Central College

2014 Quick Stats
812 University Street

Pella, IA 50219

Phone: (877) 462-3687
2013-2014 Tuition
tuition and fees
male /
Aug. 15
application deadline

More Information


U.S. News Rankings

Ranking score and category
U.S. News rank Category Name
#134 Overall Score: 47 out of 100. National Liberal Arts Colleges

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Central College is a private institution that was founded in 1853. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,486, its setting is rural, and the campus size is 169 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Central College's ranking in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges is National Liberal Arts Colleges, 134. Its tuition and fees are $30,700 (2013-14).

School mission and unique qualities (as provided by the school):

Located in Pella, a picturesque Iowa town of Dutch heritage and architecture, Central's liberal arts program is characterized by its commitment to rigorous academic achievement, civic engagement, cultural enrichment, environmental stewardship and global perspectives.

Central's core curriculum builds on the development of communication skills and first-year experience by striving to make students active learners and bridge builders. The new core curriculum includes 1) an interdisciplinary liberal arts capstone seminar; 2) a disciplinary studies sequence to provide breadth; 3) a global perspective experience; 4) a global sustainability component; and 5) writing intensive courses spread across four years.

Committed to international education, Central is a nationally recognized leader in study abroad, and about half of Central's students study abroad at one of eight international sites in Austria, England, France, Ghana, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain and Wales.

Central is dedicated to service and community-based learning. More than 40 campus-based courses have service-learning components, and more than 300 students each semester engage in course-based service-learning with up to 97 community partners. All of Central's study-abroad programs have service-learning options for students. In 2012 Central was recognized as a finalist for the Presidential Award by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). Central was one of only 14 schools in the nation awarded the distinction.

From renovations to new construction to recycling, Central is committed to advancing a holistic and integrated worldview of sustainability by developing a greener campus. The Roe Center housing education, psychology, communications, community-based learning and the Center for Global Sustainability Education opened in August 2009 and received the state's first platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. In 2003, the Vermeer Science Center was recognized as the first building in Iowa to achieve a silver LEED rating, and Howard McKee Hall was the first residential building in the state to receive a gold LEED rating. Sustainability efforts extend across campus from dining services (organic foods) to student-led recycling efforts. The Center for Global Sustainability Education serves as a resource center and community sustainability partner that works in conjunction with the community-based learning program.

Approximately 30 percent of the campus population is involved in the fine arts. Students can sing or play in one of more than 18 ensembles ranging from classical to jazz to pop. Music ensembles have toured Brazil, Italy, Paris, British Columbia, Mexico, London and New York; Central features one of only two undergraduate glassblowing studios in the state of Iowa; the Mills Gallery showcases art exhibitions throughout the year. Theatre programs involve students in every facet of stage production with an intense schedule of three or four major productions annually. The Geisler Library Writers Reading Series includes visits from nationally known authors reading from their fiction and non-fiction works. Supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Humanities Iowa, recent guests have included Marilynn Robinson, Ted Kooser, Carol Bly, Jane Hirshfield, Richard Powers and Patricia Hampl.

Approximately 40 percent of all undergraduates participate in Central's NCAA Division III program. Athletics are integral to the college's overall mission in which development of the whole person is essential. Central student-athletes have received Capital One Academic All-American distinction 49 times and won NCAA Postgraduate scholarships 20 times. Central's A.N. Kuyper Athletics Complex is one of the top collegiate facilities in the region, having been chosen to host more NCAA championship events in more sports than any other Iowa college.

General Information

School type private, coed college
Year founded 1853
Religious affiliation Reformed Church in America
Academic calendar semester
Setting rural
2012 Endowment $68,072,250


When applying to Central College, it's important to note the application deadline is August 15. Scores for either the ACT or SAT test are due July 1. The application fee at Central College is $25. It is selective, with an acceptance rate of 65.4 percent.

For more information about the tests, essays, interviews, and admissions process, visit the Applying to College knowledge center.

Selectivity selective
Fall 2012 acceptance rate 65.4%
Application deadline August 15
SAT/ACT scores must be received by July 1

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Academic Life

The student-faculty ratio at Central College is 13:1, and the school has 66.8 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at Central College include: Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies; Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics; Social Sciences; and Biological and Biomedical Sciences. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 80.3 percent.

Class sizes
Class sizes
Student-faculty ratio 13:1
4-year graduation rate 62%
Five most popular majors for 2012 graduates
Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services 13%
Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies 13%
Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics 11%
Social Sciences 11%
Biological and Biomedical Sciences 10%

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Student Life

Central College has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,486, with a gender distribution of 46.1 percent male students and 53.9 percent female students. At this school, 94 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 6 percent of students live off campus. Central College is part of the NCAA III athletic conference.

Total enrollment 1,486
Student gender distribution
Student gender distribution
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Collegiate athletic association NCAA III

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Campus Info & Services

Central College offers a number of student services including nonremedial tutoring, placement service, health service, and health insurance. Central College also offers campus safety and security services like 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, late night transport/escort service, 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted pathways/sidewalks, and controlled dormitory access (key, security card, etc). Of the students at Central College, 65 percent have cars on campus. Alcohol is not permitted for students of legal age at Central College.

Students who have cars on campus 65%
Health insurance offered Yes

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Paying for School

At Central College, 84.4 percent of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $18,374.

Paying for college doesn't have to be difficult or devastating. Go to the Paying for College knowledge center to get advice on raising cash and reducing costs.

Tuition and fees $30,700 (2013-14)
Room and board $9,980 (2013-14)
Financial aid statistics
Financial aid statistics

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* Overview details based on 2012 data

College Rankings

Best Liberal Arts Colleges - Narrow your search with the U.S. News rankings of Liberal Arts Colleges, schools that emphasize undergrad liberal arts education.

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