Panther Access, Connection and Engagement Program

The Panther Access, Connection and Engagement (PACE) program is a transition and support opportunity for incoming University of Northern Iowa undergraduate students with a purpose to:

Guide a student’s transition to the university by establishing a successful academic foundation.

  • Recognize the expectations/responsibilities of a successful student
  • Effectively navigate the course registration process
  • Utilize the applicable campus/classroom tools for academic success
  • Recognize the expectations/responsibilities of a successful student
  • Effectively navigate the course registration process

Promote a student’s sense of belonging and academic identity.

  • Establish or affirm an initial selection of academic program(s)
  • Understand university graduation requirements
  • Identify the opportunities for involvement and engagement on campus
  • Begin exploring of career information and resources

Facilitate future campus academic and career connections

  • Identify a success team of campus and community support individuals
  • Develop a future directions/next step plan

The PACE program supports incoming students (both from high school and transfers) with the transition to UNI through their first year.  Any UNI student can join, although the program is specifically designed for first-generation college students, those with Pell Grant eligibility, and those who previously participated in TRIO or AVID programs.

PACE provides a TRIO transition opportunity for individuals who have participated in pre-college (Upward Bound, Educational Opportunity Centers, Educational Talent Search, and GEAR UP) and college-level Student Support Services programs.  

Who should RSVP for the PACE program?

To participate in the PACE program, an individual must be admitted to UNI as an undergraduate student either as a new from high school or transfer student. All students must complete the PACE program RSVP to be considered for participation. 

The PACE Program RSVP requests:

  • Basic demographic information
  • Types of assistance you as a new student are interested in receiving
  • Responses to the following short-answer questions:
    • What interests you about the PACE program?
    • How do you think the PACE program can contribute to your success at UNI?

Priority RVSP for each semester is the Friday of the first week of classes.  RSVPs received after this date will be considered on a case-by-case basis or referred to other campus resources.

Any UNI student can RSVP to PACE, although the program is specifically designed for Incoming students with:

  • First-generation status
  • Pell Grant-eligibility
  • Previous TRIO participant
  • Jump Start participant
  • Other academic success factors
  • Students referred by faculty or staff

If you are unable to access the PACE RSVP, have questions, or want additional information about the PACE program, contact Kathy Peters at 319-273-3406 or

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process for selection of PACE participants?

All students who complete the PACE RSVP will be offered services. Typically, participation will begin at the start of the semester after the RSVP is submitted.

Does the PACE program accept students after the semester begins?

RSVPs submitted after the first full week of each semester will be reviewed and students meeting PACE criteria will be admitted if capacity is available.

I have been admitted to UNI for the spring semester. Am I eligible to join the PACE program?

Yes! We do accept new, first-semester UNI students into the PACE program for the spring semester. 

How will students benefit from participation in this program?
  • Building a sense of belonging through connections with other UNI students, faculty, and staff
  • Holistic academic advising experience
  • Access to individual and group financial literacy sessions (focused on budgeting, money management, credit and financial aid)
  • Interactive workshops on topics such as career exploration, student wellness, and graduate school
  • A transition opportunity for individuals who previously participated in pre-college and college-level TRIO programs
Is there a cost of participating in the PACE program?

There is no cost to participate.

How much time will be required for a participant in the PACE program?

Active participation is expected. There will be a limited number of required activities. However, the PACE Program will offer a variety of individual and group activities. To get the full benefits of participating in PACE, we encourage you to take advantage of all the  program has to offer.

What are the expectations for students who participate in this program?
  • Attend a group or individual PACE orientation session (early in the semester of starting the program)
  • Complete a pre-enrollment survey and a needs assessment
  • Individual meetings with PACE success team members throughout the semester
  • Complete early and mid-semester academic check-ins
  • Attend identified group activities addressing:
    • Financial literacy
    • Academic and career planning
    • Semester course planning and registration
How long will PACE participation continue?

PACE participation is planned for a student’s first two years at UNI. However, in consultation with the PACE success team, a student may continue to participate beyond the second year.

What resources are available for students who do not participate in the PACE program?

UNI offers a variety of services for students. If you need assistance exploring and getting connected with campus resources, you can work with an Office of Academic Advising Peer Advisor or your assigned academic advisor.

Please contact Kathy Peters at or 319-273-3406 with any additional questions.