Northwestern football players watch from the sidelines.

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 1,300 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 15
Career concentrations 6
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
  • 87% of graduates earn their degree in 4 years or less
  • 85% of students live on campus
  • 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.
  • includes Northwestern in its list of “50 Great Affordable Colleges in the Midwest.”
  • 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 83
    Part time 66
Percent of full-time faculty with doctorate or terminal degree 85%
Student-faculty ratio 12:1
Classes with fewer than 20 students 74%
Teaching assistants 0


Total staff 194
    Full time 122
    Part time 72
Total students enrolled 1,307
Undergraduate students 1,015
Graduate students 292
Total men 495
Total women 812
Ethnic minority citizens 137
International students 35
Represented states 32
Top 7 states  
    Iowa 497
    South Dakota 121
    Nebraska 75
    Minnesota 71
    California 43
    Colorado 19
    Michigan 16
Represented countries 18
Top 7 countries  
    United Kingdom 5
    Brazil 5
    Chile 2
    Ethiopia 2
    Nigeria 2
    Spain 2
    Vietnam 2
Top denominations  
    Reformed (RCA) 224
    Other Reformed (Christian Reformed, etc.) 113
    Non-denominational 82
    Lutheran 80
    Evangelical Free 72
    Baptist 65
    Methodist/Wesleyan 47
    Roman Catholic 42

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 $13,414.

Budget (2018-19) $27.8 million
Endowment (as of 6/30/18) $53.7 million
Tuition (2018-19) $30,900
2018-19 Northwestern Fund goal $1,230,000
2017-18 Northwestern Fund contributions $1,201,961
2016-17 Northwestern Fund contributions $1,070,030
2017-18 Total donations $9,284,134
2017-18 Percentage of alumni giving to NWC 20%
2017-18 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
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