Online Colleges in Iowa
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, Governor Terry Branstad has called for 70% of Iowans in the workforce 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 64 degree-granting institutions, according to a 2015-2016 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NES). Of those, 19 are public, 34 are private non-profit and 11 are for-profit.
To attend one of Iowa’s public 4-year schools, Collegeboard.org reports that tuition and fees will run residents an average of $8270, while non-residents will pay around $24,380.
Students coming from nearby Midwestern states may pay less, though, because of Iowa’s involvement with the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP). MSEP allows students to enroll at public schools in any of the 10 participating states for no more than 150% of the in-state tuition rate.
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 NES, in 2012 39.7% of students in Iowa were enrolled in fully online degree programs, more than three times the national average! Another 8.8% 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. Iowa Communications Network (ICN) is a similar resource for video-based distance learning. Both organizations serve K-12, higher education and corporate training.
The state’s community colleges have a support network of their own. The Iowa Community College Online Consortium (ICCOC) connects seven of the 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:
- All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship – Need based; Renewable; Amount varies; Priority to students who have been in foster care, come from disadvantaged backgrounds, or attended alternative high school programs
- Education & Training Voucher (ETV) Program – Must have been in the foster care system or been adopted after age 16; Up to $5000 per year
- GEAR UP Iowa Scholarship – Must be a GEAR UP Program participant; Up to $2600 per year
- Iowa State Fair Scholarship – For high school seniors who have actively participated in the Iowa State Fair; Up to 10 awards; Up to $5000
- Iowa National Guard Educational Assistance Program – Must be a member of an Iowa Army or Air National Guard unit; 100% of the average tuition rate
- Iowa Tuition Grant – Need based; Amount varies
- Iowa Vocational-Technical Grant – For community college students; Need based; Up to $900 per year for up to 2 years
- Kibbie Grant – For community college students; Need based; Up to ½ of the average tuition and fees per year, up to 2 years
- Robert D. Blue Scholarship – For high school seniors who demonstrate literary and scholastic ability and moral character; $500-1000
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, 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 dance, literature, music, theatre, folk and traditional arts or visual arts||
|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 a 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||
|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 demonstrate experience, talent and leadership in newspaper journalism||
|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 Fastweb.com 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|
|Kaplan University||Davenport, Iowa||$14,325||Regional||$45|
|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!