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2021 Best Colleges for the Money (With Aid) in Iowa

30 Colleges
$25,485 Avg Cost (With Aid)*
4.2 Years Avg Time to Graduate*

When pursuing a degree in today's world, there are many different options to choose from. At College Factual, we're committed to helping you make that decision by providing information such as that found in our Best Iowa Schools For The Money For Those Getting Aid ranking.

We analyzed 30 colleges and universities to determine which were the best for overall value for the money with aid in Iowa. This ranking isn't just a listing of 'cheap' schools. Instead, it is noting which schools offer a high quality education for a reasonable price. Thus, one college may rank better than another, but the second school could have a lower average cost.

See what other factors we include in our ranking methodology.

To calculate the average cost amount, we sum up the total expenses to attend a school - such as tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other living expenses - and then subtract the average financial aid award a student receives. So it is an approximation of how much you will have to pay out-of-pocket each year on average.

Customizing Your List

Since one ranking on its own is not enough to give you a complete understanding of your educational options, you can refine this list by location and field of study. We've also developed a number of other tools and rankings based on other factors. These other rankings highlight colleges that excel in other factors such as overall quality or diversity as well as schools that excel in serving different groups of students such as veterans or returnings adults.

You can create your own custom comparison that focuses on the factors most important to you using our tool, College Combat. We encourage you to try it out and pit your favorite colleges and universities head to head!

Top Colleges for the Money (With Aid) in Iowa

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

Iowa State University

Ames, Iowa

Our analysis found Iowa State University to be the best school for overall value for the money with aid in Iowa in this year’s ranking. Located in Ames, Iowa, the large public school awarded 7,380 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

At Iowa State, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.4 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $14,402 for students who receive aid. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State be around $63,657. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The student loan default rate at the school is 3.2%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%. Iowa State did well in our quality rankings, too. It placed #4 on our Best Colleges in Iowa list.

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#2

University of Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa

Out of the 30 schools in Iowa that were part of this year’s ranking, University of Iowa landed the #2 spot on the list. This large public school is located in Iowa City, Iowa, and it awarded 5,811 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Iowa is 4.3 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $16,421 for students who receive aid. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Iowa is $70,775. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 86%. Iowa also took the #3 spot in our Best Colleges in Iowa rankings.

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#3

University of Northern Iowa

Cedar Falls, Iowa

Out of the 30 schools in Iowa that were part of this year’s ranking, University of Northern Iowa landed the #3 spot on the list. University of Northern Iowa is a fairly large public school located in Cedar Falls, Iowa that handed out 2,500 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at UNI is 4.4 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $15,703 for students who receive aid. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from UNI is $69,721. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 2.9%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%.

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You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend Maharishi University of Management. The school came in at #4 in Iowa on this year’s best value ranking. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Fairfield, Iowa, and it awarded 115 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at MUM graduates in less than 4.3 years, and it costs students who receive aid about $11,649 per year to attend the school. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from MUM is $49,625. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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#5

Central College

Pella, Iowa

The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at Central College helped the school earn the #5 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools for the money in Iowa. Central is a private not-for-profit institution located in Pella, Iowa. The school has a small population, and it awarded 290 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Central graduates in less than 4.1 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $27,752 for students who receive aid. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Central is $112,673. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The low student loan default rate of 2.5% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%.

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#6

Emmaus Bible College

Dubuque, Iowa

Emmaus Bible College did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Iowa ranking, coming in at #6. Emmaus Bible College is a private not-for-profit institution located in Dubuque, Iowa. The school has a small population, and it awarded 91 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Emmaus Bible College graduates in less than 4.4 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $16,988. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Emmaus Bible College is about $74,068. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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#7

Northwestern College

Orange City, Iowa

With a ranking of #7, Northwestern College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Iowa list. Northwestern College is a small private not-for-profit school located in Orange City, Iowa that handed out 258 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at NWC graduates in less than 4.1 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $24,946. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the NWC is $103,027. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.7%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

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#8

Luther College

Decorah, Iowa

Luther College landed the #8 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Iowa ranking. Luther is located in Decorah, Iowa and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 591 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The average student at Luther graduates in less than 4.1 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $29,834. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Luther be around $122,319. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

The low student loan default rate of 2.4% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%. Luther did well in our quality rankings, too. It placed #5 on our Best Colleges in Iowa list.

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Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary came in at #9 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Iowa ranking. FBBC&TS is located in Ankeny, Iowa and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 40 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

It takes about 4.2 years for the average student at FBBC&TS to complete their degree, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $16,675 for students who receive aid. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the FBBC&TS is $70,368. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 2.9%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%.

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#10

Coe College

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Coe College landed the #10 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Iowa ranking. Coe College is a small private not-for-profit school located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that handed out 411 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At Coe, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.0 years, and it costs students who receive aid about $27,920 per year to attend the school. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Coe is $113,076. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The low student loan default rate of 2.2% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%.

