The best universities in Iowa will help you gain competitive skills to succeed in your career. Studying in Iowa will open up a wide range of possibilities. The state’s reputation for academic excellence precedes itself locally and internationally. Given its world-class education system, you will receive the value of the education you need to succeed.
In your college search, you’ll be looking for the perfect size university, a vibrant, friendly campus, and a range of student activities. The best universities in Iowa offer popular programs, from bachelor’s programs in political science to doctoral programs in liberal arts.
The breadth and diversity the state offers in terms of education are unmatched. We curated a list of the best colleges in Iowa to help you narrow your options. You will find the top 10 universities in Iowa, including admission requirements and job opportunities. We also tell you how Iowa universities ranked in the US.
What Are the Best Universities in Iowa?
The best universities in Iowa are Iowa University, University of Iowa, Clarke University, Droidt University, and the University of Northern Iowa. Other top universities in Iowa are Mount Mercy University, Briar University, University of Dubuque, and Graceland University.
You can always enroll in an accredited college degree program if you’re looking for an associate degree. Some of the best colleges in Iowa are Loras College, Simpson College, Morningside College, Cornell College, and Coe College.
How Many Universities Are in Iowa?
There are 56 public universities in Iowa, according to the National Center of Education Statistics. The state is also home to 34 non-profit four-year educational institutions. These include two doctoral research universities, eight graduate schools, and 14 baccalaureate institutions that provide endless opportunities on campus and online.
What Are the Biggest Universities in Iowa?
The biggest universities are the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, Des Moines Area Community College, Kirkwood Community College, and the University of Northern Iowa. Other big universities are Eastern Iowa Community College, Iowa Western Community College, Western Iowa Tech Community College, Hawkeye Community College, and Drake University.
Largest Iowa Universities by Enrollment
- Iowa State University | 31,822
- University of Iowa | 30,318
- Des Moines Area Community College | 23,051
- Kirkwood Community College | 12,277
- University of Northern Iowa | 9,507
Iowa University Rankings: What Are the Top 10 Universities in Iowa?
|1||Drake University||Des Moines||78%|
|2||Iowa State University||Ames||76%|
|3||University of Iowa||Iowa City||74%|
|5||University of Northern Iowa||Cedar Falls||69%|
|6||Mount Mercy University||Cedar Rapids||60%|
|7||Briar Cliff University||Sioux City||56%|
|10||University of Dubuque||Dubuque||40%|
How We Defined Iowa University Rankings
Our ranking of the 10 best Iowa universities is based on the graduation rates of top schools in the state, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). In coming up with our list of 10 Iowa universities, we also consulted rankings conducted by US News & World Report and Times Higher Education, which you can reference in the expanded list below.
The Best Colleges and Universities in Iowa, Explained
The best colleges and universities in Iowa provide students with a top-notch education. On these learning platforms, you will find high-quality education programs that set you apart from other university graduates. Below we feature the top 10 universities’ graduation rates, acceptance rate, post-grad median salary, student population, and US News National Ranking.
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Iowa University Admission Requirements
The admission requirements to attend a university in Iowa are official high school transcripts, letters of recommendation, an application fee, test scores, and a statement of purpose. The Iowa university admission requirements differ from one campus to another. The requirements are also dependent on the degree option you selected.
Admission Requirements for Universities in Iowa
- Official high school transcripts
- Test scores
- Application fee
- Writing sample
- Statement of purpose
How to Apply to Iowa Universities
You can apply to Iowa universities directly on the official website. Schools offer a direct application on the degree program they are offering. Most students visit the official school website to apply for a degree program. This is to determine the exact degree requirements for one to gain admission.
Iowa Universities Admissions Process
- Visit the official university’s website.
- Search for the desired degree program.
- Select apply and start filling out the online application form.
- Provide the required documents.
- Pay the application fee.
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Why Study in Iowa?
You should study in Iowa because of the cost of living, natural environment, and educational opportunities. Find out more details below on why studying in Iowa is an excellent choice for college and university students.
