Minnesota Online Colleges & Universities – Top Online Schools for 2015

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Quick Facts:
  • 60 Colleges

    in Minnesota offer
    full online programs

  • 1,731 online programs

    were available
    in 2014

  • 641 online graduate degrees

    were offered by Minnesota
    schools in 2014

Best Online Colleges in Minnesota for 2015

Minnesota is home to a number of excellent online college and university programs. Busy students routinely seek the flexibility offered by online learning to help them achieve academic and career success. Over 200 online postsecondary education programs are currently available throughout the state, but searching through these programs to find the best can be difficult without help. We’ve analyzed data for hundreds of Minnesota’s higher education institutions to assess quality, services, range of subjects, and resources. See which schools stand above their peers and earned a place on our list of the Best Online Colleges in Minnesota for 2015.

RANK COLLEGE Tuition And Fees Enrollment Accredited MORE INFO
1 Metropolitan State University$6,64210,041YES
Students can access online college degree courses through Metropolitan State University. Distance learning can be completed through the school’s 245 online course offerings and researched via the Minnesota Online course catalogue. Both undergraduate and graduate level programs are offered online through the university.
2 Saint Cloud State University$7,47218,373YES
An online college choice in Minnesota, Saint Cloud University offers students seeking out an online college experience a great variety of course options. An added facet to the online learning program is its use of multiple types of technologies to accomplish online learning, which include the use of podcasts, interactive television and video conferencing.
3 Minnesota State University-Mankato$7,53115,553YES
The Minnesota State University at Mankato online learning program offers adult distance learners the option to complete degree programs in their entirety through their online coursework. Students have the option to choose from undergraduate degrees, undergraduate minors and graduate degrees for their online college goal.
4 Minnesota State University Moorhead$7,8347,887YES
The Minnesota State University Moorhead campus offers individuals the option to pursue complete degree programs online. The university offers a select number of degrees in their online program, which include a B.S. in business administration, nursing and operations management. Other degree programs do offer online classes to complete a majority of the coursework, as well.
5 Southwest Minnesota State University$8,0747,345YES
Students that have already achieved an associate degree can pursue an online bachelor’s degree in the virtual classroom through the Associate to Bachelor degree program offered at Southwest Minnesota State University. This special conversion program focuses in on two specific disciplines: early childhood education and management.
6 Bemidji State University$8,1075,972YES
Bemidji State University provides adult distance learning through its online college in Minnesota. Their Center for Extended Learning maintains the online program, which features individual course offerings in addition to complete degree programs achievable in the online classroom. Major course components for online learning at the university include online chat and newsgroups.
7 Winona State University$8,7109,287YES
Winona State University is an online college in Minnesota that offers many course options for students to complete their degree work from a location of their choosing. A wide variety of online tools are provided and used to help students complete online coursework, including webmail, Desire2Learn and library reference databases.
8 University of Minnesota-Crookston$11,4563,152YES
The University of Minnesota at Crookstona makes available undergraduate degrees, undergraduate minors and certification programs online for distance learners to learn at their own pace. The Crookstona campus’ program listing, the first U of M online bachelor’s degrees, includes exciting subject areas such as applied health, management and communication.
9 Martin Luther College$11,7701,184YES
Martin Luther College provides students who prefer to seek out college coursework via distance learning with an opportunity to complete program courses online. The Continuing Education Office at the college offers online learning for a variety of education-based professionals as well as lay workers and staff ministers.
10 University of Minnesota-Morris$12,5492,085YES
The University of Minnesota – Morris works to appeal to a broad base of online learners. Their online program offerings include coursework relevant for advanced high school students and even distance learners who virtually commute to the classroom. Online program students have access to university resources such as the bookstore and advising.
11 University of Minnesota-Duluth$12,78511,361YES
Giving student an online college choice in Minnesota, the University of Minnesota in Duluth provides students who prefer a distance learning arrangement with a wide number of online courses in order to complete their college degree studies online. Courses that are available online through this university include those on topics such as accounting and business.
12 University of Minnesota-Rochester$13,106290YES
The University of Minnesota - Rochester is an online college option in Minnesota that offers both undergraduate and graduate degree courses via their online program, as well as doctorate course options. Degrees that are offered include health, information technology and marketing. Online students can access the Digital Campus for resources to help them along the way.
13 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities$13,45943,535YES
Degree options offered via the digital campus at the University of Minnesota in Twin Cities offers students many a choice in their online degree path. Both undergraduate and graduate level studies are offered completely in an online forum at the university. Specific programs include manufacturing management, marketing, communication and family education.
14 Oak Hills Christian College$14,670142YES
Oak Hills Christian College boasts online coursework that is centered on Christian-based curriculum. Courses are available online for adults looking to complete degree work in the following program areas: bachelor's in leadership and ministry and associate in biblical studies and ministry. Students who are seeking dual credit opportunities can also find available online courses through the college.
15 Crossroads College$15,280188YES
Crossroads College offers campus and online degree programs. A Christian school, Crossroads College counseling degree courses have the advantage of traditional classroom study as well as distance learning, providing students the flexibility to work and attend school simultaneously.
16 Dunwoody College of Technology$18,1541,493YES
Dunwoody College of Technology provides prospective students with the options of both traditional classroom study as well as online degree program study for their Applied Management and Entrepreneurship offering. The Applied Management program is focused on developing independent business owners, and offers Bachelor’s degree completion options for graduates of technical two-year Associate’s degree programs.
17 North Central University$19,0661,445YES
North Central University, an online college in Minnesota, maintains an online program in which distance learners can gain their master’s degree in a number of subject concentrations. These areas of study include master’s of business administration, master’s of education and master’s of arts in psychology.
18 Crown College$22,1001,108YES
Crown College, through its School of Online Studies, provides interested students with an online option for college learning. Course work is available for students at every stage of their college degree career, including those seeking associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. Crown College online degrees are accredited.
19 Northwestern College$26,9603,474YES
University of Northwestern (UNW) offers both classroom (campus) and distance (online) degree programs. UNW is a Christian liberal arts college, and since early in the 20th Century, students have developed knowledge and focused on their faith through Christ-centered, academically excellent education.
20 Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota$28,3202,366YES
Providing those seeking out a graduate degree online, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota provides adult students with a diverse portfolio of master’s degree options. Career-focused coursework helps students along their path toward degrees such as a master’s in science or master’s in arts.
21 Concordia University-Saint Paul$29,7002,131YES
The online program at Concordia University at Saint Paul is comprised of a number of different degree options. The university offers their online study at a more fast-paced, accelerated format for expedient attainment of a selected degree. Online degree work is offered for undergraduate and graduate programs such as Business, Finance & Marketing, Criminal Justice and even Teacher Education.
22 The College of Saint Scholastica$30,3983,277YES
Offering an online college option in Minnesota, the College of Saint Scholastica allows students to complete online coursework toward their degree. Online students at the college have the benefits of small class sizes, as well as a personal advisor to assist them in their online learning experience.
23 Minneapolis College of Art and Design$31,650626YES
Minneapolis College of Art and Design is a diverse school, where enrollment includes more than 600 students from 29 states and 12 countries. MCAD offers these students both classroom and online degree programs in Art, Design, Creativity / Humanities, Digital Media, Fine Arts, and more. MCAD student body is an equal mix of men and women, with the average student at 21 years of age.
24 St Catherine University$33,1764,438YES
St. Catherine University, or St. Kate’s as it’s also referred to, provides an online college choice in Minnesota for adults looking to complete degree work from their own location. The university offers a large number of over 20 degree and certificate choices that contain online course options
25 Hamline University$33,7522,268YES
Hamline University gives students an online college choice in Minnesota. The university lists a wide variety of degree options under their online program that include bachelor’s and master’s coursework. Their most highly offered area of online degree coursework is concentrated in the university’s School of Education, with over a dozen degrees available
26 University of St Thomas$33,7876,515YES
The University of St. Thomas provides online learning to students wanting to advance their knowledge in the field of education. The school, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, requires students to complete 36 hours of graduate-level coursework and have two years of field experience to complete their online Master's of Education degree program.
27 Saint Johns University$35,4861,929YES
St. John's University in Minnesota offers students the added opportunity to seek out select online courses available by the university. Providing an added option for student's course work, the option for online courses is available as they relate to the accounting degree plan course requirements.

