Q: What are the best online colleges in Iowa?

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A: There are many online colleges in Iowa, but some have embraced distance learning more than others. Pursuing a degree online does not have to compromise any of the formative lessons that are intrinsic in the college experience. Online programs have different strengths that cater to specific academic and professional goals, and all of them require a considerable investment of time and money which makes selecting an online college an important decision. College rankings are compiled based on a variety of factors that include professional job placement, graduation rate, freshman retention, student satisfaction and cost of tuition. Determining which factors are the most important for your college career should inform your decision-making process. Two online colleges in Iowa have distinguished themselves from the pack to be counted among the top 100 best online colleges: Iowa State University and Upper Iowa University.

Founded in 1858, Iowa State University has established itself as one of the best college experiences for their cost of tuition, landing it at #82 in the country for Best Value Schools by US News and World Report. For undergraduate online degrees, Iowa State University offers a Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS) that allows students to choose from any of their online classes. Their BLS requires the completion of 120 credits, but up to 90 credits can be transferred from other accredited institutions, making it a good choice for someone who is returning to academia after spending time in the workforce. Iowa State University also has a wide selection of online graduate degrees for professionals who need to accommodate their work schedule, while allowing them to pursue a degree that may lead to a promotion and a raise. Their online graduate degrees include Aerospace Engineering (Master of Engineering), Master of Business Analytics, Curriculum and Instructional Technology (Master of Education), as well as many other prestigious degrees that can lead to high-salaried job placement or promotion. The recognition of Iowa State University stretches worldwide, and their versatile online curriculum has consistently ranked among the top options in the nation, making ISU one of the best online colleges in Iowa.

The Center for Distance Education at Upper Iowa University serves over 3,000 students from all over the world. Students have global access and are not required to be on campus at any point in their academic career. Their curriculum features a wide variety of online degrees for their students to choose from. They have four online associate’s degrees: Criminal Justice, General Business, Liberal Arts, and Psychology. They have 32 different bachelor’s degrees that can be attained completely online, which include Accounting, Management, and Public Administration. They also offer four different graduate degree programs: Masters of Business Administration (MBA), Masters of Education (M.Ed.), Masters of Public Administration (MPA), and Masters of Sports Administration (MSA). All of their majors offer asynchronous courses that can be attended at any time and allows students to utilize their Self Paced Degree Program. The number of online programs at Upper Iowa University is the reason it rates so highly among online colleges in Iowa.

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