2019 Best Online Colleges in Iowa

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The schools on this list represent Iowa's best online programs, based on affordable tuition rates and median alumni salaries. Iowa State University is ranked #1 with the highest median salary at $89,200 and an annual tuition of $9,690 for its Bachelor of Liberal Studies. University of Iowa is ranked #2 and offers the cheapest tuition at $7,770 each year, providing students with 15 different bachelor program options.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about SR Education Group. To see all online schools in Iowa, view our comprehensive list.

Rank School Annual Tuition Median Salary
#1 #1 Iowa State University $9,690 $89,200
#2 #2 University of Iowa $7,770 $88,100
#3 #3 Morningside College $8,215 $74,300
#4 #4 Graceland University $10,650 $73,800
#5 #5 University of Northern Iowa $9,600 $71,600
#6 #6 Allen College $19,158 $72,500
#7 #7 Buena Vista University $13,080 $66,800
#8 #8 Mercy College of Health Sciences $17,952 $67,000
#9 #9 Saint Ambrose University $32,414 $67,800
#10 #10 Upper Iowa University $13,620 $64,300
#11 #11 Briar Cliff University $8,300 $56,400

2019 Online Colleges in Iowa Ranking Details

For each school, we conducted manual research to provide prospective students with more details about the schools' online programs. Explore online degrees offered and accreditation information below.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,690
  • Median Salary: $89,200
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Ames
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Iowa State University is a public research institution in Ames that offers students the opportunity to earn an online degree from the state’s largest college. At the undergraduate level, they offer a hybrid agricultural studies program as well as fully-online bachelor’s degrees in early childcare education and liberal arts. At the graduate level, they host dozens of master’s, doctorates, and certificates in agriculture, business, engineering, human sciences, and more. Online courses are taught by the same first-rate faculty as on-campus classes. As a member of the Great Plains Interactive Education Alliance, ISU partners with 18 public universities across the country to allow online students to mix-and-match classes from multiple institutions to receive the best, most customized education possible.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (1)

Online Master's Degrees (29)

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Online Certificate Programs (26)

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  • Annual Tuition: $7,770
  • Median Salary: $88,100
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Iowa City
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The University of Iowa, a top institution that specializes in liberal arts and humanities, has been recognized as having the second-best accredited online degree program in Iowa. Its fully online degree programs offer schedule flexibility and global interaction for a traditionally low cost. The University of Iowa also offers tips and resources such as on-call degree advisors for students interested in any of their distance learning options. They offer over 40 online programs, including certificates, undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and professional development tracks.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (22)

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Online Master's Degrees (11)

Online Doctoral Degrees (11)

Online Certificate Programs (22)

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  • Annual Tuition: $8,215
  • Median Salary: $74,300
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Sioux City
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Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, is a private liberal arts institution that aims to meet the needs of nontraditional students with their online programs. They offer two online master’s degrees, one in nursing and one in education. Each is designed to fit into the schedule of working professionals who want to earn an advanced degree without pausing their career. In 2017, MC launched their online bachelor’s in organizational management, a degree completion program designed for adult learners who have already completed at least 50 college credits.

  • Annual Tuition: $10,650
  • Median Salary: $73,800
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Lamoni
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The online learning program at Graceland University has been recognized for its excellence by the United States Distance Learning Association. This private liberal arts college located in Lamoni, Iowa, offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in education, business, and nursing that can be earned entirely online. Students are expected to log on throughout the week to read and respond to posts from their peers. These programs were designed specifically for the adult learner and offer greater flexibility than on-campus degrees.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (5)

Online Master's Degrees (13)

Online Doctoral Degrees (2)

Online Certificate Programs (4)

  • Annual Tuition: $9,600
  • Median Salary: $71,600
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Cedar Falls
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The University of Northern Iowa offers 36 bachelor's, master's and certificate programs for prospective distance learning students, with both fully online and hybrid (online with some on-campus attendance required) programs available. Enrollment in this university's entirely online programs is contingent upon a degree hopeful's home state and its adherence to the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, which establishes standardized expectations in distance learning courses for member states. Ranked as one of the top public regional research institutions in the Midwest, the University of Northern Iowa is a great option for working, non-traditional students looking for cost-effective degree programs.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (6)

Online Master's Degrees (28)

Online Certificate Programs (9)

  • Annual Tuition: $19,158
  • Median Salary: $72,500
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Waterloo
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Allen College in Waterloo, Iowa, recently expanded their nursing programs to an accelerated online format to help meet the shortage of nurses in the state. Students in their hybrid RN-BSN program are able to complete the majority of their coursework online. Traditionally AC requires some face-to-face instruction for clinical work, but faculty can also arrange for out-of-state students to complete this part of their studies locally. AC also offers a Master of Science in Nursing, a hybrid degree where all of the core classes are taught online, though electives for some tracks may require in-person instruction. The accelerated RN-BSN program can be completed in four terms, but both nursing programs are also offered part-time.

