NCC Included in a National Report of Rural Community College Excellence

Northwest Iowa Community College is proud to announce its inclusion in a groundbreaking report on rural community colleges in America. This recognition highlights NCC’s commitment to supporting and empowering students in its rural area, ultimately driving positive change within their communities.

The report, entitled Rural Community College Excellence: A Guide to Delivering Strong Opportunities for Students and Communities, was conducted by the Aspen Institute and aimed to identify the key factors influencing the success and growth of rural community colleges nationwide. The report covers four main ideas: creating pathways to economic mobility, convincing students to enroll and stay in college, building strategic partnerships to promote student success, and utilizing small size as a strength. NCC’s work to build partnerships throughout the communities they serve and making data informed decisions are highlighted alongside the efforts of other outstanding rural colleges.

As part of the research process, NCC emerged as a contributor to the report due to NCC’s unwavering dedication to its students and fostering educational excellence. The report recognized NCC’s innovative solutions, collaborative approach, and positive impact on student outcomes. By tailoring solutions to the specific needs of both students and industry, NCC has cultivated sustainable growth and provided students with enhanced opportunities for success.

Dr. John Hartog, NCC President, stated, “We are honored to be included in this informative report, we are delighted to showcase our service to our rural area and to represent rural community colleges on the national level. The recognition in the report further solidifies Northwest Iowa Community College’s position as an educational leader and a valued partner for our rural communities. Rural colleges will continue to leverage our expertise, resources, and connections to advance educational excellence, foster innovation, and create a brighter future for students throughout America.” Hartog continued, “We firmly believe that education is the cornerstone of societal development, and through our collaborations with our partners, we are able to make a meaningful difference in the lives of students and their communities.”

Mariah Oliver, Grant Writer for the College, who contributed to the report said, “Through the use of data and analysis of said data it has helped NCC implement new programs and student success interventions to help the College consistently achieve high outcomes of student retention, graduation and placement in a profession with a family sustaining wage or transfer to a four-year college on the path to a bachelor’s degree. This means graduates are making our communities stronger and more vibrant.”

In a statement the Aspen Institute said, “Rural community colleges are more than education providers; they are essential hubs in their regions, generating opportunities for economic mobility and driving talent development. Dive in for examples from colleges across the country:”

The Aspen Institute is a community-serving organization with global reach whose vision is a free, just, and equitable society. For 70 years, the Institute has driven change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the world’s greatest challenges. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Institute has offices in Aspen, Colorado, and New York City, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit