Are you curious to find out about the best small colleges in Iowa? Do you want to know about the unique experiences and opportunities offered by smaller institutions in the Hawkeye State?

In search of a college that not only educates but also fosters a close-knit community? Join us on an exploration of Iowa’s best small colleges, where big dreams find intimate spaces.

In this guide, we’ll unravel the distinctive qualities of these institutions by delving into what makes each a standout choice for prospective students.

We show you reasons why these smaller colleges are not just schools but dynamic communities that cultivate knowledge, character, and future success.

Now let us embark on a journey through the finest educational havens Iowa has to offer. If you did not find your choice school, we encourage you to consider other locations by checking other small schools in our archive of the best small colleges in other states of the US.

Now, let’s dive into the enriching world of the best small colleges in the heartland.

What is the #1 college in Iowa?

Determining the “#1” college can be subjective based on various factors such as academic programs, campus culture, and personal preferences.

However, the University of Iowa is often considered one of the top-ranked institutions in the state, known for its diverse offerings and vibrant campus life.

What is the cheapest 4-year college in Iowa?

The cost of attendance can vary, but among public institutions, the University of Northern Iowa is often recognized for its relatively affordable tuition rates.

However, it’s essential to consider individual circumstances, financial aid, and specific program costs when assessing the overall affordability of a college.

Is Iowa State a small school?

No, Iowa State University is not considered a small school. It is a public research university with a substantial student population and a comprehensive range of academic programs.

Iowa State is known for its emphasis on science and technology and is one of the larger institutions in the state, offering a diverse and dynamic educational environment.

What are the best small colleges in Iowa?

Without further ado, we lead you to the top colleges with small class sizes and student populations in Iowa. Our job here at Ziiky is to make school searching easy and seamless for you.

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Now here are the top Iowa small colleges:

1. Grinnell College

  • Phone: +1 641-269-4000
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 1,713 (2020–21)
  • Address: 1115 8th Ave., Grinnell, IA 50112

Known for its commitment to academic excellence and a strong liberal arts tradition, Grinnell College offers a dynamic learning environment.

This private college’s emphasis on self-governance and commitment to social justice set it apart, fostering a vibrant community of engaged and socially conscious students.

With a focus on personalized learning and global perspectives, Grinnell prepares students to navigate a rapidly changing world with critical thinking skills and a passion for making a difference.

Keep in mind that Grinnell College has an open curriculum. This means that students may choose most of the classes they take instead of taking a prescribed list of classes.

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2. Coe College

  • Phone: +1 319-399-8500
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 1,347 (2020–21)
  • Address: 5008, 1220 1st Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

Coe College is a private liberal arts college in Cedar that provides an unmatched undergraduate experience. Coe College prides itself on a personalized education that fosters intellectual curiosity and a sense of community.

With a strong liberal arts foundation and a commitment to experiential learning, Coe prepares students for success in a variety of fields.

The college’s vibrant campus culture and emphasis on leadership development make it an excellent choice for those seeking a supportive and engaging college experience.

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3. Luther College

  • Phone: +1 563-387-2000
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 1,732 (2020–21)
  • Address: 700 College Dr, Decorah, IA 52101

Luther College is renowned for its strong sense of community and a commitment to a liberal arts education rooted in the Lutheran tradition.

With a beautiful campus and a focus on global engagement, Luther provides students with opportunities to explore their interests and develop a broad worldview.

The college’s dedication to sustainability and experiential learning ensures that graduates are well-prepared for a lifetime of learning and leadership.

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4. St. Ambrose University

  • Phone: +1 563-333-6000
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 2,220 (2020–21)
  • Address: 518 W Locust St, Davenport, IA 52803

St. Ambrose is a private, Catholic, comprehensive university grounded in the liberal arts and committed to academic excellence, social justice, and service.

With a focus on practical experience and a strong connection to the Quad Cities community, SAU prepares students for success in their careers. The college also offers a welcoming and inclusive community, known for its diverse academic programs and commitment to service.

The university’s emphasis on a values-based education and a supportive campus environment makes it an ideal choice for those seeking a holistic and impactful college experience.

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5. Drake University

  • Phone: +1 515-271-2011
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 2,857 (2020–21)
  • Address: 2507 University Ave., Des Moines, IA 50311

Drake University is a private university in Des Moines offering over 140 undergraduate and graduate programs, including professional programs in business, education, law, and pharmacy.

The school is distinguished by its strong academic programs and commitment to preparing students for leadership roles. At Drake, experiential learning and a vibrant campus life provide students with opportunities to excel academically and personally.

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Drake’s location in Des Moines, a thriving city, enhances the student experience, offering internships and networking opportunities that contribute to a well-rounded education.

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6. Cornell College

  • Phone: +1 319-895-4334
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 1,045 (2020–21)
  • Address: 600 1st St W, Mt Vernon, IA 52314

Cornell College is a private liberal arts college known for its distinctive One Course at a Time academic calendar, allowing students to immerse themselves in one subject for an entire block.

With a focus on hands-on learning and a tight-knit community, Cornell provides students with a unique and immersive educational experience.

The college’s commitment to individualized attention and a strong sense of community set it apart as an excellent choice for those seeking a transformative college journey.

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7. Mount Mercy University

  • Phone: +1 319-363-8213
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 1,280 (2020–21)
  • Address: 1330 Elmhurst Dr NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

Mount Mercy University is a private Catholic liberal arts school focused on preparing students to meet the needs of a changing world and live courageous lives. The college stands out for its dedication to fostering a sense of purpose and community among its students.

With a focus on service learning and a strong foundation in the liberal arts, MMU prepares students for meaningful and successful careers.

The university’s commitment to ethical leadership and supportive campus environment make it an ideal choice for those seeking a values-based education.

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8. Loras College

  • Phone: +1 563-588-7100
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 1,236 (2020–21)
  • Address: 1450 Alta Vista St, Dubuque, IA 52001

Loras College is a private Catholic liberal arts college in Dubuque, Iowa, that creates a community of active learners, reflective thinkers, ethical decision-makers, and responsible contributors in today’s world.

With a welcoming campus community and a focus on experiential learning, Loras provides students with opportunities to explore their passions and develop critical thinking skills.

The college’s emphasis on service and a supportive learning environment make it an excellent choice for those seeking a transformative college experience.

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9. Graceland University

  • Phone: +1 641-784-5000
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 922 (2020–21)
  • Address: 1 University Pl., Lamoni, IA 50140

Graceland University is known for its commitment to individualized attention and a supportive community.

With a strong emphasis on experiential learning and a range of academic programs, Graceland prepares students for success in a variety of fields.

The university’s dedication to service and values-based education make it an excellent choice for those seeking a close-knit and purpose-driven college experience.

Keep in mind that Graceland University is a private university offering degree completion, master’s, undergraduate, and graduate programs online.

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10. Wartburg College

  • Phone: +1 319-352-8200
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 1,505 (2020–21)
  • Address: 100 Wartburg Blvd., Waverly, IA 50677

Wartburg College is a top-tier liberal arts college of the Lutheran Church (ELCA) and is internationally recognized for community service.

The college is known for its strong academic programs, experiential learning, and vibrant campus community. Wartburg also provides students with opportunities to excel academically and personally.

The college’s commitment to service and supportive learning environment make it an excellent choice for those seeking a values-based and impactful college experience.

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11. Dordt University

  • Phone: +1 712-722-6000
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 1,411 (2020–21)
  • Address: 700 7th St NE, Sioux Center, IA 51250

Dordt University is a private evangelical Christian university offering 40+ programs and ranked #1 for student engagement by the WSJ. The university is distinguished by its strong sense of community and commitment to a Reformed Christian perspective.

With a focus on hands-on learning and a tight-knit campus culture, Dordt provides students with a supportive environment in which to explore their interests.

The university’s emphasis on faith integration and a personalized education makes it an ideal choice for those seeking a transformative college journey.

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12. Northwestern College

  • Phone: +1 712-707-7000
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 1,030 (2020–21)
  • Address: 101 7th St SW, Orange City, IA 51041

Northwestern College is a private Christian liberal arts college in Orange City affiliated with the Reformed Church of America.

The college is known for its strong academic programs and commitment to preparing students for success in their chosen fields. The school’s standout programs empower students to lead lives of significance.

With a liberal arts foundation and a focus on experiential learning, Northwestern provides students with a well-rounded education.

The college’s supportive campus culture and emphasis on faith development make it an excellent choice for those seeking a values-based and impactful college experience.

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13. Morningside University

  • Phone: +1 712-274-5000
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 1,188 (2020–21)
  • Address: 1501 Morningside Ave., Sioux City, IA 51106

Morningside University is a private university affiliated with the United Methodist Church and located in Sioux City, offering undergraduate students a small residential campus setting complete with immersive academic programs.

With a focus on experiential learning and a vibrant campus life, Morningside prepares students for success in a variety of fields.

The university’s dedication to community engagement and a supportive campus environment make it an ideal choice for those seeking a holistic and impactful college experience.

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How long does it take to complete small schools in Iowa?

The duration to complete a degree at small colleges in Iowa typically follows the standard timeline for undergraduate programs, which is four years for a bachelor’s degree.

However, the exact time may vary based on factors such as the specific program, individual course load, and any transfer credits a student may bring.

Some students may opt for accelerated programs, co-op experiences, or internships, which can influence the overall time required to earn a degree.

References

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Grace Iroh
Grace Iroh
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