Online Colleges in Iowa

Thinking of attending an online college in Iowa? Find career outlooks, the cost of online college, and the best online schools for 2021.

Online Colleges in Iowa is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Many of the best colleges in Iowa offer fully online degrees. Some programs feature a hybrid curriculum, offering both online and on-campus components. Online programs provide the same instruction as in-person programs while allowing students to take classes from anywhere.

Several Iowa online colleges charge in-state tuition rates for enrollees who live in the state. To qualify for in-state tuition, students must live in Iowa for at least 12 months prior to admission. The state also requires learners to establish residency by obtaining a valid state driver's license or ID. Once admitted, students must enroll in at least six credits to maintain residency. In-state tuition rates vary by program and school.

Factors to Consider When Attending Online School in Iowa

true Q. Do online credits cost more or less in Iowa?

The cost of online credits varies by school and program. Some online courses cost less than in-person classes, but schools may charge technology fees for fully online programs.

true Q. What is the most affordable college in Iowa?

Iowa's public colleges and universities offer the most affordable degrees. Public schools feature lower in-state and out-of-state tuition rates.

true Q. How long do you have to live in Iowa to get in-state tuition?

The state requires a 12-month residency to qualify for in-state tuition. Applicants should consult their prospective schools for specific details about maintaining residency once admitted. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online graduate degree programs. Figuring out where to apply? Consider one of these online Master’s or PhD programs.

Why Choose Iowa for Online Higher Education?

The best colleges in Iowa offer learners affordable options for study at all academic levels. Graduates from Iowa online colleges with degrees in healthcare, engineering, and finance acquire skills that remain essential to Iowa's fastest-growing industries.

The state's largest employment sectors include manufacturing, healthcare, and education. Degree-holders in these fields may pursue careers in factories, hospitals, or schools. Iowa projects additional growth in areas like the performing arts and the retail trade.

Common Online Bachelor's Programs in Iowa

The best colleges in Iowa offer many online options for studying in-demand fields like business, engineering, and healthcare. Read below for five of the most common bachelor's programs at Iowa online colleges.

Cost of Attending an Online College in Iowa

Although tuition costs vary by school, many Iowa online colleges maintain affordable rates. Online degrees in Iowa typically cost less than in-person degrees. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public, four-year degrees at Iowa colleges cost less than $10,000 on average. While private colleges cost more, online degrees at both public and private institutions can often save students money.

Online programs often require technology fees, but students may spend less on average. The flexibility of online programs allows many learners to work full time while attending school. Online students also benefit from the reduced operating costs of online programs. The chart below shows average tuition costs at Iowa colleges.

Average Undergraduate Tuition in Iowa
Public Four-Year College Private Four-Year College Public Two-Year College
In-State $9,966 $33,821 $5,137
Out-of-State $24,521 N/A $6,449

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Career and Salary Outlook for Students in Iowa

Graduates from the best online colleges in Iowa can pursue many careers. Degree-holders work in business, healthcare, and educational fields. Learners who specialize in sales, IT, and management can often expect strong job prospects. The following list highlights five common careers for students pursuing online degrees in Iowa.

Highest-Paying Careers With a Bachelor's Degree in Iowa
Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Chief Executives $161,410 4%
Sales Engineers $100,790 6%
Computer and Information Systems Managers $126,030 10%
Sales Managers $127,140 4%
Compensation and Benefits Managers $107,260 3%

Source: BLS, ProjectionsCentral

Iowa Scholarships and Grants

Students who attend Iowa online colleges may qualify for several scholarships. These opportunities help learners offset the cost of their education. See below for four scholarships open to Iowa online college students. Individual schools may also offer scholarships for online enrollees.

Iowa Scholarships and Grants
Scholarship Amount Who Can Apply

Robert D. Blue Scholarship

Up to $1,000 Iowa residents who attend or plan to attend an Iowa-based school may apply. Applicants must submit GPA information, reference letters, and a 500-word essay.

Brian Pearson Memorial Scholarship

$1,000 Athletes who participate in the Iowa Games qualify for this annual scholarship. Application requirements include an online application, high school transcripts, recommendation letters, and a personal essay.

Iowa National Guard Service Scholarship

Varies Iowa residents pursuing a degree or certificate at an eligible Iowa school may apply. Applicants must be National Guard members during the scholarship term. Students must submit FAFSA information.

PMI Eastern Iowa Chapter Scholarship

Up to $1,000 The Project Management Institute sponsors this annual award for eastern Iowa residents. Application requirements include transcripts, two references, a resume, and a short essay.

