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Updated: May 15, 2017

The Hawkeye State is moving from strength to strength. With the best high school graduation rate of any other state in the country, Iowa clearly takes education seriously. And recently, their economy has really begun to take off. Iowa’s unemployment rate traditionally tracks lower than the national average—at the beginning of the year it was a full 1.5 percent lower (3.3 percent versus the national 4.8 percent). In addition, the average amount of money each family brings in is much higher than in the rest of the country. While the U.S. median household income still hasn’t recovered fully from the Great Recession, Iowa’s median household income has bounced back and then some, posting a gain of over $6,000 per family!

So clearly, Iowa is a good place to look for a job. But what about going to college? Well, the two are closely connected. Where you go to college will affect where your networks will be, which will make it easier to find a job later on. Iowa, then, might be a strong option for where you want to connect with classmates, professors, and alumni who can help you boost your career.

And for the schools themselves—Iowa can boast some top-notch public institutions, as well as a very wide array of private colleges and universities. While we will discuss many of them at length in the rankings below, it has to be mentioned that Iowa City was named by UNESCO as an official “City of Literature” (the first-ever American city to receive the distinction) because it is home to the University of Iowa, where the renowned Iowa Writers’ Workshop is based. But creative writing isn’t the only relevant field for college students in Iowa. While the economy does include agriculture, manufacturing, biotech, finance, and insurance are all thriving sectors. There are lots of ways to get plugged in.

What are the best colleges in Iowa?

Now a word about methodology. Our rankings are based on academic quality, return on investment, and student body diversity. That way, you can know that not only will you be getting a quality education in a place where you can thrive, but also that your college education will likely be able to pay for itself in short order. All three of these factors are themselves comprised of numerous data points, including the average test scores for entering freshmen, institutional endowment size, tuition, and graduates’ expected early career salary. This data all comes from the National Center for Education Statistics and their IPEDS data set.

1

Grinnell College

College Choice Score: 100.00

Average Net Price: $24,896.00

School Website

Grinnell College

Overview

Grinnell College was founded in 1846 located in Grinnell, Iowa. The State of Iowa joined the Union just a few short months afterwards. It also has the honor of being one of the first schools to play intercollegiate football and baseball west of the Mississippi. In terms of location, you can find this school between Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. You have the best of both small-town atmosphere and the large city commerce opportunities when attending classes at one of their three campuses.

Features

Grinnell has about 1,700 students. While the school is small, it boasts of a 9:1 student-faculty ratio and almost 70% of its classes have less than 20 students. There is a student group for everyone here with over 200 possible places to join or you can enjoy the NCAA Division III athletics. Popular majors include:

  • Social Sciences
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics
  • Psychology
  • English Language and Literature

Notables

Grinnell is known for its strong social activism and their goal to pursue the highest economic diversity. This school makes sure that all students are served, including the low-income students. They are known for their high standards for education and their social responsibility. As such, it is one of the top feeder schools for the Peace Corps.

2

Coe College

College Choice Score: 73.98

Average Net Price: $22,121.00

School Website

Coe College

Overview

Coe College opened its doors in 1851 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This private 4-year liberal arts college is affiliated with the Presbyterian church. Coe College started with about 65 acres but they are expanding their programs, real estate programs and commitment to the community. Their commitment to the community and their students mean that almost 100% of report finding work or entering grad school within 6 months.

Features

Coe College operates on a 4-4-1 academic calendar. It has about 1,400 students. Student faculty ratio is 11:1. 80 student organizations including almost 10 different Greek life opportunities. However most of their Greek life is academic focused. They are one of the five Iowa schools that have a Phi Beta Kappa Chapter honor society. Their popular majors include:

  • Business: Management and Marketing
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Notables

Cedar Rapids is known for its 300 different manufacturing plants, dozen or so Fortune 500 companies. This provides many prospects for students to find internships or post-graduate work in the area. For those still in school or wanting to enjoy the community. Cedar Rapids also provides opportunities for shopping, the arts, and extreme sports for the area.

3

University of Iowa

College Choice Score: 73.71

Average Net Price: $14,315.00

School Website

University_of_Iowa

Overview

The University of Iowa is the oldest higher education organization in Iowa, 1847. Located in Iowa City, Iowa, it has become the flagship public research university that has 11 individual internal schools offering over 200 areas of study and 7 professional degrees. With many buildings on the historical register, UI has also committed to becoming green and a smoke-free campus. This opens students to alternative energies and future employment globally. Most people in the US know the university as a Big 10 conference within the NCAA Division I athletics.

