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Introduction from Emily Shields

The 2022 Legislative session ended early Wednesday morning of this week, more than a month behind schedule. Iowa’s Community Colleges continue to see strong, bipartisan support in both chambers and we were able to achieve many of our priorities.  Thank you to everyone who helped us achieve success for our students this year, including our strong lobby team led by Jeff Smith, our hard-working staff (especially Laurie Wolf), and all the work of our Trustees, Presidents, staff, faculty, and students who attended our Day on the Hill, reached out to legislators, and provided expertise.

We will provide a more full summary of the session in our legislative report, which will be released after all bills are signed into law. For now, here’s a summary of how we did on our priorities.

Invest in Community Colleges: Iowa's Community Colleges rely on State General Aid and local property tax funding for core operations and staffing needed to sustain strong programs. We support increasing this critical funding to keep up with rising costs.

  • State General Aid was increased by $6.5 million. While this was less than we requested or need, it was a higher percentage increase than any other part of Iowa’s education system.

Programs and Policies to Boost Enrollment: Nationally, Community College enrollment is down. While Iowa's numbers beat national trends, we are still seeing declines that need to be addressed. We support funding and policies to boost enrollment into the future. This includes strategies for supporting high school student exploration in post-secondary education and training options and making education accessible to everyone, in any stage of life.

  • Part-time students were made eligible for the Last Dollar Scholarship, a very important expansion of access to this program for the students who need it most.
  • More flexibility was given in hiring College and Career Transition Counselors. These positions can now be licensed counselors or other qualified professionals to ensure we can expand this successful program statewide.

Collaboration to meet workforce training needs: Iowa's Community Colleges play a critical role in education, training, and retraining for Iowa's workforce. We support policies that maintain local decision-making so that Community Colleges can continue to support their communities and business partners in meeting their needs. We also support the adequate, ongoing funding of the Iowa Skilled Workforce and Job Creation Fund and New Jobs Training programs.

  • Workforce training funding sources were funded at status quo, including maintaining last year’s increase in 260F Job Training funding.

Our call to action for you: Please thank your legislators! We achieved many of our priorities this year and need to show our appreciation. Send them a note or give them a call.

Find their contact information here and visit the Caucus pages to find their websites, which will have event information and how to sign up for their newsletters:

This is a great moment to build relationships by making sure they know you are paying attention and appreciative of their efforts.

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