Cost of Living

Whether you are on a teaching or research assistantship, your salary at Iowa State will cover all of your expenses and your cost of living overall is less than other university towns.  When you factor in the low cost of living to the excellent education outcomes, you will quickly see that a graduate degree from Iowa State University’s College of Engineering degree is cost effective!

Use any cost of living website and expenses calculators you want but you will notice that Ames, Iowa generally comes in about 10% less expensive to surrounding state’s university cities and 50% or more compared to U.S. cities on the east or west coast.  As an example, the cost of living comparison calculator on will show you that a $30,000 engineering assistantship salary would cost you more in the following university cities.


$30, 000 in Ames, IA is comparable to
$35,171 in Madison, WI
$37,388 in Minneapolis, MN
$41,756 in Austin, TX
$43,298 in Evanston, IL
$60,032 in Boulder, CO
$65,107 in Cambridge, MA
$65,525 in Seattle, WA
$69,668 in Pasadena, CA