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2023 Best Online Colleges in Iowa

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 12/30/2022
2023 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in  Badge

There are several public and private online colleges in Iowa that confer bachelor's degrees in a variety of subjects. Students looking to start an online education can review their options in Iowa, which may grant lower tuition rates to in-state residents. People go to college online for many reasons, chief among them the added flexibility and convenience that can make it easier to balance school with work, family, and other responsibilities. This is important for applicants who need or prefer to work while in college for financial reasons.

View our methodology for more details about our list, or learn more about OnlineU.

2023 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in  Badge
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List Of Accredited Online Schools

School Online Enrollment Annual Tuition
Waldorf University 1,950 1,950 $8,700 $8,700
Upper Iowa University 1,872 $31,685
University of Iowa 1,041 $31,569
Buena Vista University 610 $35,194
William Penn University 211 $26,100
Mount Mercy University 164 $33,862
Briar Cliff University 162 $32,202
University of Northern Iowa 159 $21,222
Grand View University 109 $30,508
Graceland University 65 $13,050

Waldorf University

  • Annual Tuition: $8,700
  • Locations: Forest City
  • Accreditation: HLC

Waldorf University is a private, for-profit, Lutheran university featuring a wide choice of online bachelor's degree programs. The university's most well-attended programs include its Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Arts in Occupational Safety, and Bachelor of Science in Fire Science Administration degrees. Waldorf accepts 61% of bachelor's candidates, and 50% of them complete their degrees.

Waldorf hosts online courses on the Blackboard learning management system (LMS). More than one-third of students are enrolled on a part-time basis, and 69% of students are online-only learners. Most Waldorf undergraduates are required to take a capstone class called Life, Meaning, and Vocation that asks them to examine their own values.

Upper Iowa University

  • Annual Tuition: $31,685
  • Locations: Fayette
  • Accreditation: HLC

Upper Iowa University (UIU) is a private nonprofit school with a range of online bachelor's degrees on offer. Popular programs include bachelor's degrees in business administration, human services, psychology, and nursing (an RN-to-BSN track). Online courses last eight weeks as opposed to 13-15 for a semester elsewhere. UIU has a 65% bachelor's degree acceptance rate and a 50% bachelor's graduation rate.

The university uses the Brightspace LMS to deliver online courses. The student body is almost evenly split between full-time and part-time enrollees, but distance education is clearly more common at UIU: 60% of students take exclusively online classes, and only 27% take purely on-campus offerings.

University of Iowa

  • Annual Tuition: $31,569
  • Locations: Iowa City
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Iowa (UI), the state's largest public university, offers a few online bachelor's degrees. Students can choose from degrees that include a Bachelor of Liberal Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Recreation Management. UI also has two online degree-completion programs: a Bachelor of Science in Nursing for current registered nurses and a Bachelor of Science in Radiation Sciences for current radiology technicians. The university accepts 84% of applicants to bachelor's programs, and 72% of them graduate with degrees.

Online students at UI sign into Canvas to watch lectures, talk to classmates in discussion forums, and complete assignments. UI's student body consists of 92% full-time students and only 4% online-only learners.

Buena Vista University

  • Annual Tuition: $35,194
  • Locations: Storm Lake
  • Accreditation: HLC

Buena Vista University (BVU) is a private school affiliated with the Presbyterian Church that offers more than a dozen online bachelor's degrees. Programs with the highest enrollment include bachelor's degrees in general distributive studies, psychology, business, and accounting. The university accepts 56% of candidates for bachelor's degrees, and it eventually grants degrees to 59% of undergraduates.

BVU uses the Canvas learning platform to deliver online courses. Forty-four percent of undergraduates at BVU take online courses exclusively, and another 5% take a mix of online and on-campus learning. About 14% of enrollees are part-time learners.

William Penn University

  • Annual Tuition: $26,100
  • Locations: West Des Moines
  • Accreditation: HLC

William Penn University (WPU) is a private institution affiliated with the Religious Society of Friends. This university provides four online bachelor's degree options, with majors in business management, human resources management, psychology, and nursing (for students who hold a registered nurse license). Students can also pursue two education degrees and three endorsements through the college's distance-learning program. WPU features a 55% acceptance rate for its bachelor's programs, along with a 45% student graduation rate.

Online learners at WPU sign in to Canvas to work on courses. The university almost exclusively consists of full-time enrollees, though 5% of students do take a part-time course schedule. Distance learning is better represented: 19% of WPU students are enrolled in online-only programs.

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