Features

With over 500+ student organizations, including over 60 different Greek life groups, the University of Iowa always has something going on to support the 23,000 + undergraduate students studying on their 1880+ acres. Classes run on a semester schedule. Top majors include:

  • Business
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Leisure & Fitness
  • Social Sciences
  • Engineering

Notables

The University of Iowa is also known for several other items. Their graduate programs are very highly ranked nationally. Many undergraduates continue their graduate education at this school. The University of Iowa also is the first to develop the Master of Arts degree, the first state university to recognize the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Allied Union (in 1970).

4

Drake University

College Choice Score: 71.85

Average Net Price: $27,052.00

School Website

Drake University

Overview

Drake University is in Iowa’s Capital city, Des Moines. If you are looking for the University, be sure to ask locals for the area of Dogtown. It was founded in 1881 by the Disciples of Christ and a Civil War General Francis Marion Drake. The school took on the General’s name but the Disciples of Christ influence has faded since then. Since Drake’s founding, it has become a world class art and architecture location and their NCAA Division I sports teams.

Features

Drake offers 70 majors and 20 graduate degrees from 6 internal colleges. Over 3300 undergrads and 1,700 graduate students call this place home with a huge majority living on campus. Drake answered the call by supporting over 150 student organizations and over a dozen Greek life groups. This school is well attended on their 150 acres. Drake is known for the following majors:

  • Business
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Education

Notables

Drake’s educational programs and student life continually interact with the community. Its students and community service organizations contribute at legal clinics, local hospitals and various areas of need. This school might sound large, but it has a rich tradition around their Kissing Rock and Beautiful Bulldog Contests, and rich sports history.

5

Cornell College

College Choice Score: 70.79

Average Net Price: $23,492.00

School Website

Cornell College

Overview

Cornell College was established in Mount Vernon, Iowa, in 1853 by William W. Cornell (an iron tycoon). It has United Methodist Church affiliations but welcomes all faiths. In 1978, this institution began a learning system called One Course at a Time: a student takes one class (or block) for 18 days (3.5 weeks) that meets for up to 6 hours per day. At the end of those 18 days, the students gain a 4 day break to explore the area of Mount Vernon. This semester style has earned Cornell the right to have the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society on campus.

Features

Roughly 1,100 students attend Cornell and nearly 92 percent live on campus. They pursue over 30 undergrad programs and 10 pre-professional areas of study. The block system allows for a 11:1 student/faculty ratio and high levels of interaction with the faculty. Some popular majors include:

  • Psychology
  • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
  • Social Sciences

Notables

Cornell College has over 129 acres that include interesting buildings and traditions such as King Chapel, Old Sem, a 5,000-pound boulder and disc golf. King Chapel has a large 3,000 pipe organ that is still in use. Old Sem is one of the oldest buildings on campus and used for administrative purposes. I could elaborate on the 5,000-pound boulder and disc golf; however, it is something you must experience on your own.

6

Luther College

College Choice Score: 70.05

Average Net Price: $25,645.00

School Website

Luther_College

Overview

Luther College was founded in 1861 by Norwegian immigrants in Decorah, Iowa near the northeastern Iowa limestone bluffs. Luther College is named after Martin Luther, the person who started the Lutheran Church. Luther College is known for its academics and their 11:1 student faculty ratio. It is one of five Iowa schools that have a Phi Beta Kappa Institution. However, students are also very involved in the performing arts and in sports.

Features

Over 2,200 students call Luther College their educational home in the 200 acres of limestone bluffs and over 800 acres of natural areas for recreation and outdoor laboratories. Classes are pursued in a 4-1-4 academic term. Popular majors are:

  • Biological Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Music
  • Business
  • Elementary Education & Teaching

Notables

While Luther College might not have the most popular engineering program, it does have a wind turbine on campus that provides over 27% of the school’s electricity. As for the rest of the area, Decorah, Iowa is a small town that has integrated with the college and has a proud Norwegian heritage that it celebrates regularly. But there are plenty of activities to do in the area including visiting a meteor crash site.

