Every year, thousands of area high school graduates take off for college with hopes of preparing for their dream career in just a few years. However, for many students, these educational dreams and goals end up getting put on the back burner. Life happens and suddenly college isn’t a high priority due to unforeseen family, work, or health-related reasons. Fortunately, Kirkwood Community College has programs designed to help adult learners pick up where they left off and get back on track. With increased financial assistance available and more flexibility in course selections and learning formats, now might be a better time than ever for students to go back and finish their degree.
Going back to school doesn’t have to break the bank
According to Matt Falduto, Financial Aid Director at Kirkwood, money should be the last thing standing between you and finishing your degree.
“At half the cost of most colleges, Kirkwood has one of the lowest tuitions in Iowa and also awards more than $3 million in scholarships to students every year,” said Falduto. “Kirkwood makes college incredibly affordable — or even free. For example, The Last-Dollar Scholarship program features 29 tuition-free Kirkwood degrees in high-demand fields like healthcare, agriculture, industrial technology, and more. Qualifying students can enroll in one of these programs and not pay a penny for tuition.”
A full list of Kirkwood’s tuition-free offerings is available at www.kirkwood.edu/tuitionfree. For adults who may have delayed starting college altogether, Kirkwood has rolled out new assistance prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic which can help new students get on their feet. Students enrolling at Kirkwood for the first time this fall have the opportunity to receive up to $2,000 to use for education-related expenses like books, rent, groceries, and child care. For more information on this program, visit www.kirkwood.edu/kickstart.
Flexible class options
Finding time to attend classes has also been a significant barrier for many adults wanting to go back and complete a degree. Kirkwood offers multiple learning format options to help meet the different needs of its diverse student population. After the pandemic forced most colleges to go online last spring, Kirkwood recently announced that students can return to campus for faceto-face classes this fall, or choose from many online classes and other flexible formats. Some degrees can be completed entirely online, and others allow a study-at your-own pace format designed to help adult students graduate faster.
“An increased focus on providing online and hybrid class options this fall should really open up possibilities for those students that need more freedom and flexibility in their schedules,” said Kirkwood Vice President of Academic Affairs Bill Lamb. “The pandemic has changed many of our routines, but in response, we’ve really been able to focus on how to help our students succeed in this new world. As the college has adapted, we’ve created an environment that allows our students to be more adaptable as well.”
More programs and options
Some college students stop the pursuit of a degree because they’ve lost interest in their program of study. Kirkwood helps students figure out their best next steps with tools that match current skills and interests to programs, degrees, and certificates that can lead to rewarding careers. With more than 130 majors and programs of study to choose from in a wide variety of formats and interest areas, Kirkwood can help anyone adjust their path or totally reinvent themselves. See a full list of Kirkwood’s available program options at www.kirkwood.edu/ programs.
Get help finishing what you started
According to Kirkwood Admissions Advisor Nick Kettman, many people returning to college fear that they won’t be able to pick up where they left off.
“It definitely causes anxiety for people starting up again. A lot of returning students don’t think they’ll be able to remember what they’ve learned in the past, but Kirkwood has so many resources to help students get back on track,” said Kettman. “We have free tutoring that can be done online or face-to-face, and a great Career Services office. They provide different online assessments that help students analyze their skills and find the career path that is right for them.”
A college degree is more valuable than ever
The impact a college degree has on a person’s future earning potential is something Kettman thinks many people struggle to grasp.
“Essentially, for every dollar invested in your education at Kirkwood, you’re going to see $6 coming back your way,” Kettman explained. “A degree really sets you up for success and gives you some security, which is particularly beneficial right now. A college degree gives you a strong foundation to build off of and is something that can never be taken away from you.”
Kirkwood continues to accept applications for the upcoming fall semester. Funding for certain programs is limited, so students are encouraged to complete a free online application at www.kirkwood.edu/ apply, or request more information at www.kirkwood.edu/findyourfuture.