The Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA) is a consortium of universities nationwide which offer online, flexible, affordable programs for a virtual community of individuals from diverse backgrounds. Each university brings a unique strength in faculty and curriculum, and Great Plains IDEA online courses are taught by the best faculty in each discipline from several universities. Iowa State University offers the following programs in the Great Plains IDEA:

  • Dietetics
  • Early childhood education and programming
  • Family financial planning
  • Gerontology
  • Youth development

Students choose a home university where they apply, are admitted, register for courses, pay tuition, and ultimately receive their degree. Iowa State students will be guided through the program by their Iowa State major professor (or academic adviser) and campus coordinator (student services specialist) who work together to provide a rich academic and professional experience and overall assistance from start to finish. Students pay one common price per credit hour regardless of which university will grant their degree.

Iowa State was one of the first universities to join Great Plains IDEA and has experienced a strong history of leadership within the alliance since its founding in 1994.


Why a GP IDEA program?

  • Achieve your personal and professional goals through convenient, flexible, high-quality coursework you can complete anytime, anywhere. Programs are designed for working professionals with most students taking 1-2 courses at a time.
  • Affordable, common tuition allows you to invest in your future and access multiple, reputable universities which collaborate to create opportunities beyond what one university can provide.
  • You will learn from expert faculty who bring real-life experience to the coursework and are committed to helping you transition your learning beyond the online classroom into your career.
  • Expand your network by interacting with fellow learners from across the country who bring diverse perspectives and experiences to the coursework.
  • Choosing a Great Plains IDEA program at Iowa State University for your academic journey means partnering with faculty and staff from multiple universities who provide a student-centered, collaborative, educational experience. Iowa State faculty and staff are dedicated to your success and available to assist you through the program.


Costs of GP IDEA programs

Students who enroll in a Great Plains IDEA program pay one common tuition rate regardless of what university is teaching the course(s) they are taking. Great Plains IDEA tuition is all-inclusive with no additional fees. More information on the GP IDEA website.

GP IDEA Contacts

Sarah Francis

Raquel Zuniga
Early childhood education and programming

Jonathan Fox
Family financial planning

Jennifer Margrett

Meghan Gillette
Youth development