The 10 Most Diverse Colleges In Iowa For 2020

Editor's Note: This article has been update for 2020. This is our third time rankings the most diverse colleges in Iowa.
Swipe left for slideshow

Diversity is a hot topic right now. You can't watch the news or browse social media without hearing about equality.

And that's mostly because diversity's a good thing. You've heard the saying, "Diversity is the art of thinking independently together."

So we wanted to help prospective applicants understand what colleges in the will offer them a diverse experience.

A university campus is one of the most diverse places you'll find in Iowa, as people of all religions, gender preferences and races come together from all over the world to enrich their minds.

But where would we find the most diverse colleges in Iowa? After running the numbers on 32 colleges and universities, we landed on Maharishi University of Management as the most diverse college in Iowa.

Here's the set of the top ten most diverse colleges in Iowa for 2020.

The 10 Most Diverse Colleges In Iowa For 2020

  1. Maharishi University of Management
  2. William Penn University
  3. Graceland University-Lamoni
  4. Grinnell College
  5. University of Dubuque
  6. Divine Word College
  7. Iowa Wesleyan University
  8. Upper Iowa University
  9. Cornell College
  10. Briar Cliff University

If you're looking to meet people from all different backgrounds be sure to add Maharishi University of Management to your college visit road trip.

Read on for more about the colleges and the methodology behind the data.

For more reading on Iowa, check out:

How We Determined The Most Diverse College Campuses In Iowa For 2020

In order to run the only assessment on college diversity undertaken, we simply had to aggregate and then sort data on the racial profiles of each college and university in Iowa.

We're lucky, since the U.S. Department of Education releases diversity studies every year. (The USDE has all sorts of other statistics on its annual College Scorecard as well.)

Here's what we looked at specifically in terms of the racial breakdown by percentage at each institution:

  • White
  • Black
  • Hispanic
  • Asian
  • American Indian
  • Pacific Islanders
  • Two Or More

For most colleges, a significant portion of the student body was listed as "Unknown Race". We removed that from the calculation and only focused on the known races of students from the College Scorecard data.

We then calculated an HHI-score for each of the 32 schools based on the available data -- a statistical representation of diversity. The lower the score, the more diverse the campus.


So it looks like if you want to get the most diverse student experience, you need to contact admissions at Maharishi University of Management or William Penn University.

Maharishi University Of Management

Location: Fairfield, IA
# Of Undergraduates: 263
Diversity Index (HHI): 4,462

Maharishi University of Management, formerly Maharishi International University, is an American non-profit university located in Fairfield, Iowa. It was founded in 1973 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and features a \"consciousness-based education\" system that includes the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique. Its founding principles include the development of the full potential of the individual, fulfilling economic aspirations while maximizing proper use of the environment and bringing spiritual fulfillment and happiness to humanity.

William Penn University

Location: Oskaloosa, IA
# Of Undergraduates: 1,384
Diversity Index (HHI): 4,888

William Penn University is a private, liberal arts university in Oskaloosa, Iowa, United States. It was founded by members of the Religious Society of Friends in 1873 as Penn College. In 1933, the name was changed to William Penn College, and finally to William Penn University in 2000.

Graceland University-Lamoni
Source: Wikipedia User |

Location: Lamoni, IA
# Of Undergraduates: 1,477
Diversity Index (HHI): 4,890

Graceland University is a private liberal arts university with campuses in Lamoni, Iowa and Independence, Missouri. The university offers degree completion and masters degree programs at satellite campuses in Centerville and Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Trenton, Missouri. It also offers undergraduate and graduate programs online. The university was founded in 1895. Graceland was established by, and is affiliated with, the Community of Christ, formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Grinnell College
Source: Wikipedia

Location: Grinnell, IA
# Of Undergraduates: 1,344
Diversity Index (HHI): 4,996

Grinnell College is a private, nonsectarian, coeducational, liberal arts college in Grinnell, Iowa. It was founded in 1846, when a group of New England Congregationalists established the Trustees of Iowa College.

