Iowa K-12 Online Schools
Iowa is slowly moving into online education for grades K-12, with two fully-online schools (as of 2014). At the district level, online opportunities are increasing quickly. Kirkwood High School Distance Learning, a service of Kirkwood Community College, works with school districts across the state to offer credit recovery for high school students. The state currently has a cap of about 900 students who can enroll in fully-online schools.
|SCHOOL NAME||GRADE LEVELS||CITY||SCHEDULE||TYPE||PHONE NUMBER|
|Alpha Omega Academy||K - 12||Rock Rapids||Both Live/On-Demand||Private||(800) 682-7396|
|Iowa Learning Online||9 - 12||N/A||Both Live/On-Demand||Public||(515) 238-4765|
|Iowa Online AP Academy||9 - 12||Iowa City||Both Live/On-Demand||Public||(800) 336-6463|
Iowa Online Colleges and Universities
Private career colleges in Iowa were among the first to offer Web-based programs, but older colleges with more traditional programs quickly followed suit to provide distance learning options. The state’s community college system, for instance, launched the Iowa Community College Consortium, a virtual database that links students from all online courses, certificate programs and associate degree programs throughout the entire multi-campus system. Iowa Central College, Upper Iowa University and Iowa State University all offer extensive online undergraduate and graduate programs. Dozens of private nonprofit and for-profit institutions round out the extensive list of online schools in Iowa.
Iowa hosts 15 community colleges, scattered throughout the state for easy access. These programs offer three different types of instruction: adult education, which includes diploma equivalency programs; career-targeted education designed for quick workforce-entry; and college-geared education, for students who intend to transfer to four-year universities. Students can earn professional development credits, certificates and associate degrees in dozens of content areas. Weekend, evening and online programs make this training more accessible for working professionals, families and other busy students. Prospective students can log onto the Iowa Community College Consortium to review all online learning options.
|SCHOOL NAME||ADDRESS||CITY||SEE PROGRAMS|
|Northwest Iowa Community College||603 W Park St||Sheldon||+|
|Western Iowa Tech Community College||4647 Stone Ave||Sioux City||+|
|Iowa Central Community College||One Triton Circle||Fort Dodge||+|
|Ellsworth Community College||1100 College Ave||Iowa Falls||+|
|North Iowa Area Community College||500 College Dr||Mason City||+|
|Marshalltown Community College||3700 S Center St||Marshalltown||+|
|Northeast Iowa Community College-Calmar||1625 Hwy 150||Calmar||+|
|Des Moines Area Community College||2006 Ankeny Blvd||Ankeny||+|
Iowa’s two largest public institutions are Iowa State University and the University of Iowa. Each serves more than 25,000 students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in a myriad of disciplines. Many publicly funded schools offer targeted professional schools, such as the University of Iowa and Drake University, which both have accredited law schools. Other specialty schools in Iowa include the Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. Both of these medical schools are accredited with several different programs, including the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the National League of Nursing.
Iowa’s public universities serve students through a statewide network of campuses, but online schools in Iowa expand their reach and convenience.
There are many different private schools in Iowa, including nonprofit and for-profit institutions. Each school is distinct in size and focus: some offer a broad liberal arts education, while others provide more targeted career training. Schools with religious affiliations are also common. Private institutions can be more expensive than Iowa’s public universities, but financial aid and other programs can help. They can also fill in the gaps for students seeking programs or learning experiences not provided through the state’s public systems. There are also a number of private online schools in Iowa that may appeal to busy, remote and other students with limited local options.
Upper Iowa University
Online students at Upper Iowa University have a number of learning options to choose from, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. For instance, students might take classes through the university’s online program, which offers asynchronous courses that allow students to view materials and lectures at any time. These courses are offered in six eight-week terms every year. Students who need more flexibility may want to consider UIU’s self-paced online program, which allows them to take courses throughout the year, at their own convenience. Self-paced students can pursue certificates and degrees in several different fields, such as business, financial management, human services and marketing. Those enrolled in the more traditional online program can earn degrees in education, business and public administration.
Learn more about UIU’s distance learning options at the Center for Distance Education.
Iowa State University
Iowa State University’s distance learning options include primarily master’s degrees, but they also offer an online bachelor’s degree program in liberal studies and two online PhD programs. Students can pursue more than two dozen online master’s degrees in areas such as engineering management, family and consumer science, and statistics. ISU also offers undergraduate certificates in occupational safety and swine science, and online graduate certificates in areas like advanced manufacturing, environmental systems, food and safety defense, literacy coaching and software systems. A number of short-term, non-degree courses are also available online for those interested in professional or personal development.
