Gift to help Des Moines students complete four year degree at UNI

DES MOINES, Iowa- A partnership between the University of Northern Iowa and Des Moines Area Community College has received a $1 million dollar boost.

The DMACC Urban Campus in Des Moines begins the UNI at DMACC 2+2 program this fall, in which students can earn year four-year degrees, without relocating.

The gift is from Mark and Jill Oman, both University of Northern Iowa alumni and residents of West Des Moines.

“UNI changed my life,” Oman said. “The ‘UNI at DMACC’ program will bring the same advantages of a four-year degree to students at DMACC’s Urban Campus without requiring students to leave their jobs, families and community.

“This program is a partnership of two very good institutions. Jill and I believe education is critical; it is the key to opportunity. ‘UNI at DMACC’ will expand access and provide an opportunity for people to earn a four-year degree.”

The new 2+2 program is specifically designed for students to complete their first two years at DMACC, with the remaining two years completed online through UNI. Degree options include a Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS) or Criminal Justice (BAS). 

“Through their gift, the Omans are creating invaluable, meaningful change for our students,” said UNI President Mark A. Nook. “Their generosity will provide necessary support for the Urban Campus building project and help create a modern educational space to help students focus and succeed.

“The Omans mean so much to UNI — they immediately recognized the need and stepped forward to make a tremendous difference in moving this program forward. We’re proud to count them as valuable partners who are helping to remove the obstacles that can prevent access to education.”

The schools are also planning a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in managing business and organizations. UNI also offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education through online and on-site courses at other DMACC campuses, including Ankeny and Carroll.

The DMACC Urban Campus is undergoing an expansion and renovation project called “Building Community.” The project includes a new 60,000-square-foot Student Life and STEM Center.

“This collaboration between DMACC and UNI underscores our commitment to better serve place-bound students in the Des Moines metro area by providing them with an affordable and flexible path to earning a bachelor’s degree,” said DMACC President Rob Denson. “On behalf of everyone at DMACC, I would like to thank Mark and Jill Oman for their wonderful investment in the future of every student who will benefit from the ‘UNI at DMACC’ program.”

For more information about the “UNI at DMACC” program, visit

(Pictured: DMACC President Rob Denson, University of Northern Iowa (UNI) President Mark Nook, and Jill and Mark Oman)