Iowa Colleges & Universities

If you're thinking about going to college, consider Iowa schools for educational opportunities and potential job prospects.

Guide to Iowa Schools: As a potential college student or someone looking to head back to school for another degree or job-specific training, the colleges in Iowa can provide some fantastic choices for the average applicant. Ranging from community colleges to four-year private schools in Iowa, here's a brief overview when looking into higher education and job prospects in Iowa:

Private Colleges in Iowa: If you're able to shell out the big bucks and perhaps looking for a private, distinctly brand-name college to attend, head towards schools in Iowa like Grinnell College or Drake University. According to the 2011 U.S. News rankings, Grinnell placed 18th out of all private liberal arts institutions and boasted an especially strong social activism streak amongst its students. Drake University also stands out for its especially strong law and pharmacy graduate school programs. Student diversity is on the rise for these schools - roughly a quarter of Grinnell's Class of 2014 are students of color, and the trend is mirrored in other universities across the state. These Iowa colleges, while offering an exceptional education and fantastic alumni networking options for students, also required attendees to pay more in tuition costs. One year of tuition and room & board comes to $35,090 (for the most recent semester) and the 2010 - 2011 school year costs $38,930 at Luther College. On average, tuition levels at these Iowa schools float around $35K - $40K.

Public Institutions and Community Colleges in Iowa:
  • • Perhaps the two most well-known colleges in Iowa (in the public education sector) are the University of Iowa and Iowa State University. With over 30,000 students in enrollment and the state's flagship public institution (also ranked 26th in the nation's top public institutions as ranked by U.S. News), the University of Iowa is famed for its creative writing MFA program, award-winning student newspaper, and football team (many of its alumni have gone off to play in the AFL or NFL).
  • • Not to be outdone, Iowa State University also offers strong academic and extracurricular options, and the school's engineering program has been noted as an intellectual bastion of the industry. ISU is also home to over 50 Greek Life organizations and claims quite a few Fortune 500 executives as its alumni. While tuition and other fees vary widely depending on the course of study and the number of credits taken per semester, the average tuition costs for one semester float around $9000. Iowa State University charges students $8,834, as a sample.
  • • Community colleges and two-year programs like Scott Community College and Clinton Community College are also viable higher education options providing the skills and training needed for students to go forward with a profession of their desire. For in-state students of both Scott and Clinton (both under a community college umbrella organization), tuition comes to around $472 for 4 credits, and $708 for out-of-state attendees.

Jobs in Iowa:
  • • While Iowa may be perceived as an agricultural state, there are far more jobs in the manufacturing, biotechnology, finance, and insurance sectors.
  • • The average median hourly salary in Iowa is $14.40, although this does not differentiate between graduates of Iowa colleges and people who have not obtained a college education. Also, the mean annual income is $36,960, and there are nearly 1.5 million workers officially registered in this state (out of a population of 3.07 million). Graduating from schools in Iowa will help you rank amongst the employed in this state.
  • • As of January 2010, the state's unemployment rate of 6.6% is below the current national average of 9.5% and major employers include John Deere, Wonder Bread, General Mills, Barilla, Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill Inc., and Monsanto Company.

Melissa Rudy.

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