Best Online Colleges in Iowa 2023

Best Online Colleges in Iowa 2023

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.

Key Takeaways

  • Iowa has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the U.S.
  • Despite the slip in numbers on a year-to-year comparison, Iowa showed strong enrollment rates in degree-granting academic institutions during the pandemic.
  • Iowa’s public 4-year institutions, online colleges and universities included, show a lower cost of attendance than the national average.

Featured Programs

Popular Online Programs in Iowa

In the Fall of 2020, Iowa reported 208,220 students enrolled in degree-granting academic institutions, indicating one of America’s highest enrollment rates amid the pandemic.

The best online colleges in Iowa provide a variety of academic programs in in-demand fields of study, including healthcare, engineering, business administration, and education.

Here are the most popular online programs offered in Iowa:

Business Administration

Undergraduate and graduate degrees in business administration are common in most online colleges and universities in Iowa. Distance learners gain foundational knowledge in accounting, finance, entrepreneurship, and other key areas of business administration.

While most courses are completed online, some online schools require in-person attendance, like internships.

Social Sciences

Social science-related academic programs include psychology and social work, training distance learners to become knowledgeable and skilled in the education and healthcare sectors. Online students may complete courses in secondary education, counseling, and childhood development.

A variety of social sciences online programs in Iowa can lead to licensure and certification in different areas of specialization.

Communication

Online academic programs in communication enhance students’ communication skills, a highly-valued skill in many professions. Distance learners pursuing this program are trained on how to speak and write professionally.

A variety of specializations are also offered by many online colleges and universities in Iowa, including broadcasting, sports communication, and field reporting.

Engineering

Thanks to Iowa’s manufacturing industries, engineering graduates enjoy a variety of career opportunities in the state. Although engineering is an academic path itself, Iowa’s online schools offer different specializations in the field, including civil, mechanical, electrical, aerospace, and chemical engineering.

Engineering degree-holders can find work in the local, federal, and regional government.

Out-of-State Tuition Discounts in Iowa

Aspiring students can save on tuition expenses and other fees by applying to schools in their home state. As an overview, here are the tuition rates for undergraduate programs in different degree-granting schools in Iowa:

  • Public 4-Year Institution
    • $19,788 (In-State)
    • $27,684 (Out-of-State)
  • Public 2-Year Institution
    • $5,411 (In-State)
    • $6,844 (Out-of-State)

Online colleges and universities in Iowa have 5.83% less than the national average cost of attendance at a public 4-year institution.

  • Private 4-Year Institution
    • $45,382 (In-State)

Given the significant difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition, students can qualify for in-state tuition in Iowa.

To become eligible, they must provide proof that they have resided in the state for at least 12 months for reasons other than schooling. Students can either provide a driver’s license, income tax returns, or employment records to demonstrate their residency in Iowa.

Out-of-state students living in a state that is a member of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact can also be qualified to receive discounted tuition rates from Iowa colleges and universities.

Some schools in Iowa offer flat-rate tuition fees, which means that both in-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition fees. Distance learners must verify first with their prospective schools regarding detailed information about residency requirements.

As Iowa has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the U.S., with just 2.9% in October 2022, college graduates enjoy job opportunities that match their skills.

Accreditation in Iowa

Determining the accreditation status of an online college or university you’re planning to enroll in is crucial. Accreditation ensures that students’ academic credits are eligible to receive financial aid.

Additionally, it indicates that specific standards of professional and academic quality are met.

The most reputable accreditation for the majority of online programs in the U.S. is granted by regional accrediting agencies. Iowa’s regional accrediting agency is The Higher Learning Commission.

It is the same accrediting agency responsible for accrediting online schools for undergraduate and graduate programs in Wyoming, West Virginia, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, New Mexico, Nebraska, North Dakota, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Kansas, Indiana, Illinois, Colorado, Arizona, and Arkansas.

Colleges and Universities in Iowa

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.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

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.


What are Iowa’s Colleges & Universities?

Iowa’s Best Overall

Best Online Colleges in Iowa
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Best Online Colleges in Iowa 2022

  1. #1

    University of Iowa

    Iowa City , IA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/25

    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. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/24

    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

    69%

    Graduation

    78%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1225/26

    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

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/23

    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

    54%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1022/22

    Online Degrees

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

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1000/20

    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

    82%

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    920/18

    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

    95%

    Graduation

    35%

    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

    100%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1015/20

    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

    72%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/22

    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

    91%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/23

    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

    83%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1110/23

    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

    56%

    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

    74%

    Graduation

    54%

    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

    58%

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    1K

    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

    73%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1171/25

    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

    81%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    1K

    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

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    953/20

    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

    72%

    Graduation

    31%

    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

    Acceptance

    100%

    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. Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    58%

    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