Iowa State University is a member of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA), a collaboration between 20 public universities. GPIDEA offers fully-online courses, degrees and certificates in high demand professional fields through the colleges of agriculture and life sciences, design and human sciences.
Students access ISU’s online courses through the Blackboard learning management system, but some courses may require additional software for streaming media delivery.
For a full list of online programs and additional information, visit http://www.distance.iastate.edu.
University of Iowa
The University of Iowa’s Department of Continuing Education grants five bachelor’s degrees, including business administration, liberal studies and social work, as well as four master’s degrees in such academic disciplines as educational leadership, strategic communication and nursing. Each program has its own particular admission requirements. For example, the Bachelor of Business Administration program requires a minimum of 60 semester hours, completion of six prerequisite courses, a GPA of 2.75, and a C or better average in all prerequisite courses.
Online courses are either instructor- or self-paced. Some may have a virtual classroom or conference component. The university also offers Guided Independent Study (GIS) courses, where students utilize Iowa Courses Online (ICON), the university’s course management system.
For more information about the University of Iowa’s online programs, visit http://www.continuetolearn.uiowa.edu.
University of Northern Iowa
The University of Northern Iowa offers one of the state’s widest selections of online learning options. Online learners have access to three bachelor’s degree programs in the areas of elementary education, liberal studies and technology management. Students can pursue nearly 20 online master’s programs, mostly within the discipline of education. Each program is designed to prepare certified education professionals for specialized classroom instruction.
These online schools in Iowa typically deliver materials via the university’s course management system and an interactive videoconferencing component.
To learn more about the University of Northern Iowa’s distance learning programs, visit https://www.uni.edu/continuinged/distance/programs.
|Score||Student/teacher ratio||Financial aid||Cost||more|
|1||Western Iowa Tech Community College||99.39||21:1||93%|
Whether it's a completely online degree or one with a mix of online and traditional instruction, Western Iowa Tech Community College has it. WITCC offers two nursing and one dental assisting degrees in a hybrid format and 10 fully online associate programs. Course length varies, with classes ranging from 8 to 12 to 16 weeks in length depending on the program. Students are encouraged to take a demo course to find out if online learning is a good fit for them. The college offers a number of online learning tips to help students be successful in their educational endeavors.
|2||Northwest Iowa Community College||98.98||13:1||88%|
As part of the Iowa Community College Iowa Consortium, Northwest Iowa Community College can offer 13 online degrees and many additional online classes. Students who enroll in an online program should be highly motivated and have strong communication skills. Students should plan to spend about 10 hours per week for each 3-credit course, more for 8-week terms. Classes are not self-paced, however they do provide flexibility in scheduling. High school students can also get a jumpstart on their college careers through online programming.
|3||Iowa Central Community College||98.14||18:1||90%|
Iowa Central Community College's online programs feature small class sizes, and many students have little or no college experience. Most of the school's associate's degree programs begin new sessions and accept new students every month. Classes are held in eight-week sessions, and most students take two classes at a time. With this schedule, students can typically earn an associate's degree in two years. Classes do not have specific requirements for when students should log on or participate. However, communication and participation is an important part of the curriculum, and grades are based in part on contributions to discussions and effort put forth. Students should plan to post at least four days a week, and twice per day.
|4||Ellsworth Community College||97.66||23:1||93%|
The online liberal arts transfer associate's degree at Ellsworth Community College gives students the opportunity to choose from numerous emphases. These emphases help students select electives that will lead to an easier transfer to a four-year institution with the major of their choice. These programs are held in conjunction with the other schools in the Iowa Valley Community College District. The college also has articulation agreements with several schools in Iowa (including Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Northern Iowa) and across the Midwest. Through this agreement, the associate's degree will transfer completely. Class structure varies for each course. Some require students to complete assignments and view modules by specific due dates throughout the semester. Others are more flexible, with fewer due dates, allowing students to complete the majority of their work whenever they wish during the semester.
|5||North Iowa Area Community College||97.27||20:1||87%|
In addition to required courses in communications, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, the online associate's degree at North Iowa Area Community College offers electives in a wide variety of subject areas, including insurance, building codes and standards, banking, and pharmacology. Most online courses at the college follow the traditional semester schedule. While there is no set time that students must participate in their courses, they can expect to spend the same amount of time on their coursework as they would for an in-person class. Courses are held through the ANGEL Learning Management System, which supports communication between students and professors, access to course content, and participation in online forums.
|6||Des Moines Area Community College||97.23||19:1||72%|
Des Moines Area Community College has three online degree options for distance students: an associate of arts, a business administration associate of arts, and a business administration associate of science. These programs contain the same general curriculum and objectives as their on-campus counterparts, but can be completed fully at a distance for working professionals and nontraditional students. Courses are 15 weeks long in the fall and spring semester, and 10 weeks long in the summer semester. Students may need to take proctored tests at the DMACC campus, or with a proctor in their location; other than for proctored exams, the school has a policy that online students cannot be required to come to campus.
|7||Marshalltown Community College||96.17||29:1||84%|
Marshalltown Community College's online degree programs include a liberal arts associate's degree with many available emphases, and a paralegal degree that leads to an associate of applied science. These programs are held in conjunction with the other schools in the Iowa Valley Community College District. The school uses the Blackboard Learning Management system to deliver courses to its distance students. Features used in classes include discussion forums, chat rooms, an internal email feature, and more. Upon graduation, students in the online degree programs will receive the same diploma and transcript as an on-campus student. There will be no indication that classes were taken online.
|8||Northeast Iowa Community College-Calmar||95.49||16:1||86%|
Students in Northeast Iowa Community College's online associate of arts or science programs will earn 60 credits that can (typically) be transferred towards the first two years of a four-year degree. Participants are encouraged to choose their intended major for the transfer institution as early as possible, so that they can take courses that are required for that major. Online courses, as well as hybrid courses, are taught on the regular semester schedule, with fall, winter, spring and summer sessions. Students can work on their own schedule by completing assignments and reviewing materials at any time that is convenient; however, each course has set deadlines throughout the semester that students must meet.
|Score||Student/teacher ratio||Financial aid||Cost||more|
At Graceland University, the same professors that teach on-campus classes also teach the school's online programs. It offers three online bachelor's degree programs, 10 master's degrees and an online doctorate. Its programs are designed for the adult learner who needs a flexible schedule and academic support. Students access course materials asynchronously, when it's convenient for them. Sponsored by the Community of Christ, the school prides itself on its ability to help educate students while putting their needs first. Degrees include education, nursing, religion, business administration and organizational leadership.
|2||Briar Cliff University||98.31||12:1||97%|
Students with an associate's degree or some undergraduate schooling can enter one of five degree completion programs at Briar Cliff University to earn a bachelor's online. Classes are hosted through Brightspace, a course management program where students can set up a personal profile and view materials for all courses. The university also uses Blackboard Collaborate to stream lectures and provide access to previously recorded sessions. Students can view these materials and participate in web conferencing on their desktops or mobile devices. While all courses are online, some programs require a field internship. This can be completed locally while still being supervised from afar by university faculty.
|3||Upper Iowa University||98.31||17:1||85%|
Online learners who require extreme flexibility in their schedule may find what they need in Upper Iowa University's self-paced degree program. This program allows students to learn through texts, study guides, and similar materials, and complete courses at their own pace (up to six months per course). 14 majors and over 100 courses are available through this program. More traditional students can participate in the school's online associate's, bachelor's, master's, and certificate programs. The university has articulation agreements with local community colleges to assist in the transfer of credits towards a degree program. Through the experiential learning portfolio program, students may also be able to earn up to 30 credits for prior experience.
|4||University of Northern Iowa||98.03||16:1||87%|
While the University of Northern Iowa does offer two fully online and one partially online undergraduate degree programs, the school's distance offerings are much more comprehensive at the graduate level. 12 master's degrees can be earned completely online, with an additional ten programs that are hybrid. Students can also earn endorsements, certificates, and professional development credentials through online coursework. These are primarily in the education field. The university uses the eLearning course management system for its asynchronous course materials, such as readings, recorded lectures, and discussion forums. Some classes also include live, interactive video conferencing through Adobe Connect.
|5||Iowa Wesleyan College||97.9||9:1||100%|
Registered nurses can pursue a bachelor's degree through the online RN to BSN program at Iowa Wesleyan College. Designed for practicing nurses, the program can be completed part time and accepts transfer credits: 64 credits from a junior college or community college, and additional credits from a four-year school, for up to 94 total transfer credits. Students in the program will learn to integrate critical thinking and the nursing process to provide care for their clients. Curriculum addresses the diverse needs of communities, families, and individuals, and gives students an understanding of how to best meet those needs in the nursing profession.
Shiloh University is an online Christian university with programs at the associate's, bachelor's, master's, and certificate levels. Topics of study include biblical and pastoral studies, biblical languages, divinity, and ministry practice, among others. Courses are held in 15-week terms, with three trimesters per year. Many students are working professionals who complete one course per term. Each course centers on weekly lessons with content from textbooks, lectures, and supplemental materials. Lessons include helpful hints to assist students in learning materials quickly and comprehensively. There are also weekly discussion forums that students are expected to contribute to in order to foster interactions with peers and professors.
4 Year Online Colleges in Iowa
|SCHOOL NAME||TYPE||ADDRESS||CITY||SEE PROGRAMS|
|University of Northern Iowa||Public||1227 W 27th St||Cedar Falls||+|
|Morningside College||Private not-for-profit||1501 Morningside Ave||Sioux City||+|
|Graceland University-Lamoni||Private not-for-profit||1 University Place||Lamoni||+|
|Iowa Wesleyan College||Private not-for-profit||601 N Main Street||Mount Pleasant||+|
|Shiloh University||Private not-for-profit||100 Shiloh DR||Kalona||+|
|Saint Ambrose University||Private not-for-profit||518 W Locust St||Davenport||+|
|Briar Cliff University||Private not-for-profit||3303 Rebecca St||Sioux City||+|
|Clarke University||Private not-for-profit||1550 Clarke Dr||Dubuque||+|
|AIB College of Business||Private not-for-profit||2500 Fleur Drive||Des Moines||+|
Best for Future Service Members
Iowa has a rich military history, and many of its colleges and universities pay tribute to this tradition through special programs. Online schools in Iowa are no exception. Web-based learning is often a natural fit for military personnel and their families, as they allow students to continue studies that would have otherwise been interrupted by deployments or relocations. Many programs also offer additional support services to help service members and veterans get the most from their education benefits and eventually transition into the civilian workforce. The following online schools in Iowa offer high quality services and programs to the men and women of the Armed Forces.
|Tuition||City||ROTC - Army||ROTC - Navy||ROTC - Air Force|
|Iowa State University||$6,648||Ames||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|University of Iowa||$6,678||Iowa City||Yes||No||Yes|
Best for Personal Attention
Students attending online schools in Iowa don’t have to sacrifice a blue-ribbon college experience for the convenience of Web-based learning. Many schools go above and beyond to help students feel connected, despite their distance. In addition to discussion boards, chat rooms and email, they may integrate carefully planned collaborative technologies, like Skype, virtual conferencing or live streaming lectures. Some online programs also limit class sizes and carve out virtual office hours so professors have more time to answer questions and provide personal feedback. The following online schools in Iowa earn top marks for personalizing distance learning.
|AIB College of Business||18 to 1||1,090||$13,800||Private not-for-profit||Des Moines|
|Iowa State University||18 to 1||26,523||$6,648||Public||Ames|
|University of Northern Iowa||16 to 1||12,935||$6,648||Public||Cedar Falls|
|University of Iowa||16 to 1||23,157||$6,678||Public||Iowa City|
|Dordt College||15 to 1||1,412||$25,100||Private not-for-profit||Sioux Center|
|University of Dubuque||15 to 1||1,758||$23,540||Private not-for-profit||Dubuque|
|Graceland University-Lamoni||15 to 1||1,889||$22,330||Private not-for-profit||Lamoni|
|Briar Cliff University||14 to 1||1,169||$24,520||Private not-for-profit||Sioux City|
|Grand View University||14 to 1||2,210||$21,436||Private not-for-profit||Des Moines|
|Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary||13 to 1||318||$14,560||Private not-for-profit||Ankeny|
|Cornell College||13 to 1||1,209||$34,480||Private not-for-profit||Mount Vernon|
|Northwestern College||13 to 1||1,290||$25,590||Private not-for-profit||Orange City|
|Morningside College||13 to 1||1,402||$23,780||Private not-for-profit||Sioux City|
