Online Schools and Colleges in Iowa

Accredited Degree Programs, Scholarships and Resources for Top Schools

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.

Best Online Colleges in Iowa 2020

Best Online Schools

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.

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.

Rank Logo School Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit For Experience Placement Service Counseling Services Description & Additional Information Toggle
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1 Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis, IN Tuition $4,055 # of Online Programs 42 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 11% Financial Aid 11% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
2 Ancilla College Donaldson, IN Tuition $14,700 # of Online Programs 6 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 18% Financial Aid 91% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
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1 Indiana University-Bloomington Bloomington, IN Tuition $9,087 # of Online Programs 10 Acceptance Rate 79% Graduation Rate 80% Financial Aid 55% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Located in the city of Bloomington, Indiana University is the flagship post-secondary institution of the Indiana public university system.UI Online, the university's distance-learning portal, is home to more than 120 online degree programs offered in 16 major fields of study. The vast majority of degree and certificate programs can be completed fully online. Students are typically required to complete course assignments within a given timeframe, but in most cases, classes are presented in an asynchronous format, meaning that students can access and complete their coursework at any time of the day or night.

2 Bell State University Muncie, IN Tuition $8,992 # of Online Programs 21 Acceptance Rate 62% Graduation Rate 62% Financial Aid 40% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Ball State University is a public research university located in the central eastern Indiana city of Muncie. Over 70 degrees (associate to doctoral), certificates and educator licenses can be earned through Ball State Online, the university's distance-learning program. While many degrees and certificates can be completed fully online, others require some level of on-site attendance on the university's main campus in Muncie or at Ball State's Indianapolis Center. Ball State Online students have access to an extensive array of student support services, including academic advising, peer mentoring, technology support and career planning.

3 Grace College and Theological Seminary Winona Lake, IN Tuition $22,913 # of Online Programs 11 Acceptance Rate 79% Graduation Rate 68% Financial Aid 94% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Grace College & Seminary is a private evangelical Christian institution located in Winona Lakes, Indiana. Grace College Online offers a variety of distance-learning degree opportunities on both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Its GOAL (Grace Opportunities for Adult Learners) program was developed for students balancing work and personal commitments while pursuing college degrees. GOAL students can choose from among bachelor's degree programs in management, quality management, human services and business administration. In addition to GOAL degrees, Grace College offers hybrid-format bachelor's degree completion programs in psychology and ministry leadership, as well as 6 master's degrees in a variety of study fields. An Associate of Science in liberal arts is also available.

4 Purdue University-Main Campus West Lafayette, IN Tuition $9,208 # of Online Programs 19 Acceptance Rate 56% Graduation Rate 75% Financial Aid 43% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

An educational powerhouse with a worldwide reputation, Purdue University is home to two major distance-learning programs: Purdue University Online and Purdue Global. Through Purdue University Online, students can choose from more than 20 master's degrees and several graduate certificate and professional development programs that can be completed either fully or partially online. A single associate degree is also available through the Veterinary Technology Distance Learning Program. Purdue University Online does not offer bachelor's degrees. The mission of Purdue Global is to deliver "personalized online education tailored to the unique needs of adults who have work or life experience beyond the classroom." Students throughout the world can choose from dozens of degree options - from associate to doctorate - in a wide range of subject areas. Along with its online presence, Purdue Global operates on physical campuses in 7 states.

5 Bethel College-Indiana Mishawaka, IN Tuition $27,040 # of Online Programs 8 Acceptance Rate 98% Graduation Rate 72% Financial Aid 99% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Located in the northwest Indiana community of Mishawaka, Bethel College is a private liberal arts college affiliated with the Christian Missionary Church. Bethel College offers a limited number of degrees that can be earned 100% online, including bachelor's degrees in business, nursing RN to BSN and Christian leadership, as well as an interdisciplinary studies program that allows the student to customize a curriculum based on his/her interests. Master's degrees in business administration, counseling, education, ministry and teaching, along with a school administration licensure, are also available in a fully online format. A BS in behavioral and social science, and a Master of Arts in counseling are offered in an online/on-site hybrid format.

