Annual Costs

Undergraduate Tuition

Iowa State University tuition is $7,456 per year for in-state residents. This is 7% more expensive than the national average public four year tuition of $7,203. The cost is 69% cheaper than the average Iowa tuition of $24,612 for 4 year colleges. Tuition ranks 2nd in Iowa amongst 4 year colleges for affordability and is the 42nd most expensive 4 year college in the state. If attending from out-of-state, the tuition is $21,292 which represents a 186% premium.

The school charges an additional fees of $1,180 in addition to tuition bringing the total effective in-state tuition to $8,636.

Housing Costs

On campus room and board is provided by the school at a cost of $8,546 per academic year. Students electing to live off campus elsewhere in Ames should budget at least this amount.

Books and Supplies

The estimated annual cost for books and supplies is $994.

Other Living Expenses

If living on-campus, students should budget for $2,430 in additional living expenses. Off-campus students should budget for $2,430 in other miscellaneous living expenses.

Total Costs

The total tuition and living expense budget for in-state Iowa residents to go to ISU is $20,606 for the 2018/2019 academic year. Out-of-state students who don't have Iowa residence can expect a one year cost of $34,442.

Citation: Price data from the U.S. Department of Education's 2018-2019 and 2017-2018 IPEDS survey response for Iowa State University and represent reported costs for the 2016-2017 and 2015-2016 academic years.

Costs and Tuition for Iowa State University
Estimated Budgets
Iowa Resident Total Budget $20,606
   In-State Tuition$7,456
   Other Fees$1,180
   Room and Board$8,546
   On-Campus Other Budget$2,430
   Books and Supplies$994
Non-Resident Total Budget $34,442
   Out-of-State Tuition$21,292
   Other Fees$1,180
   Room and Board$8,546
   On-Campus Other Budget$2,430
   Books and Supplies$994


What it Really Costs

Depending on many factors including student and parent income and assets, the total cost of attendance may be less than the $20,606 published price if scholarship or grant aid is made available to you.

Net Price

The net out-of-pocket total cost you end up paying or financing though student loans is known as the net price. The reported ISU net price for in-state students is $13,899* for the 2014/2015 academic year. This net price includes housing and meal expenses.

Pell Grants and other Grant Aid

76% of Iowa State University students received grant aid in 2014/2015. The average total aid amount was $7,137. 20 percent of students received aid in the form of Pell Grants from the U.S. Federal Government. The average Pell Grant awarded for 2014/2015 was $4,116. To apply for a Pell Grant to attend Iowa State University, the first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Net Price and Financial Aid for Iowa State University
Financial Aid Summary
Average Annual Net Price$13,899*
Percent of Students Receiving Grant Aid76%
Average Total Grant Aid$7,137
Percent of Students Receiving Pell Grants20%
Average Amount of Pell Grant Aid$4,116

Average Net Price for In-State Students by Family Income

The average net total cost of attendance for different levels of family income after federal, state or local government, institutional grant and scholarship aid are awarded. Data last published for the 2014/2015 academic year.

Family Income Avg. Net Price
$0 to $30,000$8,721
$30,001 to $48,000$10,063
$48,001 to $75,000$13,249
$75,001 to $110,000$16,007

Average Financial Aid Mix - $20,606 In-State Total Cost

CollegeCalc has estimated typical coverage of the annual in-state tuition and living expenses of $20,606. Breakdown is based on average grant aid and federal loan aid which will vary based on your family income.


Grants and Scholarships

 39% - $7,137

Money granted to you by the U.S. Department of Education, Iowa State University or other organizations. These are not loans and do not need to be repaid.

Federal Loans

 30% - $5,432

Low interest student loans funded by the U.S. Department of Education. This amount will need to be repaid.

Out of Pocket

 31% -  $5,607

Covered by family savings, work or private student loans which you will have to repay.

*Reported Average Annual Net Price for in state students receiving grant or scholarship aid reported to the U.S. Department of Education's Academic Year 2014-2015 IPEDS Survey. Financial aid is only available to those who qualify. Consult this school's net price calculator for further understanding of your potential net price.

Note that for colleges with no reported on-campus room and board, the average net price has been increased to account for living expenses. This number may not only reflect the net price paid to the school for tuition.

Is it Worth the Cost?

To make a comparative assessment if ISU is worth the price, measures of it's relative value for tuition dollar can be examined. We've calculated an academic national percentile rating of 58/100 for Iowa State University. Considering an average net price paid of $13,554, this leads to an overall value ranking of 76/100. This places the school 0th on our national Best Value Colleges ranking as a provider of a very high value education compared to actual overall price paid.

