Parents & Families Blog

​​​​Dear Parents,

This is a new education blog​ launched by your friends at DMACC. It will include articles, guidance from our advisors, insights on scholarships, announcements and other useful information to help you and your son or daughter plan for college.

We realize these are unsettling times and you may have a lot of questions about education. We hope this will be a good resource for you and encourage you to reach out with any questions or advice.

The DMACC Experience Goes Way Beyond the Books

Posted May 28, 2021


As you and your (soon-to-be) college student explore options, one topic sure to arise is the “college experience” and how that plays out a community college, such as DMACC. You and your student may wonder about making friends, clubs and social groups, sports, the arts….those “ancillary” things many associate with their happy college years. Will they miss out if they attend DMACC?

Rest assured, your student will can have it all at DMACC. DMACC has a great campus life that enriches classroom living, fosters life-long friendships, and offers ways to expand horizons. No matter your student’s passions or interests, your student will find plenty to do at DMACC.

  • Like sports? DMACC is home of the Bears, eight NJCAA DII athletic programs. We also offer intramural/extramural teams (like volleyball, basketball, ping pong, tennis, eSports leagues); club sports (like men’s and women’s soccer, running club); outdoor recreation opportunities; and access to our Trail Point Aquatics & Wellness Center.
  • Bend toward creative expression? Your student can pursue a passion outside of class like singing in a choir or playing in a band, acting or working backstage, writing for the newspaper, and being involved in fashion, among others.
  • Desire to boost job skills along with brain skills? DMACC has chapters of Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society and Phi Beta Lambda (business) as well as clubs and organizations related to specific career fields.
  • Have a passion or special interest and wonder how to find others who share it? Too numerous to list, there are clubs and organizations related to community involvement, social issues, countries of origin, and just plain fun.
  • Hope to influence campus life? Then your student can. Each campus has a Student Activities Council which plans activities and events and gives members leadership, team-building, and budgeting experience at the local, state, and national level.
  • Want to have a residential college experience – or study abroad? Our Ankeny, Boone, and Carroll Campuses offer on-campus and near-campus housing options. And each year, DMACC sponsors a study abroad program to a different location.
DMACC offers plethora of ways for your student to have the total college experience. Learn more:

If you build it, they will come

Posted April 28, 2021


MACC’s facilities are some of the finest in the Midwest. During the last few years, many new construction projects have been in the works.  Many are now nearing completion. Please take a look at our state of the art facilities​.​

The "New Normal"

Posted March 25, 2021


2020 was a long, difficult year for everybody.  Here at DMACC we are looking forward to a “new normal” in the school year.

DMACC is anxious to welcome students, staff and faculty back on campus. 

Take a look at what DMACC’s fall term will look like!

About Paying for College

Posted February 23, 2021


The most common questions for parents concerning paying for college are where do parents go to get help and information about the financial aid process, why do parents have to be involved in the federal and state financial aid process, and what parent information will be required and will it be kept safe? These are all very important questions. Hopefully, we’ll be able to address them so that you’ll be able to support your student on the path toward their college education.

The best place to obtain information about the financial aid process is the college. The DMACC Financial Aid team is here to help provide the information you will need to make these important financial decisions. We assist more than 17,000 students each year with grants, scholarships, work-study and low-interest loans. Another great place to find information is The U.S. Department of Education provides a lot of information about how financial aid works, the types of financial aid available, and how a student may become eligible.

When students apply for federal or state financial aid they must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at The FAFSA is the application that is used to determine a family’s financial strength. If a “dependent” student is completing the FAFSA, the parent’s information will be required on the application (it’s a federal rule). This doesn’t mean that the parent is signing up for loans or committing to pay a bill. By helping to complete the FAFSA you are only allowing the school to determine what financial aid your student might be eligible to receive. Be sure to complete the FAFSA by 7/1/2021, as that is the deadline for some awards that are offered by the state of Iowa.

The FAFSA will ask for a lot of personal information from the parent. It will include tax and income information. Here’s what the U.S. Department of Education outlines regarding keeping your information safe, “The information reported by students and parents on is encrypted (scrambled using a mathematical formula) so it is unreadable by anyone who might intercept it. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education does not sell student or parent information and does not share that information with any entities beyond those specified on the FAFSA form: the schools the student lists on the FAFSA form, the state agencies of the states in which those schools are located, and the state agency in the student's state of residence.”     ​

DMACC Campus Renovations

Posted February 11, 2021



Automotive Center

DMACC has renovated and expanded the Automotive Technology Center, Ankeny Campus after receiving $1million donation from Carl and Penny Moyer, owners of Karl Chevrolet. The facility has been renamed the Karl Automotive Technology Center.

