The University of Northern Iowa is known for its teacher program, but it offers more than 90 majors to its approximately 8,000undergrads, with popular degrees ranging from business administration to social work. Consistently ranked among the country's "best buys" in higher education, UNI’s tuition and fees range from less than $8,000 to $9,500 for in-state students, depending on major.

The arts are also a major focus at this state school. Its Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center regularly attracts big-name performers, and the Strayer-Wood Theatre typically puts on four to six mainstage productions a year in addition to the Iowa Thespian Festival (free to students!). The School of Music holds more than 200 concerts every academic year. Visual arts lovers, meanwhile, can get their fix at the college's Gallery of Art, which oversees the UNI Permanent Art Collection that includes pieces by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Andy Warhol.

Students who like to explore the outdoors in their free time will find more than 100 miles of hiking and biking trails near campus, many of which are open to skiers and snowshoers during the winter months. Basketball games and tailgating are popular entertainment, too, with the Division I Panthers having made eight appearances in the NCAA March Madness tournament.