Cost of Living
According to PayScale, the cost of living in Des Moines in Iowa is 10 percent less than the national average. To maintain your standard of living in the state, you will need at least $24,931 per year. The median rent coverage is $897, and the energy bill is $165 each month.
Iowa’s serene environment will provide a relaxing environment for you to focus on your studies. The area has tall grass, dense forest, and wetlands. Iowa State University is well-known for its beautiful campus and stunning displays of autumn leaves.
There are many student opportunities in Iowa. You can pursue an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, doctorate degree, or professional development certificate program in the state. Some universities offer students undergraduate to graduate degree programs.
More Iowa University Rankings: What Other Universities Are the Best in Iowa?
Additional Iowa university rankings below will help you find the best school for your specific needs. Other best universities in Iowa are the University of Iowa, Drake University, and Upper Iowa University. Iowa colleges are also highly reputable, such as Grinnell College, Coe College, and Cornell College.
Best Bachelor’s Degrees
Top Iowa Universities by Major
To further narrow your list of the best colleges in Iowa, we curated the following section to help you select the best school by major. These are major degree programs that lead to in-demand careers in the state. Find the best universities in Iowa for computer science, nursing, engineering, business, and marketing.
Tuition Costs for Iowa Universities
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the tuition costs for public in-state universities are $19,809. For out-of-state students, the tuition and required fees cost $27,346. A public university costs much less compared to private universities. If you attend a private university, you will pay a total tuition fee of $44,850.
Most Affordable Universities in Iowa
- Simpson College | Tuition: $425/Credit. You can take advantage of the multiple financial payment options offered by the school to advance your education. The total comprehensive fee for undergraduate students is $54,762. This fee does not include books, transport, and personal costs.
- Morningside College | Tuition: $610/Credit. You can save a significant amount of money by attending Morningside College. If you are a full-time student, you qualify to receive full funding from the campus. You can also apply for scholarships and federal grants to further reduce tuition fees.
- Northwestern College | Tuition: $730/Credit. One hundred percent of full-time undergraduate students from Northwestern College receive financial aid. The campus offers financial support to learners depending on their family income. The higher your family income, the less financial aid you will receive.
- University of Northern Iowa | Tuition: $648/Credit. The school gives a tuition rate of $7,780 for 12 credits, we divided this by 12 to give you an average per credit rate. This school is one of the most affordable and accessible institutions in Iowa. The tuition fee depends on the academic credits you select.
- Clarke University | Tuition: $1,190/Credit. You can attend Clarke University’s degree program as a full-time residential student by paying a tuition fee of $18,450 per semester. A full academic year will cost $36,900.
How to Pay for Chosen School Path
Financial Aid Options for the Best Universities in Iowa
Financial aid options for the best universities in Iowa are federal grants, private loans, work-study programs, and public student loans. Find out which is the most suitable for your degree program below.
Financial Aid for Iowa Universities: A Summary
- Federal grants. A federal grant is a government fund offered to learners based on their financial needs. These funds do not require repayment. You can also find grants from schools, state governments, colleges, or non-profit organizations.
- Private student loans. These are funds offered by private organizations, typically banks. Credit unions and state-based organizations also offer private loans. You should determine the interest rate of your loan before you commit. Generally, private student loans are more expensive than federal loans.
- Work-study programs. You can pay for your degree program comfortably through a work-study program. These are programs designed for students to study while working on the campus. It provides them with an opportunity to pay their tuition and gain experience before graduation.
- GI Bill benefits. Veterans do not need to worry about the high tuition fees of universities and colleges. Multiple schools allow veterans to pay tuition fees using GI bill benefits. It’s an excellent way to offload the tuition burden. Confirm with the admissions office or check the university’s website.
- Scholarship. You can apply for a scholarship from your university or any other organization. Scholarships are excellent for covering fees since they do not require repayment. You can use your scholarship to cover your tuition fees partially or fully.
Iowa University Eligibility Requirements: Who Qualifies for Financial Aid at Iowa Universities?
