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IVCCD agreement impacts fully online, non-Iowa students

The Iowa Valley Community College District (IVCCD) Board of Directors met this month and approved participation in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), whereby IVCCD will be able to enroll non-Iowa students from other states and U.S. territories who want to participate exclusively in online classes through either Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls or Marshalltown Community College.

According to Joe Struss, IVCCD Distance Learning Coordinator, the nationwide SARA agreement has become “the driver’s license” for online/distance education. Colleges in states that are SARA participants can serve fully online students from other SARA states, but not from states that are not SARA participants without a separate agreement with that state. Struss said a few states have barriers to the SARA agreement, but that as the vast majority of states (currently 43 out of 50) become involved, the pressure will grow for every state to participate. A list of SARA states is available on the ECC and MCC websites, and the Admissions Office staff will work to ensure that fully online students understand the ramification of the new agreement.

In other matters, the Board approved: the 2016-17 Master Agreement between the IVCCD Board and the Iowa Valley Community College Education Association, which included a 3.25 percent total package increase; an articulation agreement for transfer of credits between ECC/MCC and Waldorf University in Forest City; revisions to Board policies related to Purchasing and Targeted Small Businesses; a revised lease agreement for Iowa Workforce Development’s use of the R.M. Wolfe Building owned by IVCCD; an agreement with McFarland Clinic P.C. to provide athletic training services at Marshalltown Community College; an agreement with Great Western Dining to provide food service for Marshalltown Community College (3 percent increase in meal plan rates); an Iowa Association of Community College Trustees Defined Contribution Retirement Plan Participation Agreement; and a 2016-17 calendar of Board meetings and events.

Agreements between Ellsworth Community College and Iowa Falls Community School District (IFCSD) were approved for ECC’s use of IFCSD athletic facilities and for IFCSD’s use of ECC’s Trades & Industries Building, where Green Belt Alternative High School is housed. Each of those agreements included a 3 percent increase in costs.

The Board approved the purchase and installation of lettering on the Ellsworth Equestrian Center by the Ellsworth College Board of Trustees, noting its appreciation for the Trustees’ “forward thinking, generosity, and good communication … it’s a marvelous thing!” The Board also accepted a donation of commercial pipe cutting tools and electrical parts given to the Marshalltown Community College Plant Services Department by Frank and Betty Haker of Conrad.

The next regular meeting of the IVCCD Board of Directors will be Wednesday, Aug. 10, at 4 pm in Marshalltown.

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