7

Iowa State University

College Choice Score: 68.82

Average Net Price: $13,899.00

School Website

iowa state university

Overview

Founded in 1858 on 648 acres, Iowa State University has a long tradition of supporting rural Ames, Iowa, and larger area communities. In 1869, the first class started. In 1879, the world renown veterinary program began. In 1959, the focus began to include modern technology in addition to the strong sciences that shaped its earlier history. Iowa State University is proud of its contribution to society in introducing the first binary computer (ABC), a round hay baler, and the first tornado simulator. It is also well known for this NCAA Division I sports.

Features

There are over 36,000 undergraduate and graduates in attendance on a campus that has grown from 648 acres to well over 1900 acres that supports over 100 buildings and research labs. Classes have a 19:1 student faculty ratio but only 31% of the classes have less than 20 students. There are over 100 majors and 800 student organizations. Top majors include:

  • Business
  • Engineering
  • Biological & biomedical sciences
  • Education

Notables

Iowa state might be in the rural Ames, Iowa. However, Ames has all the benefits of both small and large towns. Plenty of activities in the arts, sports, and scientific pursuits occur indoors and outdoors. It is called the third healthiest city in America.

8

Central College

College Choice Score: 67.44

Average Net Price: $22,510.00

School Website

Central_College

Overview

Central College is in Pella, Iowa. A rural campus located approximately 40 minutes from Des Moines. It was originally founded as a Baptist institution in 1853. However, in 1916, the affiliation transferred to the Reformed Church of America. For four uninterrupted years, Central has earned the President Higher Education Community Service Honor roll with distinction for their investment in volunteering, service learning and civic engagement. Outside of academics and volunteering, the school is also known for its NCAA Division III athletics.

Features

Central has about 1,400 undergraduates on 169 acres. Students can join over 100 different student organizations and learn in 73 different programs. Class sizes are small with an average 20 students per class and a student faculty ratio of 12:1. Top programs include:

  • Biological and Biomedical sciences
  • Business
  • Social Sciences
  • Education
  • Psychology

Notables

Central College’s current slogan is Curiosity is Encouraged. The school has a long-standing relationship with rural Pella, Iowa. Over 76% of students complete an internship based on those connections that uphold that curiosity. So, while the area might not be as big as the neighbor, Des Moines, students still have a way to positively engage the community towards a better tomorrow.

9

Wartburg College

College Choice Score: 66.84

Average Net Price: $22,619.00

School Website

Wartburg College

Overview

In 1852, the Evangelical Lutheran Church founded Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. Wartburg is named after the Wartburg Castle located in Eisenach, German that was built in 1067. Why a castle? Martin Luther lived in this castle while he translated the New Testament into German and nailed the 95 Theses to the door. Like their name sake, Wartburg college looks to be a place where students can live, think and change the world.

Features

The campus has grown considerably since 1852. But educational pursuits continue with fervor. 1,400 students study on its 118 acres during the 4-4-1 academic calendar. Wartburg College prides itself over the 11:1 student faculty-ratio and the average class size of 18. The popular programs at this school are:

  • Business Administration
  • Biology
  • Journalism and Communication
  • Elementary Education
  • Music Education

Notables

Just like their namesake, Wartburg has become a crucible for students to experience the world through student organizations and programs. The academic programs in social work (oldest program in Iowa) and music therapy (only private college in Iowa offering it) and the student organization The Wartburg Alliance (LGBTQIA) organization that is one of the most active on campus, are just examples of the college commitment to serve the community.

10

Graceland University-Lamoni

College Choice Score: 65.88

Average Net Price: $17,969.00

School Website

Graceland University

Overview

Graceland University is a private 4-year university in Lamoni, Iowa – just a short one hour drive from Des Moines in southern Iowa. It was founded in 1895 by the Community of Christ for educational purposes. Today, it is situated on 170 acres with an Olympic quality outdoor track, fantastic soccer complex and a massive performing arts center called Shaw Center. Princeton Review® has called this school the Best in the Midwest since 2012.

Features

Graceland University has over 950 students in attendance in Lamoni. Another 900 students attend its various undergraduate and graduate programs via online or satellite locations. There are over 40 academic programs to choose from with over 40 student clubs and organizations to get involved in. Popular majors include:

  • Health Professions
  • Education
  • Business
  • Parks, Recreation, Leisure and Fitness Studies
  • Psychology

Notables

The nursing program began at this school in 1910. In 1917, the school was recognized as a junior college. In 1960, Graceland developed into a 4-year institution. In 2000, The school became Graceland University as we know it today. This commitment to education assisted the school to develop into Graceland University. When you are onsite, you need to see the Shaw center. It holds a 625-seat auditorium, 100-seat recital hall, a customizable black box theater, and an outdoor amphitheatre.

