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Our Research

This list features some of the best online schools in Minnesota. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

We limited our search for the best online colleges to higher education institutions that are accredited to uphold high educational standards. Almost all of the Minnesota colleges hold accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) based in the north central region. It works with institutions in 19 states to provide quality assurance for higher education.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Online College Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Top 50 Online Colleges in Minnesota

Best Online Colleges in Minnesota Badge

University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Bethel University

Minnesota State University at Mankato

The College of St. Scholastica

Crown College

Concordia University at St. Paul

Minnesota State University Moorhead

University of Northwestern at St. Paul

Metropolitan State University

University of Minnesota Crookston

Hamline University

Bemidji State University

Oak Hills Christian College

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

University of St. Thomas

College of Saint Benedict & Saint John's University

Martin Luther College

University of Minnesota Duluth

Concordia College at Moorhead

University of Minnesota Morris

Winona State University

St. Catherine University

Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Augsburg University

St. Cloud State University

Southwest Minnesota State University

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Frequently Asked Questions: Online Colleges in Minnesota

Does Minnesota have good online colleges and universities?

Somewhat. Minnesota’s online colleges and universities are relatively limited and rank decently on lists such as those put out by U.S. News & World Report. At the bachelor’s degree level, Minnesota only offers one option for online learning (Concordia University—St. Paul). There are more options at the graduate level, but none of the programs are particularly highly ranked. At the community college level, online options are extensive, especially through schools like Minneapolis Community and Technical College, which offers face-to-face courses, online courses, and blended courses.

Given the limited number of highly ranked programs available in Minnesota, you may want to check out our guide to the best accredited online colleges in the entire United States. In addition to showing you the country’s top 30 schools for remote learning, this guide offers expert advice on how to choose a college and complete the application process.

Do online college credits in Minnesota cost more than in-person classes?

The answer to this question depends on which college you attend. Some colleges offer discounted rates for online courses regardless of where you live, while others charge an additional fee for online courses to help cover the cost of software licenses, technical support, etc. Most online degree programs in Minnesota charge in-state and out-of-state students the same tuition. At the community college level, however, out-of-state students tend to pay more than in-state students.

Why should you choose Minnesota for online higher education?

Minnesota’s online degree programs are relatively limited and not as highly ranked as those in other states. At the community college level, however, opportunities are extensive. So, Minnesota might be a good choice if you intend to earn a certificate or associate degree online.

The Cost of Online College in Minnesota

How much does an online degree in Minnesota cost?

The cost of an online degree in Minnesota depends on which institution you attend as well as the type of degree you choose to pursue. For example, undergraduate programs are usually more affordable than graduate degrees. Also, you may find yourself paying more for your degree if you major in a STEM field rather than the humanities.

Regardless of the cost per credit, you should also consider that you may be able to save a lot of money on indirect expenses, such as transportation and housing, by earning your college degree online.

To give you a sense of exactly how much you should expect to pay for your online education, we’ve listed the current rates for earning an online bachelor’s degree in Minnesota below. Note that there is only one university in Minnesota that offers an online bachelor’s degree.

Most affordable online college in Minnesota: Concordia University—St. Paul, $420 per credit

Average College Tuition Cost

Source: Education Data Initiative

How long do you have to live in Minnesota to get in-state tuition rates?

Minnesota requires you to have lived in the state for at least one calendar year prior to declaring Minnesota residency. To qualify for in-state tuition, you must prove that you came to the state for a reason other than education. This requires, for instance, not enrolling in college during your residency period, paying state income taxes, and indicating that you intend to remain in the state for the foreseeable future.

Who qualifies for reduced tuition costs in Minnesota?

Minnesota offers several ways to reduce your tuition costs. One is through its tuition reciprocity agreements with Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, one institution in Iowa, and the Canadian province of Manitoba. This enables Minnesota residents to pay reduced tuition at public colleges and universities in these states, and vice versa, which can end up saving you thousands, or even tens of thousands, in the long run.

The state also sponsors the Minnesota State Grant, which helps students from low- and moderate-income families pay for educational expenses at eligible Minnesota colleges or universities. Award amounts range from $100 to $12,345 per year, with the average being approximately $2,600. Eligibility for the grant is determined based on FAFSA application data, so it’s important to file early and accurately. The FAFSA will also show if you are eligible for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and other financial aid awards.

College Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grant Programs in Minnesota

In addition to Minnesota’s tuition reciprocity agreements and the Minnesota State Grant, there are a number of other programs available that can help you cover the cost of college. Some of these programs are also based on financial need, while others are awarded based on factors such as demographics or academic merit. We’ve reviewed a few of the most prominent financial aid options for you below:

Minnesota Academic Excellence Scholarship

This scholarship helps students who have demonstrated outstanding ability, achievement, and potential in one of the following subjects: English or creative writing, fine arts, foreign language, math, science, or social science. The scholarship covers up to the cost of tuition and fees at a public Minnesota university.

Who’s eligible? Minnesota students enrolled at a participating public or private university in Minnesota who demonstrate academic excellence.

Contact information: [email protected] | 800-657-3866

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Minnesota Indian Scholarship

This scholarship program provides need-based funding of up to $4,000 per year to undergraduates and up to $6,000 per year to graduate students with American Indian ancestry.

Who’s eligible? Minnesota residents who have one-fourth or more American Indian ancestry OR who are an enrolled member or citizen of a federally recognized American Indian tribe or Canadian First Nation, and who demonstrate financial need.

Contact information: [email protected] | 800-657-3866

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Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute EMPOWER Scholarship

The EMPOWER (Encourage Minority Participation in Occupations with Emphasis on Rehabilitation) scholarship provides funding to ethnically diverse Minnesota students who will enroll in a postsecondary program related to health and rehabilitation. Awards are $1,500 per year.

Who’s eligible? Minnesota or Western Wisconsin residents attending school in Minnesota or Western Wisconsin who are ethnically diverse, are pursuing a career in healthcare, have a minimum GPA of 2.0, and demonstrate financial need.

Contact information: [email protected] | 612-775-2728

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T.E.A.C.H. Minnesota Scholarships

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood MINNESOTA is a scholarship program that helps early childhood and school-age educators increase their levels of education, compensation, and commitment to the field by earning college credits and degrees. Depending on the program, the scholarship may cover the full cost of tuition and fees. You must commit to remaining at your current workplace for at least one year beyond your contract year.

Who’s eligible? Those employed as a family child care provider, child care center teacher, child care center director/assistant director, or school-age care employee at a licensed or regulated program in Minnesota, who work at least 20 hours per week.

Contact information: [email protected] | 888-291-9811

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Top 5 Fast-Growing Industries in Minnesota

If you’re still in the process of assessing your college options, you may also be undecided on your major. When selecting a major, one of the most important factors to consider is your future employability. Thinking about which industries and careers are growing the fastest in Minnesota can make it easier to find a job once you graduate, and being in demand should also help you earn a higher salary.

By consulting the U.S. Department of Labor’s Long-Term Occupational Projections (2020–2030), we’ve determined that the following five careers have some of the highest projected growth rates in Minnesota:

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts monitor and manage an organization’s computer networks and systems. Specifically, they keep an organization’s data safe. As cybersecurity and information security become increasingly important in our digital world, security analysts are in high demand. They are also well-compensated, making an average annual salary of $114,630 in Minnesota.

Personal Care Aides

As Minnesota’s population ages and chronic and acute medical conditions become more prevalent, the state is in increasing need of personal care aides to assist patients, often older adults or disabled people, with tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and bathing. Minnesota expects to create a whopping 25,920 personal care aide jobs in the coming decade, with an average annual salary of $32,310.

Software Developers and Testers

As governments, companies, and individuals become ever more reliant on web-based technologies, it’s no surprise the skills of software developers and testers are in high demand. Salaries in this field tend to be quite high — in Minnesota, software developers earn an average salary of $115,790, and software testers make $97,400.

Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists

Market research analysts and marketing specialists use data to understand consumer preferences and tailor a company’s marketing campaigns to what will bring the greatest return on investment. In Minnesota, market research analysts and marketing specialists make an average salary of $81,740.

Medical Assistants

Medical assistants perform a range of administrative and clinical duties to support physicians. They schedule appointments, maintain medical records, oversee billing and insurance coding, and sometimes take patients’ vitals, draw blood, and administer medication as directed. In Minnesota, they earn an average salary of $47,330.

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