In 1876, the citizens of Iowa wanted to provide for Civil War orphans, the children of soldiers and sailors who no longer had parents to care for them due to the ravages of war. Annie Turner Wittenmyer used private funds to establish orphanages in Cedar Falls and Davenport. State government took partial responsibility for the two orphanages, appropriating $25,000 to build and furnish the building in Cedar Falls. Citizens raised funds to purchase and donate 40 acres to be used for the home, located on what is now College, 23rd and 27th Street with a western boundary along what is now the Campanile.
Senator Edward G. Miller and Representative H.C. Hemenway, who both represented Black Hawk County, used every opportunity they could during the 1876 General Assembly to push for a normal school in Cedar Falls. By bringing votes to the floor when the opportunity for passage would be most favorable, the two men were able to pass legislation to open a normal school in Cedar Falls. The measure passed by just one vote in the Senate and two in the House, indicating how difficult it was for the two men to establish the school.
In 1909, the school became the Iowa State Teachers College, offering Bachelor of Arts in Education degrees. In 1961, the school became State College of Iowa after the school began offering liberal arts degrees designed for those who were not preparing to enter the teaching profession. The school gained university status, becoming the University of Northern Iowa in 1967.
Today, almost 12,000 students attend the University of Northern Iowa and receives more than 6,000 applications each year. U.S. News & World Report ranks UNI in the top 20 universities in the Midwest. The Princeton Review has named it one of the Best Business Schools and, in 2012, one of the best colleges in the Midwest.
University of Northern Iowa Accreditation Details
The University of Northern Iowa is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The organization evaluates the university against criteria that assure quality and continued improvement by the university. A university that has been accredited demonstrates excellence in education as well as efforts to continually improve what is offered at the university. Specific programs may also be accredited by industry-specific associations and organizations.
University of Northern Iowa Application Requirements
High school students who wish to attend the University of Northern Iowa as freshmen must meet minimum high school requirements based on their ACT composite, class rank, cumulative GPA and the number of core courses they have taken. Students must complete an application for admission and submit official high school transcripts.
Transfer students are admitted on the basis of their minimum cumulative GPA based on the number of credit hours they have completed at other colleges or universities. The minimum GPA required is:
- Students transferring one to 23 credits – 2.50
- Students transferring 24 to 41 credits – 2.50
- Students transferring 42 to 59 credits – 2.25
- Students transferring 60 or more credits – 2.00
Transfer students must satisfy the University of Northern Iowa’s foreign language requirement with a C-minus or better. If the student has not complete a foreign language course and earned the qualified grade at a previous university, they will be required to do so as part of their degree program at UNI. Some majors require higher GPA standards than others. It is recommended that transfer students discuss the requirements with an admissions counselor prior to enrollment.
Graduate students should contact a Graduate Coordinator to determine what their chosen program of study requires for admission. Each program has their own admission requirements for graduate study.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Full-time undergraduate tuition for the College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the College of Education at the University of Northern Iowa is $6,848 for Iowa residents and $17,340 for non-residents. Full-time tuition for the College of Business Administration for undergraduate Iowa residents is $8,450 per year and $18,942 per year for non-residents. Graduate tuition for the College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences as well as the College of Education is $8,292 per year for Iowa residents and $18,766 for non-residents. Tuition at the College of Business Administration is $9,924 for Iowa residents and $20,398 for non-residents.
Financial aid is available in the form of grants, scholarships, loans and work-study. More than 80 percent of students at UNI receive some type of financial aid. Students must complete the Free Application for Free Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to qualify for any financial aid.
The University of Northern Iowa offers students an outstanding experience, both academically and socially. Students are able to join more than 250 student organizations ranging from Greek life to theatre to special interest clubs. Clubs are available for all academic programs as well as hobbies, special interests and other activities. Clubs and organizations provide students with additional leadership skills as well as the opportunity to network in their chosen field and learn from the many guest speakers who visit the campus each year.
Students are also able to participate in many activities designed for wellness and recreation. There is a state-of-the-art wellness and recreation facility available to students as well as many health and wellness programs including intramural sports, fitness classes, outdoor recreation and personal training.
Students are also able to take advantage of the many global experiences available. There are study abroad opportunities, a National Student Exchange, camp adventure and service learning options available in order to provide students with an education on a global scale.
UNI is home to one of the most successful athletic programs in the Midwest with 17 intercollegiate sports available. Students may choose to participate in Panther athletics, marching band or spirit squads, promoting the nationally recognized sports teams on the court, field, course or sidelines. For students who prefer the arts or entertainment fields, UNI offers an award-winning School of Music and an outstanding Department of Art. Performances at the Strayer-Wood Theatre and at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center allow students in all degree programs to express their creative side.
UNI prides itself on its diversity and the creation of a campus that is an inclusive community. There are disability resources and the Center for Multicultural Education allows students to develop an understanding of all cultures. There are also programs available to support the LGBT community both on- and off-campus.
The University of Northern Iowa combines rigorous curriculum with a strong family-oriented community, giving all students who attend a feeling of belonging and preparing them for the careers they have chosen. The degree programs at the University of Northern Iowa prepare students for new careers or can help them advance in a current career.