6 Oakland City University Oakland City, IN Tuition $23,400 # of Online Programs 7 Acceptance Rate 33% Graduation Rate 53% Financial Aid 95% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Oakland City University is a private, coeducational institution located in Gibson County in southwest Indiana. It is the only college in the U.S. affiliated with the General Baptist Church. OCU Online, Oakland City's distance-learning program, offers a small number of online undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of criminal justice, education and, most prominently, business administration and management. An online Associate of Arts in Christian studies is also available and is designed to be completed in as little as 24 months.

7 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Saint Mary of the Woods, IN Tuition $28,932 # of Online Programs 30 Acceptance Rate 73% Graduation Rate 46% Financial Aid 96% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is a private, 4-year, Catholic college located north of Terra Haute in eastern Indiana. The College's Woods Online program offers over 20 associate, bachelor's and master's degrees that can be completed totally or partially online. Among the major fields of study offered are accounting, business administration, criminology, art and music therapy, theology and many others. SMWC additionally offers alternate programs in specific education topics that can be earned via distance learning.

8 Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN Tuition $8,141 # of Online Programs 15 Acceptance Rate 74% Graduation Rate 48% Financial Aid 54% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) is a public research university located in Downtown Indianapolis that offers degrees from both Indiana University and Purdue University. IUPUI's distance-learning program sponsors and extensive line of degrees and certificates, the vast majority of which can be earned entirely online, with others presented in an online/on-site hybrid format. Bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees are available in a broad range of fields across the entire arts and sciences spectrum, and 2 associate degrees in the subjects of histotechnology and labor studies are also available in fully online formats.

9 Indiana State University Terre Haute, IN Tuition $8,546 # of Online Programs 38 Acceptance Rate 86% Graduation Rate 41% Financial Aid 68% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Through Indiana State Online, ISU's distance-learning portal, students can choose from among more than 70 undergraduate and graduate degree, minor and certificate programs that can be completed 100% online or with minimal on-campus attendance. Programs are available in a variety of study fields, including business and marketing, criminology and criminal justice, education, engineering, nursing and many others. All online programs are available in Indiana, but program availability may be limited in other states or outside of the U.S. Out-of-state students can check program availability and review important licensure and certification information for their locations here.

10 University of Southern Indiana Evansville, IN Tuition $7,104 # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate 92% Graduation Rate 41% Financial Aid 45% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

The University of Southern Indiana's Online Learning program offers a number of undergraduate and graduate degrees that can be completed either fully or partially online. Areas of study include nursing and health services, sports management and business administration (with 5 available MBA concentrations). All bachelor's degrees are offered in a degree-completion format, allowing full-time students to finish their major coursework in 1 to 2 years. Non-degree programs are available in advanced studies in addiction science and certification/continuing education for health professionals.

11 Valparaiso University Valparaiso, IN Tuition $36,280 # of Online Programs 6 Acceptance Rate 83% Graduation Rate 67% Financial Aid 99% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
12 University of Saint Francis-Fort Wayne Fort Wayne, IN Tuition $27,030 # of Online Programs 7 Acceptance Rate 97% Graduation Rate 51% Financial Aid 100% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
13 Huntington University Huntington, IN Tuition $24,554 # of Online Programs 8 Acceptance Rate 89% Graduation Rate 60% Financial Aid 99% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
14 Indiana University-East Richmond, IN Tuition $6,478 # of Online Programs 11 Acceptance Rate 60% Graduation Rate 31% Financial Aid 48% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
15 Indiana University-Northwest Gary, IN Tuition $6,478 # of Online Programs 3 Acceptance Rate 76% Graduation Rate 35% Financial Aid 19% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
16 Purdue University Northwest Hammond, IN Tuition $6,341 # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate 59% Graduation Rate 36% Financial Aid 31% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
17 Indiana Tech Fort Wayne, IN Tuition $25,940 # of Online Programs 18 Acceptance Rate 69% Graduation Rate 35% Financial Aid 94% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
18 Vincennes University Vincennes, IN Tuition $5,122 # of Online Programs 3 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 27% Financial Aid 17% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
19 Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne Fort Wayne, IN Tuition $7,169 # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate 93% Graduation Rate 29% Financial Aid 16% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

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. You can click the icon below for more information about online schools and colleges in Iowa.

