Cedar Valley Degree Links partnership to provide accelerated degree options for Waterloo students

Ann Lebo, Mark Nook, Todd Holcomb, and Jane Lindaman sign the Cedar Valley Degree Links agreement posted on Monday, June 7, 2021 in  College News

Waterloo high school students will be able to earn multiple degrees in just four years while paying only two years of tuition thanks to a new partnership between the University of Northern Iowa, Hawkeye Community College and the Waterloo Community School District.

“UNI provides all students a world-class education that prepares them for success in the workforce and in their communities,” said UNI President Mark A. Nook. “We are thrilled to partner with Waterloo Community Schools and Hawkeye Community College to give students flexibility while fully preparing them to enter some of our fastest-growing, most successful programs.”

 “The Cedar Valley’s ability to compete in a global economy is directly tied to having a talented and skilled workforce,” said Hawkeye President Todd Holcomb. “Our partnership is a great example of how educational institutions can work together to create pathways to high-demand careers, get our students into the workforce, and keep our economy moving forward.” 

“The wins for students following this pathway are enormous,” said Waterloo Schools Superintendent Jane Lindaman. “We’re excited to be able to offer this opportunity.”

Cedar Valley Degree Links will allow Waterloo students to select a degree path in construction, manufacturing or graphic technology. The students can take classes at their high school and the Waterloo Career Center, completing the equivalent of a year of college tuition-free. 

They would then spend two years at Hawkeye Community College, earning an associate’s degree. Hawkeye tuition for both construction and manufacturing degrees would be free through the Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarship program

Students could then complete their four-year degree at UNI in just two years. UNI is the only public university in the state to offer this program. 

The new pathway provides students with a large degree of flexibility. Because they are earning degrees in high-demand fields, if students find employment after completing their A.A.S. degree at Hawkeye, they can finish college tuition-free. 

But they can also pursue a bachelor’s degree and their credits will seamlessly transfer to UNI. Admissions standards remain the same. UNI has a nearly 100% job-placement rate in its fast-growing construction and manufacturing degree programs and sees many students hired with starting salaries in excess of $60,000. 

The program will soon be expanded to include four-year bachelor’s degrees that can be earned in just three years.


  1. partnerships
  2. Todd Holcomb
  3. Waterloo Career Center
  4. Waterloo Community School District
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