11

University of Northern Iowa

College Choice Score: 64.19

Average Net Price: $14,026.00

School Website

University of Northern Iowa

Overview

In 1866, the property that now houses the University of Iowa was an orphans home designed to take in the orphans from the Civil War. Once the orphans were old enough, the community designed a new need for the property – to train teachers. Since then, the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, has become the #1 teacher education program in Iowa and consistently name the Best in the Midwest by the Princeton Review®.

Features

On the 160-acre property, there are over 10,000 undergraduate students studying over 160 different programs. 99% of the classes are taught by a faculty member. They have a 17:1 student faculty ratio. When you are not studying, there are over 250 different student organizations to experience and of course enjoy the Cedar Falls community. Popular majors are:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Social Sciences
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Notables

It might look like a huge University. But you can walk it in 10 minutes from end to end. So even though you are part of a large institution, it is very easy to be involved both academically, artistically, and via sports. University of Northern Iowa is part of the NCAA Division I sports. So, you have the capability of experiencing it all at this suburban campus.

12

Morningside College

College Choice Score: 60.66

Average Net Price: $20,483.00

School Website

Morningside College

Overview

In 1894, The United Methodist Church founded Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. The campus resides on 68 acres in a suburban environment near the western border of Iowa. Most of the campus uses historical buildings. So, it is not surprising that nearly all of them are on the National Register of Historic places.

Features

Morningside College has about 1,300 full-time students in attendance. There are over 40 different student organizations to join and 5 Greek groups. Students typically are in smaller classes. The school is proud of their 13:1 student-faculty ratio. The predominant majors include:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Health Professions
  • Psychology

Notables

Sioux City, Iowa, is known as one of the places that Louis and Clark stopped when they were traveling through the wilderness. Since that adventure, residents and visitors have been embarking on their own excursions experiencing the many cultural activities available in the area: hockey, music festivals, museums, etc. Forbes® calls it one of the best places for business and careers. This is probably why most undergraduate students are either employed or starting graduate courses within six months of graduation.

13

Simpson College

College Choice Score: 59.78

Average Net Price: $21,229.00

School Website

Simpson_College

Overview

In 1860, United Methodist Church members founded Simpson College under the tutelage of Minister Matthew Simpson. Simpson College is in Indianola, Iowa which is 12 miles south of Des Moines. Their music program was initiated in 1947. Since then Simpson College has joined the NCAA Division III athletics and has the only student-run, undergraduate opera program that conducts two performances every year.

Features

Currently, Simpson College operates on a 4-4-1 academic schedule with over 1,400 fulltime students, working with professors on a 12:1 student – faculty ratio. There are over 80 programs to study as well as hundreds of campus activities and programs to enjoy. Popular majors are:

  • Business & Commerce
  • Criminal Justice
  • Elementary Education & Teaching
  • Computer and Informational Sciences

Notables

Minister Matthew Simpson has another notable position in history. He did the Eulogy for President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral in 1865. Another notable person in the history of the college is George Washington Carver. He started his higher education pursuits at this school before he transferred to another university. But even with this serious history, there are some fun elements of the school as well. They have very friendly squirrels that will join you for lunch and a 17-foot tall skeleton of a Giraffe in the Carver Science Center.

14

Dordt College

College Choice Score: 59.62

Average Net Price: $24,187.00

School Website

Dordt_College2

Overview

In 1953, the Christian Reformed Church started a junior college for teachers to provide educated professionals for local day schools at a 150-acre former mink farm in Sioux Center, Iowa. When the school became a 4-year institution in 1965, the name changed to what is now called Dordt College. This school is located 45 miles north of Sioux City, Iowa and 55 miles south of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Dordt is named after the Reformed Synod (an assembly or council meeting of religious or church delegates) that began in 1618 in Dordrecht, Netherlands.

Features

Currently, Dordt College has just under 1,500 students. Nearly 90% of students live on campus and study over 90 various programs. The average class size is 20 students with a student-faculty ratio of 13:1. Popular majors include:

  • Education
  • Business
  • Engineering
  • Agriculture
  • Nursing

Notables

Sioux Center, Iowa, is a rural community. While they have some cultural activities, it is a very small town. Dordt college has compensated for the cultural connections by building a fantastic campus center where 40 different student organizations can meet, socialize and plan events. In the basement, the college installed a bowling alley. The college also competes in the NAIA athletic conference.

