ICCC bundle aims to help students save

Friday, April 12, 2019

With the student loan debt burden currently standing at $1.5 trillion and growing $100 million each year, the price of education is at the front of most student’s minds.

With a new bundling program starting this year, Iowa Central Community College is aiming to alleviate some of that burden.

“We just really want college to be affordable,” said Dr. Stacy Mentzer, Vice President of Instruction at Fort Dodge.

Those taking 12 to 18 credits will pay one fee of $2,850. That fee includes a Microsoft Surface Go tablet to put students on an even playing field with technology, equipping them to do homework, research, write papers and all the work put in between classes.

“Some students don’t have access to devices, so doing homework can be trying for them,” said Mentzer. “The device provides accessibility to students anywhere.”

The device will also open up e-book access for class textbooks.

The program could save students hundreds or even thousands in tuition, depending on the credit requirements of their program. But almost as importantly, it will encourage them to finish school faster, particularly for those who have to work as they study to support their education.

“Each of our initiatives are internally scrutinized for validity and economic values for all stakeholders before being implemented,” said Dr. Dan Kinney, President of Iowa Central.

Other Iowa Central initiatives in Storm Lake have brought about a new Industrial Training Center and varied course offerings in early childhood education, human services and criminal justice.

Kinney said the expansions piloted at their Fort Dodge campus are part of an imperative need to continually grow the partnerships between all of the schools in their service area.

“This is an exciting time for everyone as our economy and communities are growing,” said Kinney. “We are looking forward into the future.”

Affordability is often at the top of Iowa Central students’ minds, said Mentzer. Some students will only take 12 credits per semester, meaning that programs designed to be complete in two years can be dragged out longer simply because a student can’t afford to take more credits each semester.

The bundling is automatic for all students starting this fall.

“Students get caught up in working to pay for college, so we see students not take more than 12 because they can’t afford to and need to work,” she said. “They need to make money and go to school. I see that a lot—the struggle with cost and managing both work and home and school.”

“The more you’re a go-getter, the more you’re going to save,” said Chris Cleveland, Director of Storm Lake’s ICCC campus.

“It’s a great opportunity for students,” said Mentzer.