The project included doubling the Center by adding 20,000 sq. ft., renovating the existing 40,000 sq. ft., adding 22 more vehicle bays, new classrooms and student lounge, conference center and showroom. Nine classrooms in the existing facility were renovated.

Construction completion early fall 2021.

Criminal Justice Training Facility

The Criminal Justice Training Facility will occupy an approximately 1,540 square foot building on the DMACC Ankeny campus. The Facility’s central location in the state will make it easily accessible both regionally and statewide.

The building will include bedrooms, kitchen, great room, deck, bathrooms, a porch, and a garage. The Facility will include moveable walls, which will offer numerous options for setting up realistic scenarios, ranging from basic evidence searches to complex simulated murder scenes. It will also include classroom space for instructional purposes and debriefings.

Additionally, the Facility will incorporate the ability to videotape exercises, allowing for immediate feedback on performance. These features will serve as a valuable asset or law enforcement training.

Construction completion is August 2021.


This campus expansion offers an exciting opportunity to bring needed training programs and state-of-the-art facilities together under one roof," said Joel Lundstrom, Provost of the DMACC Carroll Campus. “We have outgrown our space to teach some career and technical programs and as we were planning for this expansion, we identified additional needs for the building addition. We're thrilled to start this exciting project."

The $4.2 million 11,700-square-foot expansion will be located on the northeast side of the building and will include: two new labs for welding and industrial tech, Applied engineering classrooms, new office space for student services, additional study space, an indoor commons area for both college and community events

The Carroll addition is expected to be completed in early fall 2021.

Additionally, the Facility will incorporate the ability to videotape exercises, allowing for immediate feedback on performance. These features will serve as a valuable asset or law enforcement training.


Fairway Fieldhouse is scheduled to open September 2021.The $6.5 million project includes two college-size basketball/volleyball courts. These courts also contain three 40’ X 70’ baseball/softball batting cages that drop down from the fieldhouse ceiling. The new student activity center also contains a

state-of-the-art weight room designed by Powerlift, a contemporary sports medicine lab, an indoor golf performance center, storage space, office settings and a family room.

DMACC Director of Athletics BJ McGinn said the new project will add more than 28,500 more square feet to the existing gym.


Urban Campus facilities upgrade includes addition of a 60,000 square foot Student Services and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Building to be built in the center of the Campus at 1100 Seventh St. in downtown Des Moines as well as renovation of Building #1, the original student center, and an expansion of Building #4, which houses an Automotive Technology program. A oprtion of the facility will house UNI which has planned a 2 + 2 venture with DMACC.

The new building project was completed in the spring of 2020. Renovation of Building #1 has begin since the new Student Services Building was completed.

The first floor of the new building will house the Student Services Department, which is now located in Building #1. That department includes academic and career advising, student financial aid and student counseling, as well as new STEM classrooms.

The second and third floors will house eight science labs, five state-of-the-art classrooms, additional offices, study areas, student lounges and meeting rooms.

The southern portion of the building will feature a student welcome center and a 3,000-square-foot flexible space that can seat up to 300 people. Two additional spaces can seat up to 100 people or be divided to meet specific needs.

On the south side of the new building, there will be a link to Building #1 that features outdoor gathering areas, walkways and an open green space. A unique exterior feature of the building will be two large LED digital boards that can be used to display students’ art.

Phase two of “Building Community” is the renovation and enhancement of Building #1. The key aspects of this remodeling is the moving of the library to the central atrium of the building that will bring together the library with the student achievement center and testing center.

An additional 2,800 square feet of space will be added to Building #4, also known as the Betts Building. This will allow for more space for the Ford ASSET (Automotive Student Service Educational Training) program, which recently moved from the Ankeny Campus to the Urban.

The original building was completed over 35 years ago.​

Always Here to Help

Posted January 22, 2021


If you or your child has questions regarding DMACC, advisors are ready to assist you.