15

Mount Mercy University

College Choice Score: 59.30

Average Net Price: $20,163.00

School Website

Mount Mercy University

Overview

Mount Mercy was founded in 1928 by the Sisters of Mercy in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as a two-year college for women. It became a 4-year institution in 1957 and offered its first 4-year degree in 1959. In 1969, Mount Mercy became co-educational. In 2010, Mount Mercy College was renamed as Mount Mercy University. Today, over 1,800 students attend at this 60+ acre campus pursuing undergraduate and graduate education.

Features

Mount Mercy University was founded on five basic critical concerns: earth, immigration, nonviolence, racism and women. Today, there are over 45 distinct undergraduate programs to study and just over 1500 undergraduate students. Student-faculty ratio is 13:1. 56% percent of the student population live off campus and a good portion of these take advantage of online coursework. Popular majors are:

  • Nursing
  • Business
  • Accounting
  • Criminal Justice
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Notables

Sisters of Mercy was founded in 1831 in Dublin, Ireland by Catherine McAuley to fulfill a desperate need to care and educate women and children in need to assist with getting a better life as well as educating the next generation of the family. Cedar Rapids, Iowa has grown tremendously since 1928, but the impact of the Sisters of Mercy has assisted with making it the #1 safest place to live with the highest rating for the quality of life.

16

Clarke University

College Choice Score: 58.56

Average Net Price: $23,407.00

School Website

Clarke_University

Overview

Clark University is home to Dubuque, Iowa. A charming small-town environment with access to much larger metro amenities. Clark University sits on a hill near the Mississippi River in east Iowa. Just cross the Mississippi, and you are in Illinois or Wisconsin. Clarke University was founded in 1843 by Mary Frances Clarke, Foundress of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM). It is the only BVM university in the United States. Since then the college, now university, has grown tremendously along with the town of Dubuque. Each has contributed the strength of the community in this area.

Features

1,075 students have chosen Clarke University as their undergraduate institution. Nearly 52% live on the 55-acre campus and there is a 11:1 ratio between student and faculty.

  • Nursing
  • Psychology
  • Accounting & business
  • Education
  • Athletic training

Notables

Clarke University is known for their charging, unfailing spirit. When half the campus burnt down in a fire, the community chose to rebuild, expand and continue to educate the next generation. Mary Frances Clark called teaching an art. The whole goal was to create an environment for students to think for themselves without teaching in the traditional manner.

17

Northwestern College

College Choice Score: 58.05

Average Net Price: $21,390.00

School Website

Northwestern_College2

Overview

Northwestern College was founded in 1882 in Orange City, Iowa, as a place to prepare students for college and ultimately ministry under the Reformed Church guidelines. In 1928, it became a junior college. In 1960, it became a 4-year college. Shortly thereafter, the pre-college academy portion of the school closed.

Features

Since 1960, Northwestern College has grown. There are 1,200 students in attendance through on campus and online campus undergraduate and graduate programs. For those who choose the on-campus option, 89% of these students choose to live on campus. There are 80 academic programs and 50 student organizations that include intermural opportunities. The student faculty ratio is 11:1 and almost 70% of the classes have 20 or less students. Popular majors are:

  • Business Administration and Management
  • Elementary Education and Teaching
  • Nursing
  • Biology & Biological Sciences
  • Kinesiology & Exercise Science

Notables

Orange City, Iowa is a rural community of about 6,000 people on the Western edge of Iowa. They are known for their tulip festival in May. As you might think, the city has a strong Dutch ancestry. The City at one point was known as Holland, in honor of the Dutch royalty.

18

Briar Cliff University

College Choice Score: 57.82

Average Net Price: $19,271.00

School Website

Briar Cliff University

Overview

In 1929, Briar Cliff University was founded as a Catholic college for women just outside Sioux City, Iowa, on about 70 acres. In 1937, it became a co-ed 4-year institution. In 1979, they added an adult education program. In 2001, Briar Cliff University added a Master’s program and Briar Cliff officially became a university. Today, the campus has expanded to include another small campus in Mayfair for further graduate degree education access.

