Posed student smiles at the camera.

NWC at a glance

Northwestern College is a Christian academic community engaging students in courageous and faithful learning and living 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 undergraduate, online and graduate programs.

Founded 1882
Denominational affiliation Reformed Church in America (RCA)
Location Orange City, Iowa
Majors 40+
Pre-professional programs 16
Career concentrations 7
Degrees awarded B.A., B.S.N., B.A.A.T., M.Ed.
Percentage of students graduating in 5 years 69%

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.

  • 600+ students placed in 89 countries through Northwestern’s Summer of Service program since its start in 1981
  • 170+ students at 14 national and international Spring Service Partnership sites every year
  • 120+ academic programs, including majors, minors, pre-professional programs, career concentrations, graduate degrees, and graduate certificates
  • 85% of students live on campus
  • 84% of graduates earn their degree in 4 years or less
  • 63 athletic conference championships (regular-season and post-season)
  • 32 semester-long study abroad and off-campus learning programs, in addition to summer study abroad courses
  • 30+ clubs and student-led organizations
  • 19 intercollegiate athletic teams
  • 17 intramural sports
  • 12 ministry and service opportunities
  • 11 music performance groups
  • 7 team NAIA national championships since 2001
  • 6 theatrical shows each year
  • 2 faculty named the Iowa Professor of the Year
  • U.S. News & World Report ranks Northwestern College 7th among 79 regional Midwestern colleges.
  • College Consensus ranks Northwestern as the 3rd best college or university in Iowa.
  • Best College Reviews rates Northwestern 5th among the Top 50 Small Colleges.
  • Northwestern College is one of only two Iowa institutions to be named Christian Colleges of Distinction and one of nine selected as Iowa Colleges of Distinction.
  • GreatValueColleges.net includes Northwestern in its list of “50 Great Affordable Colleges in the Midwest.”
  • Forbes.com includes Northwestern among the top 14% of the nation’s colleges and universities.
  • Princeton Review lists Northwestern among 156 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 9th consecutive year NWC has received the award.
  • Rugg’s Recommendations on the Colleges touts 24 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 4 colleges nationwide to receive the designation.

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 148
    Full time 82
    Part time 66
Percent of full-time faculty with doctorate or terminal degree 89%
Student-faculty ratio 13:1
Classes with fewer than 20 students 74%
Teaching assistants 0


Total staff 184
    Full time 117
    Part time 67
Total students enrolled 1,250
Full-time students 1,003
Part-time students 247
Total men 479
Total women 771
Ethnic minority citizens 96
International students 34
Represented states 33
Top 7 states  
    Iowa 566
    South Dakota 103
    Minnesota 81
    Nebraska 78
    California 42
    Colorado 17
    Illinois 17
Represented countries 19
Top 8 countries  
    United Kingdom 5
    Nigeria 4
    Brazil 3
    Nepal 3
    Chile 2
    Spain 2
    Taiwan 2
    Vietnam 2
Top 7 denominations  
    Reformed (RCA) 243
    Lutheran 107
    Christian Reformed 88
    Evangelical Free 81
    Baptist 76
    Methodist 61
    Roman Catholic 60

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

  • Oman Semester
  • Romania Semester

Students also have their choice of 23 semester-long programs offered through the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities and cooperative arrangements with other colleges, as well as annual summer study abroad courses offered by NWC.

  • 51% of Northwestern students participate in 19 intercollegiate sports:
    Men: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, track & field, wrestling
    Women: basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, volleyball
  • An intramural program for all students offers a choice of 17 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.
Percentage of students receiving financial aid 100%
Average award* $27,930
FAFSA code 001883

*Individual financial aid packages, which include $5,500 in federal loans, depend on a family's FAFSA results and resources. The average financial aid award is based on an average NWC student—one with a 24.3 ACT, 3.61 GPA and expected family contribution of $14,100.

Budget (2017-18) $27 million
Endowment (as of 6/30/17) $49.2 million
Tuition (2018-19) $30,900
2017-18 Northwestern Fund goal $1.2 million
2016-17 Northwestern Fund contributions $1,070,030
2015-16 Northwestern Fund contributions $1,187,794
2016-17 Total donations $9.1 million
2016-17 Percentage of alumni giving to NWC 20%
2016-17 Number of new student scholarships established 25
  • Join the Northwestern Network and support NWC in the ways that best fit you and your love for Raider Nation.
  • Northwestern’s alumni magazine, the Classic, is available online at  classic.nwciowa.edu.
  • Follow the Raiders by listening to live audio or video webcasts of select Northwestern football, volleyball, soccer and basketball games.
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  • We share snapshots of life at Northwestern on Instagram.
  • Connect and network with fellow Red Raider alums by following Northwestern on LinkedIn.