Why This Matters

  • 19 IOWA ASSOCIATE DEGREE PROGRAMS

    Iowa has 19 educational institutions offering associate degree programs, according to College Navigator.

  • $6,033 AVERAGE IN-DISTRICT TUITION & FEES

    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.

  • 80.6% OF COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS IN THE U.S. USED FINANCIAL AID

    For the 2019-20 school year, 452,493 enrolled students at two-year educational institutions 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.

The Top 16 Community Colleges in Iowa

Best Community Colleges In Iowa Badge 2023
01
Intelligent Pick
Southeastern Community College
01
Best Online Experience
Northwest Iowa Community College
01
Best Faculty
North Iowa Area Community College
01
Best for Residential Living
Southwestern Community College
01
Best Urban Campus
Eastern Iowa Community College District
01
Best Scholarship Options
Iowa Lakes Community College
01
Best for Transfer Students
Northeast Iowa Community College
01
Most Affordable
Western Iowa Tech Community College
01
Best Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Indian Hills Community College
01
Most Diverse Campus
Marshalltown Community College
01

Kirkwood Community College
01

Des Moines Area Community College
01

Hawkeye Community College
01

Iowa Central Community College
01

Ellsworth Community College
01

Iowa Western Community College

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.