As a new school year begins and summer fades into memory, students are (mostly) hard at work earning their college degree.
Some may have just started their college career, others may be a few credits from finishing, but nearly all are there to graduate, get that diploma, and start earning a living in the real world. For most of us, though, our alma matter never really leaves us. We all like to think we went to the best school and got the best education, but that can’t be true for everyone, right?
Students in Iowa are no different, and that got us curious, so we looked into the data to identify which colleges provide the best opportunity to earn a good income post-graduation without breaking the bank to get there. Put another way, students who graduate from these colleges earn the most money relative to what they paid to attend.
Our data comes straight out of the most recent College Scorecard release, which tracks everything from attendance figures and acceptance rate to student debt and more.
At the bottom we’ve included a full list, but first, here’s a quick look at the top 10 best value colleges in Iowa:
- University of Iowa
- Iowa State University
- Palmer College of Chiropractic
- Drake University
- University of Northern Iowa
- Mercy College of Health Sciences
- Saint Ambrose University
- Mount Mercy University
- Simpson College
- Grant View University
Leveraging the data from College Scorecard, we looked at three variables:
- The cost of attendance
- Earnings 6 years post-enrollment (early career)
- Earnings 10 years post-enrollment (established career)
From there, we limited our list to remove community colleges so we could focus specifically on primarily undergraduate institutions. Finally, we ranked the remaining 32 colleges on each attribute and averaged the three values to determine which ones had outcomes of strong career earnings in the short and long term without being prohibitively expensive.
When the dust had settled, University of Iowa held the title of the “Best Value College in Iowa.”
The Best Value Colleges in Iowa
|Rank||College||Cost of Attendance||Early Career Earnings||Established Career Earnings|
|1||University of Iowa||$21,875||$47,700||$62,000|
|2||Iowa State University||$19,878||$44,000||$56,000|
|3||Palmer College of Chiropractic||$22,230||$43,800||$53,600|
|5||University of Northern Iowa||$20,593||$39,600||$49,700|
|6||Mercy College of Health Sciences||$26,778||$44,000||$48,000|
|7||Saint Ambrose University||$42,922||$41,500||$50,500|
|8||Mount Mercy University||$43,185||$43,600||$48,400|
|10||Grand View University||$35,403||$39,800||$45,200|
|13||Upper Iowa University||$41,442||$41,200||$45,500|
|16||William Penn University||$35,896||$36,900||$46,400|
|23||Purdue University Global-Davenport||$19,555||$29,100||$40,100|
|24||Briar Cliff University||$40,794||$37,000||$44,400|
|25||University of Dubuque||$39,389||$35,300||$42,500|
|27||Buena Vista University||$44,645||$36,000||$42,600|
|28||Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary||$28,104||$32,000||$38,700|
|31||Iowa Wesleyan University||$37,905||$32,700||$39,900|
|32||Maharishi University of Management||$39,730||$22,900||$30,400|
- College Scorecard. “Educational Outcome Data.” https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/. 12/2/2019.