Tuition Comparison to Similar Public Colleges in the Region

School Cost vs. Iowa State University
University of Northern Iowa0% less expensive
Winona State University1.1% less expensive
University of Missouri Kansas City10.5% less expensive
University of Wisconsin Eau Claire1.3% less expensive
University of Kansas31.7% more expensive

Cost of a Degree

When considering ability to pay for college, the annual cost is often discussed but it's the "all in" multi-year degree cost which matters in the end. Let's take a look at what it could really cost for four years at Iowa State University.

Estimated 4 Year Cost at Published Tuition

At the current published rates, an estimated total tuition, fees and living expense price for a 4 year bachelor's degree at ISU is $82,424 for students graduating in normal time. This methodology for estimating the 4 year cost is a straight multiple of the most recent reported annual total cost and does not factor in tuition increases during the time you're in school. It also assumes you receive no grant or scholarship aid and pay the full list price.

A potentially more accurate but less conservative estimate of a degree cost can be made by using the school's annual $13,554 in-state net price as the basis. Applying this cost over 4 would estimate the cost of a degree at $54,216**

If you end up on the "five year plan" and need an additional year to graduate, your five year cost could be as high as $103,030 or $67,770 using an average net price.

**Based on a 4 year multiple of Average Annual Net Price for in state students receiving grant or scholarship aid reported to the U.S. Department of Education's 2014-2015 IPEDS Survey. Financial aid is only available to those who qualify. Consult this school's net price calculator for further understanding of your potential net price.

Other Costs

Estimated Cost Per Semester

Most colleges don't charge students on an annual basis but instead require payment semester by semester. If you ever need to take an additional semester of classes to complete you degree you shouldn't have to pay for a full academic year. These our estimated costs for a semester at Iowa State University.

Iowa Resident Tuition Per Semester$3,728
Iowa Resident Total Cost Per Semester$10,303
Non-Iowa Resident Tuition Per Semester$10,646
Non-Iowa Resident Total Cost Per Semester$17,221

Cost Per Credit Hour and Cost for a Class

Some schools offer the ability to take single classes by paying on a per credit hour basis. The reported price per credit hour and estimated cost for one class at Iowa State University are as follows. Per credit costs are for reference only as many schools will not allow students to pay by credit hour.

Cost per credit hour and per class at Iowa State University
Price per credit hour for Iowa residents$311
Cost for one class for Iowa residents (3 credit hours)$933
Price per credit hour for out of state residents$888
Cost for one class for out of state residents (3 credit hours)$2,664
Cost for one class for out of state residents (4 credit hours)$3,552


Student Loans and Debt

The second consideration after understanding the cost of college is determining how to finance it. Some students are fortunate enough to have some form of family financial assistance, but student loans end up financing a significant portion of higher education in the U.S. 50% of Iowa State University students receive U.S. Federal Student Loans with an average annual Federal Loan aid amount of $5,432. The reported average student debt upon graduation is $29,898.

Example Loan Payments and Costs

How much are student loan payments for Iowa State University? Obviously this varies based on a number of factors - offsetting financial aid you receive, percentage of fee you pay upfront while enrolled and the interest rate on your loans. We've modeled a sample student loan based on current Stafford loan rates to give you an approximate idea.

The following are the costs for a loan if you borrowed $54,216, 100% of the estimated average net price for a four year program and paid nothing while enrolled. The total of all payments including interest would sum $67,269.62. This could be your effective total out of pocket cost of an education at Iowa State University. Note that this calculation assumes you don't pay full list price tuition, are part of the reported 76% of students at this school who receive financial aid and you are paying an average annual net price of $13,554. If you do not financially qualify for a reduced net price, your student loan payments could be significantly higher than this example. Use our Iowa State University student loan calculator below to change loan assumptions and recalculate.

Student loans are not free money and must be repaid. You cannot dismiss student loans by via bankruptcy.

Iowa State University Student Loan Payments
Example Payments
Monthly Loan Payment$560.58
Amount Borrowed$54,216.00
Interest Rate4.5%
Term10 years
Number of Monthly Payments120
Total Interest Cost$13,053.62
Sum of All Payments over 10 years$67,269.62

Affording Student Loan Payments and Post Graduation Salary

Can I afford to attend ISU? In the end, the answer comes down a determination if you will earn enough to comfortably pay back a student loan with your post graduation salary. This is an extremely important point to consider. In order to afford student loan payments and still meet all your other costs of living, it is recommended not to borrow more than you can pay back using 10% of your monthly income earned after graduation. If you're considering attending Iowa State University, you need to carefully consider if it will be realistic to make the post graduation loan payments based on your expected salary.

Using the 10% of salary threshold, an annual income of $67,269.62 would be needed to afford a $560.58 monthly payment in the example $54,216.00 loan modeled above. You will need to determine if it is at all realistic that you will be earning this type of salary after graduation. This assumes a loan payback over 10 years. You can change the terms of this example loan using the student loan calculator below.

