Stigma of DMACC


Rielly McCabe

An email of an acceptance into DMACC’s Criminal Justice Program.

Erina Lee, Staff Writer

At the beginning of my Junior year, I had no idea where I wanted to go after high school and was struggling with what I wanted to do. I talked with several of my friends and teachers, and ultimately decided to go to DMACC for a possible medical career. As soon as I made my decision, I knew my mom was not going to like it because her mind was clouded with the stigma of DMACC. Like some other people, she views DMACC as an underachieved school and does not think it will allow me to be as successful as I can be if I go to a four-year college. I completely disagree.

Des Moines Area Community College is a well-known college that has an unfortunate stigma attached to its name. Many people think that DMACC is a college for low-performance students and does not provide the same high-quality education as other four-year colleges. When it comes to students deciding where they want to go after high school, the stigma on DMACC can have a pretty big impact on their decision due to either their parents or peers questioning whether DMACC is good enough.

Students should not have to go through the mindset of not wanting to go to DMACC because they think others will look down on them for their decision. “People tend to say DMACC isn’t a real college and say it’s for stupid people who don’t do good in school,” Rielly McCabe ’20, currently accepted in the DMACC program for criminal justice, said. “I think it’s a bunch of crap though because their culinary program is in the top 5 of the nation and it’s a community college. DMACC is still a high-quality college that provides good education and should not be questioned like any other four-year college.”

DMACC has been determined to be one of the best colleges in Iowa for medical careers. Not only that, the amount of tuition money compared to the tuition fee for a four-year college already adds a lot of weight towards DMACC’s favor. Depending on what courses are taken at DMACC, their tuition fee typically lands around $4,680 while other colleges in the state range from $10,000 to $40,000. That is an extremely big cost difference and, in the long run, can have quite the big of an impact.

The fact that four-year colleges have much larger tuition fees only increases the chances of a student suffering from the stress of debt in the future. “I also applied to Iowa State University and was accepted, but decided to choose DMACC instead,” Sophia Maras ’19, pursuing a liberal arts degree alongside a focus on academic training, said. “I decided on DMACC because it was a financially smart choice. DMACC’s tuition is the lowest in the state of Iowa and it would help me achieve my goal of getting my master’s in athletic training without accumulating lots of student debt.” 

As for the education DMACC provides for their students, it is almost equal to any other college. Granted, there are several more benefits four-year colleges have than DMACC, but DMACC can still get someone to their final destination of simply getting a good job that will provide for their needs and wants.

DMACC also provides a lot of different opportunities for their students so they can reach their job goal faster. Using my possible medical career as an example, DMACC explains that graduates of the medical program can be eligible to sit for the National Certification Exam to become a certified medical assistant, along with the State of Iowa Limited Radiographer examination. With these opportunities, DMACC has been able to place 96% of their students with jobs over the past five years with 100% of their students graduating and completing the exams that DMACC offers. “People don’t realize the opportunities you can get from attending a community college,” Maras said.