By Allen Grove
For a state with relatively low population, Iowa offers some excellent options for higher education. My top picks for the state range in size from about 1,000 students to close to 30,000, and the admissions standards vary greatly. The list includes private, public, religious, and secular colleges and universities. My selection criteria include retention rates, four- and six-year graduation rates, value, student engagement, and notable curricular strengths. I have listed the schools alphabetically rather than forcing them into any kind of artificial ranking. The colleges have remarkably different missions and personalities, and ranking a small Christian college with a large public university would be dubious at best.