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Iowa State University


Iowa State University is a public higher learning institution that offers over 100 undergraduate majors. Iowa State University is consistently ranked in the top 100 best colleges in the country. Located in the small and unknown town of Ames, the university consistently has around 29,000 students spread throughout the 1,800 acre urban campus.

Iowa State University offers highly ranked graduate programs through its College of Engineering and Veterinary Medicine. Due to the fact that the university is a land-grant institution, the faculty and students are expected to work on research projects that improve the community and nation as a whole. Iowa State University’s Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station support projects related to agro-research and biorenewable fuel production. The U.S. Department of Energy hosts their research center the Ames lab at the university.

Resource: 50 Great Affordable Colleges in the Midwest

Iowa State University Accreditation Details

  • Iowa State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
  • Iowa State University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS).
  • Iowa State University’s 12 engineering undergraduate degree programs are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Iowa State University Application Requirements

Incoming students who want to enter Iowa State University directly after high school are admitted based on a unique Regent Admission Index (RAI) score. The university uses two formulas for computing the RAI scores. The primary RAI formula for students from a high school that uses class ranks will have their RAI calculated by their percentile class rank, ACT composite score, cumulative GPA and the number of years of high school core courses. The Alternative RAI formula, which is for students whose high school does not use class ranking, omits the student’s class number. Students who earn an RAI score of at least a 245 RAI score and meet the basic high school course requirements will be automatically offered admission. Students who achieve an RAI score under 245 RAI may be offered admission, but every application will be individually reviewed.

All students must have four years of English or language arts with classes that emphasize understanding and appreciating literature. Three years of mathematics are required, which includes one year of algebra and geometry, and three years of science, which must include biology, physics and chemistry. Two years of any social studies classes are required. When it comes to GEDs, students who rank in the 50th percentile or higher will be offered admission, but those who rank 45th or lower will not be offered admission. Any student who has taken the GED in 2014 or later must achieve a score of 170 or higher in the four content areas of science, social studies, language arts and mathematical reasoning. Since 2014, Iowa has been using the HiSET exam in place of GED scores. Therefore, students who take the HiSET must earn a minimum sum score of at least 75 and a minimum score of 15 on each of the five content areas.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Residents will pay approximately $7,700 per year for tuition, $8,400 for lodging and $1,000 for books and supplies. Estimated personal expenses for residents is approximately $2,400. This totals around $20,000 per year for resident students. Nonresident and international students will pay approximately $21,000 for tuition each year. Summer costs will vary depending on each student’s situation and juniors and seniors in some colleges may be assessed tuition at a higher rate, such as the College of Veterinary Medicine. The university offers a wide variety of scholarships based on the student’s test scores, intended major, academic college and co-curricular activities. In order to receive equal consideration for all academic scholarships, freshman should apply for admission nine to twelve months before their expected date of entry. Once students are offered admission, they are automatically included in the academic scholarship selection process administered by the university.

The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is used to qualify for university and federal aid. The ISU Grant is a university grant that is awarded based on financial need, Pell Grants are general federal aid and Federal SEOGs, or Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, are awarded by the Office of Student Financial Aid based on financial need. Federal Direct Stafford Loans are jointly administered by the Department of Education Iowa State University. Federal Direct PLUS Loans are available for parents to cover extra educational costs. A limited amount of Federal Perkins Loans are administered by Iowa State University for those with severe financial need. Federal Health Professions Loans and Veterinary Medicine PLUS Loans are available to students who are enrolled in the College of Veterinary Medicine. There are numerous private loans that are offered by private lenders with no official forms to complete, but eligibility depends on the student’s credit score.

Student Experience

Iowa State University offers their Soar in 4 initiative that allows advisers to directly work with students to ensure that they graduate in four years. When it comes to relaxing, students are encouraged to visit the Reiman Gardens or enjoy the 2,000 works of art that are placed around the campus. The state’s capital Des Moines is only 30 minutes away. The Iowa State Cyclones regularly compete in the NCAA Division I Big 12 Conference. There are approximately 50 Greek fraternities and sororities at Iowa State University, but freshmen are not required to live on campus. Iowa State University is noted for being quite international because there are students attending from over 100 countries. Students enjoy the academic flexibility of choosing from over 100 majors and 800 student organizations.

Iowa State University’s engineering program is one of the best in the country and comes with very specific academic objectives. Engineering graduates will have the ability to apply knowledge of math, science and engineering to conduct experiments and analyze and interpret the data. They will know how to design a system or process that meets the target needs of the client within standard constraints related to social, safety and sustainability factors. Engineering graduates will be able to function on multidisciplinary teams to identify and solve engineering problems. They will be able to effectively communicate and maintain ethical and professional responsibilities. All engineering programs come with a broad education background that helps graduates understand the complex impact of engineering solutions in social, global, economic and environmental contexts. Graduates should expect to attain these objectives after a few years of graduation.

Iowa State University is one of the highest ranked colleges in the U.S. and is the perfect academic solution for students who want an engaging and comprehensive education.