Best Value Colleges in Iowa

Iowa is home to several great colleges, but the Iowa College ROI rankings can help you find a school that has proven to be worth the high cost of admission.

Find out exactly what you should be paid
RankSchool Name20 Year Net ROI
Total 4 Year Cost
Graduation Rate
Typical Years to Graduate
Average Loan Amount
Rank:1School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$486,000Total 4 Year Cost:$83,700Graduation Rate:74%Typical Years to Graduate:5Average Loan Amount:$30,800
Rank:2School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$433,000Total 4 Year Cost:$93,500Graduation Rate:72%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$31,900
Rank:3School Name:
Iowa State University (Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI:$429,000Total 4 Year Cost:$141,000Graduation Rate:74%Typical Years to Graduate:5Average Loan Amount:$30,800
Rank:4School Name:
University of Iowa (Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI:$347,000Total 4 Year Cost:$179,000Graduation Rate:72%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$31,900
Rank:5School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$330,000Total 4 Year Cost:$219,000Graduation Rate:81%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$40,000
Rank:6School Name:
Dordt College (Private)
20 Year Net ROI:$235,000Total 4 Year Cost:$178,000Graduation Rate:75%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$35,900
Rank:7School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$225,000Total 4 Year Cost:$84,300Graduation Rate:67%Typical Years to Graduate:5Average Loan Amount:$24,300
Rank:8School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$213,000Total 4 Year Cost:$167,000Graduation Rate:46%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$28,000
Rank:9School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$204,000Total 4 Year Cost:$269,000Graduation Rate:89%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$19,700
Rank:10School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$197,000Total 4 Year Cost:$175,000Graduation Rate:48%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$30,800

In order to create a list of the best value colleges in Iowa, we determined the net 20-year ROI for each one. We derived this figure from the amount of money that graduates earned over a 20-year period. Then, we compared the median earnings to the amount that high school graduates earned over 20 years. Essentially, we’re looking at how much more graduates from specific colleges typically earn compared to high school graduates.

The only state whose east and west borders are formed entirely by rivers, Iowa is covered in rolling hills and acres upon acres of farmland. The birthplace of Western movie star John Wayne, Iowa is home to the University of Iowa, which includes the well-known Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Iowa was also the birthplace of U.S. President Herbert Hoover, author Bill Bryson, Lord of The Rings actor Elijah Wood, and Super Bowl-winning football player Kurt Warner.

Iowa State University typically offers both in-state and out-of-state students a high return on investment for their tuition investment. Located in Ames, Iowa State is roughly 30 miles from Iowa’s capitol city of Des Moines. Ames is also the home of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service’s National Animal Disease Center, and Ames laboratory at ISU played a critical role in the development of the atomic bomb during World War II as part of the Manhattan Project.

Private Drake University is a medium-sized school that gives students the chance to participate in the learning process by cooperating on projects and sharing ideas in class. It also provides students with the chance to engage in several sports, including basketball, tennis and softball.