A Guide Online Colleges in Minnesota

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L’Etoile du Nord or “The Star of the North” is the state motto for Minnesota. And it’s no small wonder as this beautiful state really shines when it comes to natural beauty, it’s people, and its internationally recognized art culture. Whether you’re canoeing through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, dining on local fare and brews with friends or strolling through the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnesota is a fantastic state to call home. With some of the best schools in the nation collectively, one of the nation’s strongest GDP’s and public school options there are a number of reasons why students prefer (and rightfully so) to obtain online degrees from colleges in this state.

In-state tuition is often applied to public schools offering online programs. Many online programs require some face-to-face time, or more numerous support services at their brick and mortar locations. Intensive study experiences — often on the weekends or in several week long bouts — enable many online students to accelerate their time until graduation. And students looking at online education can drastically expand their educational options if they also look to hybrid degrees (degrees where degrees can be taken partially, or mostly online). Finally, one of the most common stipulations in scholarships is that students be from a certain state or region, often more funds are available to students seeking degrees in-state.

Top Public Offerings

Many of the top public schools in Minnesota offer online programs of study at the associates through doctoral level. The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities offers 35 programs completely online including an impressive 14 doctoral degrees; not to mention it is in the top 100 schools in the nation. The Crookston campus, a top 40 regional ranked college according to US News, offers 13 online bachelor’s degree programs. And for those looking to save money or transfer into a state university, there are a number of online community colleges that offer associate’s degrees at an affordable price including Northwest Technical College, Minnesota State College — Southeast Technical offering a unique instrument repair program and Minnesota West Community and Technical College offering 9 online associate degree programs .

Top Private Offerings

There are also a number of private schools offering degrees online. Some of the private degree programs with the largest selection include schools like Concordia University which offers 37 degrees online; everything from associate’s to doctoral degrees. Crown College offers 15 degrees online in areas like business administration, or non-profit management — there are also programs that range from an associate’s degree to a master’s degree. Augsburg College, one of the top value schools on our list, offers a bachelor’s degree as well as 4 fully online master’s degrees. Other private schools with online offerings include Martin Luther College, Luther Seminary and Alder Graduate School.

In 2015-16 the average published tuition price for state four-year universities was $7,998 ; that’s $1,400 below the national average for public schools. The University of Minnesota schools average $12,743 per year just $3,400 above the national average. Though higher, the quality of education and standard of living for its residents is higher particularly in Twin Cities where the average salary is over $60,000 per year. An out-of-state resident would pay $23,806 nearly twice as much as those who are studying in-state. In addition, The University of Minnesota offers 35 degrees fully online. Concordia University, our top pick private university, costs $28,700 per year compared to $32,405 that is for average private institution’s tuitions and fees. Concordia also offers 37 fully online programs that range from an associate’s to a doctoral degree. Not to mention,saving on room and board means adding another $40,000 to your pocket. There’s something to be said of staying in-state.

Minneapolis and St. Paul share not only their borders but also political, educational and cultural institutions. Together, these twins make up one out of the three cultural capitals of the North Coast region. Minneapolis located at the Falls of St Anthony, or tip of the Mississippi was and is in many respects still powered by the “minne” water “polis” city. The parks and recreation department has ensured that the cities impressive 22 chain of lakes provides excellent walking and biking paths. Or you can take an historic trolly ride from Lake Calhoun to Harriet. Just downstream from Minneapolis lies its twin sister, Saint Paul also the state’s official capital city. Here you can peruse the Minnesota Museum of American Art or Summit Avenue known for its historic mansions. The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities is also located in Minneapolis and is a top nationally ranked school offers 35 degrees online including a B.S. in business management, a Master of Education in Family Education and a Doctorate of Nurse Practice in several areas of concentration. Other online degree-offering institutions in the Twin Cities include Metropolitan State University, St. Paul Community and Technical College, and several others.

Rochester is home to the world-famous Mayo Clinic which employs over 35,000 of its citizens and is the largest not-for-profit medical practice in the world. In part due to the great economical impact of the Mayo Clinic U.S. News placed Rochester in the top 10 of bot the Best Places to Grow Up and Best Cities for Job-Seeking Retirees. Meaning, Rochester is home for life. There’s the budding arts and culture scene in Rochester and hockey to boot. Locals enjoy a thriving economy, great leisure options, and a strong efficient health-care system. In addition, Rochester is close to the University of Minnesota, Saint Mary’s University, and Riverland, Minnesota State College as well as several others.

Duluth is a seaport town located on the shore of Lake Superior and also has a neighboring town in Superior, Wisconsin. Together they are known as the twin ports. There are miles of trails among the rocky cliffs and endless nature to explore in and around Duluth including the vertical cliff of Palisade Head, Isle Royale National Park, and the Grand Portage National Monument among others. Duluth has a strong boating and aviation culture with flying clubs and lessons as well as multiple fishing destinations as there are over 25 rivers and streams running through Duluth. It is also home to the University of Minnesota — Duluth, the Duluth Art Institute, and the Tweed Museum of Art.

The Best Online Colleges in Minnesota

  • 1. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

    Online Programs: 35
    Type: Public
    Website

    The University of Minnesota is Minnesota’s flagship school, and was established in 1851 in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul). There are 4 additional campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester. Twin Cities has been nationally ranked 71st according to U.S. News and according to Forbes is one of the 10 best educational employers in the nation. There are nearly 50,000 students enrolled in the student body including 7,000 international students. The surrounding culture means residents enjoy one of the nation’s most internationally recognized art cultures, unique food and drink culture and a thriving economy. There are additionally 35 completely online degrees available through the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and they range from the bachelor to doctoral level.

  • 2. Concordia University-Saint Paul

    Online Programs: 37
    Type: Private
    Website

    Concordia University – Saint Paul is a private comprehensive liberal arts university that enrolls 4,380 students. There is a student-faculty ratio of 15:1 and over 80% of professors have terminal degrees. The regional ranking for Concordia University is 103 according to U.S. News The Higher Learning Commission accredits Concordia University to offer a wide variety of programs for traditional and non-traditional learners, and at the comprehensive level — you can enroll in everything from an online associate’s degree to an online Ph.D! Saint Paul is the capital of Minnesota and all of its amenities are just 10 minutes from campus. The same is true of Minneapolis. Students at Concordia enjoy all what the Twin Cities have to offer at a top-rate institution

  • 3. University of Minnesota-Crookston

    Online Programs: 13
    Type: Public
    Website

    University of Minnesota – Crookston is a public university with a student body of 1,800. Fifty percent of its student body studies online. There are thirteen bachelor degrees to choose from including a B.S. in Management, B.S. in Applied Science, a B.S. in Health Management — an industry that employees over 30% of Crookston’s population — and many others. The city is in close enough proximation to several other in and out of the state so the economic options for its inhabitants are vast. The University itself offers the same academic programs as other University of Minnesota schools with a much smaller student body. Students at this location are equipped with laptops and hands-on learning experiences to help them stay ahead of the competition. That combined with the economic opportunity means for a number of successful transitions from school into the workforce. Not only that but U.S. News ranks the University of Minnesota — Crookston as the number 40 regional school in the midwest.

  • 4. Crown College

    Online Programs: 15
    Type: Private
    Website

    Crown College is a private Christian college located in St. Bonifacius, Minnesota. It is accredited through The Higher Learning Commission to offer comprehensive education. It is ranked through MONEY Magazine as one of the “50 Colleges That Add the Most Value” and is consistently ranked among the “Best Midwest Regional Colleges” according to U.S. News. Though a private Christian institution, tuition is lower than colleges of a similar ranking at $24,500 which is nearly $10,000 below the national level. In addition to its high rankings and relatively good value, Crown College actually offers online degrees at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s levels. Some examples of their programming include an associate degree in business, B.S. in disaster and emergency management, and an M.A. in Business Administration.

  • 5. South Central College

    Online Programs: 16
    Type: Public
    Website

    South Central College is a public community college located in North Mankato, Minnesota. There are 3,410 student enrolled, student-to-faculty ratio is 19:1, and tuition is $5,370 per year. Students enjoy smaller class sizes and increased individualized attention. There are a number of associate’s as well as certificates available. Some of the more popular programs are in health, liberal arts, business and others. Additionally, there are 16 degree programs available online including an Associate of Science in Agricultural Education Technology, or a Medical Laboratory Technician for example.

  • 6. Minnesota State University-Mankato

    Online Programs: 12
    Type: Public
    Website

    Minnesota State University is a public university that enrolls over 15,000 students and is regionally ranked 103rd according to U.S. News. The campus overlooks the Minnesota River Valley — a scenic tributary of the Mississippi River. The Higher Learning Commission accredits over 130 undergraduate and 75 graduate programs. There are more than 300 student groups, sports and leadership organizations including fraternities and sororities including a women’s center and an LGBTQ center which earned Manakota’s status as one of the best campuses for LGBTQ students according to The Advocate College Guide There are nearly 40 online or hybrid programs available in fields like nursing, urban planning, and education. Annual in-state tuition rates and fees are just $7,836 a year.

  • 7. Metropolitan State University

    Online Programs: 13
    Type: Public
    Website

    Metropolitan State University (Metro State) is a comprehensive public university located in the Twin Cities. The university provides over 60 undergraduate, 12 masters and 2 doctoral programs to 11,500 students coming from diverse backgrounds. The original mission of the school was to aid in educating non-traditional students. Some of the degrees granted are in nonprofit administration, dental therapy, and social work. There are 9 bachelor’s degrees and 4 master’s degrees available online in areas like business administration, marketing, and information systems. Education is affordable costing less than $8,000 per academic year. All programming is accredited through The Higher Learning Commission.

  • 8. Saint Cloud State University

    Online Programs: 12
    Type: Public
    Website

    Saint Cloud State is a public university located in St. Cloud just south of the downtown area and north of the Beaver Islands — formed by the Mississippi River. It enrolls over 13,000 students and provides in-state tuition for less than $8,000 per year. According to the U.S. News St. Cloud State is ranked 115th for “Best Colleges in Regional Universities Midwest” and 35th for “Top Public Schools.” The Higher Learning Commission accredits St. Cloud State and offers over 200 undergraduate and 60 graduate degree programs through their college of science and engineering, college of liberal arts and others. Their education college is accredited separately through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. There are a number of online degrees available at both the master’s and the bachelor’s levels in fields like public safety and executive leadership, criminal justice, and community psychology.

  • 9. Hamline University

    Online Programs: 6
    Type: Private
    Website

    Hamline University is a private institution founded in 1854 located between Minneapolis and Saint Paul and is the first university in Minnesota. The student body is comprised of over 2,000 undergraduates and nearly 3,000 graduates. According to U.S. News Hamline University is ranked 20th in the “Best Colleges Regional Universities Midwest” category and 6th as a “Best Value School.” The campus itself has also won awards for its beauty and environmentally-friendly features such as its rain gardens, and energy-efficiency. The student-to-faculty ratio is 13:1 where 91% of the full-time undergraduate faculty hold either a PhD or the highest degree possible for their field. The Mitchell Hamline School of Law is know for its top ranked program in Health Law. There are more than 50 areas of study that are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission including 6 online master’s degrees including a master of arts in education.

  • 10. Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Online Programs: 9
    Type: Private
    Website

    Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, located in Winona, is a private comprehensive university founded in 1912. There are a total of 5,900 students enrolled to participate in over 120 programs where the student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1. Saint Mary’s University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. U.S. News ranks St. Mary’s University 49th in “Regional Universities Midwest” and a “Best Value” school as well. Winona ranked #1 among the “30 Safest College Towns in America” according to SafeWise and Money Magazine includes Saint Mary’s in their “Best Colleges” nationwide for their educational quality, affordability, and alumni success. Of the 120 programs, 9 of them are online master’s degree programs in the following areas of study: educational leadership, human resource management, learning design & technology among others. Saint Mary’s University is a Lasallian and Catholic University that aims to provide educational services to underserved Catholic populations around the world including Jamaica and Kenya.

  • 11. Augsburg College

    Online Programs: 5
    Type: Private
    Website

    Augsburg College is a private liberal arts college located in Minneapolis. It was originally a Norwegian-American seminary in 1869. Currently the college enrolls over 3,500 students. There are 60 degrees both undergraduate and graduate that are accredited through The Higher Learning Commission. The student-to-faculty ration is just 12:1 with an average class size of 16. Augsburg College is ranked 30th regionally according to U.S. News, is a Military Friendly school according to Military Friendly, and a “Best Value College or University” according to Best Value Schools. There is a satellite campus located in Rochester known for its innovative medical and technological centre. There are 5 fully online programs available: 1 bachelor’s degree and 4 master’s degrees.

  • 12. Northwest Technical College

    Online Programs: 10
    Type: Public
    Website

    Northwest Technical College is a located in Bemidji, Minnesota. Bemidji is a lake town that offers many amenities for Native Americans. The technical school provides associate’s degrees and enrolls just over 1200 students. The student-to-facutly ratio is 17:1. Tuition is low, at just $5,482 per academic year. Northwest Technical College has a partnership for Bemidji State University that offers Tech students housing and meal plans on-campus. The education services at Northwest Technical College are streamlined so that most student earn a certificate after the first semester of completion and are able to begin working in their field of interest immediately. Most programs are transferable to 4-year state universities in Minnesota with an emphasis on the A.S. in Nursing, Health Sciences, Business, and Young Child Education. There are 10 fully online associate’s degrees offered in fields like medicine and nursing.

  • 13. Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical

    Online Programs: 10
    Type: Public
    Website

    Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical is located in Winona, Minnesota. Winona is ranked one of the 30 safest college towns in the United States. There are over 2,207 students enrolled in 14 different fields. The most popular fields of study are health, mechanics and repair technologies, business, marketing and management, and its string instrument and brass instrument repair programs — one of only a few in the nation. The Marine Corp and U.S. Navy send their band instruments for repairs to this tech school. Southeast Technical is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system for ease of transfer into their four-year system.

  • 14. Minnesota West Community and Technical College

    Online Programs: 9
    Type: Public
    Website

    Minnesota West Community and Technical College is a public school located in Granite Falls, Minnesota. The school enrolls 3,231 students and offers diplomas, certificates, and associate’s degrees in programs like food science, pharmacy, office management, web development, child development, the humanities, and others. The Higher Learning Commission accredits its programs.The student-to-faculty ratio is 19:1 and students are offered credit for life experiences. In-state tuition is $5,660 per year and out-of-state tuition is $10,807 per year. The majority of student are non-traditional student over the age of 25. In addition there are 9 fully online associate’s degrees available in accounting, administrative assistance, computer programming and web development, among others.

  • 15. Bemidji State University

    Online Programs: 8
    Type: Public
    Website

    Bemidji State University is a public institution and a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. There are over 5,300 students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, and online degree programs. Bemidji has a strong connection with Native American culture and Bemidji State celebrates this heritage. The campus is surrounded by the lake and lined with trees and snowshoes, cross country skis, pontoons, mountain bikes, camping gear etc… are available to rent on campus. In-state tuition is available to all students who attend Bemidji State and there are students from 36 states and 38 different countries. Over 80 percent of the student body receive some financial aid. Some of the unique programs offered at Bemidji State include Aquatic Biology, Exhibit Design, Industrial Model-akding, and Wilderness Management and Outdoor Recreation Planning. There are a total of 8 fully-online programs available including a Master of Science in Special Education and a B.S. in Accounting. Cost for full-time tuition is just $7,360 per year.

Monitoring the accreditation of a university you are interested in attending is incredibly important. Accreditation ensures your credits can transfer that you can receive Federal financial aid, and most importantly that certain standards of educational quality are during your schooling. The highest accreditation standard for most programs in the United States is provided by regional accreditation agencies. The regional accrediting agency for Minnesota is the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional accrediting agencies responsible for accrediting schools in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Making sure that a University you’re hoping to attend is regionally accredited — or accredited by a real and respected accrediting agency — is one of the most important choices you can make in ensuring the quality of your education.

Three Steps for Securing Financial Aid

  • Submit your FAFSA.
  • Check to see if additional forms are needed at your university of choice.
  • Search and apply for private scholarships.

Through the previous three steps most students find themselves offered some sort of federal grant, work study, private grant, scholarship, or stipend.

Great Missouri Higher Education Resources

  • For those undergraduate or graduate students interested in social justice, American rights, and helping low-income families you may be eligible for a Hawkinson Foundation scholarship. To find out more about this scholarship apply here.
  • Not sure if college is even possible. Now it is through College Possible a Minnesota non-profit that serves low-income students in Minnesota and across the nation.
  • If you’re feeling competitive, here’s a list of top scholarship for high school seniors nationwide.
  • Congratulations! You got into Twin Cities. They have a wide variety of scholarships available, check them out here.
  • Whether you’re ready to take on a cause or are just looking for your future career, you can find the largest list of nonprofit jobs in Minnesota here.
  • Looking for a quality job in Minnesota? Home to many amazing institutions and Fortune 500 Companies, check out the top 100 places of employment here.
  • Want to make an impact in your community in Minnesota? Here’s a great way to learn about organizations that make a difference.
  • If you’re headed to the University of Minnesota and need a part-time job check this out.
  • For those who want to hit the trails off the beaten path, check out some of Minnesota’s “Best Kept Secrets” here.
  • For all of your “Best Of” needs in The Twin Cities head here.
  • If you’re heading to Winona State, you can ask a local what to do and where to go here.
  • If you need to know how you’re going to survive a Minnesotan winter, just ask Garrison Keillor.
  • If you’re interested in small neighborhood restaurants and eateries that tell a story check out this site.
  • With so many breweries in Minnesota to wade through you’ll need a list that compiles the best. Check that out here.
  • As one of Canada’s neighbors, Minnesota has its own unique wildlife. An exhaustive list can be found here.

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