepped forward to make a tremendous difference in moving this program forward. We’re proud to count them as valuable partners who are helping to remove the obstacles that can prevent access to education.”
With the BLS and BAS underway, the two institutions are also excited to be developing a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in managing business and organizations — a program designed for graduates of DMACC’s two-year Associate of Applied Science programs (AAS). UNI also offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education through online and on-site courses at other DMACC campuses, including Ankeny and Carroll.
The DMACC Urban Campus is currently undergoing a significant expansion and renovation project called “Building Community.” The project includes construction of a new 60,000-square-foot Student Life and STEM Center, which will open to students this fall.
“This collaboration between DMACC and UNI underscores our commitment to better serve place-bound students in the Des Moines metro area by providing them with an affordable and flexible path to earning a bachelor’s degree,” said DMACC President Rob Denson. “On behalf of everyone at DMACC, I would like to thank Mark and Jill Oman for their wonderful investment in the future of every student who will benefit from the ‘UNI at DMACC’ program.”
For more information about the “UNI at DMACC” program, visit https://belong.uni.edu/dmacc.