Features

Briar Cliff University main campus has over 1,300 students in attendance. The student faculty ratio is 12:1. This is a commuter university. Over 50% of the undergraduates live off campus. However, even with so many living off campus, there are still 30 student organizations to join and athletic events to attend. Popular majors at this school are:

  • Health Professions
  • Business
  • Education
  • Parks, Recreation, Leisure and Fitness Studies
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Notables

Forbes ® calls Sioux City, Iowa one of the best places for your career. There are plenty of places to explore this prairie area and cultural excursions to enjoy. Louis and Clark came through here on their adventure through the original wilderness. Students regularly explore the many wonderful activities surrounding Sioux City.

19

Buena Vista University

College Choice Score: 57.03

Average Net Price: $19,264.00

School Website

Buena Vista University

Overview

In 2891, the Presbyterian Church founded the Buena Vista College. In 1995, it was renamed Buena Vista University. Buena Vista is located by the beautiful natural 60-acre Storm Lake, in Storm Lake, Iowa. This small and the University have grown up together. Half the buildings on main street are businesses, the others are connected to the University. The goal of this institution is to provide education opportunities where the students need it. So, in addition to the main campus, they have 16 satellite locations at community colleges throughout Iowa.

Features

At the main campus, there are about 860 fulltime students. There are over 1,300 students registered at various satellite locations. They have a student faculty ratio of 9:1 over 69% of the classes have less than 20 students. Popular Majors are:

  • Business
  • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
  • Education
  • Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies
  • Visual & Performing Arts.

Notables

Buena Vista University is the first university to go completely wireless in 2000. They gave the entire main campus community laptops to encourage learning in such a non-traditional fashion. This is a huge volunteering school. Within the last year, they have volunteered over 37,000 service hours.

20

University of Dubuque

College Choice Score: 55.56

Average Net Price: $21,265.00

School Website

University of Dubuque

Overview

The University of Dubuque was founded in 1852. It is commonly referred to as UD (“You Dee”) by locals and campus community. This university has a main campus of about 77 acres. The City of Dubuque, Iowa, is a great environment that fosters a small-town environment while providing access to amenities that you typically find in a much larger town. The city sits just to west of the Mississippi river, if you cross here, you could find yourself in Illinois or Wisconsin in a matter of minutes.

Features

There are over 1,800 undergraduate students enrolled at the main campus. While the student faculty ratio is about 14:1, over 77% of the classes have less than 20 students. There are plenty of student activities including Greek Life and athletics to keep the students engaged outside of the classroom. Popular majors at this institution are:

  • Nursing
  • Aviation & Professional Pilot
  • Business
  • Teacher Education
  • Computer Graphics & Interactive Media (CGIM)

Notables

University of Dubuque cares about its campus community. They offer childcare services for children throughout the day and early evening so that faculty, staff and students alike can pursue their own education while not worrying about finding childcare or a babysitter.

21

Loras College

College Choice Score: 55.39

Average Net Price: $20,018.00

School Website

Loras_College

Overview

Loras College is in Dubuque, Iowa. A small town with fantastic large city amenities just to the west of the Mississippi River. Loras was founded in 1839 by Reverend Bishop Mathias Loras to educate new Catholic Priests. Since 1839, it has been known by many different names. But in 1939, the name Loras College was the final answer. In 1971, Loras became co-ed.

Features

Today, there are about 1,600 students that attend this catholic college on 65 acres. There are over 40 various undergraduate areas of study. And well over 150 student organizations and intermural sports for students to join. There is some Greek life available. However, most of these organizations are educationally focused rather than Hollywood’s depicted fun Greek life. Popular majors at this school are:

  • Marketing & Marketing Management
  • Psychology
  • Biology & Biological Sciences
  • Finances
  • Elementary Education and Teaching.

Notables

According to Money Magazine®, Loras College is the #8 best college in Iowa. Part of that designation could be from statistics like 96% of the 2015 graduating class was able to find employment or continued with graduate work within a year of graduation. Or it could be that the student’s commitment to serving others has earned Loras the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll designation since 2008, “with distinction” since 2009.

22

Upper Iowa University

College Choice Score: 54.66

Average Net Price: $17,513.00

School Website

Upper_Iowa_University

Overview

In 1854, Elisabeth Alexander proposed the idea of a college and the part of her family donated the initial money and acreage to start the school. In 1857, classes begin but it wasn’t until 1858 when the school was known as the Upper Iowa University. Its original affiliation was with the United Methodist Church. Since then Upper Iowa University (UIU) has expanded to over 30 distinct avenues of education including the main campus, online curriculum and international satellite locations serving over 5,400 students annually. Not bad for a town of 1,500 people.

