Online Schools & Colleges in Iowa

Iowa’s agricultural legacy may have earned it a reputation as “America’s Breadbasket,” but its rapidly evolving economy makes it a hotspot of technology and innovation. The state needs professionals trained in areas like finance, green energy and biotechnology, and its high caliber colleges and universities are poised to provide them. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education lists 60 different public and private schools in Iowa, including two research schools, 11 specialty campuses and numerous undergraduate institutions, many of which offer online courses or fully-online degrees. The number and diversity of these online programs continues to climb, as do student enrollments. According to the Board of Regents, 30 percent of post-secondary students attending public Iowa institutions in 2013 were enrolled in a fully-online degree programs. For students on the K-12 level, the outlook is not quite as rosy; the state has two fully-online schools with a cap of 900 students, but is moving cautiously to implement more online learning.

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.

Community Colleges 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.

Search School Name
City
Degree Levels
8 Results
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 +

Public Universities in Iowa

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.

Private Colleges in Iowa

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.

Best Online Schools in Iowa for 2017

Many colleges and universities in Iowa are now offering a flexible alternative to a traditional degree program—distance and online education. The online degrees allow students to maintain personal and professional obligations while furthering their careers with higher education. Accelerated formats are often available, allowing students to graduate much more quickly than in a traditional program. And the degree options grow every year, so no matter what degree the student seeks, he or she is sure to find it. But finding the right option can be difficult, so we’ve provided a list of the Best Online Colleges in Iowa for 2017 to get you started.

1 Western Iowa Tech Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
46%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
118
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 99.72
Read more

Western Iowa Technical Community College offers 10 completely online degree programs, plus many stand-alone online classes. Students can attend class and access learning activities at their own pace, as long as they submit assignments and take assessments by the instructor-designated deadlines. Courses can be 8, 12 or 16 weeks, depending on the course and the degree program. The school offers a list of tips to help students be more successful in their online courses, and offers resources for students thinking about joining an online program. Students also have access to other student services and financial aid.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
2 Kirkwood Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
19%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
123
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 98.48
Read more

Distance learning courses at Kirkwood Community College start multiple times throughout the year, in January, February, August, September and the summer. Fully online programs are good for students who are self-starters, can learn independently and area comfortable with various forms of technology. Distance learning courses are available both asynchronously online and through WebLive, a synchronous format. An online quiz is available for prospective students to determine which format is best suited for them. Students must apply for and be granted admission to the college and take necessary placement exams before registering for orientation or courses.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
3 Iowa Lakes Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
47%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
70
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.73
Read more

Iowa Lakes Community College is part of the Iowa Community College Online Consortium, allowing students to take more than 300 different online courses. It also offers Ed2Go courses, non-credit classes in an open enrollment format. The college has a number of student clubs and organizations, which online students may participate in. Online students can also take advantage of all the same student services as traditional on-campus students, including tutoring services, library resources, counseling and career advisement.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
4 Eastern Iowa Community College District
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
17%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
101
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.92
Read more

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges allows students to complete an associate degree completely online through the Iowa Community College Online Consortium. In addition, career programs in the health and technology fields are also available entirely online. Online program start throughout the year, so students don't have to wait to get started down their educational path. And short-term, non-degree programs online also allow those looking to further their personal develop the ability to do just that, on their own time. A series of tips, tricks and readiness quizzes help prospective students decide if online learning is right for them.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
5 Des Moines Area Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
11%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
120
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.80
Read more

Online programs at Des Moines Area Community College are meant for self-directed learners who can work independently and have a good handle on their technical ability. Students must access their course materials online two to three times per week and be aware of any pending due dates. Most online courses are 15 weeks long in the spring and fall terms and 10 weeks during the summer, though some are shorter. Online students are never required to visit campus, however some courses do require proctored tests, which can be taken at an approved proctoring facility. Students who need assistance during an online course have access to the SMARTHINKING online tutoring services.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
6 Indian Hills Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
7%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
68
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.21
Read more

Indian Hills Community College offers three online degree programs and four online diploma programs. In addition, its aviation pilot training courses can be completed fully online, with additional on-campus classes and advanced flight training required in-person to earn a degree. The school offers a 30-minute online survival guide video to help support online students and a quiz to help prospective students decide if online learning is for them. Students can also access general advising and assistance through the academic advising office.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
7 Iowa Central Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
60%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
53
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 92.00
Read more

Iowa Central Community College offers its students a number of distance learning options, including FlexNet, 15-week and 8-week online courses and programs. Classes are both synchronous and asynchronous, depending on which program they're enrolled in, and most courses have required weekly assignments and deadlines. The FlexNet classes are taught using iNET and students may enroll any time during the semester, except in the last three weeks. The varied options allow students to attend class and earn credits at a time and location that's convenient to them, opening the doors to higher education to a greater number of students.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
8 Southeastern Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
21%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
32
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 91.88
Read more

At Southeastern Community College, online students can start one of its more than 200 courses year-round. Courses are the same rigor and requirements as their on-campus counterparts and students have access to an online learning system that allows them to communicate and collaborate with peers and instructors. An online course demo is available for students to take a test run to determine if online learning is right for them. There are a number of associate, certificate and diploma programs available in communication, health sciences, construction agriculture, automotive technology and business.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
9 Hawkeye Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
12%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
59
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 91.58
Read more

Hawkeye Community College is part of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, allowing students to take the same distance education courses in another state, at the same tuition rate. Students enrolled at HCC can complete their degree on their own time, including accelerating the process so they can finish faster. Many students take general education courses online, then transfer them to another college or university to pursue a higher degree. The classes are flexible, allowing students to view lectures and complete assignments when it's convenient for them, as long as they meet instructor-imposed deadlines for coursework.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
10 Northeast Iowa Community College-Calmar
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
12%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
61
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 90.17
Read more

Northeast Iowa Community College's online programs include unique options like agriculture business with a crop advisor or agriculture finance emphasis as well as more traditional degree programs. A quiz is available to prospective students to help them determine if online courses are a good fit for them. Online courses follow the same calendar as traditional on-campus classes, but they allow more flexibility with students able to login to view lectures and access materials at a time that's convenient for them. Students can also complete some of the work offline, like reading assignments and projects.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
11 Northwest Iowa Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
32%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
34
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 89.21
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
12 Southwestern Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
32%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
36
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 89.00
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
13 Ellsworth Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
53%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
29
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 88.52
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
14 Marshalltown Community College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
37%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
44
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 86.73
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
1 University of Iowa
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
59%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
424
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
70%
Ranking SCORE 99.73
Read more

With completely online certificates, bachelor's and master's degree programs, the University of Iowa offers accredited programs, equally as challenging as traditional learning. Created through a collaboration with the Academic College Issuing Degree, students can earn an online baccalaureate education in political science, sports management, liberal studies, applied studies and business. Graduate students can complete an MA in strategic communication from their home sofa or kitchen table. Classes that comprise online degrees at UI may be delivered in a flexible, self-management style or through an instructor-paced format. Two online certificate are offered, one in writing and one in athletics.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
2 Iowa State University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
75%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
289
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
71%
Ranking SCORE 94.38
Read more

Online students at ISU can now enroll in a selected number of web classes provided by the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa through a partnership between the three universities. This collaboration creates a deeper diversity in the types of online classes and programs available to Iowa students. Currently ISU has more than 20 online bachelor and master's degree programs plus a bounty of undergrad and graduate certificate programs. Online classes are managed through the learning platform Blackboard Learn, but are not delivered uniformly. Some classes require students be present online at specified hours to simulate face-to-face learning while others are less scheduled.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
3 Buena Vista University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
74
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
51%
Ranking SCORE 92.93
Read more

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Buena Vista University has more than 120 years of experience in education. Since 1891 BVU has grown to house 16 learning facilities throughout Iowa plus an online campus. Students at BVU can study any one of 13 bachelor programs or one of nine master's degree programs without having to relocate or commute to campus. Areas of online study include accounting, education, marketing, management and liberal arts. Depending on the program selected, financial aid is available for online students.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
4 Saint Ambrose University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
111
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
63%
Ranking SCORE 92.72
Read more

A catholic liberal arts university, Saint Ambrose delivers accredited online education to graduate students in four disciplines. Demanding different quantities of credit hours, students can earn a master's degree in business administration, early childhood education, education administration or criminal justice online. Web courses at Saint Ambrose can vary substantially, some may be self-paced offering the greatest amount of flexibility, while others are conducted utilizing a live classroom format. Web students must be familiar with learning portals such as Elluminate Live and Blackboard and have up-to-date computer software.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
5 University of Northern Iowa
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
59%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
174
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
66%
Ranking SCORE 91.30
Read more

Through UNI's department of continuing education and special programs, students can expect to find a study method appropriate for his or her lifestyle. Providing classes in blended, online and video conferencing formats allows students to complete degree and certificate programs partly through on-campus attendance or through total distance learning. UNI has 17 graduate and undergraduate programs that can be finished completely through distance learning, in addition to 12 programs requiring partial campus attendance. Online courses are administered through the eLearning system and have a support team to help with technical issues.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
6 Briar Cliff University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
45
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
43%
Ranking SCORE 89.53
Read more

At Briar Cliff University students with prior education experience can use a maximum of 90 pre-earned credit hours towards their online BCU degree program. As a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, BCU is certified to award online degrees to students residing in 43 participating states. Students can achieve their degree remotely through BCU in nursing, accounting, business administration, social work, health sciences and management. Online students complete an orientation workshop same as conventional students and are eligible to receive financial aid. Iowan students may receive a state tuition grant, while all students can complete the FAFSA for federal aid.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
7 Graceland University-Lamoni
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
52
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
50%
Ranking SCORE 89.47
Read more