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#11

Wartburg College

Waverly, Iowa

Wartburg College ranked #11 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Iowa list. Waverly, Iowa is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 316 students in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at Wartburg to complete their degree, and it costs students who receive aid about $26,205 per year to attend the school. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Wartburg is about $106,916. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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#12

Dordt College

Sioux Center, Iowa

With a ranking of #12, Dordt College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Iowa list. Dordt is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Sioux Center, Iowa. It awarded 384 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at Dordt to complete their degree, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $28,468 for students who receive aid. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Dordt is $115,580. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The low student loan default rate of 2.1% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%.

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#13

Loras College

Dubuque, Iowa

Loras College did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Iowa ranking, coming in at #13. Loras College is a small private not-for-profit school located in Dubuque, Iowa that handed out 429 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Loras graduates in less than 4.1 years, and it costs students who receive aid about $25,100 per year to attend the school. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Loras is $103,663. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The student loan default rate at the school is 3.7%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

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#14

Grinnell College

Grinnell, Iowa

With a ranking of #14, Grinnell College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Iowa list. Located in Grinnell, Iowa, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 524 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Grinnell about 4.1 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $34,996 for students who receive aid. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Grinnell is $143,134. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The impressive student-to-faculty rate of 9 to 1 means that students may have more opportunities to work more closely with their professors than they would at other schools. Grinnell did well in our quality rankings, too. It placed #1 on our Best Colleges in Iowa list.

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#15

Cornell College

Mount Vernon, Iowa

Cornell College did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Iowa ranking, coming in at #15. Located in Mount Vernon, Iowa, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 268 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

At Cornell College, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.1 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $33,714 for students who receive aid. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Cornell College be around $137,890. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 3.9%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Cornell College also is in the top 20% of our Best Colleges in Iowa ranking.

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#16

Drake University

Des Moines, Iowa

With a ranking of #16, Drake University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Iowa list. Located in Des Moines, Iowa, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 896 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

At Drake, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.1 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $37,202 for students who receive aid. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Drake is $152,900. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.4%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%. In addition to its best value ranking, and one of the reasons why the school is on the list, Drake is ranked #2 for overall quality in Iowa.

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#17

Simpson College

Indianola, Iowa

With a ranking of #17, Simpson College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Iowa list. Located in Indianola, Iowa, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 464 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Simpson College is 4.1 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $30,430 for students who receive aid. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Simpson College is $124,459. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 4.5%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%.

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#18

Saint Ambrose University

Davenport, Iowa

Saint Ambrose University ranked #18 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in Iowa list. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Davenport, Iowa, and it awarded 612 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At St. Ambrose University, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.2 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $29,816 for students who receive aid. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from St. Ambrose University is $125,525. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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#19

Clarke University

Dubuque, Iowa

Clarke University did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Iowa ranking, coming in at #19. Clarke is a private not-for-profit institution located in Dubuque, Iowa. The school has a small population, and it awarded 182 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At Clarke, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.0 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $30,448 for students who receive aid. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Clarke is $123,010. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The impressive student-to-faculty rate of 8 to 1 means that students may have more opportunities to work more closely with their professors than they would at other schools.

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#20

Morningside College

Sioux City, Iowa

With a ranking of #20, Morningside College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Iowa list. Morningside is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Sioux City, Iowa. It awarded 337 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Morningside about 4.1 years to graduate, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $26,567 for students who receive aid. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Morningside is $109,722. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The low student loan default rate of 3.7% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%.

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#21

Mount Mercy University

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Mount Mercy University landed the #21 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Iowa ranking. Mount Mercy is a private not-for-profit institution located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The school has a small population, and it awarded 493 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Mount Mercy is 4.3 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $31,989. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Mount Mercy be around $137,233. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 3.5%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%.

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#22

Grand View University

Des Moines, Iowa

Grand View University came in at #22 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Iowa ranking. Located in Des Moines, Iowa, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 473 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.3 years for the average student at Grand View University to complete their degree, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $25,792 for students who receive aid. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Grand View University is $111,937. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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Graceland University - Lamoni came in at #23 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in Iowa ranking. Located in Lamoni, Iowa, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 401 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Graceland Lamoni about 4.2 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $24,522 for students who receive aid. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Graceland Lamoni is about $103,238. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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#24

Briar Cliff University

Sioux City, Iowa

With a ranking of #24, Briar Cliff University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in Iowa list. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Sioux City, Iowa, and it awarded 240 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Briar Cliff graduates in less than 4.2 years, and it costs students who receive aid about $26,327 per year to attend the school. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Briar Cliff is $109,257. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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#25

William Penn University

Oskaloosa, Iowa

William Penn University did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in Iowa ranking, coming in at #25. Located in Oskaloosa, Iowa, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 299 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at William Penn University about 4.4 years to graduate, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $23,247. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from William Penn University be around $101,357. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • For our state-specific rankings, we use in-state tuition to calculate average cost. For our national and regional rankings, we use a weighted average of in-state and non-resident tuition.

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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