Best Online Colleges in Iowa 2022

Best Online Colleges in Iowa 2022

Find the best online colleges in Iowa ranked by the academic success of faculty and alumni associated with the colleges and universities and their online degree programs.

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

Online education has grown dramatically in quality, credibility, and popularity over the last two decades. Today, more than a quarter of all college students are taking at least one online course. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are more than 5 million college students who are pursuing their undergraduate degree fully online. And the number of online college and graduate students continues to grow as online technology and instructional methods improve.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to remote learning has proven an essential part of the educational ecosystem. Schools that offer primarily online degree programs saw an increase of 7% enrollment just between Fall 2020 and Spring 2021. The number of traditional institutions offering online courses and degrees is growing as well. This all paints a promising picture for the future of online education. But it also produces a dizzying array of options.

Frequently Asked Questions About Best Online Colleges 2022

Asynchronous learning means classes don’t meet at set times. This is the most flexible online learning experience, making when you cover your course material up to you. Most asynchronous online courses will still have deadlines throughout the semester for various assignments and tests. Some asynchronous classes may still ask for an occasional meeting, such as initial meet-and-greets, and in some cases there may be scheduled test times. The idea of asynchronous learning is to allow the student to manage their schedules as needed.

Synchronous learning means you will have scheduled meeting times for your online classes. Synchronous learning gives online students the flexiblity of location while also giving students a chance to engage with each other and their professors. For many online students, the structured class schedules and ability to see and hear from peers in real-time helps create the learning experience they want.

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Accreditation is especially important when it comes to online college. This is because the online education landscape is a mix of highly-reputable institutions and less-than-reputable for-profit schools. Accreditation gives you the power to differentiate between the two. Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent accrediting agency which indicates that a college or university is meeting standards of quality, credibility, and currency. School-wide accreditation falls into two major categories: regional and national accreditation. Regional accreditors generally hold jurisdiction only over schools in the states comprising their region, whereas national accreditors hold jurisdiction over schools in all states. Regional accreditation is widely regarded as a more rigorous standard of quality and credibility than national accreditation.

Attending a college or university which is not regionally accredited could limit your opportunities. When seeking an online education, we strongly recommend that students opt for regionally accredited schools. Regional accreditation ensures eligibility for federal loans and grants, ensures your college credits can be transferred between schools, and ensures that your degree credits can be accepted if you wish to earn an advanced degree.

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As long as your online college degree is regionally accredited, you should have little difficulty transferring most of your credits or credentials to another regionally accredited undergraduate school. Every school carries its own standards and procedures for granting a transfer. In many cases, you will be required to navigate a bureaucracy in which some of your credits will be transferred and others will be jettisoned. However, provided that you have attended an online school with the proper regional accreditation, you should have plenty of options for transfer.

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In most cases, as long you graduate from a well-regarded, regionally-accredited online college, prospective employers won’t look sideways at your degree. In fact, unless you attend an exclusively online college or university, there will likely be no specific indicator on your degree, transcript or resume differentiating your school from its brick-and-mortar counterpart. This means that your employer will likely only differentiate between an online and in-person degree if you mention this distinction.

While some employers may express concern about making the adjustment from online education to in-person workplace collaboration, many other employers will view your online degree as evidence of valuable 21st Century professional skills such as independence, self-motivation, time management, and tech savvy.

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The advantages of online classes are many. First and foremost, online courses give you the freedom and flexibility to attend class from anywhere that works for you, whether you’re at home, in a coffee shop, or in a quiet conference room at work. In many cases, you’ll also enjoy the convenience of asynchronous learning opportunities—educational experiences that you can complete on your own schedule. This may include pre-taped lectures, ongoing chat-board discussions, and 24/7 access to digital materials. And of course, just as there are some learners who prefer the energy of a live classroom, there are those who learn best when working in their own personal space, free from distractions. If this sounds like you, you might find the solitude of online learning to be a major advantage.

