Iowa Wesleyan in Mount Pleasant and Southeastern Community College in West Burlington are forming an alliance in hopes of bringing more students to both campuses and sharing some administrative staff. Iowa Wesleyan president Christine Plunkett says the institutions aren’t merging, but will develop a joint marketing plan.
“We already have started working on some pricing which will be very appealing to these students to complete a four year degree at a rate that’s very competitive with other both public and private institutions within the state,” she says.
Southeastern Community College president Michael Ash says for students who start at his college and finish at Iowa Wesleyan, the cost of a four-year degree should be “greatly reduced.”
“We think that it’s going to be exciting for parents and students we believe are going to be receptive to this,” Ash says, “so we do anticipate an uptick in the number of students who are going to be utilizing our programming.”
Southeastern Community College recently got grant money to hire student advocates and Plunkett says those advisors will help students assess whether to continue their education at Iowa Wesleyan.
“Roughly 30% of students entering community colleges express an interest in going on to get a bachelor’s degree and yet only about half of them actually do that,” Plunkett says. “We see this as an extraordinary opportunity to find out what’s been stopping the other half, what has gotten in the way of what their dream is, of completing a degree.”
Two years ago, Iowa Wesleyan announced it might have to close, but local fundraising kept the doors open and 625 students were enrolled at the Mount Pleasant school for the fall semester. About 3600 students enrolled this fall at Southeastern Community College.