Use the Community College Contacts links for the college in your area. Gap program information and funding availability is determined at each community college.

The Gap Tuition Assistance Program was established as part of the Skilled Worker and Job Creation Fund to provide funding to community colleges for tuition assistance to applicants to enable completion of continuing education or short-term, non-Pell eligible training programs for in-demand occupations.

Gap Program Contacts

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Eligibility Criteria

Applicant must demonstrate capacity to achieve the following outcomes:

  • The ability to complete an eligible certificate program
  • The ability to enter a postsecondary certificate, diploma, or degree program for credit
  • The ability to gain full-time employment
  • The ability to maintain full-time employment over time

Applicants may be found eligible for partial or total tuition assistance. Only an applicant eligible to work in the United States shall be approved for tuition assistance under this program.

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Eligible Costs

Costs of a program eligible for coverage by tuition assistance shall include but are not limited to:

  • Tuition
  • Direct training costs and support services
  • Required books and personal protective equipment for the program
  • Fees include, but are not limited to fees for industry testing services and background check testing services
  • Personal support appropriate for short-term programs such as:
    • Childcare while in training
    • Transportation assistance to and from training
    • Uniform/shoes for occupation related to training
  • Upgraded/new program-specific equipment

Costs of providing direct staff support services including, but not limited to, marketing, outreach, application, interview, and assessment processes. Eligible costs for this purpose shall be limited to twenty percent of any allocation of monies to the two smallest community colleges, ten percent of any allocation of moneys to the two largest community colleges, and fifteen percent of any allocation of moneys to the remaining eleven community colleges. Community college size shall be determined based on the most recent three-year rolling average full-time equivalent enrollment.

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Eligible Programs

Programs that meet the following criteria shall be eligible for assistance under this program:

  • The program is aligned with a certificate, diploma, or degree for credit, and does any of the following:
    • Offers a state, national, or locally recognized certificate
    • Offers preparation for a professional examination or licensure
    • Provides endorsement for an existing credential or license
    • Represents recognized skill standards defined by an industrial sector
    • Offers a similar credential or training
  • The program offers training or a credential in an in-demand occupation within one of the following industry sectors:
    • Information technology
    • Health care
    • Advanced manufacturing
    • Transportation and logistics
    • Any other industry designated as in-demand by a regional advisory board

Gap Tuition Assistance Approved Programs - List of programs approved by the Department of Education

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Requirements for Participation

An applicant for tuition assistance under this program will be required to complete an application to determine the applicant's readiness to complete an eligible certificate program.

An applicant will be required to meet with a member of the staff for an eligible certificate program offered by the community college receiving the application. The staff member shall discuss the relevant industry and any applicable occupational training related to the eligible certificate program. The discussion shall include an evaluation of the applicant's capabilities, needs, family situation, work history, educational background, attitude and motivation, employment skills, vocational potential, and employment barriers. The discussion shall also include potential start dates, support needs, and other requirements for an eligible certificate program.

A participant in an eligible certificate program who receives tuition assistance will be required to do all of the following:

  • Maintain regular contact with staff members for the certificate program to document the applicant's progress in the program;
  • Sign a release form to provide relevant information to community college faculty or case managers;
  • Discuss with staff members for the certificate program any issues that may impact the participant's ability to complete the certificate program, obtain employment, and maintain employment over time;
  • Attend all required courses regularly; and
  • Meet with staff members for the certificate program to develop a career pathway plan.
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FY23 Gap Tuition Assistance Program Legislative Report

Gap Tuition Assistance Program Impact and Outcomes Academic Years 2022 and 2023

Gap Program Outcomes Report AY2015 to AY2019

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Community College Contacts

Des Moines Area (DMACC)
Eastern Iowa (EICC)
Hawkeye (HCC)
Indian Hills (IHCC)
Iowa Central (ICCC)
Iowa Lakes (ILCC)
Iowa Valley (IVCCD)
Iowa Western (IWCC)
Kirkwood (KCC)
North Iowa Area (NIACC)
Northeast Iowa (NICC)
Northwest Iowa (NWICC)
Southeastern (SCC)
Southwestern (SWCC)
Western Iowa Tech (WITCC)

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Legislative Citations

Iowa Code 260I - Gap Tuition Assistance Act

Iowa Administrative Code 281-25 - Pathways for Academic Career and Employment Program; Gap Tuition Assistance Program

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