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Best Online Colleges in Iowa
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How do we determine the best online colleges for undergrads?

Methodology

Pursuing your degree online doesn’t mean you need to settle for an inferior school. Today, most universities and colleges offer online degrees, and many respected schools are seeing significant growth in their numbers of online students.

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why influence — i.e., the academic impact of faculty and alumni associated with a school — gets at the heart of what is truly best in education. The combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers is the best indicator of academic excellence. For our online degree rankings, we focus on the academic influence of faculty and alumni in the specific disciplines we’re ranking.

If you are serious about finding the best online colleges, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching, and whether their graduates themselves are advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence. Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Influence, as measured by our InfluenceRanking engine, provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

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Best Online Colleges in Iowa 2022

  1. #1

    University of Iowa

    Iowa City , IA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/25

    Online Degrees

    BA in Applied Studies

    Concentrations

    • Creative Writing
    • Human Relations
    • Justice Studies
    • Political Science
    • Required Credits: 120-124
    • Completion time: 4-6 yearsted
    • Format: Online
    BA in Enterprise Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120-136
    • Completion time: 4-6 yearsted
    • Format: Online
    BA in Liberal Studies

    Concentrations

    • Expression in Writing and Arts
    • Global Studies
    • Family
    • Community
    • and Social Support
    • Health and Human Studies
    • Justice and Ethics
    • Organizational Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 yearsted
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120-124
    • Completion time: 4-6 yearsted
    • Format: Online
    BS in Radiation Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120-124
    • Completion time: 4-6 yearsted
    • Format: Online
    BA in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 121-132
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Sport and Recreation Management

    Concentrations

    • Business Studies
    • Coaching and Sport Instruction
    • Communications Public Relations/Journalism
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Event Management
    • Interscholastic Athletic/Activities Administration
    • Sport and Diversity
    • Student-Designed
    • Required Credits: 123-129
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  2. #2

    Iowa State University

    Ames , IA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    30K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1220/25

    Online Degrees

    BS in Early Childcare Education and Programming
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Liberal Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  3. #3

    Drake University

    Des Moines , IA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    78%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/27

    Online Degrees

    BA in Journalism and Mass Communication
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  4. #4

    University of Northern Iowa

    Cedar Falls , IA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1110/23

    Online Degrees

    BAS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Liberal Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Managing Business and Organizations
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  5. #5

    Clarke University

    Dubuque , IA

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/20

    Online Degrees

    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  6. #6

    Graceland University

    Lamoni , IA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    41%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1020/21

    Online Degrees

    BA in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 141
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 108
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  7. #7

    Iowa Wesleyan University

    Mount Pleasant , IA

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    990/21

    Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration

    Concentrations

    • Accounting
    • Agribusiness
    • Applied Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Health Care Management
    • Human Resource Management
    • Human Services
    • Logistics and Supply Chain Management
    • Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice

    Concentrations

    • General
    • Cybersecurity
    • Homeland Security
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Services
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nurse
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  8. Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    100%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    2K

    Online Degrees

    BA in Ayurveda Wellness & Integrative Health
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Applied Arts & Sciences

    Concentrations

    • Consciousness and Human Potential
    • Sustainable and Regenerative Living
    • Cinematic Arts and New Media
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Cinematic Arts & New Media
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  9. #9

    Grand View University

    Des Moines , IA

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1020/19

    Online Degrees

    BA in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business Administration

    Concentrations

    • Finance
    • Human Resource Management
    • Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Liberal Arts
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Paralegal Studies

    Concentrations

    • Business & Human Resource Management
    • Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  10. #10

    St. Ambrose University

    Davenport , IA

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/22

    Online Degrees

    BA in Applied Management Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business Administration

    Concentrations

    • Accounting Management
    • Cybersecurity Management
    • Human Resources Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 18 months
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 2- 4 years
    • Format: Online
  11. #11

