Alliance for Iowa State
-Make Your Voice Heard-

Iowa State University joined 10 other public research universities back in September to launch the University Innovation Alliance (UIA). The UIA is a consortium of 11 large public research universities committed to the belief that every American, regardless of socioeconomic background, should have access to an affordable, high-quality college degree. This is the first time a group of large public research universities has self-organized across state and conference lines specifically to test and scale solutions to problems of access and graduation in higher education.


The project will expand the use of highly successful, innovative programs designed to help more students complete a college education and significantly improve graduation rates. Iowa State will share best practices in its learning communities program, which has consistently been rated among the top 25 learning community programs in the nation by US News. The learning communities program at Iowa State offers more than 80 learning communities and draws in about 70% of first-year students. Iowa State's program is in its 20th year and has served more than 56,000 students.


At Iowa State University, learning communities are small groups of first-year or transfer students who are pursuing the same major or participate in the same scholarship program. They are generally enrolled in the same sections of key courses and may live in the same residence hall. Staff and faculty coordinators oversee sophomore mentors who lead small group study sessions as well as weekly meetings that cover topics such as time management, career exploration or a four-year plan to graduation. Learning community teams also meet for social gatherings and community service projects. This fall, the program employed over 500 mentors for 5,600 students.


"The Innovation Alliance is a great way for our universities to share and expand successful programs that help students, particularly those from low-income families, earn a college degree," said President Steven Leath. "We believe our track record in learning communities can benefit other universities and their students."


Did you know? The average six-year graduation rate for learning community freshmen is 12 percentage points higher (74% vs. 62%) than for non-learning community students.

 Iowa State's Mission:
Create, share, and apply knowledge to make 
Iowa and the world a better place.

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The Alliance for Iowa State is maintained by the Iowa State University Alumni Association. 


The Alliance for Iowa State is a coalition of Iowa State University alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, and friends.

The Alliance advocates Iowa State University's land grant mission throughout Iowa while focusing its advocacy on

state legislators and public policy makers.