  • Annual Tuition: $13,080
  • Median Salary: $66,800
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Storm Lake
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Buena Vista University is a private institution located in Storm Lake, Iowa, that is home to a thriving online learning community. They offer more than 30 fully online programs across the bachelor’s, master’s, and graduate endorsement levels in the fields of business, accounting, education, and more. BVU offers seamless transfer of associate degree credits through their partnership with seven community colleges across the state. Classes run on an 8-week schedule with six start times throughout the year, providing greater flexibility for nontraditional students. Their online learning platform hosts not just classes and coursework, but a network of tutors and a virtual student lounge.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (18)

Online Master's Degrees (8)

Online Certificate Programs (7)

  • Annual Tuition: $17,952
  • Median Salary: $67,000
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Des Moines
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Mercy College of Health Sciences offers several online bachelor’s degree programs that allow busy working adults to pursue their academic and professional goals in the field of health care. They are the only college in the state of Iowa to offer a bachelor’s in health information management, a degree which is available fully-online. They also offer a flexible RN-BSN program with admission three times a year. Students can complete this degree in as few as three semesters, but they can also stretch it out for up to six years to accommodate their work and family commitments.

  • Annual Tuition: $32,414
  • Median Salary: $67,800
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Davenport
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St. Ambrose University is a private Catholic college in Davenport, Iowa, with flexible online degree programs for nontraditional students. They offer four online bachelor’s degrees in the fields of management, business, and nursing, as well as master’s degrees in criminal justice, business, and public health. The 12:1 student-teacher ratio for their online classes ensures that students receive personalized attention. Eight-week class sessions allow for frequent start dates throughout the year, giving nontraditional students the flexibility they need to pursue higher education on their own time.

  • Annual Tuition: $13,620
  • Median Salary: $64,300
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Fayette
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Located off the Volga River, Upper Iowa University is a private institution that offers distance learning opportunities for working students through its asynchronous online program. Beginning with self-paced degree programs in 1973, UIU has always been at the forefront of non-traditional learning environments. Currently, its online program ranks among the best in the country and offers undergraduate and post-graduate degree programs in education, nursing and business administration to name a few. Classes run in five 8-week sessions, with an accelerated 6-week session offered over the summer. Students may transfer up to 90 semester credits towards a bachelor’s degree, and up to 12 credits towards a master’s degree.

Online Associate Degrees (4)

Online Bachelor's Degrees (37)

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Online Master's Degrees (26)

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Online Certificate Programs (16)

  • Annual Tuition: $8,300
  • Median Salary: $56,400
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Sioux City
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Briar Cliff University is a private Catholic institution offering flexible online degree completion programs for busy adults who may not otherwise be able to earn a bachelor’s degree. Students can study accounting, business administration, health sciences, nursing, operations management, or social work. BCU helps students complete their degree quickly by allowing them to transfer in up to 90 credits from a previous college or university, and by granting credit for existing knowledge and experiences. Students can communicate with their online instructors via email, phone, or video call.

Find an Online Degree:

Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools in Iowa (38)

The state of Iowa offers distance students affordable online degree programs in a wide number of subjects, including criminal justice, public administration, sports administration, and education. Organizational leadership is one of the most popular areas of study, with Waldorf University offering six bachelor's of arts and six bachelor's of science degrees for $8,700 a year, and Buena Vista University and Graceland University both offering multiple bachelor's degrees in the field. Western Tech Community College offers students the most affordable education, at $4,128 per year. Waldorf University receives the strongest recommendation rate at 100%.

At a Glance:

  • 49% of accredited online universities in Iowa have tuition of under $10,000.
  • The ICSAC Iowa Tuition Grant Program awards $6,000 to eligible full- and part-time resident students enrolled at one of Iowa's eligible private colleges and universities, based on greatest financial need.
  • Iowa's Matthew Shepard Scholarship Program is divided into two separate categories. The Silver Scholarship is an award of up to $9,000 over four years and may be applied towards tuition, books and fees at any college or university in the United States. The Gold Scholarship is an award of up to $40,000 over four years and pays tuition, books, and fees at Iowa State University, the University of Iowa or the University of Northern Iowa. All scholarships are renewable annually for up to four years upon evidence of academic achievement and continued service to the LGBTQ community.

References

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