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.

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Annual Full-Time Wage and Salary by Educational Attainment in the U.S.
Less Than a High School Diploma High School Diploma Associate Degree
$28,756 $37,960 $44,824

Source: BLS

>
Annual Full-Time Wage and Salary by Educational Attainment in the U.S.
Bachelor's Degree Master's Degree Doctoral Degree
$62,296 $74,568 $94,900

Source: BLS

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.

Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Public Colleges and Universities
In-State Tuition Out-of-State Tuition National Average
$8,766 $26,214

$9,037 (In-State)

$25,657 (Out-of-State)
Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Private Colleges and Universities
Tution Out-of-State Tuition National Average
$27,991 N/A $30,731

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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.

Tuition Agreements for Out-of-State Students in Online Programs: Some schools maintain tuition agreements that lower the cost of tuition for eligible out-of-state learners.
Recurring Technology Costs: Many online programs charge distance learners a per-term or per-class technology fee.
Required Travel: Some programs require campus visits, which involve costs associated with travel and room and board.
Degree Cost: 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

Future Ready Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarships

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

Apply For Scholarship

Robert D. Blue Scholarship

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

Apply For Scholarship

Carver Statewide Scholarship Program

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

Apply For Scholarship

Iowa National Guard Service Scholarship

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

Apply For Scholarship

All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be Iowa residents attending an eligible Iowa school and must have transitioned out of the Iowa foster care system or the State Training School. Former Iowa foster care children adopted after the age of 16 can also apply.

Amount: Up to $4,644 per year, for up to eight full-time semesters

Apply For Scholarship

Grants for Iowa College Students

Future Ready Iowa Grant

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

Apply For Grant

Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities Tuition Grant

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

Apply For Grant

Kibbie Grant (Iowa Skilled Workforce Shortage Tuition Grant

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

Apply For Grant

All Iowa Opportunity Foster Care Grant

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.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Grant

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.

Subject-Specific Accreditation

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.

By the Numbers: Adult Education in Iowa

In 2016, 1,334,613 Americans participated in adult education.

A higher percentage of adult learners (aged 30 or older) participate in distance education than younger students.

Adult learners with access to online learning can more readily complete a degree program.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Adult Education Programs for Iowa Students

  • Adult Education & Literacy Program: Iowa Lakes Community College runs this program to help adult learners prepare for the citizenship exam, complete their high school equivalency diploma, and improve their academic skills to prepare for postsecondary studies or a career.
  • Iowa Adult Education and Family Literacy Program: This program from the Iowa Department of Education helps adult learners improve their academic skills in preparation for pursuing goals such as postsecondary education.
  • GAP Tuition Assistance Program: This program provides need-based funding for Iowa residents who are pursuing continuing education certificate training programs. The applicant's program must be relevant to an occupation that is in high demand in the state. Students may receive partial or full tuition assistance.

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.

  • Future Ready Iowa: This website offers job training and education information. Site visitors can learn about high-demand jobs in the state, Iowa's apprenticeship program, and scholarship and grant programs.
  • Iowa Community College Online Consortium: The ICCOC provides information about how to become an online student at a participating community college. The consortium provides lists of online classes available at ICCOC schools.
  • Iowa College Access Network: This network provides information about education and career training in Iowa. Students can locate financial aid opportunities and college and career planning resources.
  • Iowa Campus Connect: This coalition of 21 colleges and universities in Iowa helps students understand their educational options and find resources.
  • Iowa College Aid: This state government offers some of the best financial aid opportunities for college students in Iowa, including scholarships, grants, and loan repayment programs. The website provides information about applying for aid.

Search All Accredited Colleges and Universities in Iowa

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