44 SCHOOLS in IOWA
Bought in the Louisiana Purchase, Iowa was part of the first frontier, drawing settlers from the 1830s on as the land east of the Mississippi was divided up and populated. Rolling hills covered in grassy plains, natural lakes, and rivers, made Iowa perfect for farming, and even to this day, more than half of Iowa’s land is agricultural. But Iowa is far more than corn and cows, as the popular image would have it. Granted, until the 1980s, Iowa was largely corn and cows, but the farm crisis of that era forced Iowa to take a long, hard look at its future and make a change that has elevated the state into one of the most successful examples of transition from an agricultural to a modern economy.
Iowa’s robust and diverse higher education system has had a lot to do with the turnaround. From a bottomed-out economy and chronic “brain drain” in the 1980s and 90s (when young people were abandoning the state for greener financial pastures), Iowa has become one of the nation’s most business-friendly states, reduced unemployment to one of the lowest national rates, and earned a reputation as one of the safest and healthiest states in the union.
Many of Iowa’s advancements come thanks to re-envisioning its agricultural past, with institutions like Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa turning their expertise in agriculture and mechanics into world-class biotechnology, engineering, and business programs. A host of elite, high-ranked Christian liberal arts colleges like Loras College and Luther College, turn their traditional liberal arts base into modern leadership in government, business, and education. Nearly all of Iowa’s schools draw their student bodies primarily from Iowa and their Midwestern neighbors, meeting the needs of Iowa’s people and region with confidence, affordability, and excellence.