Educate. Innovate. Achieve!

Danielle Ferguson

As part of his quest to improve education through Iowa State, President Steven Leath plans to offer nearly-free tuition for those who might not otherwise be able to afford a degree at Iowa State.

Iowa State is a diverse campus with students coming from all over the world to soak up everything the school has to offer. But those closer to home are sometimes forgotten in the hustle of welcoming the far-flung travelers. President Leath and State Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad have been in close discussion about a new proposal to fix that — by increasing the number of lower-income and minority Iowans attending Iowa State.

By partnering with King and Moulton elementary schools in Des Moines, Leath hopes to better serve the people of Iowa by improving Iowa State’s connection to Des Moines students with lower economic status.

“Being a land-grant school, ISU serves the people of Iowa,” said Linda Hagedorn, associate dean of the College of Human Sciences. “We are working on building the plan.”

The plan has progressed into the initial phase, and Leath has so far approved.

Blueprints of the proposal show great potential, Hagedorn said. The program is to be housed in the School of Education, but Iowa State’s extension outreach scholarship will have a part as well.

Step one will be to increase the number of Iowa State’s student teachers at the schools. To make sure ISU students do not miss their coursework while at the elementary schools, plans are underway to provide the appropriate coursework at the sites. More pre-service teachers will also be brought in two days a week to help with the course work.

The ideology of the program is that students who complete the program will receive essentially free tuition to Iowa State.

A faculty committee meeting will be held in the future detail the plan, although an official date for the meeting has not been established.

Craig Saddler, principal of Moulton Elementary, said he is thrilled about the arrangement.

“I think it’s huge, something we’re very grateful for,” he said. “I’m very excited to get more inner city schools involved with helping students [further their education].”

Saddler realizes the program is still at the premature point, but both schools plan to start putting together a program in a few weeks.

“We want to ensure it’s going to have positive effects on students,” Saddler said. “It’s a very proud day for Des Moines schools and ISU to benefit students and their futures.”

In his installation address, Leath spoke about programs like this one: “I want Iowa State University to be known as the ‘partnership university.’ More than that, I want us to be known as the university that gets it right when it comes to partnering with others.”