Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 70.13
Liaison Eric O'Brien
Submission Date March 1, 2013
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.1

University of Northern Iowa
PAE-10: Affordability and Access Programs

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Terry Hogan
Vice President
Division of Student Affairs
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Does the institution have policies and programs in place to make it accessible and affordable to low-income students?:

A brief description of the institution’s participation in federal TRIO programs:

Program - UNI-CUE Classic Upward Bound Program
The University of Northern Iowa Classic Upward Bound TRiO Program offers an academic program and a summer residential program designed to empower it's participants with the knowledge and skill sets in order to graduate from high school and enroll in and graduate from a post-secondary institution. During the academic year programming is designed around a tutoring program to ensure that program participants are developing skills to meet the requirements to graduate from high school and ultimately enroll in and graduate from a post-secondary institution within six years after graduating for secondary school. During the summer residential program, each participant enrolls in classes that expose him/her to different cultures. In addition, we intentionally hire faculty and residential staff from different racial, ethnic, disability, gender, and religious backgrounds to ensure that our participants understand that we value diversity. We also offer diverse programming throughout the summer and academic year. These initiatives are designed to prepare our participants to live and work successfully in an ever changing diverse world.

Program - UNI-CUE Iowa Mathematics & Science Academy
The Iowa Mathematics & Science Academy will have 46 low income, first generation and minority students participating in our 5-week summer residential program. These high school students will take 4 university courses in chemistry, physics, statistics, and college writing and research.

Program - UNI-CUE Talent Search Academy
The Talent Search Academy Summer Program is a basic skills enrichment program designed to enhance the development of skills in math, reading, writing and critical thinking for forty 6th and 7th grade students. Students will also participate in a computer technology class and four interactive workshops on the UNI campus with various academic departments. The academy is be held at the University of Northern Iowa Center for Urban Education (UNICUE).

Program - UNI-CUE Youth Academy
The UNI-CUE Youth Academy is a summer program for Waterloo fifth-graders who will enter Carver Middle School in the fall. The program will introduce twenty young people to new ideas and provide them with opportunities to make new friends. During the six-week program, students will hear numerous guest speakers, participate in numerous cultural activities and field trips, and study math, reading, and social studies. The goals of the program are to: 1) provide students with a rigorous academic program; 2) stimulate students’ interest in art by visiting museums and creating their own works of art; 3) introduce young people to local government by visits to the county courthouse, jail, fire station, meeting politicians, and taking a historical tour of Waterloo; 4) take students on a number of cultural outings, including day trips to the University of Northern Iowa, University of Iowa, and Wartburg College; 5) acquaint students and their parents to the tutoring services and educational programs provided at the UNI-CUE; and 6) create well-rounded individuals prepared for the rigors of middle school, high school and college.

Program - Student Support Services
Student Support Services is a federally-funded TRIO program designed to increase the retention and graduation rates of low income, first generation students and students with disabilities. Program staff serve as advocates for participants and provide free services based on the individual needs of the student. Some of the services offered include academic, career, personal and financial advising; tutoring and study groups; college survival, study skills, and financial literacy workshops; two credit bearing courses: Career Decision Making and Strategies for Academic Success; financial assistance to qualified participants; and graduate school enrollment assistance.

A brief description of the institution’s policies and programs to minimize the cost of attendance for low-income students?:

The Office of Student Financial Aid’s Awarding Philosophy is based on the recruitment goals and objectives of the university’s strategic enrollment plan. Students with the greatest need will receive a larger proportion of available gift aid. Typically, need-based gift aid is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis, providing assistance to as many students as possible. In addition to the federal and state need-base gift aid (e.g. Pell Grants, SEOG, Iowa Grants, etc.), UNI has tuition guarantee programs for students with very limited financial resources. The tuition guarantee program offers full tuition and fees to the neediest Iowa resident students for up to four years. We also offer individual financial counseling and “Live Like A Student” classes in order to assist students in making responsible financial choices.

A brief description of the institution’s programs to equip the institution's faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds:

UNI programs equip the University's faculty and staff to better serve students from low income backgrounds. These programs actively engage faculty and staff and, in many cases, UNI students in a variety of ways from the traditional classroom settings to informal learning environments such as workshops, research opportunities, career exploration/job shadowing, mentoring, tutoring, advising (academic, career, financial, etc.), community services, participation on committees, recruitment, and more. The following programs are all involved in this effort:
Classic Upward Bound (TRiO)
Educational Talent Search (TRiO)
Educational Opportunity Center (TRiO)
Iowa Math and Science Academy (IMSEP)
Academic Achievement and Retention Services
Student Support Services (TRiO)
McNair Scholars Program (TRiO)
Jump Start Program
EXCEL Program
Multicultural Teaching Alliance
Multicultural Center

A brief description of the institution’s programs to prepare students from low-income backgrounds for higher education:

Program - Jump Start Program
Jump Start is an extended orientation program designed to facilitate the successful transition of underrepresented students to the University of Northern Iowa. Participants include ethnic minority and TRIO-eligible freshmen and transfer students. Program elements include learning communities, cluster housing, early move-in to campus, interactive educational programming, connections with faculty and staff, and mentoring by peer leaders. Jump Start learning outcomes guide program structures and content, and are listed below.

Students will

- utilize a network of academic and personal support resources on campus.
- get involved in the University community through student organizations, student employment, and campus activities.
- develop relationships with peers, faculty members, residence hall personnel, academic advisors, and other University staff.
- draw upon services and resources in the Cedar Falls/Waterloo community to meet their personal and cultural needs.
- understand the challenges that multicultural students sometimes face on predominantly white campuses, and consider ways to respond to those challenges.