Throughout the pandemic, the Student Services department has switched to virtual appointments with students and families. Advisors use the Calendly link that allows participants to schedule 30 minute meetings either over the phone or through Zoom. In addition to this and email, texting has become more popular during this time with advising students especially if they have basic questions.

The topics of the meetings are pretty varied ranging from basic admissions requirements and info about the numerous DMACC programs, helping plan class schedules, how certain DMACC courses transfers, and how to earn an associate's degree by graduation to name just a few.

Regardless of the format of advising or how the meetings may look, we want students and families to know that we are here to assist in any way we can during these challenging times.

For more information go to

Get ready for the Holidays….

Posted December 15, 2020


Happy Holidays from President Denson and your friends at Des Moines Area Community College!

Admissions Process Checklist

Posted December 14, 2020

1214parents.pngThe college application process can be intimidating and complex leaving you wondering where to start. DMACC makes it easy for you with the Admissions Process Checklist. There is no fee to apply to DMACC, so why wait. Spring classes start January 19.​

Step 1: Complete a free application for admission

Step 2: Complete required assessment(s)

  • DMACC ​​requires an assessment in reading, writing, and math to register as a full-time student.​ 

ACCUPLACER and ALEKS are free assessments. ACCUPLACER Testing can be completed at any DMACC campus. Visit DMACC.EDU/TESTINGCENTER​ for more information or contact the Testing Center at​ or 1-800-362-2127. The Aleks Math Placement can be completed online at DMACC.EDU/MATHPLACEMENT​.​

Step 3: Apply for financial aid

  • Complete FAFSA Application online at FAFSA.GOV. DMACC School Code: 004589
  • Eligibility for federal loans, grants and work-study
  • If you would like assistance completing the FAFSA: FAFSA Fridays at Urban Campus: 9:00 AM–3:00 PM every Friday at DMACC Urban Campus OR ICAN: Visit ICANSUCCEED.ORG​ for individual appointments or FAFSA completion events​
  • Last-Dollar Scholarship: Covers any tuition gaps not covered by federal and state grants/scholarships for more than 40 high-demand career and technical programs at DMACC. More information can be found at LASTDOLLAR.DMACC.EDU​
  • ​DMACC Foundation Scholarship awards scholarships every semester: DMACC.EDU/SCHOLARSHIPS
  • For more information, visit DMACC.EDU/FIN_AID​ or contact the Financial Aid Office at 515-964-6282 or​.​
Step 4: Attend orientation and register for classes

Learn, Know, Go!

Posted November 17, 2020


Now that you or your child has chosen to attend DMACC, it’s time to discuss paying for college.

DMACC is one of the most affordable colleges in the Midwest. Paying for college is possible! And we have specialist ready to assist you if you have questions or concerns.

Please refer to this brochure​ for all the information you need to know regarding paying for school.​​

A Welcome from President Denson

Posted October 12, 2020


On behalf of our DMACC community, we are pleased to welcome your son or daughter to the College this fall. While we're continuing to adjust to changes caused by COVID-19,  we're doing our best to support your student's academic success. 

Here are some reasons why you and your student have made a good decision choosing DMACC. 

1. Academic programs

DMACC offers more than 200 degrees, diplomas and certificates, from Cybersecurity to Mortuary Science (view full list). 

Transfer partnerships and 2+2 programs with numerous four-year universities.

DMACC students have transferred to over 925 colleges and universities around the country. 

Our students do as well, if not better than, their peers who entered the universities directly after high school.  In fact, 90% of DMACC graduates who transferred to one of Iowa's state universities stayed enrolled there after one year. 

Full tuition scholarships are available for many in-demand career paths. 

2. Value

DMACC has the lowest tuition and fees in Iowa. 

A record number of scholarships are available. 

Recently, DMACC was named 10th Best Value in the U.S. by Value Colleges –

And voted Best Community College in Iowa by CITYVIEW readers. 

3. Support Resources for On-Time Graduation 

One-on-one Tutoring. 

One-on-one Academic Advising and Counseling. 

Career Exploration and Internship opportunities.

Quality of faculty and instruction.  

4. Equity and Inclusion

While DMACC prides itself on its welcoming culture, an all-college review of our commitment to diverse populations is currently underway. It includes assessment surveys, an examination of student satisfaction, and a review of our mission, vision and values to enhance everything from our hiring practices to serving diverse audiences.

