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Clarke University

Clarke University’s progressive present comes from a storied past. 

With a belief in changing hearts and minds, Clarke University was born.


Clarke University, a member school of Private College 529 Plan


In 1843, Irish woman Mary Frances Clarke journeyed into pioneer territory and formed a congregation of religious women, the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM).

Clarke University is located in Dubuque, Iowa, a city of 60,000 people situated on the Mississippi River, just three hours from Chicago, five hours from Minneapolis and six hours from St. Louis.


Clarke is committed to affordable education.

Clarke University, the Atrium on the beautiful campus located in Dubuque, Iowa


With approximately 1,000 undergraduate students, the financial aid staff is able to work with each student individually to help them locate all sources for aid. Last year, approximately 99 percent of Clarke full-time, day-time students received financial aid to the tune of more than $11 million.

Clarke is a liberal arts and sciences university focused on progressing with the times. Humble beginnings have developed into over 40 undergraduate and 7 graduate programs, including a best-in-class adult education program. Clarke also has more than 25 student organizations and 16 athletic teams.


Clarke is consistently recognized for excellence in education.


  • In 2013, Forbes, in conjunction with the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, named Clarke to its list of America’s Best Colleges.

  • In the most recent U.S. News list of Best Regional Colleges, Clarke moved up to 17th in the Midwest. In the same ranking, Clarke was one of the Midwest's top 10 "Best Value Schools," a listing described as, "Great Schools, Great Prices."

  • The Princeton Review also recognized Clarke in its "Best Midwestern Colleges.”

  • The Washington Monthly, which measures an institution's "contribution to the public good", ranked Clarke as one of the Best Baccalaureate Colleges.

Clarke is an institution guided by steadfast principles.


It is the only BVM university in the country and adheres to the BVM core values of Freedom, Education, Charity and Justice. Clarke believes one-on-one learning is the ratio for future scholars and laureates. Clarke understands that without proper connections, a quality education is moot. Clarke recognizes that easy access to educators is what sets it apart.

It is more than a pledge. It is a progressive framework that has guided Clarke for more than one-and-a-half centuries.

Quick Facts about Clarke University

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