Achieving the United States Distance Learning Association's platinum level, Graceland University's online programs are easily accessible and are supported day and night by the university's technical team. Graceland offers seven online Master of Education degrees, touting a graduation rate at 90 percent. Nine programs in the nursing field are available, from MSN to doctorate programs, and two business programs are offered as online degrees. Graceland's web class system, known as eCollege, enables communication between students and instructors, as well as among student cohorts. eCollege is not fully compatible with Mac computers and so PC-usage is encouraged for online students.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
8 Maharishi University of Management
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
94%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
23
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
58%
Ranking SCORE 88.90
Read more

Established in 1971 by the Vedic yogi Maharishi Mahesh, the Maharishi University of Management's online programs center on distributing a global "consciousness-based education". MUM online offers a MA in Vedic science, or the practice of transcendental meditation, which can be completed completely online for credit or as an interest study. Students can complete a three-year online program learning ancient Vedic medicinal practices to receive the MS in Maharishi AyurVeda and integrative medicine. This program requires a total of 15 days spent on campus for clinical training. MUM also provides an online MBA in sustainable business. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
9 Dordt College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
102
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
65%
Ranking SCORE 88.88
Read more

Dordt College offers education programs that teach christian religious beliefs intertwined with course material. A small institution, Dordt has both graduate and undergraduate degree options, with the most popular fields being nursing, engineering, business, education and agriculture. Dordt's core program is a set of focus classes that all students must complete and are heavily based in biblical interpretations and creationism. For soon-to-be freshmen and transfer students, Dordt provides online summer courses that can be six or 12 weeks longs. Students can expect to spend 20 hours per week completing course assignments. Nine online summer courses are currently offered.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
10 Mount Mercy University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
59
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
54%
Ranking SCORE 88.85
Read more

With online classes beginning every five weeks, Mount Mercy University gives students the ability to start college in a flexible timeframe. Web classes are administered in accelerated five and ten week periods, requiring students dedicate as much as 27 hours per week on one course. MMU has three completely online bachelor degree programs in business, nursing and human resources as well as an MA in criminal justice. Students from 31 states can freely enroll in any of MMU's online programs, while residents in 19 other states have access to all but the nursing program.

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
11 Iowa Wesleyan University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
30
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
30%
Ranking SCORE 88.76
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
12 Morningside College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
54
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 87.99
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
13 Northwestern College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
43
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
63%
Ranking SCORE 87.98
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo
14 Allen College
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
22
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
82%
Ranking SCORE 87.56
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
15 Upper Iowa University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
90%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
76
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
41%
Ranking SCORE 87.53
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
16 University of Dubuque
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
93%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
43
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
36%
Ranking SCORE 87.22
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
17 William Penn University
Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
96%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
29
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
31%
Ranking SCORE 86.73
Read more

  • Additional Benefits:
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceNo

Online Iowa Colleges

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Iowa K-12 Online Schools

Iowa is slowly moving into online education for grades K-12, with two fully-online schools that enrolled 539 students during the 2013-14 term, as well as several supplemental courses. Two state virtual schools, Iowa Learning Online and Iowa Online AP Academy, enrolled 1,201 students during that same year. 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 Spotlight

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.

Best Online Schools in Iowa for 2015-2016

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
1 Graceland University 99.1 15:1 100%

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.

6 Shiloh University 87.39 N/A N/A

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

Search School Name
City
School Type
Degree Levels
10 Results
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 Online Post-Secondary Schools in Iowa

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 services to help active service members and veterans get the most from their education benefits, earn credit for military experience through CLEP and other exams, or even 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.

College
Name
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.

College
Name
STUDENT-TEACHER-RATIO UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS TUITION TYPE CITY
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.

College
Name
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 provide a high quality education for tomorrow’s social workers, with little to no classroom work required. We’ve researched the reputation, academics and internship opportunities available through online schools in Iowa to provide you with this list of exceptional programs.

College
Name
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
Luther College Decorah 38 30 8 $36,100 2,434
Grinnell College Grinnell 35 30 5 $41,004 1,646
Wartburg College Waverly 32 31 1 $32,740 1,735
Buena Vista University Storm Lake 21 17 4 $28,314 2,112
Central College Pella 21 18 3 $29,540 1,567
Mount Mercy University Cedar Rapids 20 19 1 $25,400 1,020
University of Dubuque Dubuque 19 12 7 $24,530 1,705
Loras College Dubuque 19 15 4 $28,141 1,471
Northwestern College Orange City 17 13 4 $25,740 1,163
Simpson College Indianola 16 14 2 $29,529 1,398
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 $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