Higher Education Overview
For people who are interested in studying in Iowa, there are more than 60 colleges and universities to choose from within the state. It is the home of a large research institution, the University of Iowa, which was ranked one of the best colleges by U.S. News and World Report. There are three public universities in Iowa, and these three public institutions are governed by the Iowa Board of Regents. The three public universities under the umbrella of the Regents include the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.
The University of Iowa is the largest of the three public universities, but at the same time it is the smallest university in the Big Ten Conference. There are just more than 20,000 undergraduate students enrolled in the university, which is located in Iowa City, and it offers more than 100 different educational programs that all strive for academic excellence. The University of Iowa was founded in 1847, and it was the first public university to be started within the state. It is also the oldest public university in the state. Many great people have graduated from the University of Iowa, including Grammy winners, Academy Award winners and Pulitzer Prize winners.
With an enrollment of just more than 5,700 students, the largest private college in the state of Iowa is Upper Iowa University. While the enrollment is high, this is largely due to the fact that this university offers many extension campuses. The main campus is located in rural Fayette, Iowa, and about 900 students reside there. It offers more than 40 different undergraduate and graduate level programs for its students to choose from, as well as a unique independent study path allowing students to study courses wherever they are at the time.
Uniquely, the college with the largest enrollment in Iowa is a for-profit educational institution, Ashford University. Ashford University is located in Clinton, Iowa and has more than 74,000 students enrolled. With more than 50 different program options available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's levels, most students opt to take their courses through Ashford University online. Just more than 900 students attend classes at the physical campus. Ashford University was founded in 1918, and it was originally a boarding school and college for women. It was a prominent place for women to train when they wanted to be teachers in rural Iowa.