- Students enrolled in an eligible degree program
- Students with intellectual disabilities
- Students in financial need
- High-achieving students
- US citizens
Private Iowa Universities With Good Financial Aid
- Southeastern Community College. To be eligible for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) financial aid, you must demonstrate financial needs, provide a high school diploma, enroll in an eligible program, and be a US citizen.
- Des Moines Area Community College. You can complete the Free Application for Federal Students Aid online to jumpstart the process. The form will provide access to multiple funding options to cater to your tuition fees. To determine your eligibility, you can look through the financial aid checklist on the website.
- Kirkwood Community College. This community college offers financial aid options to US and non-US citizens. You can enroll as long as you have a high school diploma or a degree. You should note that each financial aid option features different qualifications. Check the requirements on the school’s official website.
Universities in Iowa That Provide Financial Aid to Out-of-State Students
- University of Iowa. If you are not a permanent resident or US citizen, you can take advantage of this university’s financial aid offerings. You should look into the International Distinction Education Award and Collegiate and Departmental Scholarships.
- Northwestern College. Northwestern College offers grants and donor scholarships. The international grant ranges from $5,000 and $15,000 each year, whereas the donor scholarship is awarded to students based on merit and need.
- Northeast Iowa Community College. To qualify for financial aid, you must complete the admission application. You must also provide high school transcripts, financial statements, a health insurance form, and TOEFL test scores.
How to Apply For Financial Aid and Scholarships for Iowa State Universities
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) during your application process.
- Review your student aid report.
- Research scholarship opportunities offered by the university or state.
- Complete the online application.
- Review your tuition fees and make necessary payments before the deadline.
Demographics of Universities in Iowa
We feature the demographics of universities in Iowa to help you get a better sense of the student life on campus and in the state. These diverse statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics are essential for out-of-state and international learners.
Diversity Statistics for Universities in Iowa
- White: 79.2%
- Black: 6.1%
- Hispanic: 8.1%
- Asian: 3.3%
- Pacific Islander: 0.2%
- American Indian: 0.5%
- Two or More Races: 2.8%
Iowa Employment Outlook for University Students
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment rate in Iowa is increasing. From January 2022 to April 2022, employment in Iowa shows a steady increase. The unemployment rate lowered by 0.7 percent.
Iowa has job opportunities in mining and logging, construction, manufacturing, trade and transportation, information, and financial activities. There are also several opportunities in business services, education, leisure, and government.
5 In-Demand Iowa Jobs
Below, we look into the top five in-demand Iowa jobs to help you narrow your search. You will find pertinent information about the job positions, such as average salaries, employment, overall job growth, and the best Iowa university program to lead you to the career path.
Is a University in Iowa Right for You?
Yes, a university in Iowa is right for you. Numerous universities offer a wide range of degree programs to cater to student needs. You can choose to study on campus or online in most universities. Some campuses offer students flexible hybrid programs to complete their degrees.
Iowa’s universities offer various high-quality education pathways for its students. Whichever university or college you select from this guide. You will receive a quality education.
Universities in Iowa also feature supportive student communities and cultural activities. This is an important factor to consider as an international student. You will receive the guidance and support you require to complete the degree program you’ve selected successfully.
Last but not least, universities in Iowa charge a relatively lower tuition cost than other states. You will also enjoy a lower cost of living in Iowa. The cost of housing and food is much more affordable in Iowa compared to a city like New York.
How to Get Into the Best Colleges and Universities
Best Universities in Iowa FAQ
The most prestigious university in Iowa is Iowa State University. This is followed by the University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa, Maharishi International University, and Grinnell College. Other popular universities in Iowa are Drake University, Luther College, Cornell College, and Wartburg College.
University of Iowa’s most popular majors are exercise science and kinesiology, finance, psychology, organizational leadership, marketing, and management sciences and quantitative methods.
You need a minimum GPA score of 3.0 to get into a university in Iowa. However, universities provide different GPA scores for different programs. You should check the school’s official website to determine the minimum GPA score for admission.
The largest university in Iowa is Iowa State University. The campus records a high student enrollment of 30,708 students in 2021. The school has 25,808 undergraduate students, 4,264 graduates, and 636 professional study students.
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