Higher education

University of Iowa ranked among top colleges for adult learners

Flexibility, graduation rate, future earnings evaluated

The Pentacrest on the campus of the University of Iowa including the Old Capitol Building (center), Macbride Hall (top left), Jessup Hall (bottom left), Schaeffer Hall (top right), and MacLean Hall (bottom right) in an aerial photograph in Iowa City on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
The Pentacrest on the campus of the University of Iowa including the Old Capitol Building (center), Macbride Hall (top left), Jessup Hall (bottom left), Schaeffer Hall (top right), and MacLean Hall (bottom right) in an aerial photograph in Iowa City on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

With more people returning to college as job requirements change and layoffs often prompt a career change, 40 percent of all college students today are adult learners.

The University of Iowa was listed at No. 11 in the nation among four-year colleges and universities for students who are 25 years of age and older by Washington Monthly magazine. This is the second year that the Washington, D.C., publication has issued such a ranking.

The ranking was based on a number of criteria, including ease of transfer, flexibility of programs, services for students, the percentage of students over 25, the mean earnings of adult students 10 years after they were admitted, the loan repayment rate of adult students five years after leaving college and the cost of tuition and fees.

The UI ranked 5 points out of 5 in terms of ease of transfer, 7 points out of 9 for flexibility of programs and 6 points out of 6 for student services. Eight percent of UI’s undergraduate students were adult learners, and the mean annual income of adult students was $72,826 after 10 years.

Sixty-five percent of UI adult learners have repaid their student loans five years after they left the university. Average annual tuition and fees was $8,104, according to the magazine’s list.

St. Ambrose University in Davenport, a private, Catholic, four-year institution was ranked No. 76 on the Washington Monthly list. Fifteen percent of its students were adult learners.

To compile its rankings, Washington Monthly used data from two federal government sources as well as the College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges. The data was combined with general measures of colleges’ openness and responsiveness to adult students and to how well those students fared once they left school.

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No Ivy League or elite private schools or for-profit colleges made the list. The top 100 was dominated largely by unheralded regional state and private nonprofit schools.

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