Online Colleges in Iowa

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Iowa may be known for corn and cattle, but agriculture is just a small part of the state’s economy. The state is also known for manufacturing, technology, finance, and insurance, among other things.

Between 2010 and 2025, the state of Iowa is expected to add 612,000 jobs to its economy, with 68% of the state’s jobs requiring postsecondary education or training.

To meet the increasing demands, 70% of Iowans in the workforce will need to have education or training beyond high school by 2025. This initiative, called “Future Ready Iowa,” will work to increase program completion rates and improve how degree and certificate programs prepare students for in-demand jobs.

Indeed, Iowa is a state that recognizes and appreciates the value education has on its overall economy.

Overview of Higher Education in Iowa

In Iowa, there are 61 degree-granting institutions, according to a 2018-2019 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Of those, 24 are public, 34 are private non-profit and 3 are for-profit.

To attend one of Iowa’s public 4-year schools, the NCES reports that tuition and fees will run residents an average of $9,966, while non-residents will pay around $24,521.


About Online Colleges in Iowa

Nearly all of Iowa’s post-secondary institutions offer online degree programs or courses, including the state’s largest public universities, University of Iowa and Iowa State University, and top private institutions like  Buena Vista University and Graceland University.

And students are taking advantage of the programs!

According to NCES, students in Iowa were enrolled in fully online degree programs, and another 17.9% were enrolled in one or more online courses. Those numbers continue to rise as students recognize the value and flexibility that distance learning affords.

Iowa’s online degree programs are supported by several essential distance education organizations.

The Iowa Distance Learning Association (IDLA) is a group of Iowa distance educators and administrators sharing course materials, professional training, technical support, and more.

The state’s community colleges have a support network of their own. The Iowa Community College Online Consortium (ICCOC) connects six of Iowa’s community colleges, helping establish quality standards and provide comprehensive online educational opportunities and support across Iowa schools.

Scholarships and Financial Aid in Iowa

If you are interested in pursuing a degree from a college or university in Iowa, be sure to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The FAFSA will give you access to federal, state and private financial aid. The application becomes available each year on October 1st, and the sooner you fill it out, the more funds you will have access to.

Filling out the FAFSA is fairly simple. You will need to include your financial information as well as the financial information for your parents (unless you are considered independent). The information you provide will be used to determine how much and what types of financial aid you are offered.

The best types of financial aid are grants and scholarships because they do not have to be paid back.

The state of Iowa funds the following grant and scholarship programs for residents:

Scholarships are also ideal forms of financial aid that do not have to be repaid. Scholarships may be awarded based on academic success, geographic location, the field of study, unique hobbies or skills, and so on.

Here are a few scholarships available to Iowa residents:

Scholarship Name Details Scholarship amount
Iowa Scholarship for the Arts High school senior; Will be majoring in one of the specified areas of art


The Iowa Funeral Directors Association (IFDA) Scholarships Must have completed 2 years and accumulated 60 credits at an accredited college or university, and have at least 1 semester remaining; Must be enrolled in an accredited program in funeral service or mortuary science education

$500-1000 (multiple scholarships available)

The Iowa Financial Know-How Challenge: Senior Scholarship High school senior; Must complete 2 online financial literacy tutorials and a related online assessment

$2000 (30)

Telegraph Herald Scholastic Journalist Award High school senior; Must live in the Telegraph Herald’s circulation area (roughly 50-mile radius of Dubuque, IA); Must be active in the editorial aspect of newspapers


Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) Midwest Section Scholarships Must be enrolled in undergraduate or graduate program relevant to medical practice management; Must live in specified Midwest states


These are just a few examples. To find more, check out scholarship search sites such as where you can enter basic demographic information and be matched with dozens of scholarship opportunities!

Also, be sure to reach out to the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend. Often they have access to financial aid resources you cannot find anywhere else.

List of Online Colleges in Iowa

Online Colleges in Iowa Location Annual Tuition Accreditation Application Fee
Iowa State University  Ames, Iowa  $8,219  Regional  $40
Upper Iowa University  Fayette, Iowa  $28,890  Regional  $0
Waldorf University  Forest City, Iowa  $21,260  Regional  $0
University of Iowa  Iowa City, Iowa  $8,575  Regional  $40
Graceland University  Lamoni, Iowa  $27,010  Regional  $0
Buena Vista University  Storm Lake, Iowa  $32,210  Regional  $0


With numerous support organizations and grants and scholarships abound, it’s clear that Iowa supports education. The state is working hard to provide the postsecondary education and training necessary for Iowans to secure quality, lucrative careers and succeed in tomorrow’s economy!

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Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.