Estimated Future Cost and Expected Tuition Increase

What will it cost to send your child to Iowa State University in the future? In the past four years, this school's published in-state tuition and fee total rose from $6,648 to $7,456. This amounts to an average annual price increase of 2.4%. Nationally, university tuition prices are rising around 5% per year. Looking out five, ten, fifteen or eighteen years, these are CollegeCalc's estimates how much you could expect to pay for a 4 year degree assuming tuition increases at the national average rate. Estimated future prices are based on the current in-state 4 year cost of $82,424.00. Use the college savings plan calculator below to perform a more comprehensive analysis on future costs and how much you will need to save for Iowa State University.

Annual4 Year Degree
Estimated Cost in 5 years for students enrolling in 2025$28,338$113,352
Estimated Cost in 10 years for students enrolling in 2030$36,167$144,669
Estimated Cost in 15 years for students enrolling in 2035 $46,160$184,639
Estimated Cost in 18 years for students enrolling in 2038 $53,436$213,743

Tuition History

What was tuition at ISU five, ten, fifteen or twenty years ago? Hop into our time machine and take a look. Pay attention to how aggressive the school has been with price increases in the past as it provides indication as to how the school may raise tuition in the next few years. Historical tuition and fees for all available data years back to 1987 follows.

YearIn-StateOut-of-stateAnnual Increase
2012$6,408$18,280 5%
2011$6,102$17,668 -8.3%
2010$6,651$17,871 4.6%
2009$6,360$17,350 3.2%
2008$6,161$16,919 5.1%
2007$5,860$16,354 4%
2006$5,634$15,724 3.8%
2005$5,426$15,128 7.9%
2004$5,028$14,370 22.3%
2003$4,110$12,802 19.4%
2002$3,442$10,776 9.9%
2001$3,132$9,974 4.3%
2000$3,004$9,564 4.5%
1999$2,874$9,152 3.9%
1998$2,766$8,808 3.8%
1997$2,666$8,480 3.6%
1996$2,574$8,192 4.2%
1995$2,471$7,731 5.1%
1994$2,352$7,386 5.6%
1993$2,228$6,996 7.5%
1992$2,072$6,526 10.2%
1991$1,880$6,160 3%
1990$1,826$5,982 7%
1989$1,706$5,488 9.1%
1988$1,564$4,864 12.5%

Comparable Cost for Popular Majors

We've compared the out of state cost of the most popular undergraduate areas of study at Iowa State University to the national average for all other colleges offering the same major. Use this comparison to determine particular programs where this school offers value relative to other colleges.

Area of Study Graduates vs National Avg
Mechanical Engineering Bachelor's Degree 224 19% cheaper
Elementary Education and Teaching Bachelor's Degree 116 3% cheaper
Civil Engineering, General Bachelor's Degree 113 19% cheaper
Chemical Engineering Bachelor's Degree 94 25% cheaper
Family and Community Services Bachelor's Degree 94 15% costlier
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies Bachelor's Degree 93 14% cheaper
Construction Engineering Bachelor's Degree 85 10% cheaper
Farm/Farm and Ranch Management Bachelor's Degree 80 24% cheaper
Electrical and Electronics Engineering Bachelor's Degree 76 18% cheaper
Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering Bachelor's Degree 74 24% cheaper
Graphic Design Bachelor's Degree 72 15% cheaper
Design and Visual Communications, General Bachelor's Degree 68 13% cheaper
Agribusiness/Agricultural Business Operations Bachelor's Degree 67 15% costlier
Architecture Bachelor's Degree 63 28% cheaper
Computer Engineering, General Bachelor's Degree 63 19% cheaper
Industrial Engineering Bachelor's Degree 61 15% cheaper
Hospitality Administration/Management, General Bachelor's Degree 56 5% cheaper
Dietetics/Dietitian Bachelor's Degree 48 5% cheaper
Horticultural Science Bachelor's Degree 40 6% cheaper
Interior Design Bachelor's Degree 38 11% cheaper
Finance, General Bachelor's Degree 38 7% cheaper
Environmental Studies Bachelor's Degree 37 30% cheaper
Management Science Bachelor's Degree 32 17% cheaper
Landscape Architecture Bachelor's Degree 32 16% cheaper
Sociology Bachelor's Degree 31 16% cheaper
Food Science Bachelor's Degree 30 12% cheaper
Early Childhood Education and Teaching Bachelor's Degree 30 1% cheaper
City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning Bachelor's Degree 30 16% cheaper
Chemistry, General Bachelor's Degree 30 17% cheaper
Materials Engineering Bachelor's Degree 27 28% cheaper
Agricultural Engineering Bachelor's Degree 25 17% cheaper
International Business/Trade/Commerce Bachelor's Degree 24 17% cheaper
Meteorology Bachelor's Degree 21 9% cheaper
Microbiology, General Bachelor's Degree 20 13% cheaper
Area Studies, Other Bachelor's Degree 20 32% cheaper
Marketing/Marketing Management, General Bachelor's Degree 19 5% cheaper
Family and Consumer Sciences/Human Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 19 9% costlier
Spanish Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 18 20% cheaper
Music Teacher Education Bachelor's Degree 18 9% cheaper
Forest Sciences and Biology Bachelor's Degree 18 19% cheaper
Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies, Other Bachelor's Degree 17 18% cheaper
Economics, General Bachelor's Degree 14 23% cheaper
Computer Software Engineering Bachelor's Degree 13 11% cheaper
Family Resource Management Studies, General Bachelor's Degree 13 5% cheaper
Psychology, General Bachelor's Degree 13 15% cheaper
Geology/Earth Science, General Bachelor's Degree 12 17% cheaper
Statistics, General Bachelor's Degree 11 23% cheaper
Nutrition Sciences Bachelor's Degree 11 23% cheaper
Accounting Bachelor's Degree 11 7% cheaper
Music, General Bachelor's Degree 10 17% cheaper
Political Science and Government, General Bachelor's Degree 10 17% cheaper
Linguistics Bachelor's Degree 10 31% cheaper
Logistics, Materials, and Supply Chain Management Bachelor's Degree 9 5% cheaper
Speech Communication and Rhetoric Bachelor's Degree 9 13% cheaper
Mathematics, General Bachelor's Degree 6 16% cheaper
German Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 6 27% cheaper
Advertising Bachelor's Degree 6 12% cheaper
History, General Bachelor's Degree 5 16% cheaper
Biology/Biological Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 5 15% cheaper
Medical Illustration/Medical Illustrator Bachelor's Degree 5 30% cheaper
English Language and Literature, General Bachelor's Degree 5 14% cheaper
French Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 5 25% cheaper
Romance Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics Bachelor's Degree 4 40% cheaper
Operations Management and Supervision Bachelor's Degree 4 5% costlier
Agronomy and Crop Science Bachelor's Degree 4 4% cheaper
Animal Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 3 6% cheaper
Philosophy Bachelor's Degree 3 24% cheaper
Management Information Systems, General Bachelor's Degree 3 6% cheaper
Ecology Bachelor's Degree 3 20% cheaper
Anthropology Bachelor's Degree 3 24% cheaper
Dairy Science Bachelor's Degree 3 7% cheaper
Religion/Religious Studies Bachelor's Degree 3 28% cheaper
Visual and Performing Arts, General Bachelor's Degree 2 15% cheaper
Women's Studies Bachelor's Degree 2 27% cheaper
Agricultural Mechanization, General Bachelor's Degree 2 5% costlier
Public Administration Bachelor's Degree 2 1% costlier
Journalism Bachelor's Degree 2 11% cheaper
Entomology Bachelor's Degree 2 24% cheaper
Bioinformatics Bachelor's Degree 2 16% cheaper
Russian Studies Bachelor's Degree 1 39% cheaper
Professional, Technical, Business, and Scientific Writing Bachelor's Degree 1 11% cheaper
Plant Protection and Integrated Pest Management Bachelor's Degree 1 13% cheaper
Physics, General Bachelor's Degree 1 22% cheaper
Agricultural Teacher Education Bachelor's Degree 1 4% costlier
Fashion/Apparel Design Bachelor's Degree 1 24% cheaper
Business/Managerial Economics Bachelor's Degree 1 14% cheaper
Environmental Science Bachelor's Degree 1 20% cheaper
Engineering/Industrial Management Bachelor's Degree 1 12% cheaper
Computer Science Bachelor's Degree 1 18% cheaper
Genetics, General Bachelor's Degree 1 20% cheaper
Kinesiology and Exercise Science Bachelor's Degree 1 11% cheaper
Biochemistry Bachelor's Degree 1 26% cheaper
International Agriculture Bachelor's Degree 1 21% cheaper


Use the calculators below to formulate a college savings plan for Iowa State University or model a student loan.

College Savings Calculator

Plan and Save for College

Discover how much will you need to start saving now to afford Iowa State University in the future.

Student Loan Calculator

Estimate Loan Payments

Modify the loan assumptions to fit your financial situation and likely tuition price. Then calculate your payoff and loan payments for a Iowa State University student loan.

Prepayment Option

About Iowa State University

Iowa State University is a four year public college located in Ames, Iowa.  Full time enrollment is 32,300 and part time is 4,050. Learn more about getting accepted at Iowa State University at CollegeSimply.

Students attending this school may pursue both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Iowa State University
3410 Beardshear Hall
Ames, Iowa

For Profit / Not For Profit Status

Iowa State University is a public not for profit institution. Public schools often represent the best value for your education dollar, especially when students qualify for in-state tuition.

Iowa State University cost and financial aid data source: U.S. Department of Education https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?id=153603 IPEDS survey data.