5. Student Health and Engagement

Free gym membership to Trail Point and other rec opportunities on other Campuses   

Clubs (Academic, Social, Political, Religious, Athletics, and Cultural). If your student cannot find a club to join, they can start one!


  • Student run campus newspapers

  • STEM / Criminal Justice

  • Dr. Simon Estes, guest lecturer and the Simon Estes Music Scholarship

  • Fashion DECA


6. Career Placement

98% of DMACC graduates are employed, continuing their education or are serving in the military.

DMACC is proud to be part of your student's future. Thank you for putting your academic trust in us. 

Rob Denson, President

2020 So Far: The Silver Lining

Posted September 18, 2020


Here's a good example of how some students are choosing community colleges this fall after COVID-19 caused them to reconsider/change their original college plans.

Read the blog post here:

Helping Your Student Finish What They Start

Posted September 16, 2020


Now that your child is a student at DMACC, it is important for them to Finish What They Start!

There are many reasons why students don't complete their degree. Nationally, studies show these reoccurring issues:

  • Inadequate financial resources
  • Lack of preparedness
  • No or too costly child care
  • No family or peer support
  • Transportation problems
  • Demands of their current full-time job.

DMACC has a number of scholarships, grants and loans in place. Please go to

A good example is the Cares Act.

Qualified candidates may receive extra financial aid – up to

  • $2,000 enrolled full-time at DMACC
  • $500 enrolled less than half-time

Funding comes from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, a new federal grant funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

It provides cash grants – dollars that never need to be repaid--  for expenses related to disruptions to education due COVID-19. This includes things like:

  • Textbooks
  • Necessary course materials
  • Laptops
  • Internet fees
  • Utilities
  • Childcare , and
  • More

To be eligible for CARES Act funds, one must be eligible for Federal Student Aid and have completed the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for the 2020-21 academic year.

DMACC also has a number of different options for ways their students can attend class.  They can attend face to face, virtually or on line.  There is also a large number of late start classes that haven't even started yet.

DMACC has a number of services available also.  Advisors and counselors are available both in person and virtutally to answer any questions or concerns you student may have.  And their professors are also a valuable asset in their success.

Dart is offering FREE rides to DMACC students!

Encourage your student to Finish What they start.

A college education is more important today than ever before. Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan said while visiting the DMACC Ankeny Campus several years ago, “We don't have a 'jobs' shortage in the country, we have a 'skills' shortage. There are two million high-wage jobs we can't fill." Many of the positions that required a high school diploma and fewer skills disappeared during the last “great" recession and won't return, replaced by more highly skilled and complex jobs requiring more education and greater training. As a result, it's crucial for students to complete their college degree. To grow economic development in Iowa, it's also essential for the state to have a highly skilled, well-educated workforce.

Community college graduates who pursue a Bachelor's degree are typically successful. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, nearly three-quarters of students who earn an Associate's degree and then move on to a four-year college graduated with a Bachelor's degree within four years of transferring. This shows that successful completion of a degree at a two-year college sets up transfer students for success later on. ​

Trail Point Aquatics and Wellness

Posted September 4, 2020


Trail Point Aquatics and Wellness is not only Ankeny’s premier fitness facility, it’s also where your DMACC college student can receive a FREE membership when they enroll and pay for 6 or more credits each semester, regardless of if they’re registered for classes at a campus, center, or online. 

With two pools, group fitness classes, free weights, machines, cardio equipment, a track, basketball courts, personal training ($), cycling, racquetball, and more, your students can find something to keep them strong and moving this semester.  Additionally, Trail Point has a number of employment opportunities for students including Membership Representatives, Kids Zone Attendants, Lifeguards, and  Fitness Floor Attendants. 

Trail Point is also the home of DMACC Campus Recreation, which offers DMACC students opportunities for intermural and club sports, outdoor recreation, and virtual leagues (like eSports) and special events.

Late-Start Classes at DMACC

Posted August 31, 2020


DMACC offers a large number of late start classes at a variety of times and locations to better fit busy schedules.

These classes start after the semester begins and last between 5 and 15 weeks. The classes are fully accredited, with the same quality instruction, just at a faster pace than traditional semester classes.

Go to​ to view the complete list of late start classes​

DMACC's Commitment during COVID-19

Posted August 6, 2020


COVID-19 has changed many aspects of our lives, perhaps this includes higher education plans. One thing that has not changed is DMACC’s commitment to providing quality education and services to our community. DMACC is providing a path for individuals to work towards their goals even during these unprecedented times. Understandably, there are many questions about how DMACC is operating this fall. Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions:

What are online class options? DMACC has been conducting online learning for years- our outstanding faculty are trained and ready to welcome students virtually. To cater to needs of all students, DMACC is providing several different course delivery types. There is something for every student at DMACC. Even more, DMACC is guaranteeing student tuition should classes be cancelled for any reason. Students and families can rest assured that they will receive quality instruction at DMACC- both online and in-person.

Is assistance available for admissions, financial aid, and other student services? Yes! While many class options are online, our dedicated student services staff are still available to answer questions and assist students during the school year. Academic advisors are available virtually to assist students in registering for classes, transfer plans, or planning their educational goals. Additionally, DMACC’s mental health counselors are available as resources to students as we all navigate these difficult times. All student-serving offices are ready to assist and welcome students!
Student Services Resources

What about the college experience? While COVID-19 has definitely altered how we can get together as a community, the DMACC Student Activities Council and Campus Recreation are providing ways to bring the DMACC community together. Through virtual events such as Netflix parties, virtual intramurals, and more, students can take a break from studying to safely meet other DMACC students and have fun!

How does my student get enrolled? If you would like assistance in getting started this fall, please contact our Admissions Team

COVID-19 Has Stopped Lots of Things: Don’t Let Going to DMACC Be of Them!

Posted July 23, 2020

Fall2020classes.pngIf you or someone in your family is thinking about college this fall, Des Moines Area Community College has some good news.

Quailified candidates may receive extra financial aid – up to

  • $2,000 enrolled full-time at DMACC
  • $500 enrolled less than half-time

Funding comes from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, a new federal grant funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

It provides cash grants – dollars that never need to be repaid--  for expenses related to disruptions to education due COVID-19. This includes things like:

  • Textbooks
  • Necessary course materials
  • Laptops
  • Internet fees
  • Utilities
  • Childcare, and
  • More

To be eligible for CARES Act funds, one must be eligible for Federal Student Aid and have completed the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for the 2020-21 academic year.

Fall is just around the corner. Classes begin Aug. 26.

» More information

DMACC Scholarships

Posted July 16, 2020

DMACC offers a great place to start. The College has the academic and student benefits of a university at a fraction of the cost. And one of the ways the college can help is to provide a number of scholarship opportunities to help subsidize tuition. The Foundation has made it easier with a new scholarship management fund.

The DMACC Foundation has moved to a new scholarship management system. The new scholarship award system is applicable to the 2020 Fall term and beyond.

The DMACC Foundation receives many generous gifts from individuals, corporations and foundations. These gifts combined with earnings from the Foundation's investments provide student scholarships to hundreds of students annually. Awards are based on financial need, academic achievement, community service, or a combination of donor directed qualifying criteria. The DMACC Foundation maintains an online scholarship application process in partnership with Blackbaud Award Management.

The DMACC Foundation Award Management System, allows a student to:

  • Fill out one simple and secure general scholarship application.
  • Be automatically matched to scholarship opportunities at the DMACC Foundation for which the student qualifies.
  • Receive recommended additional scholarship opportunities to apply to by submitting additional information or answering a few additional questions.

**The Spring/2021 application will open on September 8th.

Please send any questions you might have to:

Bringing Students Back Safely This Fall

Posted July 10, 2020
DMACC has a Come Back Strong Committee that has developed all the protocols to safely bring students back in a safe and controlled manner.  We are emphasizing social distancing of at least 6 feet and requiring cloth face coverings at all times when people are in buildings. The only exception for not wearing a mask would be if your child has a medical condition preventing them from wearing it. 

 DMACC is providing flexibility to your child in the form of FIVE different class types including:

  • Web-Blended
  • Online
  • Real-time Virtual
  • Web-Blended  - Online and Real-time Virtual
  • Face-to-Face for many classes

If classes are cancelled, DMACC is guaranteeing student tuition for in person and online instruction at all DMACC campuses and centers.  If we cancel classes for any reason, you get your money back, no questions or delay.  Counselors and advisors are in place for assistance.

We realize it’s been a difficult year for many of you.  Our goal is to make the fall semester as stress free, safe and rewarding as possible.

DMACC President Denson has included a message for you.