Kirkwood Announces $2,000 Grants For New Students

New program helps eliminate barriers to getting a degree

Kirkwood Community College has created a program aimed at helping new incoming students begin their college careers on the right foot this fall. The program, called Kirkwood Kickstart, combines grants for new students adversely affected by COVID-19 with free classes designed to teach the latest in technology for the classroom and the workplace. 

Up to $2,000 for rent, groceries, books and more 

Before the current pandemic, cost was a major barrier for some students to get an education. Now with the resulting economic crisis, the cost of getting an education is likely to be an issue for a greater number of people. For new students financially affected by COVID-19, Kirkwood will award up to $2,000 in CARES Act money to use toward education-related expenses. The funds could be used for rent, monthly bills, groceries, healthcare, and childcare among other costs. These grants are in addition to any other scholarships or financial aid the student qualifies for. According to Kirkwood Financial Aid Director Matt Falduto, the goal is to help ease the burden of monthly expenses so that students can focus on their education. 

“Historically, college students face a lot of challenges to earning a degree and financial issues are toward the very top,” said Falduto. “Many students have had to juggle working with attending classes and completing their schoolwork. Now with COVID-19, a good number of these students have lost their jobs and are having difficulty affording basic necessities. The grant that we are awarding to students will help ease their financial burdens and help them concentrate on their studies. We also have more than $3 million in scholarships available annually to students. If we do what we can to help them earn a degree, the numbers have shown it will increase their job security moving forward.” 

Free digital technology classes 

As part of the Kickstart program, Kirkwood will also offer free technology classes for the classroom and the workplace. For those that need them, such as those recently laid off or those who want to learn new skills, students will be able to take classes in: 

Computer Basics 

 Computer Safety 

 Effective Communication 

 Effective Online Learning 

 Virtual Employment 

 Resiliency in a Changing World 

To Kirkwood Vice President of Continuing Education Kim Becicka, the classes are for members of the community who can benefit from them, regardless of their goals. 

“The free Kickstart classes are designed to help people who need to update their technology skills,” said Becicka. “We have found that there are many people who don’t have a basic level knowledge when it comes to computers. Whether they plan to use these skills to get a degree, or take them straight to the workforce, with these classes under their belt they will have the tools they need for whatever path they choose.” 

Fall classes are available on campus, online, or both 

After moving mostly online during the spring and summer semesters, Kirkwood classes will return to campus this fall for students who learn better in the on-campus classroom setting. In addition, students can choose from online class options as well as hybrid classes that feature both. According to Bill Lamb, Vice President of Academic Affairs, students want options. 

“We’ve redesigned our class offerings to accommodate students’ specific needs. We have the class formats and degree options they want, along with affordable tuition that’s at least half the cost of most colleges in Iowa. Add in this financial kickstart boost of up to $2,000, and there’s really never been a better time to choose Kirkwood.” 

Now accepting fall applications 

There’s no cost to apply to Kirkwood, and the college’s open admission policy ensures anyone can get the support needed to earn a college degree. For more information on educational options, as well as the Kirkwood Kickstart program, go to www.kirkwood.edu/kickstart.

Cedar Rapids • Iowa City • Online 319-398-5517 www.kirkwood.edu

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