The Iowa legislature established Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm in 1858. Renamed Iowa State University of Science and Technology in 1959, this institution is home to the country's first state veterinary medicine school, as well as the first binary computer. Today, more than 29,000 students are enrolled in ISU's nine colleges and schools. It has one of the 10 largest undergraduate engineering programs in the country, and the nation's longest continuously accredited journalism school. There are 100 undergraduate, 112 master's, and 83 Ph.D. programs. In addition, there are more than 30 online programs that result in bachelor's and master's degrees and certificates. ISU is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission.
Established in 1847, the University of Iowa was the first public institution of higher education in the state. It is categorized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a Research University with very high research activity and considered a Public Ivy, meaning that the more than 30,000 students enrolled are provided an Ivy League experience at a public school price. The university consists of 11 colleges that offer more than 100 areas of study including seven professional degrees. The Division of Continuing Education offers online courses and 12 degree and certificate programs at the undergraduate and graduate level, including online nursing programs and an online business degree. UI is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission.
While these are a few of the top online universities in Iowa, there are many more that offer online degrees and courses for those interested in distance learning. Many people prefer online education because of the flexibility it provides. Rather than traveling to a college campus, online classes are typically conducted through a Web course portal where students can access course material like reading assignments, audio lectures, video presentations, interactive tutorials, and more. While it is up to students to keep up with assigned reading or participate in class discussions on a message board, they are usually not required to do this at a particular time. Homework can be completed around one's own schedule, as long as it is turned in in by the deadline. Exams are taken either online or at a proctored testing center.
Those who want to increase their career potential and break into some of Iowa's popular industries will likely need a college education to do so. The state's major industries include advanced manufacturing, renewable energy, information technology, biosciences, financial services, and food manufacturing, according to the Iowa Economic Development. Online universities and colleges can make it possible for working students to advance their education and career simultaneously. Online IT degrees can help students gain the knowledge and skills required to be a part of the state's expanding IT industry. Iowa State University has various graduate certificate programs in information technology that those already working in the industry can complete online at their convenience. Other online schools in Iowa also offer distance learning programs in areas applicable to these industries.