2022 Top Public Universities in Iowa

Public universities are often the most affordable option for students pursuing higher education, but it’s not just affordability that makes these institutions attractive. Public universities also rank highly among the best universities in many states, Iowa included.

Public universities receive state and federal funding. Although they generally have larger class sizes than private institutions, they also tend to offer a wide variety of academic programs, diverse student bodies, and prestigious research opportunities.

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

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Showing 19 schools

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    Avg Tuition per YearTuition is the price you pay to attend classes. Tuition varies by school, and does not include costs associated with room and board, books, school supplies, meal plans, or transportation.

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    #1

    Northwest Iowa Community College

    Sheldon, IA

    Graduation Rate

    61%

    Enrollment

    1,666

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5340

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $5640

    A public institution, Northwest Iowa Community College grants degrees and certificates from its campus in Sheldon, Iowa. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. Students who complete a technical or academic program may enter the workforce. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. At the accredited school, students qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The institution reports that 89% of students receive aid, and 16% receive loans. The public school reports a 61% graduation rate. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. Admissions advisors can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. Northwest Iowa Community College holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #2

    University of Northern Iowa

    Cedar Falls, IA

    Graduation Rate

    64%

    Enrollment

    9,507

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $7665

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $19949

    University of Northern Iowa, located in Cedar Falls, Iowa, enrolls students as a public institution. Enrollees take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The institution reports that 83% of learners receive financial aid, while 53% take out loans. The school reports a 64% graduation rate. The admission rate is 79% for prospective students. Prospective applicants can contact the admissions office for more information about applying. The school holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #3

    Iowa State University

    Ames, IA

    Graduation Rate

    75%

    Enrollment

    31,822

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $8042

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $23230

    From its campus in Ames, Iowa, Iowa State University grants college degrees as a public institution. The school offers academic and technical programs to help learners reach their educational goals. During a bachelor's degree, enrollees take lower-division and upper-division coursework. Students also complete general education credits. Upper-division credits emphasize advanced concepts in the major. Learners benefit from support services, which include tutoring and career counseling. Data on the school's average cost per credit is unavailable. At the accredited institution, learners qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Iowa State University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #4

    University of Iowa

    Iowa City, IA

    Graduation Rate

    72%

    Enrollment

    30,318

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $8073

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $30036

    A public institution, University of Iowa grants degrees from its campus in Iowa City, Iowa. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps students reach their professional goals. During a bachelor's degree, undergraduates take lower-division and upper-division coursework. Students also complete general education credits. In upper-division classes, undergraduates learn advanced concepts in their major. Learners receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The college charges an average of 661 per credit. Learners at this accredited institution also qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. University of Iowa is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    #5

    North Iowa Area Community College

    Mason City, IA

    Graduation Rate

    52%

    Enrollment

    2,681

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4973

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7459

    Located in Mason City, Iowa, North Iowa Area Community College awards degrees and certificates as a public institution. The institution's faculty brings expertise in multiple fields. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for a successful career. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. The accredited institution meets the requirements for federal financial aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The institution reports that 96% of students receive aid, and 28% receive loans. The school reports a graduation rate of 52%. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements. North Iowa Area Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    #6

    Iowa Lakes Community College

    Estherville, IA

    Graduation Rate

    46%

    Enrollment

    2,288

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $6016

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $6368

    Iowa Lakes Community College enrolls learners from its Estherville, Iowa campus. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help learners meet their professional goals. Depending on the degree or certificate type, enrollees can spend anywhere from a few months up to as many as seven years completing a program. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. These policies make it easier to apply. The admissions department provides additional resources on submitting an application. Financial aid helps degree-seekers pay for their education. The school holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #7

    Northeast Iowa Community College

    Calmar, IA

    Graduation Rate

    47%

    Enrollment

    4,162

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5280

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $6000

    Northeast Iowa Community College, a public institution in Calmar, Iowa, enrolls learners in multiple programs. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their educational goals. Students prepare to contribute to their field by completing courses. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. A waiver makes it easier to apply. Enrollees receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The school's cost per credit is unknown. Learners at the accredited school can pay for their educational costs with federal student aid programs. Northeast Iowa Community College has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

    #8

    Southeastern Community College

    West Burlington, IA

    Graduation Rate

    33%

    Enrollment

    2,260

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5700

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $5850

    Southeastern Community College, which offers programs from its West Burlington, Iowa campus, often ranks among the top schools. Students study with experts in many different fields. The school offers academic and technical tracks to help learners meet a variety of professional goals. Depending on the program, students can spend anywhere from a few months up to as many as seven years earning their degree or certificate. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. The waiver makes it simpler to enroll. The admissions department provides more information about the application process. Financial aid helps degree-seekers pay for their education. Southeastern Community College holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #9

    Southwestern Community College

    Creston, IA

    Graduation Rate

    48%

    Enrollment

    1,503

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5520

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $5730

    A public institution located in Creston, Iowa, Southwestern Community College educates students through multiple programs. Students leave the school with credentials that prepare them for the workplace. Learners benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Many of the school's degrees make national rankings. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. As an accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. The institution reports that students receive an average aid award of $5588, lowering the average tuition cost after aid to $9182. The school offers both academic and technical programs. The school offers foundational courses, technical classes, and general education courses in multiple majors. Southwestern Community College holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

