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2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa

33 Colleges
$40,148 Avg Salary*
51% Avg Grad Rate*

Fortunately, colleges have stepped up their offerings to non-traditional students. However, that can mean decision-fatigue for the typical busy student. At College Factual, we're committed to helping you make an informed education decision by providing the critical data you need.

After analyzing 33 schools in Iowa, we came up with our list of those that offered the highest quality education to non-traditional students, including part-time and adult learners. To come up with this ranking, we look at more than 20 factors that are all objective measurements. These factors include degree completion, post-graduate earnings, and distance-learning options, among other things.

For our ranking, we define a non-traditional student as anyone who is part-time or returning, or an adult learner (over the age of 24).

Learn more about our ranking methodology.

Custom Rankings

Filtering this list by location or field of study and then explore our other rankings that feature schools great for different groups of students such as veterans or international students.

We've created a tool called College Combat that lets you create your own customized comparisons based on the factors that matter the most to you. Test it out by comparing your favorite schools against others you are considering!

Top Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

Mount Mercy University

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Mount Mercy University tops this year’s ranking as the best school for non-traditional students in Iowa. Mount Mercy University is a small private not-for-profit school located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that handed out 493 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

There are 767 adult students enrolled in the school, which is 42% of the student body. The per credit hour charge for part-time students in state is $996. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Mount Mercy is $45,300 during the early years of their career.

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#2

University of Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa

The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at University of Iowa helped the school earn the #2 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools for non-traditional learners in Iowa. Located in Iowa City, Iowa, the large public school handed out 5,811 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

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%. The school charges $400 per credit hour for part-time students in-state. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Iowa make an average of $51,900 per year during the early years of their career.

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#3

Iowa State University

Ames, Iowa

One of the best schools for adult learners and other non-traditional students is Iowa State University. The school came in at #3 in Iowa in this year’s ranking. This large public school is located in Ames, Iowa, and it awarded 7,380 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 3.2%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. The per credit hour charge for part-time students in state is $336. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State make an average of $50,700 per year during the early years of their career.

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#4

University of Northern Iowa

Cedar Falls, Iowa

The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at University of Northern Iowa helped the school earn the #4 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools for non-traditional learners in Iowa. Cedar Falls, Iowa is the setting for this fairly large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 2,500 students in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 2.9% 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%. Part-time students in-state can expect to be charged $320 per credit hour. During the early years of their career, graduates from UNI make an average of $44,600 a year.

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One of the best schools for adult learners and other non-traditional students is Northwest Iowa Community College. The school came in at #5 in Iowa in this year’s ranking.

The school charges $173 per credit hour for part-time students in-state. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Northwest Iowa Community College make an average of $43,100 per year during the early years of their career.

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#6

Buena Vista University

Storm Lake, Iowa

With a ranking of #6, Buena Vista University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa list. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Storm Lake, Iowa, and it awarded 643 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school charges $1,184 per credit hour for part-time students in-state. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to earn average salaries of $40,000 a year.

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#7

Simpson College

Indianola, Iowa

Simpson College landed the #7 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa ranking. Located in Indianola, Iowa, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 464 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

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%. The per credit hour charge for part-time students in state is $390. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to earn average salaries of $47,500 a year.

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#8

Grand View University

Des Moines, Iowa

Grand View University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa ranking, coming in at #8. Grand View University is located in Des Moines, Iowa and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 473 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

The per credit hour charge for part-time students in state is $571. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Grand View University make an average of $43,200 per year during the early years of their career.

Full Grand View University Report

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#9

Briar Cliff University

Sioux City, Iowa

Briar Cliff University landed the #9 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa ranking. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Sioux City, Iowa, and it awarded 240 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school charges $1,034 per credit hour for part-time students in-state. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Briar Cliff is $41,900 during the early years of their career.

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#10

Upper Iowa University

Fayette, Iowa

Upper Iowa University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa ranking, coming in at #10. UIU is located in Fayette, Iowa and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 1,155 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

The school charges $1,281 per credit hour for part-time students in-state. During the early years of their career, graduates from UIU make an average of $42,900 a year.

