These Are The 10 Best Colleges For Economics Majors In Iowa

Using science and data, we can tell you which colleges in IA offer the best opportunities for economics majors.

John McLeanby John McLeanRankings - 2 years ago

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You know there are a ton of great reasons to major in economics — the job prospects, the intellectual challenge, and the chance to follow in the footsteps of some of the greatest thinkers of all time.

But what program in Iowa offers the most to would be economics majors?

We at Zippia decided to take a look at the data on the 93 institutions of higher learning in the Hawkeye State to determine which programs offer the best career opportunities for economics majors.

After the dust settled, we’re left with this set of the top colleges for economics majors in Iowa:

  1. University Of Iowa
  2. Grinnell College
  3. Drake University
  4. Iowa State University
  5. Graceland University-Lamoni
  6. Saint Ambrose University
  7. University Of Northern Iowa
  8. Coe College
  9. Simpson College
  10. Northwestern College

If you go to one of these schools, chances are, you’re not surprised. After all, you know how great you have it.

But for the rest of you — keep reading and we’ll get to just why these schools have some of the best economics programs the Hawkeye State has to offer.

How We Determined The Best Econ Schools In Iowa

Economics is, at its core, the study of choice under constraints. When it comes to identifying the best economics schools we wanted to approach the ranking like economics major would, by looking at data on how schools perform and comparing them to one another.

What better way to optimize your choice?

So with that mind, we looked at the following data from the NCES (National Center For Education Statistics) and College Scorecard data from ED.gov to understand what economics department offer the best career opportunities:

  • Career Results
    • Mean Earnings After 6 Years
    • Mean Earnings After 10 Years
    • Ratio of people working to not working after 10 years
  • Economics Emphasis
    • Percentage of Graduating Class That Are Economics Majors (Larger the better)
  • School Performance
    • Admissions Rate (More selective the better)
    • Graduation Rate
    • Average Cost Of Attendance (Lower is better)
    • Average amount of debt

It’s hard to argue with a selective school that features economics and produces strong earning potential for your career.

After we had this data, we looked at the 93 institutions of higher learning in Iowa. We then ranked each of these schools for each of the criteria above with 1 being the best in any given criteria.

Next, we averaged the ranks for each school to create an “Economics Quality Index”. The school with the best score on the “Economics Quality Index”, University of Iowa, earned the distinction of being the ‘Best College For Economics’ in Iowa.

1. University Of Iowa

University Of Iowa, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Enrollment: 31,387

Housed in the University’s Henry B. Tippie College of Business, this program has been ranked highly before. Just last year, Payscale called it one of the 10 best values for all economics majors in the nation.

Statewide, there isn’t a better economics program for a combination of cost and earnings coming straight out of school than the one in Hawkeye nation.

2. Grinnell College

Grinnell College, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Enrollment: 1,655

On the complete other end of the size spectrum, little Grinnell College has the highest number of econ grads who are still working in their field a decade after graduation. And, Grinnell is actually the most exclusive economics program to be accepted into in the state of Iowa.

3. Drake University

Drake University, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Enrollment: 4,991

The small university in Des Moines offers econ grads the highest salaries, post graduation, than any other economics program in the state of Iowa. And that’s saying a lot.

Plus, 73% of students who begin the program complete it, giving Drake the 3rd highest graduation rate in the state.

4. Iowa State University

Iowa State University, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Enrollment: 34,277

ISU’s Department of Economics is currently jointly administered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

What makes this program great? It’s by far the least expensive of all economics programs in Iowa, and once you graduate, you command the 3rd-highest salary of all Iowa econ grads. That’s some real value right there.

5. Graceland University-Lamoni

Graceland University-Lamoni, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Enrollment: 1,595

Math nerds who like some up close and personal attention would be right at home at Graceland University. Believe it or not, the Lamoni campus is the 2nd-most exclusive in the state, where only 50% of applicants are admitted.

Additionally, this is the 4th-most affordable econ program in the state, and students leave with the 2nd lowest amount of debt in Iowa.

6. Saint Ambrose University

Saint Ambrose University, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Enrollment: 2,714

This small private school in Davenport has a stellar economics program. It’s the easiest program to get into, and graduates actually outearn their peers over at Drake and Coe College, even a decade after leaving school.

7. University Of Northern Iowa

University Of Northern Iowa, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Enrollment: 11,928

One perk of attending Northern Iowa is they have a super basketball team, which regularly makes the NCAA Tournament. If you’re looking at academics, UNI is the 2nd-least expensive of all programs, and more than two-thirds of econ students complete their degree here – one of the highest rates in the state.

8. Coe College

Coe College, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Enrollment: 1,340

Economics graduates of this small college in Cedar Rapids come out of school commanding the 5th-highest salaries in the state, and this is the 3rd-hardest program in Iowa to be accepted into. Exclusivity is often a sign of greatness.

9. Simpson College

Simpson College, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Enrollment: 2,035

Talk about up close and personal attention. As an economics student, you get to co-manage the Eberhart Student Aid Fund, a securities portfolio valued at over one quarter of a million dollars.

Other perks – Simpson graduates leave school with below-average debt, and they can look forward to the 6th-highest salaries in the state for all economics majors.

10. Northwestern College

Northwestern College, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Enrollment: 1,205

This small college in Orange City, IA ranks 2nd in the state for percentage of graduates working in the field of economics up to 5 years after graduation. In addition, it’s below-average in terms of cost.

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