    #10

    Western Iowa Tech Community College

    Sioux City, IA

    Graduation Rate

    39%

    Enrollment

    5,360

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3792

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $3816

    Western Iowa Tech Community College, located in Sioux City, Iowa, enrolls students as a public institution. The institution's faculty brings expertise in multiple fields. The school's academic and technical programs prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. At the institution, 86% of students receive aid and 33% receive loans. Learners graduate from the school at a rate of 39%. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements. The school holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #11

    Marshalltown Community College

    Marshalltown, IA

    Graduation Rate

    35%

    Enrollment

    1,836

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4344

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $4680

    From its campus in Marshalltown, Iowa, Marshalltown Community College educates college students as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their professional goals. The institution offers coursework that gives students the chance to gain relevant knowledge and skills. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. A test score waiver makes it easier to enroll. Learners benefit from support services like tutoring and career counseling. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. Learners at the accredited school qualify for federal student aid programs. Marshalltown Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    #12

    Eastern Iowa Community College District

    Davenport, IA

    Graduation Rate

    39%

    Enrollment

    7,081

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5600

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7744

    Located in Davenport, Iowa, Eastern Iowa Community College District grants college degrees as a public institution. The school's academic and technical programs help learners reach a variety of professional goals. Students prepare for a successful career by completing degree- or certificate-specific coursework. Many schools no longer require admissions tests such as ACT or SAT scores. This makes it easier to enroll. Learners benefit from support services, which include tutoring and career counseling. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. Learners attending the accredited school also qualify for federal financial aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The school holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

    #13

    Indian Hills Community College

    Ottumwa, IA

    Graduation Rate

    35%

    Enrollment

    3,279

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4440

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $5880

    Located in Iowa, Indian Hills Community College offers 128 academic programs. Students enroll in top-ranked programs that offer a rigorous course of study. The school boasts a 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. The institution reports that of its total enrollees, 93% receive financial aid. The school reports a 35% graduation rate. Experiential learning opportunities help graduates on the job market. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements and start dates.

    #14

    Kirkwood Community College

    Cedar Rapids, IA

    Graduation Rate

    33%

    Enrollment

    12,277

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5040

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $6636

    From its campus in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Kirkwood Community College offers multiple programs as a public institution. Students leave the school with experience and credentials that prepare them for the workforce. Degree-seekers benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. The school boasts several programs that appear in national rankings. The cost per credit is unknown. As an accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Enrollees receive an average aid award of $5369, lowering the average tuition cost after aid to $8727. Learners choose from academic and technical programs. Depending on their major, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Kirkwood Community College has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #15

    Des Moines Area Community College

    Ankeny, IA

    Graduation Rate

    31%

    Enrollment

    23,051

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5100

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $10200

    Des Moines Area Community College, located in Ankeny, Iowa, offers 147 programs for students. The institution's top-ranked programs offer a rigorous course of study. The school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 20-to-1. According to the the school's reports, 71% of its students receive financial assistance. The school reports a graduation rate of 31%. The institution's commitment to experiential learning makes graduates more competitive. The rate of admission for the school is unknown. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Admissions advisors can provide more information about application requirements and start dates.

    #16

    Hawkeye Community College

    Waterloo, IA

    Graduation Rate

    25%

    Enrollment

    5,042

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5530

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $6250

    Hawkeye Community College, located in Waterloo, Iowa, enrolls students as a public institution. Degree-seekers study with experts in many different fields. Students who complete an academic or technical program enter the workforce or pursue a bachelor's degree. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The institution reports that 85% of students receive aid, and 29% receive loans. The institution reports a 25% graduation rate. The rate of admission for the school is unknown. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements. Hawkeye Community College holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

    #17

    Iowa Central Community College

    Fort Dodge, IA

    Graduation Rate

    34%

    Enrollment

    4,704

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4980

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7480

    A top-ranked school, Iowa Central Community College enrolls learners in programs from its campus in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Degree-seekers study with experts in many different fields. The school offers academic and technical tracks to help students meet a variety of professional goals. Consult the institution's website to find information on the typical timeline for program completion. Applicants may qualify for a standardized test score waiver. Test-optional policies make it easier to apply. The admissions department provides additional resources on applying to the school. Financial aid provides options for degree-seekers to pay for their education. Iowa Central Community College holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

    #18

    Ellsworth Community College

    Iowa Falls, IA

    Graduation Rate

    34%

    Enrollment

    731

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4344

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $5280

    Ellsworth Community College grants degrees as a public institution from its location in Iowa Falls, Iowa. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. Students who complete an academic or technical program enter the workforce or pursue a bachelor's degree. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. At the accredited school, enrollees qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The institution reports that 98% of students receive financial aid and 48% take out loans. Students earn their bachelor's degree from the school at a rate of 34%. The admission rate is unknown at this time. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    #19

    Iowa Western Community College

    Council Bluffs, IA

    Graduation Rate

    27%

    Enrollment

    5,791

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5610

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $5760

    From its campus in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Iowa Western Community College enrolls students in programs as a public institution. Graduates leave the school prepared for the workforce. The programs offer an academically rigorous course of study at an affordable price. Students can enroll in nationally ranked programs. The cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers at this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The institution reports that students receive an average aid award of $7424, lowering the average tuition cost after aid to $10995. Learners choose from academic and technical programs. Based on their major, students take foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Iowa Western Community College has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, an independent accrediting body.