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Iowa’s statewide higher education system is composed of 19 public colleges and universities, more than 30 private non-profit institutions, and 40 private for-profit schools. At the heart of the state’s higher education system is its three public universities: the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa. These institutions are overseen by the Iowa Board of Regents, which is a nine-member body that is involved in policymaking and coordination. The Board works to maintain the state’s high quality of education, while also ensuring accessibility. Iowa’s students can receive financial assistance through the Iowa College Aid Commission, an organization that administers 14 state-funded scholarship, grant, and loan programs that are worth almost $60 million annually.
Ashford University is a private, for-profit institution that awards associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees to its more than 74,000 students at its campus in Clinton and through its online programs. The school awards degrees in business, education, health, human services, and liberal arts, including an online Master of Business Administration. Ashford University seeks to offer students accessible, affordable, and innovative academic programs that are professionally relevant. It also aims to encourage a diverse learning environment focused on a student’s needs. Students of the online college degree programs can access their classes through Constellation, university’s course management system. Constellation features course readings, audio and video clips, and interactive exercises which can be accessed by a computer or through an android or Apple mobile device.
Kaplan University is a primarily distance education institution that awards online associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in business, health science, technology, legal studies, and the arts and sciences. The university has six campuses in Iowa: Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Urbandale, and Mason City, as well as a distance education only center in Davenport that serves more than 56,000 students. In addition to its other offerings, the Davenport campus provides an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) and bachelor’s degrees in psychology and health care administration. Kaplan University is one of several accredited online colleges in Iowa; it has been accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1997.
The University of Iowa was established in 1847 and is known as the first public university in the county to admit men and women on an equal basis. The school provides certificate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees to its nearly 30,000 students at its campus in Iowa City and online. In its 2012 Best Colleges report, the U.S. News & World Report placed the University of Iowa at No. 71 among national universities. In addition, 18 of the university’s graduate programs were ranked within the top 30 in the nation by the U.S. News. The University of Iowa’s online programs include bachelor’s degrees in social work and business administration and master’s degrees in educational leadership and nursing.