University Of Dubuque

Location: Dubuque, IA
# Of Undergraduates: 655
Diversity Index (HHI): 5,058

The University of Dubuque is a Presbyterian university located in Dubuque, in the U.S. state of Iowa, with a general attendance of approximately 2,000 students. The school offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. It is one of three four-year post-secondary institutions in the City of Dubuque, and is commonly referred to as UD.

Divine Word College

Location: Epworth, IA
# Of Undergraduates: 8
Diversity Index (HHI): 5,230

Divine Word College is an undergraduate Roman Catholic seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. It educates students for missionary service in the Catholic Church as priests, brothers, sisters, and laypersons. It is owned and operated by the Society of the Divine Word. The college offers three baccalaureate degrees as well as English as a second language classes to other Catholic religious missionaries and those aspiring to Catholic lay ministries.

Iowa Wesleyan University
Source: Wikipedia

Location: Mount Pleasant, IA
# Of Undergraduates: 777
Diversity Index (HHI): 5,353

Iowa Wesleyan University is a private four-year liberal arts college in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Founded in 1842, it ranks as Iowa's first co-educational institution of higher learning and the oldest of its type west of the Mississippi River. The university is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

Upper Iowa University
Source: Wikipedia

Location: Fayette, IA
# Of Undergraduates: 4,758
Diversity Index (HHI): 5,407

Upper Iowa University is a private institution of higher education with its residential campus located in northeast Iowa, United States near the Volga River in the rural community of Fayette, where around 900 students are enrolled. The university offers distance education programs that include 15 centers in the U.S., an online program, an independent study program, and centers in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. UIU has a total student enrollment of more than 6,000 students with a 24:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Cornell College

Location: Mount Vernon, IA
# Of Undergraduates: 987
Diversity Index (HHI): 5,665

Cornell College is a private liberal arts college in Mount Vernon, Iowa. Originally called the Iowa Conference Seminary, the school was founded in 1853 by George Bryant Bowman. Four years later, in 1857, the name was changed to Cornell College, in honor of iron tycoon William Wesley Cornell, who was a distant relative of Ezra Cornell (founder of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York).

Briar Cliff University

Location: Sioux City, IA
# Of Undergraduates: 917
Diversity Index (HHI): 6,006

Briar Cliff University is a private, Franciscan, Roman Catholic, liberal arts university located in Sioux City, Iowa, United States.

There You Have It -- The Most Racially Diverse Colleges In The

If you're looking at universities in Iowa with the most diverse student bodies, this is an accurate list. Below is a complete list of every college and university in Iowa with their diversity index score.

Hopefully, this is helpful for you as you weigh in on all factors while you decide on which institution to attend.

For more reading on colleges around Iowa, check out:

Most Diverse Colleges In Iowa

Rank College Diversity Index
1 Maharishi University of Management 4,462
2 William Penn University 4,888
3 Graceland University-Lamoni 4,890
4 Grinnell College 4,996
5 University of Dubuque 5,058
6 Divine Word College 5,230
7 Iowa Wesleyan University 5,353
8 Upper Iowa University 5,407
9 Cornell College 5,665
10 Briar Cliff University 6,006
11 Coe College 6,158
12 Grand View University 6,427
13 University of Iowa 6,461
14 AIB College of Business 6,613
15 Palmer College of Chiropractic 6,648
16 Iowa State University 7,373
17 Drake University 7,395
18 Saint Ambrose University 7,398
19 Mount Mercy University 7,485
20 Morningside College 7,488
21 Clarke University 7,508
22 Wartburg College 7,714
23 Loras College 7,716
24 Dordt College 7,879
25 Northwestern College 7,989
26 Luther College 8,056
27 University of Northern Iowa 8,057
28 Buena Vista University 8,081
29 Central College 8,211
30 Simpson College 8,428
31 Allen College 8,931
32 Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary 8,962

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn.

Most Diverse Colleges By State

Enjoy The Snack?