Public colleges and universities account for almost 75 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. The best public colleges in Iowa provide broad access to reputable degree programs, affordable tuition, and sprawling educational communities.
With a large number of both brick-and-mortar and online colleges in Iowa, students have plenty of great schools to choose from.
Iowa’s largest public university, Iowa State University, serves over 30,000 students and offers extra flexibility for both undergraduate and graduate students through a selection of online degree programs in more than 50 academic fields including business administration, psychology, computer science, and more.
The University of Iowa-home of the Hawkeyes-is also home to some of the nation’s top programs in literature, philosophy, and law. The University of Iowa 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 prospective students hoping to obtain their degrees at a smaller school, Iowa offers over 40 options to choose from. For a more affordable option, students can pay $4,000 per year for tuition at Indian Hills Community College. Like most community colleges in Georgia, Indian Hills also offers an array of online programs.
At the other end of the spectrum, students will pay 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 a wealth of on-campus and online learning options. Discover more about Iowa’s top brick-and-mortar and online programs as well as top career paths in the state of Iowa.
Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.
Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a bachelor’s degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.
This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 3 public universities in Iowa. To be included in our list of the best public colleges in Iowa, shcools must receive direct funding from the state, be fully accredited, and offer a broad range of bachelor’s degress.
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University of Iowa’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
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Iowa State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
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University of Northern Iowa’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utilized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.
Check out our directory of public colleges throughout the U.S. for a look at the top public colleges in every state.