From Des Moines to Ames: ISU 4U students start first year at college


Courtesy of Katherine Bruna

Students stand in front of the campanile after being the first students to enroll at Iowa State courtesy of the ISU 4U program.

Kendall Sharp

After five years, the first students participating in the ISU 4U Promise learning community are enrolled at Iowa State. 

This semester is the start of the ISU 4U Promise tuition award cohort. The ISU 4U Promise program was developed in 2013 as a partnership between Iowa State University and King and Moulton elementary schools in the Des Moines Public School system.

Of the original 23 students in the eighth-grade cohort at the inception of the program in 2013, 13 have enrolled for the fall of 2018, and 12 are participating in the ISU 4U Promise tuition award.

“Since we are the first generation of the ISU 4U program, they have been treating us well and have been trying to make our first year of college fun,” said Jefferson Le, Iowa State freshman in ISU 4U Promise learning community. “So far, we have met with the Vice President of Iowa State. We had our first meeting today. We discussed how our first week of school was.”

According to Le, the program helps the students find and build upon their strengths. The students are able to get help from leaders with classwork or other issues they are facing. The support from leaders has helped build the students confidence. 

“We are also learning more about ourselves and figuring out what our strengths are. The program has been super supportive and they help us with any concerns or questions that we have about our classes and what goes on around campus,” Le said. 

In ISU 4U’s last five years of development, they have successfully coordinated activity between a broad range of sponsors. These include ISU College of Human Sciences, the Extension and Outreach, Financial Aid and Student Affairs units, Des Moines Public School and the Public Alliance. These collaborations have made way for Iowa State and their first group of ISU 4U Promise Scholars.

For more information, contact; Kyle Holtman, program coordinator of Learning Communities [email protected] and Jen Leptien, director of Learning Opportunities [email protected]