Iowa’s Best Community Colleges of 2021

The best community colleges provide an effective springboard into higher education, offering students high-quality two-year degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. The top-rated community colleges in Iowa offer a broad selection of associate’s degrees, affordable tuition rates, and strong partnerships with public four-year schools so that students can easily transfer their credits into accredited bachelor’s degree programs.

Iowa’s Best Community Colleges of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Iowa

Iowa’s largest public university, Iowa State University, serves over 30,000 students and offers extra flexibility for those pursuing a graduate-level degree or certificate through online and distance learning opportunities in more than 50 academic fields. Additionally, the home of the Hawkeyes, the University of Iowa, is also home to some of the nation’s top programs in literature, philosophy, and law. This school has also been at the forefront of higher education, starting the nation’s first co-educational medical school, as well as being the first public school to grant a law degree to a woman, Mary B. Hickey Wilkinson, in 1873.

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For students hoping to obtain their degrees at a smaller school, Iowa offers over 40 options to choose from, with tuition ranging from $4,000 at Indian Hills Community College up to $52,000 for an academic year at Grinnell College. Furthermore, nearly half of the schools in Iowa are religiously affiliated.

Iowa is often recognized for its agriculture as it produces the most pork and corn in the nation. Equally noteworthy is Iowa’s wealth of one-of-a-kind roadside attractions. From the largest wooden nickel, to the crookedest street, to the Grotto of Redemption, The Hawkeye State is full of wonders. Students in search of curiosities and oddities while earning a degree can attend one of Iowa’s public or private colleges.

Whether you’re looking to earn your associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, Iowa offers many higher education institutes to choose from. Discover more about Iowa’s top programs and career paths.


What are Iowa’s Colleges & Universities?

Iowa’s Best Overall


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How do we determine Iowa's best community colleges?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.


We’ve identified 15 community colleges in Iowa. The following list shows the best community colleges in the state.

Best Community Colleges in Iowa

  1. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Indian Hills Community College known for?

    Indian Hills Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Nursing
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Northeast Iowa Community College known for?

    Northeast Iowa Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  3. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Southwestern Community College known for?

    Southwestern Community College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. #4

    Kirkwood Community College

    Cedar Rapids , IA

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    9K

    What is Kirkwood Community College known for?

    Kirkwood Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Nursing
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Engineering
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. #5

    Southeastern Community College

    West Burlington , IA

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Southeastern Community College known for?

    Southeastern Community College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  6. Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Ellsworth Community College known for?

    Ellsworth Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Literature
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  7. Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    14K

    What is Des Moines Area Community College known for?

    Des Moines Area Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  8. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Iowa Central Community College known for?

    Iowa Central Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • Social Work
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  9. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Western Iowa Tech Community College known for?

    Western Iowa Tech Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications
    REQUEST INFO
  10. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    25%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Hawkeye Community College known for?

    Hawkeye Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  11. #11

    Marshalltown Community College

    Marshalltown , IA

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Marshalltown Community College known for?

    Marshalltown Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    REQUEST INFO
  12. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    2K

    What is North Iowa Area Community College known for?

    North Iowa Area Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Social Work
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  13. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    5K

    What is Eastern Iowa Community Colleges known for?

    Eastern Iowa Community Colleges’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  14. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Northwest Iowa Community College known for?

    Northwest Iowa Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Nursing
    REQUEST INFO
  15. #15

    Iowa Western Community College

    Council Bluffs , IA

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    27%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Iowa Western Community College known for?

    Iowa Western Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO

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