Full Upper Iowa University Report

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With a ranking of #11, Graceland University - Lamoni did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa list. Graceland Lamoni is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Lamoni, Iowa. It awarded 401 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The per credit hour charge for part-time students in state is $800. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Graceland Lamoni make an average of $36,200 per year during the early years of their career.

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#12

Morningside College

Sioux City, Iowa

Morningside College came in at #12 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa ranking. Morningside is located in Sioux City, Iowa and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 337 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

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%. Part-time students in-state can expect to be charged $570 per credit hour. During the early years of their career, graduates from Morningside make an average of $43,700 a year.

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#13

Saint Ambrose University

Davenport, Iowa

With a ranking of #13, Saint Ambrose University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa list. Saint Ambrose University is a small private not-for-profit school located in Davenport, Iowa that handed out 612 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school charges $970 per credit hour for part-time students in-state. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from St. Ambrose University is $47,300 during the early years of their career.

Full Saint Ambrose University Report

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#14

Clarke University

Dubuque, Iowa

With a ranking of #14, Clarke University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa list. Located in Dubuque, Iowa, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 182 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 4.2% 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%. The school charges $775 per credit hour for part-time students in-state. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to earn average salaries of $41,300 a year.

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With a ranking of #15, Maharishi International University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa list. Located in Fairfield, Iowa, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 115 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The per credit hour charge for part-time students in state is $500. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from MIU is $21,400 during the early years of their career.

Full Maharishi International University Report

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#16

Waldorf University

Forest City, Iowa

With a ranking of #16, Waldorf University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa list. Located in Forest City, Iowa, the small private for-profit school handed out 674 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school charges $295 per credit hour for part-time students in-state. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Waldorf go into careers with an average salary of $37,800 during the early years of their career.

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#17

University of Dubuque

Dubuque, Iowa

University of Dubuque did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa ranking, coming in at #17. UD is located in Dubuque, Iowa and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 389 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

Part-time students in-state can expect to be charged $1,020 per credit hour. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to earn average salaries of $39,200 a year.

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North Iowa Area Community College landed the #18 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa ranking.

The school charges $160 per credit hour for part-time students in-state. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from North Iowa Area Community College go into careers with an average salary of $33,900 during the early years of their career.

Full North Iowa Area Community College Report

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#19

William Penn University

Oskaloosa, Iowa

William Penn University landed the #19 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa ranking. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Oskaloosa, Iowa, and it awarded 299 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school charges $400 per credit hour for part-time students in-state. During the early years of their career, graduates from William Penn University make an average of $42,100 a year.

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With a ranking of #20, Western Iowa Tech Community College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa list.

The school charges $153 per credit hour for part-time students in-state. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Western Iowa Tech Community College make an average of $31,500 per year during the early years of their career.

Full Western Iowa Tech Community College Report

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Northeast Iowa Community College ranked #21 on this year’s Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa list.

Part-time students in-state can expect to be charged $174 per credit hour. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from NICC make an average of $33,700 per year during the early years of their career.

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#22

Iowa Wesleyan University

Mount Pleasant, Iowa

Iowa Wesleyan University came in at #22 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa ranking. Iowa Wesleyan is a private not-for-profit institution located in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. The school has a small population, and it awarded 86 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school charges $770 per credit hour for part-time students in-state. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to earn average salaries of $39,500 a year.

Full Iowa Wesleyan University Report

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#23

Kirkwood Community College

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Kirkwood Community College did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa ranking, coming in at #23.

Part-time students in-state can expect to be charged $176 per credit hour. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Kirkwood Community College is $35,800 during the early years of their career.

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#24

Hawkeye Community College

Waterloo, Iowa

Hawkeye Community College ranked #24 on this year’s Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa list.

Part-time students in-state can expect to be charged $198 per credit hour. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to earn average salaries of $36,100 a year.

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#25

Iowa Western Community College

Council Bluffs, Iowa

Iowa Western Community College came in at #25 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students in Iowa ranking.

The per credit hour charge for part-time students in state is $195. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to earn average salaries of $33,100 a year.

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Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

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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