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Council Bluffs, Iowa (IA) Colleges and Universities

While there are three schools in Council Bluffs, IA, there are many schools located within a 15-mile radius. Read about the top schools in several categories, including most program variety and lowest tuition, to find the school for you.

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Most Program Variety

Students in the Council Bluffs, IA, area can pursue programs at several colleges, including public universities, private colleges and community colleges. Council Bluffs is located in the western part of Iowa, and many of the nearby schools are based across the state line in Omaha, Nebraska. The three traditional schools listed below have the most program variety in the area, and information about the most popular or largest programs was provided by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), per 2011-2012 records.

1- University of Nebraska at Omaha

The University of Nebraska at Omaha is located nearly 10 miles away from Council Bluffs, IA, and this school offers about 113 programs. According to the university's website, fields of study at the school include information sciences, business administration, public affairs, communications, media, the arts, education, sciences and technology. The most popular bachelor's degree programs were criminal justice, business administration and elementary education. The most popular master's degree program was business administration, while the most pursued doctoral degree program was educational leadership.

2- Creighton University

Based about seven miles from Council Bluffs, IA, Creighton University is located in Omaha, NE, and has approximately 102 programs. Students can pursue programs in several areas, including arts and sciences, dentistry, business, law, pharmacy, medicine and nursing. The U.S. News & World Report ranked the university as the #1 regional university (Midwest) in 2013. The largest bachelor's degree programs included registered nursing, biology and psychology. Investments and securities, dispute resolution and business commerce were the most popular master's degree programs. Among doctoral students, the most pursued programs included medicine, law and pharmacy.

3- Metropolitan Community College Area

Metropolitan Community College Area is located in Omaha, NE, nearly eight miles from Council Bluffs, IA. The school offers roughly 89 academic and career training programs. Liberal arts and sciences was the most commonly pursued program at both the certificate and associate degree levels. Other popular certificate programs included licensed practical nursing, HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration) technology, and health information administration. Business administration and registered nursing were also large associate degree programs on campus.

Lowest Tuition and Fees

For many students, tuition and fees may be an important factor to consider when choosing schools. The NCES lists the tuition and fees for each school in the Council Bluffs, IA, area, but many of the schools are located in Nebraska, so Iowa residents may have to pay out-of-state rates. For Iowa state residents, the three traditional colleges in the area with the lowest tuition and fees were as follows, and these numbers are based on NCES records from the 2012-2013 school year.

1- Metropolitan Community College Area

Metropolitan Community College Area had the lowest tuition and fees in the area. Students who were from Nebraska paid $2,520 in tuition and fees, but out-of-state students, including those from Iowa, paid $3,668. NCES records from 2012-2013 showed that the total expected costs for out-of-state students living on campus was $14,948. As far as financial aid goes, the NCES showed that 45% of all undergraduates received scholarship or grant aid during 2011-2012, and awards averaged at around $3,700 per student.

2- Iowa Western Community College

Located in Council Bluffs, Iowa Western Community College had an in-state tuition of $4,285, while out-of-state students paid $4,435. The NCES reported that the average net price for students at the school totaled to $9,255 in 2011-2012, and the net price represents the average cost of school minus any financial aid awards. Sixty-two percent of the undergraduate student body were awarded with grant or scholarship aid in 2011-2012, per the NCES, which averaged out to $3,652 per student.

3- Bellevue University

Bellevue University is based in Nebraska and sits roughly nine miles from Council Bluffs, IA. Both residents and non-residents at this private school paid $6,300 in tuition and fees. The majority of students, 65%, took out federal student loans in 2011-2012, according to the NCES, and the average loan amount per student was $4,249. The NCES also reported that the average net price for this school was $14,590 in 2011-2012.

Highest Graduation Rates

The NCES identifies a school's overall graduation rate by determining how many students graduated from their programs within 150% of normal time, which would be six years to earn a bachelor's degree or three years for an associate degree. The graduation rates for the top three traditional schools in the area ranged from 46%-75%. The statistics below come from the NCES, and these numbers reflect the students who began their programs in 2006.

1- Creighton University

Among traditional schools, Creighton University had the highest graduation rate in the area at 77%. In addition, the school had a fairly high retention rate of 90% for full-time students returning in 2012. Sixty-eight percent of students pursuing bachelor's degrees completed these programs in four years instead of six.

2- University of Nebraska at Omaha

The University of Nebraska at Omaha had a graduation rate of 46%. Only 14% of students earned bachelor's degrees within four years. In 2012, the retention rate at the university was 43% for part-time students and 72% for full-time students, according to the NCES. Information from the same source showed that the transfer-out rate for the 2006 cohort was at 31%.

3- College of Saint Mary

The College of Saint Mary is located about 10 miles from Council Bluffs, IA, in Omaha, NE, and this school had a graduation rate of 36%. The U.S. News & World Report ranked this school among the top 100 for regional universities in the Midwest during 2013. Of students who started their bachelor's degree programs in 2006, 28% of them graduated in four years. The NCES reported that the retention rate at the school was 69% for returning full-time students in 2012.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Students who want more attention from professors may want to consider schools with lower student-faculty ratios. The student-faculty ratios for the Council Bluffs, IA, area fell anywhere from 3:1 to 27:1 in 2012, as reported by the NCES. The traditional colleges listed below have the lowest student-faculty ratios in the region, and each school had a ratio lower than 18:1.

1- Creighton University

With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, Creighton University had one of the lowest in the area. According to the U.S. News & World Report, about 47% of classes each had less than 20 students. Approximately 7,700 students attended the university in fall of 2012, per the NCES, and over 760 full-time faculty members taught classes during that semester.

2- College of Saint Mary

The College of Saint Mary had a student-faculty ratio of 13:1. Approximately 1,000 students were enrolled at the college in fall 2012, and the school employed 59 faculty members and two part-time graduate assistants at this time, according to NCES records. Data from the U.S. News & World Report showed that the majority of the full-time faculty, nearly 79%, were female.

3- University of Nebraska at Omaha

The student-faculty ratio at University of Nebraska at Omaha was 17:1. According to the NCES, the school employed nearly 1,000 faculty members in fall of 2012, and a little more than half of them were hired as full-time professors. Data from that same source showed that the student population during fall 2012 was at 14,786, and 12,136 of these students were listed as undergraduates.

Council Bluffs Schools at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Program Levels Offered Area Ranking
Bellevue University Bellevue, NE (9.1 miles from Council Bluffs, IA) 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees 3rd Lowest Tuition and Fees
College of Saint Mary Omaha, NE (9.5 miles from Council Bluffs, IA) 4-year, private not-for-profit 1-2-year certificates; associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; postbaccalaureate certificates 2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
3rd Highest Graduation Rate
Creighton University Omaha, NE (6.7 miles from Council Bluffs, IA) 4-year, private not-for-profit 1-2-year certificates; associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; postbaccalaureate and post-master's certificates Highest Graduation Rate,
Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
2nd Most Program Variety
Iowa Western Community College Council Bluffs, IA 2-year, public Less than 1-year and 1-2-year certificates; associate degrees 2nd Lowest Tuition and Fees
Metropolitan Community College Area Omaha, NE (7.9 miles from Council Bluffs, IA) 2-year, public Less than 1-year and 1-2-year certificates; associate degrees Lowest Tuition and Fees,
3rd Most Program Variety
University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha, NE (9.8 miles from Council Bluffs, IA) 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; postbaccalaureate and post-master's certificates Most Program Variety,
2nd Highest Graduation Rate,
3rd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
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