Are you among one of the great residents of the state of Iowa? Are you beginning to explore your options regarding post-secondary education so that you will be an appealing and successful contribution within the workforce? While there are certainly many college and university choices for you to select from in this state, it is very important for you to select a learning institution that truly fits you, your lifestyle, and your goals. You are off to a good start - doing your research before you jump into the collegiate world will likely serve you well as you pursue your educational degree program. Within the next several years, 59-63% of the available jobs in Iowa will require individuals to hold some level of a post secondary degree. Online research also shows that throughout the state of Alabama only 28-31% of jobs will be attainable with a high school diploma on your resume. Based on these statistics, there is certainly no time like the present to apply to the college or university of your choosing and get started on furthering your education.
The University of Iowa, which is located in Iowa City, is a public university that currently has about 29,000 students enrolled. At this learning institution, students will have the option to pursue an undergraduate degree program or a graduate level degree program. Although the University of Iowa has received recognition for their highly ranked programs in the areas of creative writing, art, and nursing, there are also many other great options for you to choose from. In fact, this learning institution is also known for their strength in the areas of sciences and liberal arts.
On a much smaller scale is Wartburg College, which only offers undergraduate level degree programs. A recent online statistic shows that approximately 1,800 students are enrolled at this college. This private liberal arts college is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran College and boasts an impressive twelve to one student to faculty ratio. Should you decide that this is the college for you, you can expect to have the opportunity to participate in athletics and music and to have great placement following your graduation.
Located in beautiful Cedar Falls is the University of Northern Iowa. Operated as a public university, recent statistics show about 13,000 students enrolled. Of this number, the majority of students are pursuing an undergraduate degree program (although graduate degree programs are also an option at this facility). The University of Northern Iowa is proud of their globally emphasized curriculum, their excellent study abroad degree programs, and their exemplary programs in business and education. Another religiously affiliated school is Simpson College. Located in Indianola, this private liberal arts college is known to be affiliated with the United Methodist Church.
With only about 2,000 students enrolled, this learning institution boasts a fourteen to one student to faculty ratio. It is important to note that while the majority of students enrolled at this school are pursuing an undergraduate degree program, it is a possibility to obtain a graduate level degree at this facility. As an added perk, this college is near Des Moines, which makes for great learning opportunities for interested students. Simpson College is most well recognized for its strong business degree programs.
Drake University, which is located in the heart of Des Moines, is currently home to about 5,600 students. This privately operated university is well known for its strong internship programs that are available to students. With a fourteen to one student to faculty ratio, a prospective student can expect to experience a strong sense of student engagement. At this learning institution, students will have the opportunity to obtain an undergraduate degree program or a graduate level degree program. As with many other post secondary institutions in this state, Drake University has received recognition for its strong liberal arts and science degree programs.
Cornell College is another small scale learning environment that you may want to consider. In fact, current statistics show that enrollment at this school is only about 1,100. Located in Mount Vernon, this campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is important to note that only undergraduate level degree programs are offered at this learning facility. In addition, Cornell College offers their courses in a unique one course at a time curriculum format. Please keep in mind that this list is not conclusive; therefore, if none of these options are well suited to your educational goals you will want to continue your research.
Iowa has one of the highest graduation rates for high school seniors of over 90%. Student who attended college in the state also graduated 69% of the time verses only 56% nationwide. One of the main reasons why Iowa retains most of their high school graduates to enroll in a local school is the cost of tuition was lower than surrounding states. Iowa students pay only $15,000 vs $24,000 nationwide. Iowa has over 40 accredited colleges. In terms of public colleges and universities Iowa State University in Ames has the highest number of enrollments followed by the University of Iowa in Iowa City, University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls and Upper Iowa University. The state also has private for-profit universities such as Ashford University and Kaplan University who enroll the most students in the state.
One of the areas that is of great concern to those living in Iowa are the number of schools coming into the state that are considered for-profit and the impact it has on the local economy and job pool. Studies have shown that all schools have to abide by the same rules and regulations when it comes to the completion and passing rates in order for the student to receiving Title IV federal funding. The main reason why so many for-profit schools are under scrutiny is due to the fact their students take out more loans than traditional students. The reason for this is because those students were unable to get into any of the non-profit or public colleges (either due to low test scores or the schools was at capacity). Does this mean we shouldn’t allow our children to attend college just because the state ran schools won’t accept them? Of course not and that is why for-profit schools fill that void or need in Iowa to properly train those who don’t attend a traditional college.
Iowa needs to continue to regulate all schools in order to protect them for predatory practices of for-profit colleges. Accreditations such as the NCA, AAMFT, ADA, AOTA, ASHA and NCNAC need to continually work with the state and schools in order to provide the best chance for students to earn a quality degree or certificate.
The state has done a great job in making and retaining jobs for their workforce. With a low employment rate Iowa has continued to invest in new technology to keep their industries strong and growing towards the future.
Solar – Renewable energy has continued to bring in jobs into the state. Iowa ranks first in ethanol production and is 3rd in the amount of energy generated by wind. The energy sector has continued to grow and companies are looking for qualified individuals to employ. Retrofitting buildings and solar panel installation means good business for contractors that have entered into the market.
Computer Technology –The technology sector accounts for $11 billion which is 9% of Iowa’s gross domestic product. One of the things that attract IT professionals to the stat is that they love the cost of living vs other tech states like California and New York. New tech Companies are also looking into setting up offices in Iowa as they are having a hard time competing with pay for employees in Silicon Valley. It doesn’t make much sense to overpay for employees when they aren’t going to be happy because of the high cost of living in the valley and in Manhattan.
Manufacturing – The manufacturing sector employs around 200K people and produces $25 billion to the stats economy. Main areas include aerospace and military defense as well as commercial manufacturing. The state is always ranked in the top 10 in the county in manufacturing as well as keeping employees employed, even during hard economic times.
One debate that has continued to be on the minds of many high school graduates is if they should attend a traditional college and earn a degree or go directly into a trade school or vocational program. Many say that the overall cost of going to college is too great for what you get out of it. The average Bachelor’s degree can run a student $40,000 and take 4 years where a trade school program can typically be completed in about 12 months and cost half the price. The advantage of a skilled trade is you are ready to work once you graduate with hand-on experience vs earning a degree with very little but theory based experience under your belt. We get asked this question all the time and I always ask the student the following questions to help them make up their mind (and everyone is different so there is not right or wrong answer to this debate).
1. Does the field that you wish to enter require a degree?
2. How are you financially? Do you have to borrow a lot of money to attend college?
3. Do you know what career you would like or are you attending college to figure out which area you might want to be employed in one-day?
4. Are you planning on staying in your home state or town after you graduate and if so are jobs currently available for the type of training you are seeking?
One you answer these questions it can lead to you figuring out if it is worth going to college or attending a vocational school. A good example would be you would never want to go to school for 4 years if all you want to be is an electrician or HVACR technician. If you are interested in becoming a computer programmer then earning your degree or master’s degree would make more sense vs. taking a quick 6 month computer programming certificate course.