University of Northern Iowa - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
University of Northern Iowa
“Nearly 12,000 students have found the right fit at the University of Northern Iowa....

University of Northern Iowa

Cedar Falls, Iowa

Students at the University of Northern Iowa experience the best of both worlds—the opportunities of a large university within the atmosphere of a small college environment where they can excel and stand out among their peers.


UNI is nationally recognized for its high educational standards and its various avenues for students to live and learn together. It’s clear that UNI students, faculty, staff, and alumni all take tremendous pride in this outstanding university. There have been many successes over the last 140 years, and UNI looks forward to many more.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
10,169 undergraduate students
90% of undergrad students are full time
43% male — 57% female
8% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
631 full-time faculty
158 part-time faculty
17 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

34% of students living on campus (2,449 female, 1,639 male; based on total enrollment)
Other information – 8 residence halls, 3 apartments/suites, 11 Living Learning Communities, offer a 2-Year Advantage Plan

School Location

The University of Northern Iowa is located in Cedar Falls, which is a student-friendly town with almost 40,000 people. The community frequently welcomes new restaurants, coffee shops, retail stores, and clubs. Most are a few blocks from campus or just a short drive away. The Cedar Falls area also has more than 100 miles of nature trails, a water park, golf courses—everything a student needs for year-round fun.

Cedar Falls is within a few hours’ drive of Des Moines, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and St. Louis. That makes big-city internships and student-teaching experiences convenient and close by.

Retention Fall 2015

80% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

68% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 5%
Hispanic/Latino 3%
Black or African American 3%
White 83%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 2%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 3%


Division: Division I, Missouri Valley Conference
Varsity Sports: 17 men’s and women’s athletic teams

Mascots: TC (The Cat) and TK (The Kitty)
Colors: Purple and Gold

Academic Programs

College of Business Administration – Accounting, Business Teaching, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, International Business, Management, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Real Estate 

College of Education – Early Childhood, Elementary Education, Elementary Education/Early Childhood, Health Education, Middle Level Education, Physical Education, Leisure, Youth and Human Services, Athletic Training, Health Promotion and Education, Movement and Exercise Science, Sport Psychology

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences – Anthropology, Criminology, Family Services, Geographic Information Science, Geography, Gerontology, Global Studies, History, History Teaching, Interior Design, Political Communication, Political Science, Public Administration, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, Social Science Teaching-Specialist, Social Science Teaching-All Social Science, Textiles and Apparel

College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences – Art Education, Art History, Graphic Design, Studio Art (Ceramics, Drawing, Graphic Design, Painting, Performance Art, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture), Biology (B.A. and B.S.) Biology Teaching, Biomedical, Ecology and Systematics, Biochemistry (B.A. and B.S.), Chemistry (B.A. and B.S.), Chemistry Teaching, Communicative Disorders, Communication, Communication-Theatre Teaching, Electronic Media, Interactive Digital Studies, Public Relations, Computer Science, Networking and System Administration, Earth Science, Earth Science Teaching, Environmental Science, English, English Teaching, Spanish, Spanish Teaching, TESOL, TESOL Teaching, TESOL/Spanish Teaching, Mathematics, Mathematics Teaching, Statistics and Actuarial Science, Composition/Theory, Jazz Studies, Music, Music Education-Choral General, Music Education-Instrumental, Music Education-Instrumental/Jazz, Music Technology, Performance, Performing Arts Management, String Pedagogy, Philosophy, World Religions, Applied Physics, Physics, Physics Teaching, Graphic Technologies, Technology Education Teaching, Technology Management, Construction Management, Electrical Engineering Technology, Manufacturing Technology, Design and Production, Drama and Theatre for Youth, Performance

More Distinctions

  • UNI received an Excellence and Innovation Award from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities

  • UNI's College of Business Administration is No. 76 in the Military Times Best for Vets: Business School 2015 rankings

  • UNI received the 2015 Community Engagement Classification from The Carnegie Foundation

  • Recipient of the inaugural Student Entrepreneurship Program of the Year from International Business Innovation Association

  • UNI was named to the 2015 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the seventh year

  • A top Military Friendly University – Military Advanced Education magazine

  • One of the top three Midwest public universities for the past 15 years – U.S. News & World Report

  • One of the top producers of U.S. Fulbright Scholars – The Chronicle of Higher Education

  • Ranked No. 41 in the Princeton Review's 'Guide to 361 Green Colleges'

  • 4 in affordability, accessibility and academic quality – Midwestern Regional A-list,

The University of Northern Iowa is the right fit for students who are interested in engaged learning, firsthand experience, and a high-quality education. UNI’s ever-expanding list of internship, student teaching, study abroad, and research opportunities help UNI students stand out.

Service Abroad

If students are looking for a unique summer service learning experience, the Camp Adventure Child and Youth Services program at UNI is the perfect opportunity. Each year, Camp Adventure recruits, interviews, and trains nearly 1,000 students from universities across the country to serve as counselors at American military bases, British installations, and embassies throughout the world. Lives are changed. Global awareness is increased. Leadership and human-relations skills are improved.

Study Abroad

A student’s UNI experience extends far beyond the campus border—really far—to places like China, Ireland, Costa Rica, and 60 other countries. UNI has 100 study abroad programs that last anywhere from two weeks to one year. And students can start their journey as early as the second semester of their freshman year.

Academic Programs for Everyone

Maybe a student knows what they want to major in. Maybe they don’t. Either way is okay, because they’re sure to find the right fit in one of UNI’s 90+ majors. Add a minor area of study (UNI offers more than 80), and they’re on the road to a fantastic career.

