Many universities in Iowa are more than a century old. It is hard to select the five best colleges in Iowa when there are so many highly rated educational institutions in the state. The following five have been selected on the basis of their exceptional record and long-standing reputation.
University of Iowa
Known as IU, the university is situated in Iowa City. Founded in 1847, the university is the oldest public university in Iowa. It is now one of the premier educational institutions in Iowa and currently has over 20,000 students. The school offers courses for undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. The education programs are outstanding. The postgraduate creative writing program of the university is ranked as one of the best programs in the country. The nursing and medical programs conducted by the university are also highly rated. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education has classified the university as RU/VH (Research University with very high research activity).
Iowa State University
The land grant to start Iowa State University was signed by Abraham Lincoln. Founded in 1856 as Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, this august educational institution is situated in Ames. The present population of the university is over 20,000. The university’s department of economics, science, and agriculture are all rated highly.
University of Northern Iowa
The University of Northern Iowa was founded in 1876 as the Iowa State Normal School. It is situated in Cedar Falls city. The mathematic and computer science programs of the university are considered to be among the best of those offered by top colleges in Iowa. The student population of the university is over 10,000. The university’s sports and games teams participate in top level college competitions.
The founder of this private university was George T. Carpenter. This enterprising Civil War general was also a respected preacher. Situated in Des Moines, Drake University was named after the illustrious 19th century adventurer, Francis Marion Drake. Founded in 1881, the university has over 3,000 students at present. Programs for which the university is best known include law, pharmacy, communications, and journalism.
Upper Iowa University
This nonprofit, private university is renowned for its excellent liberal arts program. Founded in 1875, the university is situated in Fayette. The current population of the university is just under 5,000 students.
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