Kirkwood History and Accreditation

Kirkwood is a publicly-supported college that serves Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn and Washington counties in eastern Iowa. Kirkwood operates under the regulations of the Iowa Department of Education and is governed by a publicly-elected, nine-member board of trustees.

In January 1965, a steering committee conducted a study to establish a vocational school to serve parts of eastern Iowa, then known as Area X. Soon after this local study, the Iowa General Assembly approved legislation that created a system of community colleges throughout the state.

On July 1, 1966, Kirkwood was officially established, originally called "Area X Community College." The college immediately assumed responsibility for the federally-funded vocational/technical programs the Cedar Rapids Community School District had provided since 1964. The college added the Arts and Sciences, Student Services and Community Education divisions a year later. In 1969, the college board of trustees decided on a new name—"Kirkwood Community College," to honor Samuel J. Kirkwood, Iowa’s governor during the Civil War years.

In 1982, Kirkwood became a board member of the League for Innovation in the Community College, a consortium of 20 of the nation’s finest two-year colleges.

Kirkwood awards Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees that transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Graduates in Applied Science and Technology programs are prepared to enter specialized technical careers.

Kirkwood Community College is accredited by the Iowa Department of Education and by The Higher Learning Commission.

The Higher Learning Commission
Suite 7-500
230 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60604-1411

The Higher Learning Commission can be reached at 800-621-7440 or Appropriate professional associations within their respective fields accredit individual college programs. For more information go to

Legal Basis of the College

Kirkwood was established and continues to operate as prescribed by Iowa Code section 260C.48 and Iowa Administrative Code 281-IAC 24.

Area community colleges offer, to the greatest extent possible, educational opportunities and services in each of the following areas:

  1. The first two years of college work including pre-professional education.
  2. Vocational and technical career training.
  3. Programs for in-service training and retraining of workers.
  4. Programs for high school completion for students of post-high school age.
  5. Programs for all students of high school age who may best serve themselves by enrolling for vocational and technical training while also enrolled in a local high school, public or private.
  6. Student personnel services.
  7. Community services.
  8. Vocational education for persons who have academic, socioeconomic or other disabilities that prevent them from succeeding in regular vocational education programs.
  9. Training, retraining and all necessary preparation for productive employment of all citizens.
  10. Vocational and technical training for persons who are not enrolled in high school and who have not completed high school.