Paying for College

Paying for College

Iowa’s 25 private colleges are committed to affordability. Even more, each delivers on value, quality and graduation rates that put students in their fields of study faster than peers from public institutions.

Iowa Private Colleges are Affordable

  • It costs less than you think! In 2012-2013, average net tuition and fees at private four-year colleges added up to $13,380. That’s less than half the average published tuition and fees of $29,056. Plus, on average, full-time students at private four-year colleges received an estimated $15,680 in grants and aid from all sources and tax benefits.1
  • The cost of private college is actually dropping. Average inflation–adjusted net tuition and fees at private colleges dropped 3.5% from 2007-08 to 2012-13.2
  • Grad rates mean gainful employment. Just as important as their degree, advancing students into the workforce more quickly adds up to better lifetime earning potential.
  • Fewer 5th year students. 78% of students who received a bachelors’ degree from a four-year private college were able to actually complete it in four years, compared to 60% of graduates at state institutions.3

1College Board, “Trends in College Pricing 2012,” October 2012
2College Board, “Trends in College Pricing 2012,” October 2012
3U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, “Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS: 04/09).” November 2011

  • Private College Aid. 94% of Iowa private college students get financial aid from the college itself.
  • Grants. For some students who also qualify for federal, state and local grants, the total grant aid (Note: you don’t pay this back) at Iowa’s private colleges can reach an average of $20,779 per student per year. (U.S. Department of Education: National Center for Education Statistics analysis for Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities member institutions)
  • Iowa Tuition Grant. Iowa residents who attend an Iowa private college may qualify for the Iowa Tuition Grant which could deliver up to $5,650 of grant money per academic year. More than 11,000 students like you qualified last year. Remember the Iowa Tuition Grant is money you don't have to pay back, it is not a loan. So, don't leave money on the table. See if you qualify today!

  • Merit Scholarships. Many of Iowa's private colleges offer scholarships to students based on their academic performance. This is why it pays to maintain strong Grade Point Averages and to stretch and take courses that show you can handle the rigor of challenging coursework and core academic theories. Be sure to finish your high school career strong as well, colleges want to see that you remained focused and attentive right to the end of your high school career. take the time to research Iowa's 25 private colleges and inquire with their admissions' departments about these merit scholarships; there may be more money available than you thought. 

  •  College 529 Plans. The 529 plan, a college savings investment account that is typically operated by a state, is a popular and smart way to invest. Mostly, this option offers a way to grow the investment in a tax-free way and ensure the money is directed to advancing your student’s education.