Program - Academic Achievement & Retention Services
Proactive retention program offering assistance to minority and historically underrepresented students, and promising UNI students experiencing academic challenges. AARS partners and/or collaborates with other departments/programs, such as Jump Start, Student Support Services, Financial Aid, and Academic Advising, to offer services that empower students to achieve academic success and develop personal/professional strengths. Opportunities include advising, academic planning, career and graduate school exploration, and financial literacy education; individual and group tutoring for selected courses; workshops and a credit bearing course to enhance study skills, finances, and career interests.

A brief description of the institution's scholarships for low-income students:

Scholarships are typically offered based on academic performance and/or talent and grants are based on need (i.e. income). Many techniques are in place to make sure all students, including low-income, know how to apply for scholarship and grant opportunities. The university-wide scholarship application was developed so students can apply for all scholarships in one central location. Our staff conducts financial aid presentations and one-on-one assistance with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) so all students can apply for grants.

We have three primary programs of institutional grant aid for low-income students.
1. Tuition Assistance Grants – awarded to undergraduate and graduate students with high financial need, must have completed the FAFSA. The award is $1,000 per year.
2. Tuition Guarantee Program for Iowans – awarded to undergraduate Iowans, new from high school with high financial need.
3. Tuition Guarantee Program for Multicultural Community College Iowans – awarded to multicultural transfer students from Iowa Community Colleges with very high need.

A brief description of the institution’s programs to guide parents of low-income students through the higher education experience:

All of the Federal TRIO programs covered above have a parent dimension included within the program.

A brief description of the institution’s targeted outreach to recruit students from low-income backgrounds:

1. UNI partners with the GEAR UP Iowa program to provide campus visits and programming on preparation for college and opportunities at UNI to participants. This program works with approximately 5400 students in 31 schools within 18 Iowa school districts. The targeted schools all represent low income populations.
2. UNI hosts an annual Multicultural Super Saturday each fall. About 250 students from low-income schools such as Des Moines Roosevelt and Iowa City High, from the Meskwaki Nation, Project Success in Minneapolis and various TRIO programs participate. This is a campus visit program where students learn about college preparation and admission and opportunities in the various colleges. UNI ethnic student organizations assist with delivery of the program.
3. Each fall UNI hosts the Young Leaders in Action program which brings about 300 high school age youth to campus for a day of leadership development sessions and a group service project. The event is coordinated in conjunction with several area agencies that work with disadvantaged youth and with the area school systems which identify potential young leaders.
4. The Office of Admissions collaborates with a Multicultural Recruitment Team. Each of the academic colleges as well as the admissions and financial aid offices are represented on the team. This group identifies opportunities to outreach to diverse populations, many of whom are low-income. They assist with university participation in statewide cultural events such as I’ll Make Me a World in Iowa and CelebrAsian (both sponsored by the Iowa Human Rights Commission) and campus events such as UNI Up Close, our admitted student events each spring.
5. Bridge Programs with the Gary, Indiana school district and Alamo Community College District, San Antonio, Texas, have been in place for more than 12 years. These target low-income students with recruitment programs in their home communities in the fall and visits to the UNI campus each spring. Financial aid packages for those with financial need cover the non-resident tuition and fees. About 35 students come to UNI each fall using these bridge awards to finance their education.

A brief description of the institution’s other admissions policies and programs:

Other admission programs include our high school visits to Iowa high schools, hosting campus visits for various TRIO program groups and participation in college fairs targeting communities around the state.
Admission policies are the same for all students. Freshman applicants must meet the Regents Admission Index (RAI) of 245 and satisfaction of high school core course work for automatic admission. Those applications below 245 or not meeting the high school core course work are reviewed on an individual basis. The RAI is a formula approved by the Board of Regents that takes into consideration the student’s ACT composite score, cumulative grade point average (4.0 scale), class rank and high school core course work. The individual review process looks at these same elements and takes into consideration how they might relate to the student’s intended major or any extenuating circumstances in the student’s life.

A brief description of the institution’s other financial aid polices or programs:

The institution has a variety of initiatives to attract students of color, international students, veterans, etc. Some of the scholarships offered incoming new students are located at: http://www.uni.edu/finaid/scholarship

A brief description of the institution’s other policies and programs not covered above:

Program - McNair Scholars Program
Recognizing that diversity among scholars is integral to academic excellence, the University of Northern Iowa McNair Scholars Program seeks to produce scholars and researchers who reflect the growing diversity in intellectual perspectives, life experiences, and cultures represented in academia. The McNair Scholars Program is a comprehensive graduate school preparation program designed to provide enrichment experiences to undergraduate students from groups traditionally underrepresented in graduate education, and who have an interest in pursuing a career in college teaching and research.

The program is federally funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The McNair Scholars Program was authorized by the U.S. Congress in 1986. The McNair program is designed to increase the numbers of low-income, first generation and/or underrepresented minority students attending graduate school and receiving their doctorate. Each scholar defines their goals, engages in research, and develops the essential skills for success at the doctoral level. There are nearly 200 McNair programs across the country.

McNair scholars participate in activities designed to prepare them for graduate study. Services include tutoring, academic counseling, and a mentoring program involving UNI faculty members. There is assistance in applying for admission to and obtaining financial assistance from graduate programs. Other activities include cultural events, visiting graduate institutions, professional conferences and seminars, GRE test taking strategies and fee waivers, and paid summer internships.

The program at the University of Northern Iowa was started in October 1999 and inducted its first class of McNair Scholars Spring 2000. Our program serves 26 students during the academic year and 8 scholars during the Summer Research Internship.

The website URL where information about programs in each of the areas listed above is available:

This information is free and available to anyone with University of Northern Iowa credentials.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.