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A private college or university doesn’t receive funds from the state. These schools rely upon tuition and private contributions in the form of endowments and alumni gifts. Since they are not state-subsidized, private colleges and universities usually charge higher tuition rates than their public counterparts.

However, there are many benefits to attending a private college or university. First, many private institutions -- particularly those with large endowments -- allocate significant funds for financial aid. Fortunate students can leverage grants and scholarships to bring the net cost of private education in line with public institutions. Private colleges and universities also tend to be smaller in size and focus more on fields of specialty than general courses. Applicant selection is more exclusive, so accepted students study with only the best of the best. This combination of expert knowledge and individualized attention can make a private school education incredibly enriching.

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Iowa hosts over 20 private colleges and universities with accredited nursing programs. Situated on a beautiful campus in Waterloo, Allen College is one of the largest private universities in the state. This picturesque school offers 15 different nursing specialties and levels of education. The Catholic-affiliated Clarke University, a four-year liberal arts college in Dubuque, provides several bachelor's, master’s, and doctoral nursing programs. Upper Iowa University serves three different campuses (Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, and Fayette) with its RN-to-BSN program.

Equipped with a degree or certificate from a private college or university, you’ll be well positioned to pursue employment at Iowa’s top healthcare providers, including DaVita Healthcare Partners and the Department of Veteran Affairs.

To kick-start your educational journey, we've listed below the top private nursing schools across the state of Iowa.

Featured Schools

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Cedar Rapids

Coe College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Mount Mercy University
  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • MSN: Nursing Education
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Upper Iowa University - Cedar Rapids
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
School City Programs offered
Coe College Cedar Rapids
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Mount Mercy University Cedar Rapids
  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • MSN: Nursing Education
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Upper Iowa University - Cedar Rapids Cedar Rapids
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion

Des Moines

Grand View University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Mercy College of Health Sciences
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
  • Nursing Assistant Certificate
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Upper Iowa University - Des Moines
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
School City Programs offered
Grand View University Des Moines
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Mercy College of Health Sciences Des Moines
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
  • Nursing Assistant Certificate
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Upper Iowa University - Des Moines West Des Moines
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion

Other Iowa cities

Allen College
  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Emergency Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • MSN: Nursing Education
  • MSN: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate DNP
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Emergency Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Nursing Administration
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Nursing Education
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Briar Cliff University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Master's Certificates
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Clarke University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate DNP
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Dordt College
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Iowa Wesleyan University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Luther College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Morningside College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
Northwestern College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
St. Ambrose University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
St. Luke's College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
University of Dubuque
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Upper Iowa University
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
William Penn University
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
School City Programs offered
Allen College Waterloo
  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Emergency Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • MSN: Nursing Education
  • MSN: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate DNP
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Emergency Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Nursing Administration
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Nursing Education
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Briar Cliff University Sioux City
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Master's Certificates
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Clarke University Dubuque
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate DNP
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Dordt College Sioux Center
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Iowa Wesleyan University Mount Pleasant
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Luther College Decorah
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Morningside College Sioux City
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
Northwestern College Orange City
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
St. Ambrose University Davenport
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
St. Luke's College Sioux City
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
University of Dubuque Dubuque
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Upper Iowa University Fayette
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
William Penn University Oskaloosa
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion