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Staff Writers
Updated March 24, 2021

Are you ready to find your fit?

By BVS Staff

Welcome to our best value ranking of online colleges in Iowa. You may also want to head over and check out our ranking of the best cheap colleges online.

Overall, Iowa has no shortage of colleges and universities. But of the nearly 40 institutions of higher education in the state, only about a quarter offer significant online learning opportunities for undergraduates. Of these online-accessible schools, we're bringing you the 4 "best value." These top 4 colleges all earned at least 55 points (out of 100) in our ranking.


Click here to read all about our best value online schools ranking methodology.

#1 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
#2 University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA
#3 Upper Iowa University Fayette, IA
#4 Buena Vista University Storm Lake, IA

Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

  1. University of Iowa

    Iowa City, IA



    The University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa are alike in more than name alone; in terms of price, graduation rate, and percentage of online students, they are just about neck and neck in the final stretch here. However, the U of I pulls off the victory for our Iowa best online colleges ranking thanks not only to slightly superior stats, but also as a result of its greater breadth of online degree offerings. Where UNI had just four options for online undergraduate students, Iowa more than doubles that—even featuring unique programs in Enterprise Leadership and Radiation Sciences.

  2. University of Northern Iowa

    Cedar Falls, IA



    Compared to the first two schools on this list, the University of Northern Iowa doesn't feature a particularly expansive range of bachelor's degrees online. However, the four it does offer - Elementary Education, Liberal Studies, Criminal Justice, and Technology Management - provide broad but relevant training opportunities to students of varied backgrounds and career goals. And in terms of educational value, it's hard to deny that UNI is among the best online colleges in Iowa. For less than $8,000 a year, Iowa residents can take advantage of an educational opportunity with one of the highest graduation rates (68% of students) in the state.

  3. Upper Iowa University

    Fayette, IA



    Like Buena Vista, Upper Iowa University provides students from around the state with a strong selection of affordable online degrees in Iowa. In this respect, however, UIU decisively raises the bar. Not only does UIU more than double the number degree programs available to undergraduate students online, but it also features a range of delivery options that allow students to customize the pace of their educational experience. In addition to a conventional asynchronous online delivery format, distance learners at UIU can choose from two "self-paced" options that include web-based or paper/email-based communications.

  4. Buena Vista University

    Storm Lake, IA



    On this list of top online colleges in Iowa, Buena Vista University primarily stands out for its partnership with the Iowa Community College Online Consortium (ICCOC). As a result of this collaboration, students from all around the state can complete their bachelor's degree entirely online, in one of dozens of disciplines. And this approach has earned plenty of supporters; more than a quarter of BVU undergrads exclusively take distance courses, while another 10-15% take classes both online and on campus. All in all, Buena Vista University is a top destination for associate's program graduates who want to finish out their education in anything from Accounting and Business Administration to Special Needs Education.

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What did you think of these top online degrees in Iowa?

See also: 20 Best Value Colleges and Universities in Iowa


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