Cornell College


An affiliate of the United Methodist Church, Cornell College is a private, liberal arts school first founded in 1853. It bears no real relation to the much larger and better known Cornell University, although the founders of each school were distantly related. The college is located in the pretty and pastoral town of Mount Vernon, Iowa.

Information Summary

Ranks 6th in Iowa and 299th overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 90.4
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $58,381
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 30 / 1320
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 13 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 82% / N/A
Enrollment Total (all students) 1,028


Cornell is known for it’s one-course-at-a-time block plan. Students study one subject intensively for 3 1/2 weeks, take a four-day break, then switch to another subject. Most blocks include about 30 hours of lectures. There are 8 blocks in a school year. The block programs allows students to construct sequential learning opportunities that build upon each other in a unique way, as well as allow students to take advantage of extended field trips or travel abroad outside of the semester system.

In addition to a wide range of majors and minors in such standard subjects such as anthropology, art history, philosophy, psychology, and women’s studies, the college offers focused pre-professional programs in medicine, theology, veterinary medicine, forestry and environmental management, law, and several other topic areas.

Most classes have less than 20 students in them and some are much smaller, particularly the more advanced classes.The most popular majors are psychology, economics, and history.

Most Popular Fields of Study


Bowman-Carter Hall :: Cornell College Library :: Cornell College Law Hall Technology Center :: Cornell College
West Science Center :: Cornell College McWethy Hall :: Cornell College

Unique Programs

The Centers for Extraordinary Opportunities help to transition students from the undergraduate world to a career or graduate school entry. Each center supports internships, lecture series, student participation in conferences, and other opportunities that build a student’s resume and academic record. The Centers include:

  • Berry Center for Economics, Business, and Public Policy
  • Dimensions: The Center for the Science and Culture of Healthcare
  • Center for Law and Society (formerly Pre-Law Program)
  • Center for the Literary Arts


Admissions are competitive. Less than half of applicants are admitted.

Financial Aid

A wide variety of financial assistance is available. New students should submit their FAFSA by March 1. Forms of aid include grants, loans, and need- and merit-based scholarships.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 1678th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Iowa.


Nearly all students live on campus in the residence halls. First year students live on floors with themes to unite them. Older students have the option to live in a single, suite, or apartment.

Most social events center around the Thomas Commons, home to the dining hall, student services office, concerts, and a wide variety of other events.

The 157 acre campus is attractive and pastoral, with hills, trees, and ponds.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


The athletics department fields 19 intercollegiate teams, known as the Rams. The Rams compete in NCAA Division III and are members of the Midwest Conference. The wrestling team has a particularly strong reputation. The football team has a historic rivalry with nearby Coe College that both dates back to 1891 and continues today.

School colors are purple and white.


Notable alumni include:

  • Don Fehrenbacher, Pulitzer Prize winner for history
  • David Hilmers, astronaut
  • Rob Ash, football coach at Montana State University
  • Chris Carney, Pennsylvania Congressman
  • Deb Mell, member of Illinois House of Representatives *Michael Graham, President of Xavier University

This website and its associated pages are not affiliated with, endorsed by, or sponsored by this school. has no official or unofficial affiliation with Cornell College.