    Simpson College

    Indianola , IA

    Tuition + fees

    $44K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1140/22

    Online Degrees

    BA in Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Management Information Systems
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Marketing Communication
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  12. #12

    Northwestern College

    Orange City , IA

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1140/24

    Online Degrees

    BA in Early Childhood
    • Required Credits: 33
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion time: 1.5- 2 years
    • Format: Online
  13. #13

    Briar Cliff University

    Sioux City , IA

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    <1K

    Online Degrees

    BA in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 30-34
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Operations Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BSW in Social Work

    Concentrations

    • Children, Youth and Families
    • Behavioral Health & Addiction
    • Faith-based Ministry
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Spanish

    Concentrations

    • Spanish for Health Care Professionals
    • International Business
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  14. #14

    Morningside University

    Sioux City , IA

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    Online Degrees

    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Organizational Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  15. #15

    William Penn University

    Oskaloosa , IA

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    55%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    970/18

    Online Degrees

    BA in Business Administration

    Concentrations

    • Business Management
    • Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management
    • General Accounting
    • Public Accounting
    • Human Resource Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Elementary Education
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Human Resource Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Human Services
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  16. #16

    Dordt University

    Sioux Center , IA

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/24

    Online Degrees

    BA in Business Administration

    Concentrations

    • Management
    • Construction Management
    • Finance
    • General
    • Human Resource Management
    • Information Systems
    • International Business
    • Marketing
    • Office Management
    • Public Administration
    • Required Credits: 159.5
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  17. #17

    Mount Mercy University

    Cedar Rapids , IA

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    2K

    Online Degrees

    BA in Business Administration

    Concentrations

    • Accounting
    • Finance
    • Marketing
    • Management
    • Human Resource Management
    • Sport Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Healthcare Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 3.5 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Religious Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 2-4 years
    • Format: Online
  18. #18

    Upper Iowa University

    Fayette , IA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    27%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/21

    Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration

    Concentrations

    • Entrepreneurship
    • Finance
    • General Business
    • Global
    • Health Services Administration
    • Human Resource Management
    • Marketing
    • Sports Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Management

    Concentrations

    • Financial Management
    • Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Communication Studies

    Concentrations

    • Communication Studies
    • Mass Media
    • and Sports Communication
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice

    Concentrations

    • Homeland Security
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Emergency and Disaster Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Services
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Systems

    Concentrations

    • Information Systems and Security and Integration (ISSI)
    • and Information Systems and Technology Management (ISTM)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Technology

    Concentrations

    • Cyber Security and Computer Forensics (SEC)
    • and Network Management (NET)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Liberal Arts
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Social Science

    Concentrations

    • General Social Science
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  19. #19

    Waldorf University

    Forest City , IA

    Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1015/19

    Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration

    Concentrations

    • Communications
    • Finance
    • Health Care Management
    • Human Resource Management
    • Industrial Organizational Psychology
    • Management
    • Project Management
    • Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Communications
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice

    Concentrations

    • Forensic Mental Health
    • Forensic Psychology
    • Homeland Security
    • Public Relations
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Emergency Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Fire Science Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Homeland Security

    Concentrations

    • Criminal Justice
    • Emergency Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Occupational Safety
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Organizational Leadership

    Concentrations

    • Global Leadership
    • Diversity and Inclusion
    • Health Care Management
    • Leadership Communication
    • Occupational Safety and Health
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology

    Concentrations

    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • Fire Science
    • Health Care Management
    • Occupational Safety and Health
    • Sport Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in Public Relations
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  20. #20

    Allen College

    Waterloo , IA

    Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Student body

    <1K

    Online Degrees

    Bachelor of Health Sciences

    Concentrations

    • Medical Imaging
    • Healthcare Leadership
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
  21. #21

    Mercy College of Health Sciences

    Des Moines , IA

    Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    <1K

    Online Degrees

    BS in Healthcare Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 26
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Public Health
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-6 years
    • Format: Online

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