Online Degrees In Iowa (IA)

Online degrees in Iowa

Iowa, located right in the middle of the country, known for its cornfields and rural, small-town way of life, may not be immediately known as a destination for higher education Yet it is home to 88 postsecondary institutions and has a rate of higher education attainment that surpasses the national average. Its unemployment rate is low and its economy is growing.

Iowa still has a long way to go, however. Its college attainment rates are relatively high, they’re nowhere near where they need to be in order to meet the state’s needs. And because of the rural nature of the state, physical proximity to college programs is often a barrier for students.

This is where Iowa colleges that offer online degree programs have the potential to make a difference for students. This guide to online degrees in Iowa can help you to understand the top programs available in Iowa, how they might help you reach your goals and much more.

In July 2017, The Future Ready Iowa Alliance reported that by 2025, 68 percent of all jobs in Iowa may require education beyond high school. The organization set forth a goal of 70 percent of Iowa’s workforce ages 25-64 having education beyond high school by 2025. Currently, the state’s postsecondary educational attainment is 58 percent — higher than many states, but definitely not high enough to address employers’ needs. In fact, 99 percent of U.S. jobs that have been added since 2010 have gone to people with at least some postsecondary education.

Plus, higher education usually correlates to higher salaries. The median annual income for Iowa’s full-time workers ages 25-64 with just high school diplomas was $35,000, whereas it jumps to $42,000 with an associate degree and to $60,015 with a bachelor’s degree. Meanwhile, unemployment rates drop with each additional level of education.

Why earn a higher education online? In a state that’s nearly at the bottom of America’s list for its residents’ physical proximity to degree-granting institutions, Iowa colleges that offer online degree programs bring the education people seek right to where they live, at times that work with their existing schedules and, frequently, at a lower cost. A study by Arizona State University found that, on average, online classes save students anywhere from $12 to $66 per credit hour.

To help you in your search for online degrees in Iowa, we’ve developed this ranking that looks at important factors such as program availability, tuition and more.

1
Purdue University Global-Davenport
Davenport, IA
https://www.purdueglobal.edu/campus-locations/davenport-iowa/0
Average in-state tuition
$13,356
No. of online programs
114
% of students in distance education
100%
Avg. amount of Aid
$4,150
Admissions Rate
N/A%
Graduation Rate
48%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
2
Northwest Iowa Community College
Sheldon, IA
https://www.nwicc.edu
Average in-state tuition
$5,070
No. of online programs
9
% of students in distance education
61%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,199
Admissions Rate
N/A%
Graduation Rate
N/A%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
No
3
Buena Vista University
Storm Lake, IA
https://www.bvu.edu0
Average in-state tuition
$34,004
No. of online programs
20
% of students in distance education
53%
Avg. amount of Aid
$14,117
Admissions Rate
57%
Graduation Rate
54%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
4
Graceland University-Lamoni
Lamoni, IA
https://www.graceland.edu
Average in-state tuition
$28,600
No. of online programs
13
% of students in distance education
51%
Avg. amount of Aid
$19,302
Admissions Rate
58%
Graduation Rate
51%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
5
North Iowa Area Community College
Mason City, IA
https://www.niacc.edu
Average in-state tuition
$4,628
No. of online programs
1
% of students in distance education
71%
Avg. amount of Aid
$4,228
Admissions Rate
N/A%
Graduation Rate
N/A%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
6
Marshalltown Community College
Marshalltown, IA
https://mcc.iavalley.edu0
Average in-state tuition
$4,152
No. of online programs
1
% of students in distance education
66%
Avg. amount of Aid
$4,595
Admissions Rate
N/A%
Graduation Rate
N/A%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
7
Southwestern Community College
Creston, IA
https://www.swcciowa.edu
Average in-state tuition
$5,130
No. of online programs
5
% of students in distance education
64%
Avg. amount of Aid
$4,738
Admissions Rate
N/A%
Graduation Rate
N/A%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
8
Northeast Iowa Community College
Calmar, IA
https://www.nicc.edu
Average in-state tuition
$5,100
No. of online programs
7
% of students in distance education
39%
Avg. amount of Aid
$4,890
Admissions Rate
N/A%
Graduation Rate
N/A%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
9
Eastern Iowa Community College District
Davenport, IA
https://www.eicc.edu
Average in-state tuition
$5,184
No. of online programs
12
% of students in distance education
36%
Avg. amount of Aid
$4,193
Admissions Rate
N/A%
Graduation Rate
N/A%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
10
Western Iowa Tech Community College
Sioux City, IA
https://www.witcc.edu0
Average in-state tuition
$3,576
No. of online programs
16
% of students in distance education
45%
Avg. amount of Aid
$3,527
Admissions Rate
N/A%
Graduation Rate
N/A%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
11
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA
Average in-state tuition
$7,770
No. of online programs
38
% of students in distance education
48%
Avg. amount of Aid
$8,385
Admissions Rate
82.666816445743
Graduation Rate
73
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
12
Iowa State University
Ames, IA
Average in-state tuition
$7,740
No. of online programs
27
% of students in distance education
22%
Avg. amount of Aid
$7,538
Admissions Rate
90.596658711217
Graduation Rate
75
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
13
Iowa Western Community College
Council Bluffs, IA
Average in-state tuition
$5,408
No. of online programs
9
% of students in distance education
45%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,353
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
14
Indian Hills Community College
Ottumwa, IA
Average in-state tuition
$4,224
No. of online programs
6
% of students in distance education
35%
Avg. amount of Aid
$4,547
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
15
Mercy College of Health Sciences
Des Moines, IA
Average in-state tuition
$17,952
No. of online programs
3
% of students in distance education
56%
Avg. amount of Aid
$7,471
Admissions Rate
95.049504950495
Graduation Rate
42
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
16
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA
Average in-state tuition
$7,665
No. of online programs
19
% of students in distance education
25%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,591
Admissions Rate
80.73605520414
Graduation Rate
65
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
17
Upper Iowa University
Fayette, IA
Average in-state tuition
$29,700
No. of online programs
58
% of students in distance education
74%
Avg. amount of Aid
$10,828
Admissions Rate
50.474595198213
Graduation Rate
43
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
No
18
Iowa Lakes Community College
Estherville, IA
Average in-state tuition
$5,728
No. of online programs
14
% of students in distance education
35%
Avg. amount of Aid
$4,990
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
19
William Penn University
Oskaloosa, IA
Average in-state tuition
$24,870
No. of online programs
4
% of students in distance education
29%
Avg. amount of Aid
$15,759
Admissions Rate
55.238726790451
Graduation Rate
35
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
20
Briar Cliff University
Sioux City, IA
Average in-state tuition
$29,796
No. of online programs
12
% of students in distance education
37%
Avg. amount of Aid
$20,323
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
45
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

The National Center for Education Statistics provided valuable data to help us develop this list of the top online degree programs in Iowa.

Program Name
No. of online programs
Business Administration and Management, General
31
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies
26
Accounting
19
Psychology, General
13
Early Childhood Education and Teaching
13
Fire Services Administration
12
Criminal Justice/Safety Studies
11
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse
11
Health/Health Care Administration/Management
11
Legal Studies, General
10

As online colleges in Iowa look to grow and make more programs available to students in order to meet the state’s needs, they’re keeping a close eye on quality to ensure that students receive relevant, rigorous education. At the state level, Iowa is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), an agreement among states to maintain consistent standards of content and quality of online programs, and to streamline regulations and costs, which benefits out-of-state students wishing to earn their degrees in Iowa. An impressive 45 institutions of higher education in Iowa are subscribers to the standards of SARA.

At the institutional level, many schools have committed internally to maintaining high levels of quality. Schools such as Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa, have adopted the Quality Matters program for quality assurance and continuous improvement of online courses. And Iowa Community College Online Consortium (ICCOC) is a partnership of seven community colleges in Iowa that have come together to establish and maintain high standards of quality, student support services, information delivery and accountability of online programs.

Preparing for an online education in Iowa is dependent on your specific needs. Whether you’re working full time or have time to take a full load of classes, and whether you are starting as a brand-new college student fresh out of high school or returning to complete a degree you started years ago, you’ll have to weigh your own educational interests against a host of other factors. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Accreditation: The accreditation process is an important part of assuring a school’s rigor and commitment to maintaining and growing quality. It’s also critical in receiving federal financial aid, so it’s essential that you find it.
  • Program offerings: Does the school you’re considering offer the area of study you’re seeking? Does it offer this education at the degree level you need? If you’re pursuing licensure in your field, can it be obtained through this program?
  • Student support: For many students, especially those who have been away from school for a while or are unfamiliar with online learning, a high level of interaction, student support services and feedback may be crucial to success, so they should seek colleges that offer online students plenty of help.
  • Credits transfer: Students who want to take advantage of online education in Iowa, but are concerned about how well these course credits transfer, can look into articulation agreements in place throughout the state. “Iowa made it very easy for Iowa students to take a class throughout the community college system, and know those credits can apply at any of the other colleges, as well as 4-year institutions with articulation agreements,” says Mark Brodsky, CEO of Adapt Courseware, an online curriculum resource. The “Transfer In Iowa” program can help students learn more.

Many online colleges in Iowa develop programs in line with the state’s employment needs. Following is a list of the top occupations in Iowa, drawn from Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Occupation
Number of Workers
Average Salary
Office and Administrative Support Occupations193,010$39,210
Sales and Related Occupations153,400$37,590
Production Occupations143,840$39,200
Transportation and Material Moving Occupations143,770$37,810
Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations132,150$24,050
Educational Instruction and Library Occupations109,010$50,970
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations85,780$74,490
Management Occupations85,370$99,880
Business and Financial Operations Occupations74,630$67,580
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations69,420$48,430
Construction and Extraction Occupations68,200$48,820
Healthcare Support Occupations59,580$31,240
Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations47,350$29,860
Cashiers46,310$22,960
Retail Salespersons43,190$28,060
Fast Food and Counter Workers40,510$22,270
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers38,900$43,800
Computer and Mathematical Occupations38,370$80,650
Personal Care and Service Occupations33,820$27,320
Registered Nurses32,980$60,590

Source: 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Currently, students who need help affording online colleges in Iowa should make it their first priority to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is essential for receiving federal grants and scholarships and which most grant and private scholarship administrators require.

The state’s financial aid offerings include the following programs:

  • All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship: This state-funded scholarship is for high school seniors who reside in Iowa, plan to attend eligible Iowa colleges or universities (including through online programs), are first-time college freshmen, complete the FAFSA and enroll for at least three semester hours, among other requirements.
  • Iowa Tuition Grant: This grant is for Iowa residents enrolled at Iowa’s private colleges and universities who demonstrate financial need.
  • Iowa Vocational-Technical Grant: Like the Tuition Grant, this program is for Iowa students entering the state’s community colleges in career or technical education programs.
  • Kibbie Grant (Iowa Skilled Workforce Shortage Tuition Grant): This award is for Iowa residents entering career or technical education programs at the state’s community colleges, in specified eligible fields that have high workforce demands.

Other need-based and merit-based programs exist for students in specific circumstances. Students should consult with the Iowa College Student Aid Commission to learn more.

