What is the Difference?

There is something fulfilling, rewarding and permanent about earning a college degree. The time and expense of earning an academic degree – a diploma, associate’s degree, bachelor’s, master’s and beyond – carries with it tremendous, lifelong benefits to the graduates who get it done.

Academic degree earners are more adaptable in nearly every economic situation or job market. Having “learned how to learn,” degree earners who have a college education find it easier to secure employment, retain their employment, advance in their organization, earn higher salaries and become independent.

Whether your life plan includes owning a home, starting a family, becoming self-employed or traveling the world, a college degree creates opportunities that will bring you closer to your dream career and the life you want to live.

Haley Lundgren, a Northeast Iowa Community College Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) – Marketing Management graduate, found the world at her doorstep by connecting with peers and building friendships on campus.

A native of Mt. Carroll, Ill., Lundgren hadn’t seen the world beyond the Midwest until she started making friends in her marketing courses at the College. “I loved my classes at NICC, and my experiences changed my perspective on life. Students from other countries asked me to come home with them and meet their families and friends! I visited South America and Asia, and it’s really opened my mind. I gained a deeper appreciation of how we as Americans live, and an understanding of how people in other parts of the world live. Travel also advanced my marketing and business skills, and I have a bigger appreciation of life.”

Lundgren completed her A.A.S. degree and is transferring to University of Dubuque to complete a bachelor’s degree in business. Her successful transfer to a four-year university is a major benefit to earning a two-year degree at Northeast Iowa Community College; it helps to pave the way to degree attainment and, in the future, a more advanced academic degree. The foundation is established for more successful employment opportunities and the option for graduates to advance their education.

Research published by the Iowa Department of Education in March 2018 reported that students who earn career and technical awards from Iowa community colleges have higher rates of employment and higher earnings after program completion, according to an analysis of education, employment and wage patterns of Iowa community college graduates.

The study followed five groups of community college graduates from academic years 2012-2016 and tracked them into further postsecondary education and the workforce. Among the report’s findings, of the 89,880 students who completed short- and long-term awards between academic years 2012 and 2016:

  • 86 percent who directly entered the workforce were employed within the first year of completing their programs
  • Those who earned transfer-oriented Associate of Arts degrees in 2016 continued into further postsecondary education at high rates (73 percent)
  • Among those who graduated in 2016, the highest earnings in the first year after program completion were by students who earned Associate of Applied Science degrees and were employed in health care and social assistance ($43,108), followed by manufacturing ($41,489)
  • A strong majority of those completing programs remained in Iowa (84 percent) after graduation

Don’t Wait, Earn your Degree. Apply Today. www.nicc.edu/apply