Accredited Degree Programs in Iowa
Choosing which college to earn an online degree from is no simple task. But for budget-minded students, looking at Iowa’s colleges and universities with online programs may be a good place to start. At the University of Iowa, 45 percent of students are able to graduate debt-free, and many programs offer the same tuition rate for online students whether they are current residents or out-of-state students. This page will help you learn more about the best online education options at colleges in Iowa, and answer important questions on transfer credits, paying for your online degree and getting on the path to college.
This guide explores some of the best colleges and universities in Iowa, along with strategies for funding your education and information about the requirements to qualify for in-state tuition rates.
How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I'm Looking for in Iowa?
Finding the best online program for your needs can take a lot of work. Prospective students can research programs through each school's website. For example, Iowa State University maintains a page detailing all of its distance education programs and courses.
How Much More Do College Grads in Iowa Make?
Earning a postsecondary degree in Iowa can lead to more career opportunities and higher salary potential. In a 2015 report, the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce projected that 68% of jobs in Iowa will require some postsecondary education and training by 2025.
The table below shows nationwide median annual earnings by education level. Higher levels of education tend to correlate with higher salaries. Whether you stay in Iowa or move to another state, advancing your education can help you secure higher-paying jobs.
|Less Than a High School Diploma||High School Diploma||Associate Degree||Bachelor's Degree||Master's Degree||Doctoral Degree|
Paying for Online College in Iowa: Tuition and Financial Aid
The rising tuition rates in Iowa are due in part to reduced state funding, according to a 2018 report by Iowa College Aid. However, in-state Iowa tuition rates are lower than the national averages for both public and private schools. Students attending online schools and colleges in Iowa often apply for financial aid opportunities to help fund their education.
|Type of School||In-State Tuition||Out-of-State Tuition||National Average|
|Public||$8,766||$26,214||$9,037 (In-State); $25,657 (Out-of-State)|
Cost Considerations for Online Students in Iowa
The tables above do not include the cost of additional fees and expenses, such as room and board. Below are some additional costs that online learners in Iowa should consider.
Some schools maintain tuition agreements that lower the cost of tuition for eligible out-of-state learners.
Many online programs charge distance learners a per-term or per-class technology fee.
Some programs require campus visits, which involve costs associated with travel and room and board.
Some online programs cost more than others. For example, programs leading to a professional degree, such as nursing or engineering, often include additional fees and higher tuition rates.
Qualifying for In-State Tuition in Iowa
Prospective students can save money by applying to schools in their state of residency. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of in-state tuition is less than a third of the average price of out-of-state tuition. To qualify for in-state tuition rates, students must prove that they have lived in Iowa for at least one year for a reason other than school. Students can demonstrate residency through Iowa employment records, income tax returns, or a driver's license.
Out-of-state online learners who reside in a state that participates in the Midwestern Higher Education Compact may be eligible for discounted tuition rates from Iowa institutions. Additionally, some schools charge all online students the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Students should consult their prospective school for detailed information about residency requirements for online learners.
Paying for College in Iowa: Scholarships and Financial Aid
Various financial aid sources can help online students in Iowa fund their education. Learners can apply for scholarships and grants, and special loan repayment programs are available at the state, federal, and institutional levels. The following sections list some of the scholarships and grants available to students attending online schools and colleges in Iowa.
Scholarships for Iowa College Students
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be recent high school graduates attending college full time or adult learners enrolling part time. Students must have applied for all other available aid and must pursue a credential in a high-demand field.
Amount: Covers tuition not paid for by scholarships and federal and state grants
Who Can Apply: Iowa residents who demonstrate financial need, excellent academic ability, and strong moral character can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must submit an essay, reference letters, and their high school GPA.
Amount: $500 to $1,000
Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports sophomore college students who either graduated from an Iowa high school or have lived in the state for five years. Applicants must demonstrate financial need, have a minimum 2.8 GPA, and present evidence that they face barriers to attending college.
Amount: Typically $6,000 to $8,000
Who Can Apply: Iowa residents who are members of the National Guard and pursuing a certificate or undergraduate degree at an eligible Iowa college can apply for this scholarship.
Amount: Up to $8,073
Grants for Iowa College Students
Who Can Apply: To qualify for this grant, Iowa residents must have applied for all other available financial aid, have attended school for at least two years, and hold half of the credits required for a bachelor's degree. Applicants must be pursuing a degree in a high-demand field.
Amount: $1,000 to $3,500 per year, for up to four full-time semesters
Who Can Apply: Iowa students attending a private college in the state can apply for this grant. This grant can reduce tuition to rates equal to or below those of public institutions.
Amount: Up to $5,600
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be Iowa residents enrolled in an eligible career or technical program at an Iowa community college. Students must demonstrate financial need.
Amount: Half the cost of tuition for up to two years
Who Can Apply: This grant supports children in the process of aging out of the Iowa foster care system. Applicants must attend an eligible Iowa college.
The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in Iowa
Choosing an accredited school is crucial to ensuring that your degree holds value. Accreditation indicates that a school meets minimum standards related to faculty, curricula, and academic support. The sections below describe several types of institutional and programmatic accreditation for online schools and colleges in Iowa.
Regional and National Accreditation
Schools can hold regional or national accreditation. Regional accreditation is more common and respected than national accreditation. Learners who attend schools without regional accreditation may not be eligible to receive federal financial aid and typically cannot transfer credits to regionally accredited institutions. The Higher Learning Commission awards regional accreditation to universities and colleges in Iowa.
In addition to institutional accreditation, students can look for programs with subject-specific accreditation. Subject-specific accreditation demonstrates that the program meets the fundamental standards of the discipline or profession. Field-specific accrediting agencies include the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
How to Know if Your School or Program is Accredited
You can determine a school's accreditation status by searching the Council for Higher Education Accreditation directories. Most schools also include accreditation information on their website. Schools that do not provide this information online often do not hold proper accreditation.
Online College and Adult Education in Iowa
Many students with commitments related to family and work do not enroll in college immediately after graduating high school. Online learning can help returning students complete their studies. This section includes information about online adult education programs in Iowa.
Adult Education Programs for Iowa Students
Best Online Colleges in Iowa 2020
Distance learners can choose from many affordable, accredited online schools and colleges in Iowa. In-state tuition rates at both public and private colleges in Iowa are less expensive than the national average, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Online College Resources for Iowa Students
Many resources can help online college students succeed. Below are some tools for learners attending online schools and colleges in Iowa. These resources include information about financial aid opportunities, academic support, and online courses and programs in the state.