Indian Hills Community College (Ottumwa)
With three campus locations, Indian Hills Community College is a highly ranked school that features an average class size of 14 and generous financial aid. This southeastern Iowa school offers a vibrant campus life as well as programs for adult learners.
Students here can chose from more than 70 academic programs. Study plans in advanced technologies include degree programs in precision farming and aviation maintenance technology, and the arts and sciences division features subjects like forestry, chemistry and sports medicine.
Students choosing to study on campus have access to housing, dining and activities like intramural sports, service learning and clubs. But that's not the only way to learn at IHCC: More than 250 courses are available online, and several programs can be completed entirely in the virtual classroom.
Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (Davenport)
Eastern Iowa Community Colleges is actually three separate campuses — Clinton Community College, Muscatine Community College and Scott Community College — combining their efforts to better serve students in the region. Together, they enroll more than 7,700 students in programs that lead to a degree, certificate or other credential.
This Davenport institution provides instruction in 20 career clusters, including finance, manufacturing and health sciences. The district maintains formal transfer agreements with a number of public and private four-year schools to make it easy for students to apply their earned credits toward a bachelor's degree.
EICC students who want the flexibility of distance education can earn online credits through the Iowa Community College Online Consortium (ICCOC). Online professional and continuing education classes are available here as well.
Iowa Lakes Community College (Estherville)
Measures of student success are high at Iowa Lakes Community College. Just three other schools in our top ten reported higher rates of first-year student retention than this northern Iowa institution, and only one other two-year school in the entire state posted a higher 2018 graduation rate.
One reason for all that success might be the close-knit learning environment available at Iowa Lakes. The student body is a comfortable size, with just over 2,000 people enrolled each semester, and the student-faculty ratio is an impressive 15:1.
Available study plans here range from traditional academic majors to career-focused vocational programs. Transfer degree options are available in concentrations like communications, social science and computers; career programs include massage therapy, paralegal studies, surgical technology and practical nursing.
Northeast Iowa Community College (Calmar)
Northeast Iowa Community College opened its doors in 1967 and initially offered just 12 programs. Today, the Calmar institution is home to 65 programs of study that can meet the needs of a diverse student body that consists of more than 4,400 students each term.
In addition to traditional daytime classes on campus, many degree and certificate programs feature courses available in the evening or via distance education. More than ten programs are offered entirely online, including an entrepreneur certificate and an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in agriculture finance.
Another way NICC makes college more accessible is by supporting numerous learning centers throughout the region. The institution maintains seven satellite facilities in various area locations in addition to full-service campuses in Calmar and Peosta.
Kirkwood Community College (Cedar Rapids)
Students at Kirkwood Community College have a good track record of following through with their bachelor's degree after transferring out to a four-year college or university. Just one other school in the state reported a higher percentage of former students who went on to successfully complete a four-year degree program after making a transfer.
A long list of transfer degree options are on offer at this Cedar Rapids institution. The catalog includes Associate of Arts (A.A.) programs in digital media, music, sociology and communication studies and Associate of Science (A.S.) programs in agriculture, engineering and mathematics.
The list of career programs available here is comprehensive as well, featuring those aligned with in-demand job fields like occupational therapy assisting, network and system administration and construction management.
Western Iowa Tech Community College (Sioux City)
Enrolling more than 5,600 students in more than 70 educational programs, Western Iowa Tech Community College may be one of the best community colleges in Iowa for students hoping to make use of financial aid to help offset their tuition costs. Roughly 97 percent of students enrolled in 2018 received scholarships, grants or other forms of student aid.
WITCC is also one of the top online community colleges in Iowa in terms of catalog variety. Available distance education programs include certificates in coaching, cost accounting and health information technology (HIT) and degree plans in video game design, agriculture management and human resources management. Tutoring and other support services are available to students regardless of whether they are studying online or on campus.
North Iowa Area Community College (Mason City)
North Iowa Area Community College is the oldest institution on our list of the best Iowa community colleges, and it's one of the most decorated. Founded in 1918 as Mason City Junior College, NIACC has appeared on several national rankings lists over the last several years.
This Mason City school enrolls nearly 3,000 students each semester and works to provide a four-year college experience at the cost of a two-year school. It offers students the option to live on its Mason City campus and features more than 40 student organizations.
Several programs in health care and medical technology fields are available here. The catalog includes associate degree plans in radiologic technology, physical therapy assisting and more, as well as certificate plans in coaching, physical fitness and emergency medical technology.
Marshalltown Community College (Marshalltown)
Students can find a student-faculty ratio of 11:1, affordable tuition and highly ranked programs at Marshalltown Community College. The central Iowa school — a member of the Iowa Valley Community College District — is recognized by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission as producing graduates with the lowest total student debt of any community college in the state.
Subjects of study available on campus at MCC include machine tool technology, business administration, marketing and welding. Several degree plans are available in health care and wellness disciplines, and students can earn an A.A. for transfer or a one-year medical office practitioner diploma entirely online.
A secondary campus in Grinnell supports the efforts of the flagship location in Marshalltown. Students at both campuses have access to student support services and financial aid.
Ellsworth Community College (Iowa Falls)
There are a number of reasons that Ellsworth Community College makes the list of best Iowa community colleges. The Iowa Falls school features affordable tuition and offers over 100 scholarship opportunities for students from all walks of life.
ECC offers a range of certificate and degree programs, including a top-ranked equine studies program, an A.A. degree in family and consumer science and an A.A.S. in marketing. The school's A.A. degree for university transfer can be earned entirely online. Thanks to transfer agreements, credits from this program should transfer seamlessly to four-year schools such as the University of Iowa.
Ellsworth Community College also offers residential housing and a number of student activities and clubs for students who attend classes on campus.
Des Moines Area Community College (Ankeny)
Des Moines Area Community College could be one of the best community colleges in Iowa for cost-conscious students. The average cost of tuition and fees at this Ankeny institution was less than $4,700 for a full year of study, a figure more affordable than those reported at all but one other two-year school in the state.
More than 200 degree, diploma and certificate programs are listed in the catalog at DMACC. Aspiring filmmakers can choose between earning a certificate or diploma in video production, and students interested in wine grape production can earn a certificate in viticulture.
If you like the idea of studying on a busy college campus, DMACC might be a great choice for you. More than 23,000 learners enroll here each term.