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Close-Knit, Christian Liberal Arts Education at Simpson

Simpson College appears in our ranking of 50 Great Affordable Colleges in the Midwest.

Ranked Washington Monthly’s 45th best Midwest value, Simpson College is a small nonprofit, four-year Methodist CIC member in Indianola that confers 54 bachelor’s and three master’s degrees, including three fully online, at a 13:1 student-teacher ratio. For example, the Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics has a 128-credit, four-year track advised by Dr. Murphy Waggoner with opportunities to attend STEM Day, join the Bryan Summer Research Program, and enter the Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling. Directed by Dr. Kedron Bardwell, a 2015 Distinguished Teaching Award winner, the 128-credit Bachelor of Arts in Political Science lets undergrads complete the Capitol Hill Internship, practice with Model United Nations, become John C. Culver Policy Fellows, and spend May Term in Ireland.

Online via Moodle, the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice builds a 36-credit, transfer-friendly curriculum led by Dr. Carolyn Dallinger, the 2011 Iowa Professor of the Year, with fast eight-week, 500-level courses like Correctional Practices and Victimology that end in capstone projects. Chaired by Dr. Tim McMillin, the Master of Music in Choral Conducting follows a 36-credit, NASM-accredited sequence of three summer semesters where post-grads direct the Madrigal Singers, interact with the Des Moines Metro Opera, and conduct 60-minute recitals. Other Simpson degrees include the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems, Bachelor of Arts in English, Bachelor of Arts in Human Services, Bachelor of Arts in Physics, and Master of Arts in Teaching.

About Simpson College

Simpson College originated on September 10, 1860, when Principal E.W. Gray opened the Indianola Male & Female Seminary on East Salem Avenue for ministerial training. In 1861, the first building affectionately nicknamed Old Bluebird was erected on its 85-acre campus. In 1865, it was briefly renamed the Des Moines Conference Seminary by Principal Baker. That year, Bishop Matthew Simpson notably provided the eulogy for the 16th US President Abraham Lincoln. In June 1867, the seminary was called Simpson Centenary College in his honor. Three years later, The Simpsonian was published on a bi-weekly basis. On May 5, 1886, the Simpson College name was adopted. In 1889, Delta Delta Delta became the college’s first sorority. In 1906, William and Francis Buxton donated an adjacent 5.4-acre arboretum. In 1938, Simpson College made its first NAIA Tournament appearance for men’s basketball.

Endowed for $84.6 million, Simpson College now employs 95 full-time faculty teaching 1,300 Storm from seven countries online, on the 34-building Indianola campus, and at a West Des Moines extension with 60+ clubs like Pre-Health Society for 80 percent retention. In 2017, Simpson received the Omicron Delta Kappa Circle of Distinction Award. In 2015, Simpson’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon Chapter won the first of three John O. Moseley Zeal Awards. Simpson College earned a 2018 Network Choice Award from Campus Compact Iowa too. Forbes named Simpson the 162nd best liberal arts school and 328th top private college. On Niche, Simpson has America’s 413th best dorms and 581st most liberal academics. The Economist crowned Simpson the 226th most value-added institution. College Factual positioned Simpson 196th for accounting, 166th for philosophy, and 176th for music degrees.

Simpson College Accreditation Details

On February 12, 2016, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC-NCA) Institutional Actions Council mailed a formal notification letter to Simpson College that extended the Level III accreditation status through 2025-26 under its 23rd president, Dr. Jay Simmons. Located 347 miles east via Interstate 88 in Chicago, Illinois, this huge 19-state Heartland Region accreditor is recognized by the U.S. Education Department and Iowa Department of Higher Education. Particularly, the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) reaffirmed Simpson on September 1, 2010. The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) also accredited Simpson through July 31, 2020.

Simpson College Application Requirements

Enrolling at Simpson College is classified “moderately difficult” by Peterson’s because 1,044 of the 1,265 Fall 2017 applicants were chosen for competitive 83 percent acceptance. First-year Storm must have a proven record of academic achievement in secondary curriculum with four English and Math units. High school equivalency diploma (HSED) programs are considered case-by-case. Freshmen present an average GPA of 3.44. The middle 50th percentile submit SAT scores of 1080-1280. Mid-range ACT composite scores are 21-27. The Honors Program requires a minimum 3.5 GPA, 28 ASCT, or 1320 SAT mark. Qualified Simpson transfers will hold 12+ non-remedial credits from accredited colleges and GPAs over 2.0. English proficiency benchmarks for foreign learners are currently 550 TOEFL paper or 79 TOEFL internet. All three graduate options require at least 120 credits of bachelor’s prep and 2.5 GPA. The MM in Choral Conducting strongly prefers entrants with NASM-accredited Bachelor of Music degrees.

Simpson College enforces a final freshman deadline of March 15th. Priority for financial aid consideration is available from October 1st to March 1st. Transfers have rolling admission until August 1st for Fall or December 1st for Spring enrollment. The Master of Music in Choral Conducting set a January 16th deadline. Master of Arts in Teaching cohorts must file before June 1st. Online MACJ students are welcome anytime for Fall, Spring, or Summer starts. Accordingly, complete the Simpson or Common Application online for $0. Forward official transcripts to 701 North C Street in Indianola, IA 50125. Select SAT/TOEFL code 6650 or ACT code 1354 for testing reports. Attach checklist items like the educator’s recommendation form, personal essay, spiritual reference, certification of finances, résumé, and immunization record. Contact (515) 961-1624 or admiss@simpson.edu with more questions.

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2019-20, Simpson College is charging traditional full-time undergrads $19,955 per 15-week semester or $39,910 annually. Mandatory students fees total $756 each year. Living at the Indianola campus’ dorms like Buxton Hall adds $4,276 for yearly housing. Standard meal plans for Pfeiffer Dining Hall are $4,544 extra. Simpson budgets $1,324 for books and $3,192 for miscellaneous expenses. Annual bachelor’s attendance equals about $52,040 on-site and $44,460 if commuting. Evening and online students spend $390 per credit. Note online courses incur a $20 learning fee per credit. Master of Arts tuition is priced $550 per credit. The Master of Music in Choral Conducting bills $800 per credit. Graduate students have a one-time $125 matriculation fee.

According to the NCES College Navigator, the Office of Financial Aid in College Hall connects 94 percent of full-time Simpson Storm to median tuition assistance of $22,249 each or $32.37 million combined. Institutional funds include the Wesley Service Scholarship, John C. Culver Fellowship, Matthew Simpson Scholarship, Music Scholarship, Legacy Award, George Washington Carver Scholarship, Cowles Fellowship, Honor Scholarship, Speech & Debate Scholarship, Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship, Trustee Scholarship, and Iowa History Center Distinguished Scholarship. The Simpson Promise Program covers the full tuition of $39,910 for Iowa residents with family gross income under $60,000. The Presidential Scholarship gifts $27,000 annually to freshmen meeting the 29 ACT or 1330 SAT minimum. Federal aid resources, such as the Teach Grant and Pell Grant, require FAFSA applications coded 001887. Iowans can also claim the Byers Environmental Scholarship, Charlie Burkhart Scholarship, Des Moines Women’s Club Scholarship, Governor Branstad Scholarship, Hills Bank Scholarship, and more.

Search through 20 accredited departments offering 55+ Methodist degrees placed 135th nationally by the U.S. News & World Report at the Simpson College website.