Best Online Colleges in Iowa 2021

  1. University of Iowa

    Iowa City, IA

    Founded in 1847, the University of Iowa is the state's oldest college. UI's distance and online education division offers 40 programs. Learners can pursue seven undergraduate degrees online in majors such as nursing and political science. Students can design their own program with the bachelor of applied science (BAS) or bachelor of liberal studies (BLS).

    The BAS offers a degree completion option for learners with significant credit or an associate degree in a technical field. The 120-credit curriculum allows students to build the curriculum with coursework in distributed areas. Options include the humanities and professional fields. The 120-credit BLS offers an interdisciplinary curriculum that consists of a common core, at least one of six tracks, and upper-level coursework. Students can also transfer an associate degree into this program.

    Graduate students can earn master's degrees in several fields, including nursing and business administration. Admission to one of the best online colleges in Iowa requires school transcripts.

  2. Saint Ambrose University

    Davenport, IA

    Saint Ambrose University is a Catholic college located in Davenport. Learners choose from several online bachelor's degrees. The college offers affordability and a generous credit transfer policy. All degrees require 120 credits that include general education coursework. Students complete the BA in psychology in 2-4 years depending on prior college education. The major explores subjects such as abnormal psychology, brain and behavior, and research methods.

    The bachelor of business administration (BBA) provides a comprehensive business education. The degree completion BBA explores concepts such as financial accounting, finance principles, and business law. Students customize the degree with one of three majors: accounting, cybersecurity, or HR management.

    All students pay the same tuition regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency. Almost 90% of SAU's enrollees receive some form of financial aid such as grants and scholarships. Admission to one of the best online colleges in Iowa requires a minimum 2.0 for transferable credits.

  3. Simpson College

    Indianola, IA

    Located in Indianola, Simpson College manages a virtual college designed for nontraditional learners. Students complete degrees entirely online or in hybrid format with some classes on the West Des Moines campus. Simpson offers online bachelor's degrees in criminal justice, management information systems, and marketing communications.

    A bachelor's degree in management prepares businesspeople who can lead. The degree offers three concentrations: entrepreneurship, human resources, and finance and insurance. Enrollees develop their expertise in Simpson's entrepreneurship incubators such as the Emerge laboratory.

    Students can take classes one or two nights per week. They can earn a degree in four years. Learners who earned an AA at a community college to satisfy the school's general education requirements. Simpson maintains articulation agreements with about a dozen community colleges in Iowa. Simpson offers the lowest online tuition in the state. Distance learners pay the same tuition regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency. Admission requires SAT or ACT scores and school transcripts for transfer students.

  4. Grand View University

    Des Moines, IA

    Grand View University is a private college located in Des Moines. GV administers online degrees for students at all levels of their education. Students pursue bachelor's degrees in accounting, finance, psychology, and paralegal studies entirely online. They can enroll in a traditional BA in criminal justice as freshmen, or transfer an associate degree into the 2+2 criminal justice program.

    The online RN-to-BSN allows working nurses to advance their education while continuing careers. Learners undecided on a major can work with GV to design a degree plan that matches their career goals and interests. The BA in liberal arts also offers a customizable curriculum.

    GV's enrollees enjoy comprehensive academic support that includes help taking tests and peer tutoring. The writing center offers workshops and other resources. GV, one of the most transfer-friendly online colleges in Iowa, allows students to transfer up to 75 semester credits into a degree. Admission requires high school and college transcripts.

  5. Mount Mercy University

    Cedar Rapids, IA

    Mount Mercy University offers an education that blends faith and learning. The Cedar Rapids college manages a virtual college with fully online bachelor's degrees. Students earn BA and BS degrees in 10 majors. The options include liberal studies, RN-to-BSN, and healthcare administration.

    MMU's bachelor of business administration (BBA) provides a broad business education. Students can specialize their knowledge with the BBA's online major in business, marketing, or management. The BAS in applied management allows students with a technical background to broaden their knowledge with a liberal arts education.

    Students can focus on one course at a time with MMU's five-week sessions. Degree-seekers can transfer 63-75 semester credits from two-year colleges. MMU waives the school's required core curriculum for students transferring an AA from an Iowa community college. The institution offers a flat tuition rate for distance learners. Admission to one of the most affordable online colleges in Iowa requires a minimum 2.0-2.5 GPA on transfer credits.

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