NWC at a glance


Northwestern College is a Christian academic community engaging students in courageous and faithful learning that empowers them to follow Christ and pursue God’s redeeming work in the world.


Northwestern College had its start in 1882 when residents of northwest Iowa founded Northwestern Classical Academy to prepare students for college and ultimately the ministry. In 1928 a junior college was established, and in 1960 Northwestern became a four-year college. A year later, the academy closed.

Today Northwestern offers a Christian liberal arts education in the Reformed tradition to more than 1,200 students through an undergraduate, intercultural and residential learning community.

General Information

Founded 1882
Denominational affiliation Reformed Church in America (RCA)
Location Orange City, Iowa

Degrees and Programs

Majors 40+
Pre-professional programs 16
Career concentrations 7
Degrees awarded B.A., B.S.N., B.A.A.T.
Percentage of students graduating in 5 years 65%


Northwestern is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. NWC also holds accreditations for these program areas: athletic training, business, education, nursing and social work.

Quick Facts

  • 600+ students placed in 89 countries through Northwestern’s Summer of Service program since its start in 1981
  • 170+ students at 13 national and international Spring Service Project sites every year
  • 89% of students live on campus
  • 80+ academic programs, including majors, minors, pre-professional programs and career concentrations
  • 63 athletic conference championships (regular-season and post-season)
  • 37 semester-long study abroad and off-campus learning programs, in addition to summer study abroad courses
  • 22 clubs and student-led organizations
  • 16 intercollegiate athletic teams
  • 13 ministry and service opportunities
  • 11 intramural sports
  • 10 music performance groups
  • 7 NAIA national championships since 2001
  • 6 theatrical shows each year
  • 4 weekly chapel options
  • 2 faculty named an Iowa Professor of the Year

Nationally Recognized

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks Northwestern College as a top-10 Midwestern college.
  • Washington Monthly places Northwestern 8th in the nation in its listing of the country’s top baccalaureate colleges.
  • GreatValueColleges.net includes Northwestern in its list of “50 Great Affordable Colleges in the Midwest.”
  • Forbes.com includes Northwestern among the top 10% of the nation’s colleges and universities.
  • Princeton Review lists Northwestern among 153 institutions selected for its “Best in the Midwest” designation.
  • The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll cites Northwestern for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. This is the 8th consecutive year NWC has received the award.
  • Rugg’s Recommendations on the Colleges touts 22 Northwestern academic programs as “quality departments at a quality college.”
  • The Groundwater Foundation named Northwestern a Groundwater Guardian Green Site in recognition of the college’s care for the environment. NWC is one of only 8 colleges nationwide to receive the designation.

Library Resources

Northwestern’s DeWitt Library is part of the DeWitt Learning Commons and houses more than 100,000 print and media resources, provides access to more than 70 online databases, and offers a place where students can study, collaborate, conduct research, receive assistance from librarians, or socialize with other members of Northwestern's learning community.


Northwestern professors are committed Christians devoted to high-quality teaching, scholarship, mentoring and service.

Total faculty 145
    Full time 82
    Part time 63
Percent of full-time faculty with doctorate or terminal degree 86%
Student-faculty ratio 13:1
Classes with fewer than 20 students 70%
Teaching assistants 0


Total staff 178
    Full time 113
    Part time 65

Student Body Profile (2015-16)

Total students enrolled 1,210
Full-time students 1,063
Part-time students 147
Total men 480
Total women 730
Ethnic minority citizens 112
International students 38
Represented states 31
Top 6 states  
    Iowa 685
    South Dakota 98
    Minnesota 86
    Nebraska 80
    California 72
Represented countries 24
Top 5 countries  
    United Kingdom 5
    Japan 3
    Nigeria 3
Top 6 denominations  
    Reformed (RCA) 260
    Lutheran 113
    Evangelical Free 96
    Baptist 85
    Roman Catholic
    Christian Reformed62

Study Abroad/Off-Campus Studies

Northwestern has established its own study abroad programs in two countries:

  • Oman Semester
  • Romania Semester

Students also have their choice of 12 semester-long programs offered through the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, annual summer study abroad courses offered by NWC, and numerous other options thanks to cooperative arrangements with other colleges.


  • 43% of Northwestern students participate in 16 intercollegiate sports:
    Men: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, track & field, wrestling
    Women: basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, volleyball
  • An intramural program for all students offers a choice of 11 sports.
  • Northwestern holds 9 national NAIA team titles—7 since 2001.
  • 345 Northwestern athletes have been named All-Americans.
  • 471 Northwestern students have been named NAIA Scholar-Athletes.
  • 35 Raider teams have been named NAIA Scholar Teams.

Financial Aid (for full-time students)

Percentage of students receiving financial aid 99%
Average award $27,000
FAFSA code 001883


Budget (2015-16) $28.9 million
Endowment (as of 6/30/15) $46.7 million
Tuition (2015-16) $28,750


2014-15 Northwestern Fund goal $1.2 million
2014-15 Northwestern Fund contributions $1,180,913
2013-14 Northwestern Fund contributions$1,166,330
2014-15 Total donations $5.82 million
2014-15 Percentage of alumni giving to NWC 22%

Connect with NWC

  • Northwestern’s alumni magazine, the Classic, is available online at classic.nwciowa.edu.
  • Follow the Raiders by listing to live audio or video webcasts of select Northwestern football, volleyball, soccer and basketball games.
  • Become a fan of Northwestern College on Facebook and connect with former classmates while getting the latest scoop on your alma mater.
  • Want to know—now—what’s happening at Northwestern? Subscribe to nwciowa on Twitter to receive the latest news and events. To sign up, visit twitter.com/nwciowa.