Online Schools and Colleges in Minnesota

April 27, 2021 • 6 Min Read

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The state of Minnesota is well-known for having an educated population—only one other state has more adults who have earned at least an associate degree in college. But more students in the state are waiting to earn their college education until later in life, in favor of working straight out of high school. For students who are ready to go back and earn their college degree in Minnesota, online programs offer flexibility to learn while also working and taking care of family commitments. This page provides helpful resources and answers commonly asked questions about online college costs in Minnesota, helps students sort through transfer credit confusion and see how much they could make by earning a college degree. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Best Online Colleges in Minnesota 2020

Minnesota continues to make strides to increase the affordability of higher education. Minnesota is one of only three states in the country to increase funding by more than 5% between 2017 and 2018, and students can also take advantage of financial aid opportunities to help offset education costs.

This guide covers important information for students considering online schools and colleges in Minnesota, including financial aid opportunities, adult education programs, and helpful online resources.

Top Ten 4-Year Colleges

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities View School Profile $$ Minneapolis, MN 80%

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities is a public research university in Minneapolis with fully online certificate and test preparation programs, as well as one blended bachelor's degree in multidisciplinary studies. Distance learners in this bachelor's degree program choose three out of five specialty areas to help configure their degree. You can select from applied, technical, and professional, arts and humanities, communication, history and social sciences, and science and health science. Designed for transfer students who have already earned 50 credits or more with a minimum 2.5 GPA, you can finish this 120-credit degree program in as few as two years. Part-time students taking two courses per term can finish in five years. Some U of M graduates with this degree secured positions as executive directors, project coordinators, content strategists, and systems engineers.

Winona State University View School Profile $ Winona, MN 59%

Distance learners at Winona State University can earn graduate certificates and bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees entirely online or in a hybrid format. Online options for undergraduates include business education, healthcare leadership and administration, and a flexible individualized studies program. Winona State University's online graduate curriculum focuses on educating clinical specialists in various roles in the nursing field. Nurses can earn graduate certificates in Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Nursing and Organizational Leadership. The Doctor of Nursing Practice and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner require 74 credits to graduate and prepare you to sit for the PMHNP certification.

Bemidji State University View School Profile $ Bemidji, MN 47%

At Bemidji State University, you can pursue certificates, bachelor's, and master's degrees in online or blended formats. For students working toward a degree in a hybrid format in their Twin Cities program, Bemidji State offers a satellite campus in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. Education options in this scenario include a bachelor's degree in elementary education, post-baccalaureate licensure in secondary education, and RN to BS nursing program. This public state university also offers several traditional bachelor's and master's degrees entirely online, including accounting, management, English, mathematics, and special education. Graduate students must complete their degrees in seven years or less, or their credits expire. All students pay the in-state tuition rate. Students can transfer credits to Bemidji State if they fall within the statewide Minnesota Transfer Curriculum and can apply to their major.

Bethel University-Minnesota View School Profile $$$$$ Saint Paul, MN 74%

Bethel University is an evangelical Christian, liberal arts institution in Arden Hills, Minnesota. Distance learners can choose from fully online bachelor's programs such as Christian ministries, alcohol and drug counseling, and human services. Graduate degrees are also available online, including Master of Education programs, MBAs, nurse-midwifery, and strategic leadership. You can also earn religion degrees online through Bethel's online Seminary program. As a Christian university, distance learning and on campus instruction are rooted in Biblical values and faith and work integration.

University of Minnesota-Crookston View School Profile $$ Crookston, MN 48%

The University of Minnesota-Crookston is a four-year institution, established in 1966, and one of five campuses in the University of Minnesota System. Online students can earn bachelor's degrees and certificates in fields such as accounting, finance, management, and entrepreneurship. Coupled with one of several minor degree options of your choosing, you can configure an online degree that best fits your academic needs and career interests. Distance learners pay the same tuition costs as in-state students. To be eligible for graduation, transfer students must complete all major requirements, including a minimum of 30 semester credits, with their last 20 credits at UMC.

University of Minnesota-Duluth View School Profile $$ Duluth, MN 61%

Established in 1947, the University of Minnesota-Duluth features a distance learning program with fully online and blended degrees and more than 2,000 courses. UM has a "primarily online" degree category, wherein students complete at least 80 percent of their instruction online. This format includes a required two-week, on campus intensive session during the summer. As a distance learner, you can earn bachelor's degrees in traditional fields such as marketing, management, sports and recreation management, and international business. Graduate degrees in a dozen fields, including dental hygiene, health informatics, and family education. At UM, you can also earn a teaching license in reading or a parent and family education license.

The College of Saint Scholastica View School Profile $$$$$ Duluth, MN 62%

The College of St. Scholastica is a private college in Duluth, Minnesota that offers synchronous courses for a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. Using the Zoom virtual classroom, distance learners at St. Scholastica engage with their professors and fellow students through video and audio conferencing. From nursing to physical therapy, business, and social work, you can earn an online degree or a number of certificates and licenses entirely online. As an online student, you also have access to personal advisors, online tutors, and IT support to help you get the most out of your distance education.

St. Catherine University View School Profile $$$$$ Saint Paul, MN 61%

St. Catherine University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a private Catholic, liberal arts institution with associate, bachelor's, and advanced degrees available entirely online. In addition to traditional online majors, St. Catherine offers an RN-BSN nursing degree and a master's in nursing education. You can also complete a doctorate in occupational therapy or a bachelor's degree for occupational therapy assistants. While the cost of tuition varies per program, all students pay a flat-rate regardless of their location.

Saint Cloud State University View School Profile $ Saint Cloud, MN 48%

St. Cloud State University offers distance learning opportunities for non-degree and degree-seeking students in fully online and blended formats. These rigorous online courses are taught by the same faculty and often use the same textbooks as classes on campus. This liberal arts college uses the Brightspace system to deliver more 200 synchronous or asynchronous courses a year, depending on the program. Undergraduate degree options include the Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree, the bachelor's degree in elective studies, and a nursing RN-to-BSN program. You can also earn a graduate degree in any of St. Cloud State's 17 online degree programs. Distance learners have access to online tutoring and pay flat-rate tuition. Graduate students may transfer up to 10 semester credits from other accredited universities. Undergraduate transfer students must complete at least two semesters and 30 credit-hours at St. Cloud State to be eligible for graduation.

Concordia University-Saint Paul View School Profile $$$$ Saint Paul, MN 49%

Concordia University-St. Paul is a liberal arts college with extensive online and blended degree options. From associate to doctoral degrees, you can find a fully online program that works for you. Concordia's master's degrees in education stand out, with specializations available in educational leadership, special education, and educational technology, as well as a K?six teaching licensure program. Concordia also offers a less common online Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Courses are asynchronous and delivered through the Blackboard online learning system. Online students pay in-state tuition.

Hamline University View School Profile $ Saint Paul, MN 48%
University of Northwestern-St. Paul View School Profile $$$$ Saint Paul, MN 66%
Minnesota State University-Mankato View School Profile $ Mankato, MN 53%
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota View School Profile $$$$$ Winona, MN 65%
Minnesota State University Moorhead View School Profile $ Moorhead, MN 43%
Crown College View School Profile $$$$ St. Bonifacius, MN 52%
University of St. Thomas View School Profile $$$$$ Saint Paul, MN 73%
Metropolitan State University View School Profile $ Saint Paul, MN 33%

Top Ten 2-Year Colleges

North Hennepin Community College View School Profile Brooklyn Park, MN 13%
Minnesota State Community and Technical College View School Profile Fergus Falls, MN 34%
Anoka-Ramsey Community College View School Profile Coon Rapids, MN 20%
Normandale Community College View School Profile Bloomington, MN 22%
Inver Hills Community College View School Profile Inver Grove Heights, MN 21%
Northland Community and Technical College View School Profile Thief River Falls, MN 37%
Alexandria Technical & Community College View School Profile Alexandria, MN 64%
Minnesota State College Southeast View School Profile Winona, MN 26%
Northwest Technical College View School Profile $ Bemidji, MN 30%
Rochester Community and Technical College View School Profile Rochester, MN 22%
St Cloud Technical and Community College View School Profile St. Cloud, MN 37%
South Central College View School Profile North Mankato, MN 26%
Minneapolis Community and Technical College View School Profile Minneapolis, MN 14%
Central Lakes College-Brainerd View School Profile Brainerd, MN 41%
Century College View School Profile White Bear Lake, MN 13%
Ridgewater College View School Profile Willmar, MN 41%
Dakota County Technical College View School Profile $ Rosemount, MN 32%
Lake Superior College View School Profile Duluth, MN 26%
Anoka Technical College View School Profile Anoka, MN 19%
Hennepin Technical College View School Profile Brooklyn Park, MN 34%
Hibbing Community College View School Profile Hibbing, MN 30%
Minnesota West Community and Technical College View School Profile $ Granite Falls, MN 44%
Saint Paul College View School Profile Saint Paul, MN 21%
Riverland Community College View School Profile Austin, MN 38%
Leech Lake Tribal College View School Profile Cass Lake, MN 9%

View a City From Minnesota

How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I'm Looking for in Minnesota?

Students in Minnesota can choose from many online programs, which may feel overwhelming. To ease the process of finding the right school, learners can search for online programs through the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. Students can also use the following resource to learn more about online schools and programs in Minnesota.

How Much More Do College Grads in Minnesota Make?

Nearly half of Minnesota residents between the ages of 25 and 64 possess an associate degree or higher, giving the state the second-highest educational attainment percentage in the country. The following table outlines national average salaries by level of educational attainment, illustrating that higher levels of education typically correlate with higher salaries.


Source: BLS

Paying for Online College in Minnesota: Tuition and Financial Aid

While efforts to help Minnesota students pay for school continue, state funding has yet to catch up to the pre-recession rates of 2008, per the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The table below outlines tuition rates for private and public institutions in Minnesota and how they compare to the national average.

$11,226$20,736$9,037 (In-State)$25,657 (Out-of-State)

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Cost Considerations for Online Students in Minnesota

When weighing the costs of their education, students should consider expenses beyond tuition, such as travel, technology, and distance education fees.

Distance Education Fees
Some schools and programs require online students to pay distance education fees to cover the cost of online course administration.
Internet Costs
Online students typically need to pay monthly internet fees to access distance education material.
Some online programs include on-campus residencies, which may require learners to pay for travel and room and board.
Technology and Materials
Online learning may require students to buy textbooks, software, and other learning materials.

Qualifying for In-State Tuition in Minnesota

Some programs allow all online students to pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency, while others offer tuition discounts for in-state students. Qualifications for in-state tuition vary by institution, but they may include residing in Minnesota for a particular length of time or working for a state organization. Students should research the in-state tuition requirements at each prospective school.

Paying for College in Minnesota: Scholarships and Financial Aid

Students attending online schools and colleges in Minnesota can take advantage of a variety of financial opportunities, such as loans, scholarships, and grants. Unlike loans, scholarships and grants do not require repayment. We cover several scholarship and grant opportunities for Minnesota students below.

Scholarships for Minnesota College Students

Minnesota Academic Excellence Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students who demonstrate academic excellence or promise in one of several subjects qualify for this scholarship. Eligible applicants must attend or plan to attend a state university or private institution in Minnesota.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Scholarship

Minnesota Indian Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Candidates with at least one-fourth of Native American ancestry qualify for this opportunity. They must also demonstrate financial need and be Minnesota residents.

Amount: Up to $4,000

Apply For Scholarship

Minnesota Veterans' Dependents Assistance Program

Who Can Apply: Dependents of individuals considered prisoners of war or who went missing in action qualify for this opportunity from the Minnesota Veterans' Dependents Assistance Program.

Amount: Up to $250/year

Apply For Scholarship

Education Vouchers for Former Youth In Care

Who Can Apply: Provided by the Chafee Foster Care Independence Act, these education vouchers support students who were formerly in foster care. Applicants must be under the age of 21.

Amount: Up to $5,000

Apply For Scholarship

Minnesota Educational Assistance for War Orphans

Who Can Apply: Minnesota residents who lost a veteran parent to a service-caused condition qualify for this opportunity.

Amount: Up to $750/year

Apply For Scholarship

Grants for Minnesota College Students

Minnesota State Grant Program

Who Can Apply: Minnesota residents from low- and moderate-income families who attend eligible state schools qualify for this grant.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Grant

Alliss Opportunity Grant Program

Who Can Apply: Minnesota residents attending a state college or university who demonstrate financial need qualify for this opportunity.

Amount: Up to $1,100/year

Apply For Grant

Public Safety Officer's Survivor Grant

Who Can Apply: Dependents and spouses of public safety officers who were killed in the line of duty qualify for this grant.

Amount: Up to $14,760/year

Apply For Grant

Minnesota Teacher Candidate Grant

Who Can Apply: This grant awards students pursuing a teaching career. Applicants must intend to teach in a geographical shortage area or belong to an underrepresented group in Minnesota.

Amount: Up to $7,500/term

Apply For Grant

Minnesota Educational Assistance for War Orphans

Who Can Apply: Candidates planning to attend a Minnesota institution who lost a parent to a military service-caused condition qualify for this grant.

Amount: Up to $750

Apply For Grant

The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in Minnesota

Accreditation indicates that a school meets high academic standards and benefits students in several ways. For instance, only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only recognize and accept degrees and transfer credits from accredited schools. Additionally, many employers prefer to hire candidates with an accredited degree.

Regional and National Accreditation

Schools may receive regional or national accreditation. National accreditation typically applies to for-profit technical and vocational schools, while regional accreditation applies to nonprofit, degree-granting institutions. Regional accreditation is generally considered the more prestigious of the two. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation(CHEA) oversees six organizations that provide regional accreditation depending on a school's location. Minnesota schools receive accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Subject-Specific Accreditation

Some programs within a school may also receive accreditation, such as business, nursing, and social work schools. Several industries require students to hold a degree from an accredited program to receive licenses or certifications. Students should research whether their intended career requires or prefers degrees from an accredited program.

How to Know if Your School or Program is Accredited

Most schools and programs offer accreditation information on their websites. Students can also verify accreditation status through CHEAand Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programsdatabases.

Online College and Adult Education in Minnesota

Minnesota offers many programs and initiatives to support nontraditional students. Students can learn about several of Minnesota's adult education programs and resources below.

By the Numbers: Adult Education in Minnesota

Forty-eight percent of Minnesota adults between the ages of 25 and 64 possess an associate degree or higher.Minnesota ranks second among states for educational attainment in adults between the ages of 25 and 64.

Source: Education Attainment

Adult Education Programs for Minnesota Students

Minnesota Reconnect
Designed to help adults return to school and complete their degree, Minnesota Reconnect supports nontraditional students with academic advising, financial aid, and childcare services.
Adult GED
Run by the Minnesota Department of Education, this program allows Minnesota residents to complete their first GED test for free. This offer is available for every GED subject as well.
Minnesota Adult Basic Education
The Minnesota ABE program is a statewide initiative that helps Minnesota students acquire basic education. Through the program, students can receive high school credentials, improve their literacy and math skills, and prepare for postsecondary education.

Online College Resources for Minnesota Students

The following list outlines several helpful resources for current and prospective Minnesota students, including information on financial aid opportunities, program availability, and state higher education policies.

Popular Resources

Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.

See All Posts is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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