Forming part of Minnesota’s State Colleges and Universities System, Riverland Community College (also known simply as RCC) is a two-year public community college with three regional campuses in the communities of Austin, Owatonna, and Albert Lea. The school was originally founded in 1940 as the Austin Junior College, switching to its current name and joining the state junior college system by 1964.
Riverland Community College receives its accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the regional North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, which applies to the entire institution. Separately, various RCC academic programs receive special accreditation from trade and industry bodies: the Nursing program is accredited by the National League for Nursing; the program in Automotive Service Technology receives accreditation from the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation; the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology confers accreditation to the school’s Radiography program; and so on for a variety of other academic programs.
In total, RCC offers the following academic degrees: Associate in Arts, Associate in Fine Arts, Associate in Applied Science, Associate in Science, as well as certificates of completion, diplomas, and transfer degrees to four-year colleges.
RCC’s most in-demand academic programs fall under the categories of nursing, construction electrician, computer technology, and business and office technology. Other prominent programs of study at RCC include those in service careers, transportation careers, construction careers, heath careers, and computer technology.
There are a limited number of online as well as interactive television learning opportunities culminating in either a diploma, certificate or degree; the offering changes for distance learning courses each semester.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Admissions to RCC is available for virtually all qualified applicants, and in many cases it is not even necessary to be in possession of a high school diploma to begin taking courses at Riverland Community College (in fact, recently in 2009 a high school student actually earned his associate degree and graduated from RCC before graduating from high school). US citizens and residents must create an online account and complete their application electronically, then pay their $20 application fee.
Following acceptance (which is also notified online through the account created), students must perform the assessment test which is given at all three of the school’s campuses, and which focuses on math, reading and writing skills.
Students admitted to RCC are encouraged to submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form as early as possible as such aid is disbursed on a first-come, first-serve basis. In addition to such federal aid opportunities, the Riverland Community College Foundation also provides a variety of scholarship opportunities including the Riverland “For the Arts” Scholarship, the Austin Rotary Scholarship, the Alliant Energy Foundation Scholarship, and many more.
In addition to loans, grants and scholarships, RCC also offers a variety of work-study opportunities in different areas of discipline (requiring a certain level of job experience and pending eligibility status as indicated on the FAFSA Award Letter).
The student body at RCC lives mostly off-campus, though the Austin campus does provide student housing facilities with a total capacity of 84 students (a tiny fraction of the nearly 5,000 students enrolled in a typical semester). Of the total student body, a little over half is female and, separately, a little over half is enrolled on a part-time basis. RCC has an unusually high level of what are known as “mature” students, aged 40 or older.
A variety of student activities, clubs and organizations are available at RCC, including but not limited to the Student Senate, the Criminal Justice Society, the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, the Human Services Club, and the International Club. There are several intramural sports available for students to partake in as well.
Student Enrollment Demographics
RCC’s sports teams are collectively known as the Blue Devils, and the school’s colors are (not coincidentally) blue and white. The Blue Devils compete within the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and the Minnesota College Athletic Conference. The Blue Devils field men’s teams in soccer, baseball and basketball, and women’s teams in volleyball, basketball, and fast pitch softball. Among the school’s athletic achievements are the baseball team’s participation in the 1998 College World Series and recent victory in the NJCAA Regional XIII Tournament.