Scholarship Listing

Iowa 4-H College Scholarships
No. of Awards
90
Deadline
February 1
Max. Award Amount
10,000
Renewable
No
Criteria
Applicants must be Iowa residents and 4-H members who are enrolling in or currently enrolled in an Iowa post-secondary institution. Students must submit two letters of recommendation along with their materials.
More
Southwest Iowa Educational Foundation Scholarships
No. of Awards
80
Deadline
March 15
Max. Award Amount
1,000
Renewable
No
Criteria
Applicants must be graduating high school seniors from the southwest area of Iowa in one of the following counties: Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie and Shelby.
More
Masonic Scholarship Program
No. of Awards
60
Deadline
February 1
Max. Award Amount
2,000
Renewable
No
Criteria
Applicants must be pursuing a post-secondary education in any state at an institution which provides a two-year or four-year college program or vocational training. They do not need to have a Masonic connection. Selection is based on academic record, communication skills and financial need, but the most important is service to school and community with an emphasis on leadership roles. Finalists will be asked to appear before the committee for personal interviews.
More
Byers Scholarship
No. of Awards
5
Deadline
January 4
Max. Award Amount
1,000
Renewable
No
Criteria
Applicants must be graduating high school seniors in Iowa who plan to enroll in an Iowa college or university to study environmental science, community development, landscape architecture, architecture, community planning or marketing and communications.
More
Come 2 Iowa (C2IA) Senior Scholarship
No. of Awards
5
Deadline
May 31
Max. Award Amount
1,000
Renewable
No
Criteria
Applicant must be a United States citizen who is a permanent resident and high school senior in one of the following states contiguous to Iowa: Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, or Wisconsin. Applicant must plan to attend college in the fall of the application year at an institution located in Iowa. Two online financial literacy tutorials and an online financial literacy assessment related to the tutorials are required. A short essay will be required, if necessary, to break ties among those who score highest on the assessment to determine winners.
More

Source: Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of CollegeXpress, a division of Carnegie Dartlet. Copyright © 2020 by CollegeXpress.

Iowa does not at this time require that incoming college students complete one required college entrance exam in order to apply for online colleges. Depending on the school in which a student is interested, students may be asked to submit SAT and/or ACT scores, additional placement test scores or even no tests at all. Consult your prospective school for details.


See Methodology Information Here
Sources

  • Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Institute for Research on Higher Education. (2016). College Affordability Diagnosis: Idaho. Philadelphia, PA: Institute for Research on Higher Education, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania.http://www2.gse.upenn.edu/irhe/affordability-diagnosis
  • U.S. Census, “QuickFacts: Iowa,” July 1, 2018, https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/ia/PST045218
  • “10 Questions to Ask Before Selecting an Online University,” Military.com, accessed Jan. 30, 2019,https://www.military.com/education/finding-a-school/10-questions-to-ask-before-selecting-an-online-university/
  • Institute for Research on Higher Education, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, “College Opportunity Risk Assessment: Iowa,” accessed Jan. 30, 2019, https://irhe.gse.upenn.edu/sites/default/files/College-Opportunity-Risk-Assessment-2018-IDAHO.pdf
  • CollegeNavigator, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed Jan. 30, 2019,https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=IA
  • Young, Jeffrey R. “Do Online Courses Really Save Money? A New Study Explores ROI for Colleges and Students,” EdSurge, April 12, 2018, https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-04-12-do-online-courses-really-save-money-a-new-study-explores-roi-for-colleges-and-students
  • Iowa College Student Aid Commission, “State Grants & Scholarships,” accessed Jan. 30, 2019,https://www.iowacollegeaid.gov/financialaid
  • National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, “Iowa,” accessed Jan. 30, 2019,https://www.nc-sara.org/states/IA
  • Iowa State University, “Online Learning,” accessed Jan. 30, 2019,http://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/teaching-format/online-learning/#qm
  • Idaho State University, “Quality Matters at ISU,” accessed Jan. 29, 2019, https://www.isu.edu/itrc/quality-matters-at-isu/
  • Iowa Community College Online Consortium, “About the ICCOC,” accessed Jan. 30, 2019,http://www.iowacconline.org/about-iccoc
  • University of Northern Iowa, “Quality Matters,” accessed Jan. 30, 2019, https://continuinged.uni.edu/faculty/operational-procedures-online-courses/quality-matters
Methodologies and Sources