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Why This Matters


    Iowa has 20 educational institutions offering associate degree programs, according to College Navigator.


    Based on estimates from College Board, Iowans paid an average of $6,033 for tuition and fees at public in-district community colleges for the 2022-23 school year.


    The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that 370,718 students attending two-year institutions during the 2020-21 school year received some type of financial aid.

Our Research

This list features some of the best community colleges in Iowa. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. We included small, midsize, and large colleges as well as trade, technical, and vocational programs. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The colleges on our list are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a reputable organization that examines objectives, quality and overall effectiveness of education programs throughout the United States.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Online College Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Top 50 Community Colleges in Iowa

Best Community Colleges In Iowa Badge

North Iowa Area Community College

Southeastern Community College

Eastern Iowa Community College District

Northwest Iowa Community College

Northeast Iowa Community College

Iowa Lakes Community College

Southwestern Community College

Des Moines Area Community College

Indian Hills Community College

Marshalltown Community College

Western Iowa Tech Community College

Kirkwood Community College

Hawkeye Community College

Iowa Central Community College

Ellsworth Community College

Iowa Western Community College

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What You Should Know About Graduating From Community College in Iowa

Looking at the top careers as well as declining careers should help you choose your educational program. Based on 2021 median wage data, the top five highest paying careers requiring an associate degree in Iowa were air traffic controllers, dental hygienists, nuclear medicine technologists, diagnostic medical sonographers, and funeral home managers.

The top five careers with the most job openings in Iowa for people with an associate degree are preschool teachers (except special education), paralegals and legal assistants, radiologic technicians, agricultural and food science technicians, and physical therapist assistants.

Some career options for people with associate degrees are declining. The jobs in Iowa requiring an associate degree that are expected to decline the most are desktop publishers, avionics technicians, and morticians.

What’s Next?

Understanding financial aid options can help make your college degree more affordable. Below, we’ve listed some federal and state resources that will help you find grants, scholarships, and other financial aid options for Iowa students earning an associate degree.

  • Iowa College Student Aid Commission. Explore scholarships and grants in Iowa as well as loan repayment programs, an Iowa financial aid guide, and additional college resources.
  • Federal Student Aid. More than $120 billion in financial aid is available each year through the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid. Options include loans, scholarships, grants, and work study. With FAFSA4caster, you can check your eligibility. Fill out the online FAFSA form to apply for financial aid.
  • CareerOneStop. Learn about financial aid options with CareerOneStop. You can filter by degree type and state to find available grants, scholarships, and loans.

Community Colleges by State

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