Forbes: University of Northern Iowa among top 10 for online bachelor’s degrees in teaching

Forbes: University of Northern Iowa among top 10 for online bachelor’s degrees in teaching

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - Forbes has detailed its Best Online Teaching Degrees of 2023, selecting the University of Northern Iowa among its 10 best schools in the United States offering online bachelor’s degrees in education.

The Forbes Advisor Education team scored 96 accredited, nonprofit colleges offering online teaching degree programs in the U.S. using 16 data points in the categories of credibility, affordability, student outcomes, student experience and application process. The highest-ranking schools are fully accredited, nonprofit institutions with relatively high graduation rates. Schools that rank well have higher student retention rates and lower average annual net prices.

Specifically, Forbes spotlighted Northern Iowa’s accelerated Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education pathways, which includes UNI’s 2+2 Elementary Education BA and the Purple Pathway for Paraeducators programs. Both programs feature the high-quality education that students expect from the University of Northern Iowa’s College of Education

“Selections like these reflect the quality of what we have to offer aspiring educators. We’re seeing what a difference having these flexible online alternatives can make in helping students achieve their educational goals,” said Colleen Mulholland, EdD, dean of the College of Education. “Our success lies in the student-first focus shared by all – the college, Online & Distance Education and our dynamic faculty leading these courses.” 

UNI’s 2+2 degree allows students with an associate degree to transfer to UNI’s elementary education program and complete a bachelor’s degree entirely online, with the exception of in-school field experiences and student teaching. The Purple Pathway for Paraeducators allows practicing Iowa paraeducators to earn an elementary education degree through this accelerated, online, practice-based program without leaving their jobs.

Additionally, students in both programs receive individualized assistance from program advisors and enrollment staff, ensuring students are on track to graduate in a timely manner. The cohort model of both programs allows students to study with the same group for the duration of the program, bringing continuity and networking opportunities throughout their education and ultimately leading to their success. 

The Forbes team also noted UNI’s relatively low percentage of students in federal student loan deferment, a relatively high graduation rate and relatively high student retention rate.

Elementary education is the top major at UNI, with one in 10 students choosing this pathway to take the next step in their careers. With a 98% placement rate for recent graduates, students are poised for success. Throughout the state of Iowa, more than 10,000 alumni educators and school administrators are employed across all 99 counties and in 99% of the state’s school districts. 

For more information about these programs, visit or Applications are currently being accepted for the 2+2 program with the next cohort starting May 2024 and priority being given to qualified students who apply before March 1. UNI is currently collecting interest for anyone interested in the paraeducator program through the interest form on the program webpage.