Student-Faculty Research

Prospective college students are looking for a university where they’ll be taught by knowledgeable and experienced faculty. At UNI, not only are 99 percent of classes taught by actually faculty members, but students also have the opportunity to work alongside their professors and conduct cutting-edge and groundbreaking research as early as their freshman year.

Experts in Education

The University of Northern Iowa offers exciting educational opportunities for students taking classes on campus or enrolled in online programs. As a teaching-focused institution, UNI faculty put students first. They bring experience and expertise into the classroom and supplement their courses with knowledge gained through intensive research and discovery as well as service and engagement. This stimulating environment helps prepare graduates who can successfully enter graduate school or their chosen career field.

UNI’s average class size is just 23 students, so students really get to know their classmates and professors. 99 percent of classes are taught by faculty, not graduate students or teaching assistants, which means that students learn from professional educators with years of teaching experience.

First-Year Cornerstone

UNI’s First-Year Cornerstone course allows students to take a course for a full academic year with the same professor, satisfying two Liberal Arts Core requirements. The course integrates topics of writing, speaking, civility, and student success within a vibrant classroom community. Students also have access to a peer teaching assistant who is there for all course sessions, acting as a mentor and answering any questions about the college experience.

Students Ready to Teach

UNI’s College of Education has been preparing and graduating teachers for more than 150 years. Each year, the college helps more than 500 education majors find placements for student-teaching experiences. UNI’s education program requires students to have more K-12 classroom hours than any other education program in the state of Iowa. Students complete 80 to 90 hours of field experiences before their 16-week student teaching assignments. UNI students have more than 700 hours of teaching experience when they graduate.

The Center for Excellence in Teaching

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) at UNI is a great resource for faculty. The center seeks to engage, explore, and enhance the practice of teaching and the culture of learning at UNI. The CETL offers opportunities for conversation to cultivate and value the diversity of teaching and learning that takes place at UNI. It promotes research-based pedagogies and practices that encourage student engagement and success, and it is available to support the professional development of the campus teaching community.

The CETL designs programming in collaboration with individuals, departments, and programs both on and off campus. It ensures that new programs are aligned with UNI’s institutional mission and strategic goals. As it shares campus resources and expertise, it acts as a campus-wide clearinghouse for opportunities to enhance teaching and learning.

Many students find the right fit at UNI because of its outstanding faculty and endless opportunities to meet people and get involved. While there is plenty to do on campus and in the community, students can stretch their boundaries even further by finding new places to eat, shop, relax, volunteer, and explore.

Cedar Falls

UNI is located in Cedar Falls, a student-friendly town with just less than 40,000 people. The community frequently welcomes new restaurants, coffee shops, retail stores, and clubs. Most are a few blocks from campus or just a short drive away. The Cedar Falls area also has more than 100 miles of nature trails, a water park, and golf courses—everything a student needs for year-round fun.

Cedar Falls is also within a few hours’ drive of Des Moines, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and St. Louis. That makes big-city internships and student-teaching experiences convenient and close by.

Healthy Lifestyles

Cedar Falls was recently named a Certified Blue Zones community®, recognized for its commitment to promoting a healthy, balanced lifestyle. People on and off campus are eating better, being more active, connecting with one another, and finding a greater sense of purpose. Together, their efforts to enrich their health create an even stronger bond between Cedar Falls and UNI.

Clubs & Organizations

Fun times are never far at UNI. With more than 250 clubs and organizations, there’s bound to be at least one that sounds like fun. Students can also cheer on one of UNI’s 17 Division I men’s and women’s athletic teams.

High-Impact Practices

At the University of Northern Iowa, the ultimate goal is to prepare students for success after graduation. That means engaging with students both in and outside of the classroom, specifically with high-impact practices designed to challenge and educate.

Service Learning

Service learning opportunities are integrated with regular course offerings at UNI, allowing students to make meaningful contributions within the community and beyond. Just last year, 10 UNI faculty members and their classes partnered with businesses and organizations from around the Cedar Valley as part of the Service Learning Institute. These experiences help transform students into engaged citizens.

Capstone Courses

College graduates should enter the world as educated citizens. Capstone courses at UNI deal with complex issues from multidisciplinary perspectives. The program is designed to challenge students, promote critical thinking, and link theory to practice through problem-solving. The courses engage students across a variety of different majors and help them develop skills associated with self-directed, lifelong learning.

Alumni Achievements

Approximately 96% percent of last year’s graduates are employed or are continuing their education. Additionally, when UNI students graduate, they owe less money than students who graduate from any four-year public institution in Iowa.

From the author of “The Bridges of Madison County” to the former ambassador of India, UNI’s 111,000 alumni go on to impact the lives of others with successful careers and unique opportunities.


Admissions Fall 2015

5,394 Total Applicants 
4,290 Total Admissions 
1,916 Total Freshman Enrollment

79.53% of applicants admitted

Freshman Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 410 570
SAT Math 470 610
SAT Writing 360 550
ACT Composite 20 25
ACT Math 18 25
ACT English 19 25
ACT Writing 6 8


Net Price Calculator


Expenses In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $6,648 $16,836
Fees $1,169 $1,169
Total $7,817 $18,005
Room and Board (on campus) $8,320 $8,320
Room Only $4,176 $4,176
Board Only $4,144 $4,144
Estimated Total On Campus $16,137 $26,325


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

82% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
59% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded student loan aid

$4,905 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$5,696 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates


UNI offers thousands of scholarships each year to deserving students. A scholarship might cover the entire cost of a student’s tuition, or it might be a one-time award of a few hundred dollars. Either way, it’s worth applying for, because it’ll help reduce the cost of education.

View UNI’s Scholarship Directory at: