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Student Success

Iowa's community colleges set students up for success! Students seek community colleges from a variety of backgrounds, for a number of reasons, and have unique goals. One way our state supports students is through Last Dollar Scholarships. Read on to hear from today's students and recent graduates! 

These stories and more can be found and shared right now on Instagram and will be posted on our other social media!


Photo of student, Natalie, smiling at camera

Meet Natalie: On-campus, hands-on opportunities led to her career in healthcare.

“My Body Structure and Function and Anatomy and Physiology courses fascinated me during my associate’s degree, so I enrolled in NIACC's Physical Therapist Assistant Program. The Last Dollar Scholarship allowed me to focus more on my studies and less on how to afford living expenses, especially during my clinical rotation.”

Natalie is now at Pella Regional Health Center. She feels her community college education set realistic expectations of healthcare, a sector with challenges and rewards. As she continues to work in Iowa, she feels deeply grateful to the community and state that supported her education.

Program: Physical Therapist Assistant | Institution: North Iowa Area Community College




Meet Kally: A nursing student putting herself through school as a first-generation college student.

"I received the Last Dollar Scholarship and it paid about 70% of my college bill. I'm paying for school myself, so it is a big help! It helped me to focus more on being a good nursing student rather than working a full-time job and trying to fit school in."

For Kally, and many like her, this scholarship has been the deciding factor in pursuing higher education. When she graduates, she hopes to work in a small-town hospital in Iowa. Kally is an example of the important role and long-term impact providing Iowans educational opportunities has on our state.

Program: Associate Degree Nursing | Institution: Northwest Iowa Community College


Photo of student, Kally, smiling at camera



Photo of student, Mikaylan, smiling at camera

Meet Mikaylan: A Last Dollar Scholar who pursued her top areas of study directly after high school.

“The Last Dollar Scholarship was first introduced to me by Ellsworth while I was still a senior in high school, considering college opportunities. Because of the Last Dollar Scholarship, I can now sit in class and solely focus on learning, and I could not be more grateful for that. I am no longer stressed or worried about debt or trying to work an overload to pay my bills.”

Mikaylan was able to leverage programs in high-demand careers to create the perfect fit for her interests. Community college programming meets the needs of both students and the state.

Program: Applied Science, Conservation Technology | Institution: Iowa Valley Community College District




Meet Brock: An Iowan dedicated to his family farm who wanted to learn about ag technology to manage his own equipment.

"The reason I wanted this type of degree was to get hands-on with tractors, engines, hydraulics. Technology is advancing so fast. There’s something new to learn every day. The Last Dollar Scholarship really helped out tremendously. I graduated college with hardly any debt and was able to start the real world."

Brock heard of this program at Hawkeye Community College from his cousin who earned his degree a few years earlier. Now, Brock is able to return to the Tama Toledo area to manage a 21st-century farming operation alongside the next generation.

Program: Diesel Technology | Institution: Hawkeye Community College


Photo of student, Brock, smiling at camera and wearing a baseball hat and sunglasses



Photo of student, Sadie, smiling at camera

Meet Sadie: An Iowa student who was so sure of the career she wanted, she stayed on a three-year waiting list until she could enroll.

“I am incredibly grateful for the Last Dollar Scholarship. It allows me to focus on my studies and my future career above anything else. I’m able to concentrate on my classes and work towards my goal of becoming the best dental hygienist I can be.”

Sadie chose Kirkwood’s Dental Hygiene program because of its reputation, state-of-the-art lab, and clinical experience with the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. She plans to graduate in May 2025, take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, and decide where to become licensed to practice. Dental hygiene is a high-demand profession in Iowa, so she will have her choice of communities that need her.

Program: Dental Hygiene | Institution: Kirkwood Community College




Meet Salina: A first-generation college student who questioned if she would be able to afford to pursue the career she wants. 

“The Last Dollar Scholarship has helped alleviate my fear of higher education always coming with a steep financial cost. The scholarship has allowed me to focus on the schoolwork, by studying with peace of mind. My energy can now be used to learn rather than worry about paying for college. It also made me more grateful and thankful.”

Salina will graduate from DMACC with a top-notch education and little to debt. More than that, Last Dollar Scholars earn over $12,000 more than their peers who did not receive the assistance. Students like Salina make the most of the opportunity to prepare for and start their careers one step ahead.

Program: Electronic Engineering Technology | Institution: Des Moines Area Community College


Photo of student, Salina, smiling at camera




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