Best 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 2022.

Updated September 7, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Best Online Colleges In Iowa

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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.

FAQ's About Iowa Online Colleges


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.

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.

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.

AffordableCollegesOnline.org 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.

Featured Online Programs

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
Location 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

#1

University of Iowa

School Information
Location Iowa City, Iowa
Admission Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 72%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Iowa offers a comprehensive catalog of 430 online and on-campus programs. In total, 15,672 distance learners are enrolled at the school. The convenient online learning format is ideal for working professionals. 

The University of Iowa delivers student support services, and degree-seekers can take advantage of peer tutoring to improve their academic performance.

The institution's website provides details about how to earn credit for internships. Students can expect an admission rate of 83%, and online learners can use test scores to bolster their application. The school has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Iowa At a Glance:

Average Cost Per Credit: $661

Tuition for Undergraduates: $8,073/year in-state, $30,036/year out-of-state

Average Net Price With Aid: $17,008

Percentage of Learners Receiving Aid: 85%

Students Awarded Loans: 43%

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#2

Saint Ambrose University

School Information
Location Davenport, Iowa
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 64%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 17% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A private institution, Saint Ambrose University operates a campus in Davenport, Iowa. Many of the school's accredited programs are available online and in person. The college enrolls a total of 514 online students, and fully online bachelor's programs are available in addition to single remote classes.

Learners can pursue a college degree in many top-choice fields at the school. Degree-seekers benefit from the flexibility of an online learning environment. Many of the school's programs are designed to help people get more advanced roles in their field. Distance learners choose from two online bachelor's programs and four online master's programs at the school.

Pursuing a bachelor's degree often takes about four years. Transferring credits from previous institutions makes it possible for students to earn a four-year bachelor's degree in less time. Criteria for admission and the timeline for applying may be found on the school's website.

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#3

Simpson College

School Information
Location Indianola, Iowa
Admission Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 72%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Degree-seekers can enroll in liberal arts and professional studies programs offered at the nonprofit school. Online learners can conveniently earn accredited degrees while working.

A 120-credit bachelor’s degree typically requires a four-year commitment. Enrollees complete a master’s degree in about 24 months. Nontraditional learners can view live and recorded classes, and degrees incorporate classroom instruction and practical experience, such as internships or practicums. Faculty establish a timeframe for assignment submissions.

Simpson College's programs include certificates or associate degrees for new students. Services, such as tutoring and career advising, give online students invaluable support. Simpson College charges affordable online tuition. The school has an acceptance rate of 80%.

Simpson College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an independent, regional accrediting agency.

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#4

Grand View University

School Information
Location Des Moines, Iowa
Admission Rate 96%
Graduation Rate 55%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A private institution in Des Moines, Iowa, Grand View University offers in-person and online degrees from its main campus. The school's online programs enroll students countrywide. The online college helps graduates meet their professional goals by offering in-demand degrees in STEM, healthcare, and business.

Virtual learners can enroll in undergraduate and graduate programs, and general education courses give undergraduate degree-seekers foundational knowledge. Enrollees also take advanced classes in their major. Graduate learners develop advanced skills through online classes and seminars.

Prospective students can contact the school for more information on admission requirements, application deadlines, and start dates. Enrollees work with the accredited institution to get connected with financial aid opportunities.

Grand View University Numbers:

Student Pursuing Degrees Online: 507

Total Number of Online Bachelor's Programs: 7

Percent of Students Admitted: 96%

Percent of Students who Graduate: 55%

Allows Transfer Credits: No

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#5

Mount Mercy University

School Information
Location Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Admission Rate 66%
Graduation Rate 64%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Mount Mercy University, a private institution, enrolls students on campus in Iowa. The institution offers both residential and online undergraduate and graduate programs. Undergraduates and graduates choose from a catalog of 79 online programs. Enrollees receive a strong liberal arts and professional education. Students complete programs in various disciplines.

The degree blends classroom theory and practical experience, such as internships and practicums. Some online degrees require limited on-campus requirements such as residencies. Most online degrees require no residencies. Students gain practical experience applicable to the real world. 

Mount Mercy University offers online services, such as tutoring in various subjects. Prospective students can expect an admission rate of 66% at Mount Mercy University. Students use affordable tuition and financial aid to help pay for college. Online learners pay the same tuition regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency.

Mount Mercy University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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