Northeast Iowa Community College service center gives high school students head start on college

Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) recently encouraged high school students who want to get a jumpstart on their post-secondary education goals at a bargain-basement price to enroll at the college’s Oelwein service center.

The center offers career counseling and allows students to enroll in a variety of college-level courses. It also provides technical training and other services within the Oelwein, Starmont, Wapsie Valley and West Central school districts.

In 2015 and 2016, the college’s Oelwein Center/Regional Academy for Math and Science (RAMS) offered 133 high school students the opportunity to take courses worth more than 750 college credits, saving the students’ families nearly $400,000 in tuition costs, NICC said.

Among the college’s success stories in recent years is Cole Mather, who took courses at the Oelwein center prior to graduating from Wapsie Valley High School. 

After graduating from high school, Mather took traditional and online courses at NICC, ultimately earning an associate’s degree in 1.5 years. He is now a junior at the University of Northern Iowa.

“I knew I had to attend at least four years of college to become a teacher, and I was looking for a quality education at a low tuition cost,” Mather said. “Getting my associate of arts degree through Northeast Iowa Community College was the right decision for me.”

NICC centers also offer high school students information about a number of career paths, including certificates for nurse aides, emergency medical technicians, welders and construction workers.

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