Iowa’s higher education system consists of three public universities and several community colleges, private liberal arts colleges, and universities. The University of Iowa is the oldest public university in the state and the largest of the three, with a student enrollment of 29,810. Iowa State University follows closely behind, with a student population of 29,611. Lastly, the University of Northern Iowa has a student body of 13,168. Private schools in Iowa are plentiful and varied, ranging from small liberal arts colleges such as Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, to the Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque.
The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, governs Iowa’s three public universities through policy-making, coordination, and oversight. The Board’s responsibilities include maintaining the educational quality, accessibility, and public service activities of these universities. The Board also creates and supports economic development in Iowa by partnering with both the public and private sectors. According to a report developed by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission, improving college attainment levels is critical for the growth of Iowa’s economy. It also notes that Iowa students graduate with some of the highest student loan debt levels, averaging $28,883. Iowa’s higher education organizations will be working to tackle these issues, along with others.
In respect to online education, Iowa learners have several options. For instance, Iowa State University offers a number of master’s degrees online, and it is ranked by U.S. News & World Report for its online graduate programs in information technology, education, and engineering. The University of Iowa offers both online undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as certificates, in areas such as social work, business administration, nursing, and public health. It is ranked by U.S News for its online bachelor’s degree programs and graduate education programs.
Below, we provide you with a ranked list of the best online colleges in Iowa. We’ve determined these rankings based on the following attributes:
- total part-time to full-time faculty ratio
- financial aid rate
- acceptance rate
- retention rate
- graduation rate
- years accredited
- default rate
- job placement rate
Note that schools with fewer than half of these points were not ranked in order to be fair to the other schools with most of the above information available.
Full-time to Part-time Faculty
Financial Aid Rate
Job Placement Rate
|1||Iowa State University||5.89 to 1||72%||81%||88%||68%||96||4%||NA|
|2||University of Northern Iowa||3.32 to 1||59%||77%||82%||67%||99||4%||NA|
|3||Graceland University-Lamoni||1.76 to 1||100%||50%||68%||51%||92||6%||NA|
|4||Dordt College||1.7 to 1||100%||80%||81%||66%||43||3%||NA|
|5||Waldorf College||15.66 to 1||100%||49%||37%||45%||64||7%||87%|
|6||Briar Cliff University||1.97 to 1||99%||NA||69%||45%||67||8%||NA|
|7||Mercy College of Health Sciences||0.81 to 1||75%||55%||50%||50%||13||5%||NA|
|8||AIB College of Business||0.51 to 1||69%||58%||65%||50%||26||9%||NA|
|9||Des Moines Area Community College||67.4 to 1||8%||NA||NA||42%||38||15%||NA|
|10||Iowa Central Community College||0.28 to 1||48%||NA||55%||39%||38||20%||NA|
|11||Kirkwood Community College||0.42 to 1||14%||NA||49%||22%||42||15%||NA|
|12||Ashford University-Iowa||0.02 to 1||10%||90%||42%||22%||62||20%||NA|
|13||Eastern Iowa Community College District||0.26 to 1||15%||NA||NA||26%||29||15%||NA|
|14||Western Iowa Tech Community College||0.26 to 1||15%||NA||57%||22%||35||19%||NA|