Iowa Colleges Summary

Iowa provides many different educational options for students interested in attending college at either public or private schools.

Public colleges and universities in Iowa operate under the oversight of either the State Board of Regents or the State Board of Education.

  • The state has 15 community colleges. Students who complete credits or associate degree programs at Iowa community colleges can easily transfer to three public state universities through the Transfer In Iowa initiative.
  • The three public universities include Iowa State University at Ames, the University of Iowa in Iowa City, and the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. The University of Iowa, founded in 1847, is the oldest public university in the state.

Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities represents 25 member institutions and enrolls approximately 52,000 students each academic year, or about one-quarter of all Iowa college students.

Online Education in Iowa

Distance learners also have plenty of options when it comes to higher education in Iowa. IRIDE -- Iowa Regents Institutions Distance Education -- is a collaboration between the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and University of Northern Iowa. IRIDE offers fully online bachelor's degree programs in liberal arts and applied studies, as well as select undergraduate and graduate programs. Iowa students also can pursue online degrees from colleges outside the state through the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement.

To learn more about attending college in Iowa, check with the Iowa Department of Education, the State Board of Education for community colleges, and the Board of Regents State of Iowa for public four-year universities.


  • Fact Book, Iowa State University,
  • About the University of Iowa,
  • Key Facts, Iowa Private Colleges and Universities,
  • Approved SARA Institutions in Iowa, National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, Accessed May 2018,

Education Institutes in Iowa
Total Number of Educational Institutes
Total Enrollment in all institutes
Number of Public Educational Institutes
Number of Private For-Profit Institutes
Number of Private Non-Profit Institutes
Graduation Rate
Total Graduates With Bachelors Degree
On Campus and Online Programs in Iowa
Number of Institutes Offering on-campus programs
Number of Institutes Offering on-line programs
Number of Institutes Offering both

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics,
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Colleges and Universities in Iowa
SchoolCityTotal EnrollmentInstitution LevelAvg. In-State Tuition & FeesNumber of Programs Offered
Iowa State UniversityAmes34,992Four or more years$8,988339
University of IowaIowa City31,656Four or more years$9,267422
Purdue University Global-DavenportDavenport30,512Four or more years$14,343114
Des Moines Area Community CollegeAnkeny23,474At least 2 but less than 4 years$4,680136
Kirkwood Community CollegeCedar Rapids13,906At least 2 but less than 4 years$4,832120
University of Northern IowaCedar Falls11,187Four or more years$8,938162
Eastern Iowa Community College DistrictDavenport7,771At least 2 but less than 4 years$5,18490
Iowa Western Community CollegeCouncil Bluffs5,962At least 2 but less than 4 years$5,95271
Western Iowa Tech Community CollegeSioux City5,674At least 2 but less than 4 years$4,27296
Iowa Central Community CollegeFort Dodge5,390At least 2 but less than 4 years$5,49056
Hawkeye Community CollegeWaterloo5,263At least 2 but less than 4 years$5,31170
Drake UniversityDes Moines4,869Four or more years$41,39679
Northeast Iowa Community CollegeCalmar4,449At least 2 but less than 4 years$5,82074
Upper Iowa UniversityFayette4,392Four or more years$30,45093
Indian Hills Community CollegeOttumwa3,918At least 2 but less than 4 years$4,22481

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics,