Online Schools and Colleges in North Dakota

Accredited Degree Programs, Scholarships and Resources for Top Schools

With a relatively small network of schools statewide, North Dakota students benefit from online learning in multiple ways. Increased access to digital learning platforms, for example, has created a 91 percent increase in online course enrollment across all grade levels. Not only has this helped K-12 students get ahead, but it continues to foster post-secondary education via a more flexible degree-granting network of schools. Let’s take a look at online schools at both the K-12 and college levels in further detail.

Best Online Colleges in North Dakota 2020

Best Online Schools

North Dakota's higher education institutions offer a variety of online programs. According to the 2017 Distance Education State Almanac, 44.1% of the state's enrolled student body took at least one distance course that year, far outpacing the national average of 29.7%. Furthermore, North Dakota boasted some of the nation's lowest average tuition fees during the 2019-2020 school year. These factors make the state an excellent option for distance learners looking for a high-quality, affordable education.

This guide provides a comprehensive introduction to the practical aspects of online learning in North Dakota. The following sections explore program options, funding opportunities, and tips for succeeding at online schools and colleges in North Dakota.

Rank Logo School Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit For Experience Placement Service Counseling Services Description & Additional Information Toggle
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1 Williston State College Williston, ND Tuition $3,399 # of Online Programs 7 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 41% Financial Aid 91% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
2 Lake Region State College Devils Lake, ND Tuition $3,326 # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 37% Financial Aid 61% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
3 Dakota College at Bottineau Bottineau, ND Tuition $3,469 # of Online Programs 26 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 28% Financial Aid 41% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
4 North Dakota State College of Science Wahpeton, ND Tuition $4,025 # of Online Programs 12 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 43% Financial Aid 24% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
Rank Logo School Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit For Experience Placement Service Counseling Services Description & Additional Information Toggle
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1 University of Mary Bismarck, ND Tuition $15,990 # of Online Programs 14 Acceptance Rate 77% Graduation Rate 59% Financial Aid 100% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Founded on the Benedictine ethic, the University of Mary is a professionally-focused institution, offering degree programs geared toward placing students in high-demand jobs. Their online school follows the same path, only the degrees offered online are designed for working adults. Students studying online can earn their bachelor's or master's degree at their own pace, but they can potentially earn their degree in as little as 15 months, saving time and money along the way.

2 Minot State University Minot, ND Tuition $5,192 # of Online Programs 16 Acceptance Rate 60% Graduation Rate 42% Financial Aid 70% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Minot State University is often considered one of the most affordable schools in the nation for 4-year programs. All students studying at Minot - including those that live out-of-state or that are studying online - will receive in-state tuition, keeping this online program affordable. Their online program has multiple bachelor's degrees available, some of which are degree completion programs designed for transfer students. With over 18 years of online teaching experience, the affordability and quality of this program make it stand out.

3 Valley City State University Valley City, ND Tuition $5,282 # of Online Programs 9 Acceptance Rate 98% Graduation Rate 49% Financial Aid 91% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Originally a teacher's school, Valley City State University has included other areas of study while still placing an emphasis on their school of education. Through their online school, undergraduates can study toward 1 of 6 degrees geared specifically toward education. Other online programs are also available, including 2 master's degree programs -- one in teaching and the other in education. Minors and certifications are also offered online, making this an ideal school for future educators.

4 North Dakota State University-Main Campus Fargo, ND Tuition $6,924 # of Online Programs 12 Acceptance Rate 93% Graduation Rate 58% Financial Aid 41% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes

North Dakota State Univeristy is among the top schools in the nation for agriculture and social sciences. While not all of their programs are available online, undergraduates can study toward 1 of 3 focuses on their way to earning a bachelor's in human development & family science. An entirely online bachelor's in sociology is also available, as are four minor options. The cost of online programs ranges depending on which state students are residents of.

5 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND Tuition $6,679 # of Online Programs 17 Acceptance Rate 84% Graduation Rate 57% Financial Aid 54% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

The oldest and largest school in the state, the University of North Dakota has a history of providing quality education. Their online program continues that trend, offering online tutoring and student services to all their students. There are also a wide range of degree programs available, some of which can be completed entirely online in a 4-year period. Other popular options include online degree completion programs for transfer students and accelerated bachelor's/master's programs, such as their 5-year public administration BS/MPA.

6 Mayville State University Mayville, ND Tuition $5,053 # of Online Programs 12 Acceptance Rate 55% Graduation Rate 43% Financial Aid 72% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Any online students that have previously studied through Mayville State University will notice that some things have changed. The school recently switched to the popular Blackboard Learn system, but they still offer the same 12 online programs they previously did. One benefit of studying at Mayville State is that online credits earned never expire, so students can take as long as they want to earn their degree - although many complete their education in the traditional 4-year period.

7 Dickinson State University Dickinson, ND Tuition $5,138 # of Online Programs 22 Acceptance Rate 92% Graduation Rate 34% Financial Aid 54% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

An important part of southwest Dakota, Dickinson State University prepares students for careers in the region. However, the material covered through all their programs - including their online programs - can be used to begin a career anywhere. With 8 bachelor's degrees offered entirely online, Dickinson State online has options for most busy students. Also offered online is a master's in teaching which prepares students to become teachers at the secondary level.

8 Trinity Bible College and Graduate School Ellendale, ND Tuition $13,962 # of Online Programs 6 Acceptance Rate 59% Graduation Rate 38% Financial Aid 81% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes

Founded with Christian faith and theology in mind, the majority of the programs at Trinity Bible College and Graduate School are focused on theological studies and ministry. TCB online provides access to some of these programs. The main online program, the bachelor's degree in biblical studies, is a 4-year program that can be combined with a master's through the accelerate program. The cost for all online programs is the same per credit regardless of where students live.

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

Many North Dakota institutions offer online learning opportunities, and prospective students may find reviewing each individual school's website time-consuming and confusing. Aggregators and indexing websites that compile, review, and rank online programs can save you a great deal of trouble. You can click the icon below to launch your search for accredited online programs in North Dakota.

How Much More Do College Grads in North Dakota Make?

Professionals in North Dakota enjoy competitive salaries, excellent employment benefits, and access to a burgeoning job market. According to a 2019 report by the Bismarck Tribune, North Dakota has tens of thousands of job vacancies and an acute shortage of qualified candidates to fill them.

The following table illustrates how dramatically a college education improves lifetime earning potential. Additionally, North Dakota has a low cost of living, so your money goes even further here.

Annual Full-Time Wage and Salary by Educational Attainment in the U.S.
Less Than a High School Diploma High School Diploma Associate Degree
$28,756 $37,960 $44,824
Bachelor's Degree Master's Degree Doctoral Degree
$62,296 $74,568 $94,900

Source: BLS

Paying for Online College in North Dakota: Tuition and Financial Aid

North Dakota ranks among the most affordable states for college students, especially for out-of-state learners. According to the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation, public four-year North Dakota institutions charged nonresident students the nation's second-lowest tuition rates during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Even so, students need a practical plan to cover the cost of earning a degree. The following table details how average North Dakota tuition rates compare to the national averages for public and private institutions.

Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Public Colleges and Universities
In-State Tuition Out-of-State Tuition National Average
$7,687 $19,021

$9,037 (In-State)

$25,657 (Out-of-State)
Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Private Colleges and Universities
Tuition Out-of-State Tuition National Average
$15,256 N/A $30,731

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Cost Considerations for Online Students in North Dakota

The figures above are statewide averages, and rates vary by institution. Additionally, online students may face additional costs, which learners should consider when formulating a financial plan. Below are some examples of costs of students attending online schools and colleges in North Dakota face.

Recurring Technology Costs: Online learners typically need high-speed, high-capacity broadband Internet connections, as well as computer equipment that is compatible with the latest distance education platforms.
School-Applied Technology Fees: Most institutions apply technology fees to online courses or programs, which help cover costs associated with developing and delivering virtual courses.
Program-Specific Cost Differences: Field of study can also impact costs. Tuition rates often vary among online programs, even at the same institution.
Income Limitations: Many online schools and colleges in North Dakota deliver flexible learning schedules that allow students to work while studying. However, many learners find it challenging to balance full-time employment with a full course load, so you may need to work part time while in school.
Required Travel: Some online programs include mandatory in-person requirements, such as short-term campus residencies. In such cases, students must pay for their own transportation, accommodations, and food.

Qualifying for In-State Tuition in North Dakota

The University of North Dakota system maintains specific requirements to qualify for in-state tuition rates. In addition to submitting a resident tuition application, prospective students must produce a valid North Dakota driver's license issued at least a year prior to the application date. Learners must submit additional residency documentation, such as a lease agreement, mortgage statement, or utility bill that demonstrates that the applicant has lived in North Dakota for at least 12 months.

Minnesota residents and their dependents usually qualify for in-state tuition rates under reciprocity agreements. However, specific policies vary among institutions, so learners should contact individual online schools and colleges in North Dakota for details.

Paying for College in North Dakota: Scholarships and Financial Aid

Online college students in North Dakota can take advantage of scholarships and grants that make higher education more affordable. In addition to hundreds of national programs, North Dakota students can apply for the funding opportunities below.

Scholarships for North Dakota College Students

ND Scholars Program

Who Can Apply: The North Dakota University System offers full tuition scholarships to in-state high school students who score in the 95th percentile or higher on the ACT. Applicants must intend to enroll at a North Dakota college.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Scholarship

ND Career Builders

Who Can Apply: This state program provides scholarships and loan-repayment assistance. Applicants must be planning to enroll in a North Dakota school to train for a career in a high-need or emerging field.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Scholarship

ND Academic Scholarship

Who Can Apply: High school students who have successfully completed advanced college prep coursework can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must plan to attend an accredited public, private, or tribal institution in North Dakota.

Amount: $6,000

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ND Career and Technical Education Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Candidates for this scholarship must have successfully completed challenging high school coursework. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative high school GPA and firm plans to attend a North Dakota-based postsecondary program that is at least two years in length.

Amount: $6,000

Apply For Scholarship

North Dakota Indian Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: Students belonging to a federally recognized Native American tribe can qualify for this scholarship. Applicants must have a minimum 2.0 high school GPA and must plan to attend an accredited North Dakota institution.

Amount: $2,000

Apply For Scholarship

Grants for North Dakota College Students

Pell Grant

Who Can Apply: This popular federal grant program provides financial assistance to high-need students pursuing their first undergraduate degree.

Amount: Up to $6,195

Apply For Grant

North Dakota State Student Incentive Grant

Who Can Apply: This grant program provides financial assistance to first-time undergraduate students. Applicants must be residents of North Dakota attending a qualified institution.

Amount: $1,100 per semester or $733 per academic quarter

Apply For Grant

North Dakota Department of Public Instruction Continuing Education Grants

Who Can Apply: Students pursuing a specialized diploma or master's degree in educational leadership, school counseling, or career development can apply for this grant.

Amount: Up to $1,200

Apply For Grant

Academic Competitiveness and National SMART Grants

Who Can Apply: Academic Competitiveness Grants are available to college freshmen and sophomores in STEM and critical foreign language programs. Juniors and seniors in comparable programs can qualify for SMART Grants.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Grant

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

Who Can Apply: Students with high financial need can qualify for this grant. Applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. Participation varies among institutions.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Grant

The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in North Dakota

Accredited schools meet rigorous standards of academic quality as determined by neutral, third-party organizations. Students should only consider attending online schools and colleges in North Dakota that hold regional or national accreditation, as these qualifications ensure that employers and other institutions will recognize your academic credentials. Learners should identify the accreditation status of each prospective school, noting that colleges and universities can hold multiple types of institutional and programmatic accreditation.

Regional and National Accreditation

Online schools and colleges in North Dakota can hold national or regional accreditation. For-profit schools and institutions focused on technical, vocational, or practical training typically receive national accreditation. Prominent national accrediting agencies include the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

Regional accreditation usually applies to academically oriented schools and state-operated, nonprofit institutions. The Higher Learning Commission awards regional accreditation to North Dakota schools.

Regional accreditation usually applies to academically oriented schools and state-operated, nonprofit institutions. The Higher Learning Commission awards regional accreditation to North Dakota schools.

Subject-Specific Accreditation

Subject-specific accreditation applies to programs in a particular field. This type of accreditation demonstrates that programs meet standards of academic quality set by professional or academic organizations. For example, the University of North Dakota's School of Law holds programmatic accreditation from the American Bar Association.

How to Know if Your School or Program is Accredited

Attending an accredited school is crucial to ensuring that you will qualify for funding and employment opportunities. Accredited institutions and programs typically feature their accreditation status on their website. Learners can search the directory from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to verify the accreditation status of any school or program. Students should avoid schools with very short degree completion timelines and institutions without physical addresses.

Online College and Adult Education in North Dakota

The North Dakota state government supports many online, continuing education, and adult education initiatives. The sections below include information about programs and resources for adult learners in North Dakota.

By the Numbers: Adult Education in North Dakota

The University of North Dakota offers more than 120 fully online degree and certificate programs.

Eleven schools in the North Dakota University System offer fully online degree programs and courses.

The University of North Dakota System has offered distance education opportunities for more than 100 years.

Source: University of North Dakota, North Dakota University System

Adult Education Programs for North Dakota Students

  • Adult Education and GED Initiatives: The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction offers several free programs designed to help people ages 16 and up earn high school equivalency credentials and qualify for postsecondary education.
  • North Dakota Center for Distance Education: North Dakota's state government operates this center, which provides free accredited online classes to help state residents obtain higher academic credentials.
  • Non-Credit Online Skills Development: Offered by the North Dakota State College of Science, these six-week online continuing education courses help learners build and sharpen practical skills in areas including business, writing, computing, and accounting.

Online College Resources for North Dakota Students

Local businesses, organizations, and online schools and colleges in North Dakota offer a variety of resources for current and prospective students. The resources below provide information about college access and affordability in the state. You can use these tools to plan your finances, plot your degree path, and learn about the college experience in North Dakota.

  • Student Finance Calculators: The Bank of North Dakota offers several online tools to help students plan and manage their finances, both during school and during their transition into professional life.
  • College Handbook: North Dakota's state government offers a free handbook to help university-bound high school students plan their academic futures.
  • Paying for College: The North Dakota University System compiles free, comprehensive resources for students. The system provides information about finance-related topics including loans, scholarships, and grants.
  • Insurance Information and Resources: The North Dakota Insurance Department maintains a database of information for students and parents various types of insurance coverage during college.
  • State Board of Higher Education: North Dakota's State Board of Higher Education is a go-to resource for policy information pertinent to the state's higher education network.

Search All Accredited Colleges and Universities in North Dakota

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