|Central College||13 to 1||1,713||$29,060||Private not-for-profit||Pella|
|Buena Vista University||13 to 1||3,659||$28,314||Private not-for-profit||Storm Lake|
|Maharishi University of Management||12 to 1||435||$26,000||Private not-for-profit||Fairfield|
|Iowa Wesleyan College||12 to 1||880||$24,300||Private not-for-profit||Mount Pleasant|
|Loras College||12 to 1||1,575||$26,813||Private not-for-profit||Dubuque|
|Wartburg College||12 to 1||1,898||$31,890||Private not-for-profit||Waverly|
|Simpson College||12 to 1||2,062||$28,974||Private not-for-profit||Indianola|
|Luther College||12 to 1||2,528||$35,950||Private not-for-profit||Decorah|
|Drake University||12 to 1||3,862||$29,410||Private not-for-profit||Des Moines|
|Coe College||11 to 1||1,508||$33,900||Private not-for-profit||Cedar Rapids|
|Mount Mercy University||11 to 1||1,787||$25,400||Private not-for-profit||Cedar Rapids|
|Saint Ambrose University||11 to 1||2,944||$25,730||Private not-for-profit||Davenport|
|Emmaus Bible College||10 to 1||260||$13,750||Private not-for-profit||Dubuque|
|Allen College||10 to 1||530||$16,236||Private not-for-profit||Waterloo|
|Grinnell College||9 to 1||1,744||$40,628||Private not-for-profit||Grinnell|
|Clarke University||8 to 1||1,098||$26,100||Private not-for-profit||Dubuque|
|Mercy College of Health Sciences||7 to 1||1,097||$14,460||Private not-for-profit||Des Moines|
|Palmer College of Chiropractic-Davenport||3 to 1||78||$8,040||Private not-for-profit||Davenport|
|Divine Word College||3 to 1||143||$12,000||Private not-for-profit||Epworth|
Best for Women in Technology
Research shows women tend to be underrepresented in tech degree programs, and even more so in the field. Many online schools in Iowa can help women break these gender barriers and feel more supported, in and out of school. Approaches include ensuring students have plenty of female instructors to mentor and guide them, as well as female-only residences, student organization and tech networking events. The following online schools in Iowa are known for offering stellar degree and certificate programs, higher-than-average shares of female instructors and graduates, and other targeted support programs for women students.
|TUITION + FEES||CITY||WOMEN IN TECH DEGREES AWARDED||TOTAL ENROLLMENT||TYPE|
|Iowa State University||$7,726||Ames||208||26,194||Public|
|University of Iowa||$8,057||Iowa City||128||24,369||Public|
|University of Northern Iowa||$7,635||Cedar Falls||19||10,951||Public|
|Briar Cliff University||$25,642||Sioux City||11||857||Private Not for Profit|
|Allen College||$18,103||Waterloo||10||292||Private Not for Profit|
|Simpson College||$29,529||Indianola||5||1,398||Private Not for Profit|
Best Schools Fighting for Families
For students looking to make a big impact on the lives of others, a degree in social work is a good first step. Online schools in Iowa have worked hard to create top-notch programs that will ensure success in school and beyond. Whether you’re looking to work for a government agency, with children in schools, or in a clinical setting, these colleges have exceptional staff and resources to help prepare tomorrow’s social workers. We’ve researched the reputation, academics and internship opportunities available through online schools in Iowa to provide you with this list of exceptional programs.
|CITY||SOCIAL DEGREES AWARDED||WOMEN||MEN||TUITION & FEES||TOTAL ENROLLMENT|
|University of Iowa||Iowa City||171||131||40||$8,057||24,369|
|University of Northern Iowa||Cedar Falls||124||105||19||$7,635||10,951|
|Iowa State University||Ames||78||46||32||$7,726||26,194|
|Saint Ambrose University||Davenport||43||37||6||$25,970||2,718|
|Buena Vista University||Storm Lake||21||17||4||$28,314||2,112|
|Mount Mercy University||Cedar Rapids||20||19||1||$25,400||1,020|
|University of Dubuque||Dubuque||19||12||7||$24,530||1,705|
|Northwestern College||Orange City||17||13||4||$25,740||1,163|
|Dordt College||Sioux Center||12||11||1||$25,520||1,363|
|Drake University||Des Moines||12||7||5||$29,556||4,242|
|Briar Cliff University||Sioux City||11||10||1||$25,642||857|
|Coe College||Cedar Rapids||9||9||0||$34,220||1,312|
|William Penn University||Oskaloosa||9||7||2||$23,210||1,788|
|Cornell College||Mount Vernon||8||7||1||$34,705||1,185|