Features

As for the local Fayette campus, there are just over 700 students at this location. Just 13% of the total students served. But of that 13% there is a student faculty ratio of 14:1 and over 40 different groups and activities for the students to get involved in. This University serves a need by providing a learning environment for over 40 different degrees on the 100-acre campus. The most popular programs are:

  • Elementary Education & Teaching
  • Marketing
  • Natural Resources & Conservation

Notables

While over 68 of the total population are non-traditional students, this small university is mighty. Of all the noted alumni, two stand out. One was one of the founders of Goodwill. The other was the founder of Target, a Fortune 500 company. UIU is also recognized for being a military friendly University that can offer credit for military training so military personnel does not have redo hours of education.

23

Saint Ambrose University

College Choice Score: 52.26

Average Net Price: $24,409.00

School Website

Saint Ambrose University

Overview

Saint Ambrose University was founded in 1882 in Davenport, Iowa as a seminary and school of commerce. In 1968, the University became co-ed. The University is named after St. Ambrose, an early church father in 374 A.D. It is this tradition of honoring education and serving others that serves as the tenants of current day Saint Ambrose University life. Saint Ambrose offers classes in Davenport, Rock Island, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Muscatine, Ottumwa, and Waterloo.

Features

Saint Ambrose offers over 60 undergraduate majors, 13 master’s and 3 doctoral programs. Students here appreciate the 11:1 Student-faculty ratio and over 64% live in academic housing on the 118 acres in Davenport, Iowa. There are numerous student organizations and plenty of volunteering opportunities. Ambrose students are known for over 70,000 service hours for local projects. Popular majors are:

  • Business
  • Health Professions
  • Psychology
  • Education
  • Biological & Biomedical Sciences

Notables

Davenport is the third largest city in Iowa with over 100,000 people living there just east of the Mississippi River. An interesting Tidbit is that this is the only place in the entire run of the Mississippi River that runs East to West. During the winter months, the tradition is to watch the eagles fly in the area. If you don’t like bird watching, there is skating, trails and great shopping in the area as well.

24

Grand View University

College Choice Score: 49.71

Average Net Price: $18,276.00

School Website

Grand View University

Overview

Planning for Grand View University began in 1896 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Des Moines, Iowa. Since then, Grand View has provided the needs for the community as a high school academy, junior college and a four-year institution. In 2008, graduate programs were added and the school renamed itself to Grand View University. The name might sound like a large campus, but it sits on 25 acres.

Features

If you count the graduate programs, there are over 2,200 students on campus. But only 1,900 are undergraduates pursuing one of 50 or so programs. Even with such a small campus size, the school has over 40 different clubs and organizations for student involvement. In the classroom, the average class size is 16 students with a 14:1 Student-faculty ratio. Popular programs are:

  • Business
  • Health Professions
  • Education
  • Parks, recreation, Leisure and Fitness
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Notables

Grand View has an honored history that spans over a century. Bud the Bird, Dance Marathons and “the Rock” are just some of the time-honored memories. But students are making their own mark as well. In 2004, the first fifth-generation student began at Grand View – a direct descendant of one of the founding faculty. All alumni have found employment or additional education within six months of graduation.

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William Penn University

College Choice Score: 48.14

Average Net Price: $19,157.00

School Website

William Penn University

Overview

The Quakers founded William Penn University in Oskaloosa, Iowa in 1873 under the name Penn College. In 1933, the name was changed to William Penn College. In 2000, the name changed again to William Penn University. The Quakers have been known for their unique view of the world. The first graduate was a woman named Linda Ninde in 1875. They opened their doors to poor farmers, Japanese Americans after WWII and those who probably would be turned away from other universities.

Features

Today, this strength to welcome all walks of life lives on. There are over 1,500 students attending to study over 60 different programs and participating in over 40 different student life groups. Popular majors include:

  • Business
  • Elementary Education
  • Liberal Arts and Studies
  • Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies
  • Psychology

Notables

Oskaloosa, Iowa is in the south-eastern part of Iowa. It is a small town but it only an hour from Des Moines. In town, you can see the town square, golf courses, nearby lake offer a large amount of recreational opportunities. The input from the various cultures and refined by the Quaker beliefs have cemented a permanent relationship with the community and their businesses.

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