Search Accredited Minnesota Online Colleges

The search for the right online college degree, certificate or course begins with students taking inventory of their academic needs and wants, including elements such as schedules, financial concerns, specific major interests, and career goals. The next step is to locate a program that fits the criteria. The search tool below takes these preferences into account and helps students narrow the search and find the right online degree program

Degree Level:
Tuition:
Student Population:
School Type:
60 results TUITION ACCEPTANCE RATE STUDENT POPULATION SCHOOL TYPE
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Minneapolis, Minnesota Four or more years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE 44% STUDENT POPULATION 51,526 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
BACHELOR'S DEGREES
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Management
  • Bachelor of Manufacturing Management
  • Bachelor of Manufacturing Management - Quality Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Accounting
  • Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship
  • Bachelor of Science in Finance
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Marketing
  • Bachelor of Science in Sport & Recreation Management
  • Bachelor of Applied Health
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Communication
  • Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies
  • Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Applied Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Multidisciplinary Studies
MASTERS DEGREES
  • Master of Education in Family Education
  • Master of Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Electrical Engineering
  • Master of Public Health in Maternal And Child Health
DOCTORATE DEGREES
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Health Innovation And Leadership
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Nursing Informatics
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Adult Health / Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Adult Health/Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Adult Health/Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Integrative Health And Healing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Nurse Anesthesia
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Nurse-Midwifery
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Specialist
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Public Health Nursing
Saint Cloud State University Saint Cloud, Minnesota Four or more years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE 87% STUDENT POPULATION 16,765 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
BACHELOR'S DEGREES
  • Bachelor of Elective Studies - Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Elective Studies - Community Psychology
MASTERS DEGREES
  • Master of Business Administration - Accelerated Graduate Program
  • Master of Business Administration - Twin Cities Program
  • Master of Science in Public Safety Executive Leadership
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Arts in Teaching English As A Second Language
  • Master of Science in Educational Administration
  • Master of Science in Higher Education Administration
  • Master of Science in Mathematics Education
  • Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Master of Science in Regulatory Affairs And Services
Minnesota State University-Mankato Mankato, Minnesota Four or more years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE 66% STUDENT POPULATION 15,426 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
BACHELOR'S DEGREES
  • Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Rn To Bsn)
  • Bachelor of Science in Technical Communication
  • Bachelor of Science in Applied Organizational Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Urban & Regional Studies
MASTERS DEGREES
  • Master of Science in Library Media Education
  • Master of Science in Educational Technology
  • Master of Science in Reading
  • Master of Science in Teaching And Learning
  • Master of Science in Spanish For The Professions
  • Master of Science in Communication Studies
  • Master of Science in Technical Communication
  • Mfa Forensics
University of Minnesota-Duluth Duluth, Minnesota Four or more years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE 78% STUDENT POPULATION 11,241 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
BACHELOR'S DEGREES
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Psychology
University of St Thomas Saint Paul, Minnesota Four or more years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE 86% STUDENT POPULATION 10,192 SCHOOL
TYPE
Private
MASTERS DEGREES
  • Master of Arts in Public Safety And Law Enforcement Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Special Education With A Specialization in Autism Spectrum Disorders (Asd)
Anoka-Ramsey Community College Coon Rapids, Minnesota 2+ years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE NR STUDENT POPULATION 9,320 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
ASSOCIATE DEGREES
  • Associate of Science Degree in Accounting
  • Associate of Science Degree in Business
  • Associate in Arts
Metropolitan State University Saint Paul, Minnesota Four or more years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE 100% STUDENT POPULATION 8,510 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
BACHELOR'S DEGREES
  • Bachelor of Science in Management
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Industrial Management
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Organizational Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Finance
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Marketing
  • Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement For Licensed Peace Officers
  • Bachelor of Arts in Individualized Studies
MASTERS DEGREES
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Public And Nonprofit Administration
  • Master of Management Information Systems
Saint Paul College Saint Paul, Minnesota 2+ years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE NR STUDENT POPULATION 6,740 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
ASSOCIATE DEGREES
  • Associate in Science in Business Management
  • Associate in Arts (Aa)
Inver Hills Community College Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota 2+ years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE NR STUDENT POPULATION 5,944 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
ASSOCIATE DEGREES
  • Associate of Applied Science in Contemporary Business Practice
  • Associate of Science in Contemporary Business
  • Associate in Arts - Anthropology
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Spotlight on Three Minnesota Online Colleges

We asked three of our top ranked schools to tell us what makes their programs rise above the rest. Here’s what they had to say:

Online Departments in Minnesota

Crown College

How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

  • Christian Focus. We integrate faith and ethics into every course and all that we do.
  • Academically Excellent. Our students are challenged to think critically and strategically.
  • Personal. Our mission is to prepare students; our faculty and staff are real people who are passionate about your success

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

  • Convenient. All of our programs are available fully online and most courses can be completed in just 7 weeks from wherever you are.
  • Affordable. We’re one of the Top 10 most affordable Christian colleges in the Midwest
  • Relevant. Each degree program equips you with the relevant skills needed to succeed in your discipline.

Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

  • Crown College will continue to expand the number of fully online degree programs offered at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
  • High demand concentrations will be added to degree programs.
  • Demand-based education and training will be offered to supplement full degree programs.
Oak Hills Christian College

We provide:

  • Flexible programs, courses and schedules that fit the adult learner.
  • Relevant and high quality academic courses and programs that are anchored in a biblical worldview and that integrate faith and learning in the real world context of each learner.

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

Oak Hills Christian College promises the online student:

  • You will graduate. If your goal is to complete an authentic academic degree, we will back you up! We are personal by choice and we will work with you.
  • You will be equipped and brought to a higher level in your job or ministry.
  • You will be a better person in any context with a solid grounding in your faith.
  • You will be a life long learner. Learning doesn't end with the degree! You will have the skills needed to keep pursuing your personal and professional interests.

Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

Our goal is to ensure that every Christian adult has access to quality biblical higher education that leads to effective service. We will continue to expand our available degree programs and will offer online and extension programs.

The College of Saint Scholastica

How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

Personal. Our online students are not isolated. Rather, they establish personal connections with faculty, staff and other students that allow them to truly be a part of the St. Scholastica community. They have access to:

  • Personal advisors that help them define their academic plan, reach their goals and support them along the way.
  • Small class sizes and all the individualized attention that comes with it.
  • Over 20 undergraduate and graduate degree options, and many online certificates.
  • The same access to services like tutoring, financial aid, student community groups and career counseling as on-campus students.

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

Aside from the personal touch and close contact with faculty and fellow students, our flexibility is a tremendous boon to students.

Through our CSS Complete program, we offer students a flexible and affordable pathway to finishing a college degree.

We evaluate and validate learning acquired through a variety of settings – including previous online course work, military service or work experience, and transfer credits – and determine how this experience meets our degree requirements. That means for many students, it's possible to design a very low-cost degree that can be completed in a much shorter time.

Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

St. Scholastica plans to continue to broaden its portfolio of online programs and explore new, innovative delivery formats. Online learning at St. Scholastica is vibrant, personal and engaging. Here we offer:

  • Interactive online learning tools that provide a variety of learning strategies to keeps students wanting to learn more
  • Multi-media presentations
  • A focus on communal and group learning
  • Online discussion boards visited by other students and faculty

Online Minnesota Colleges Guide

Opportunities for online learning continue to expand nationwide, and Minnesota mirrors that trend with traditional colleges now far outpacing for-profit online schools on the digital learning frontier. Minnesota is big in space and relatively sparse in population, meaning online education is a particular draw to students outside the St. Paul/Minneapolis metropolitan area, especially those in rural areas.

Leading the way in public postsecondary online education is the Minnesota Public State Colleges and Universities system, which currently includes 30 two-year community and technical colleges and seven four-year state universities.

Additionally, Minnesotans can choose from a number of private, non-profit colleges offering online degree programs and courses, including Crown College, Macalester College, and Concordia University-St. Paul.

Given its size, it is no surprise that Minneapolis serves as Minnesota’s main postsecondary education hub. There are over 24 colleges and universities alone calling the St. Paul/Minneapolis metropolitan area home, including the University of Minnesota. The next two sections provide a brief look at the current online college programs available in the Twin Cities.

College Choices in Minneapolis

Minneapolis offers abundant educational opportunities, ranging from large public institutions to smaller private schools such as Augsburg College, a four-year Lutheran college. Among public options, Minneapolis Community and Technical College emphasizes student support among its many services. The school has free tutoring not only in math, reading and writing but also in areas of technical documentation and health services. MCTC students also have access to resources held by the vast Minnesota State Colleges and Universities consortium.

The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities spans both Minneapolis and St. Paul and ranks among the largest public research universities in the nation. Forbes named UMTC a “rising star college” in its list of America’s Best Colleges. Thanks to its urban location, UMTC allows students the chance to gain experience in fields such as health care, business, government, public services, and the arts. The University of Minnesota takes pride in environmental responsibility and social engagement, with 51 departments providing service learning opportunities. The Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center focuses on community programs relating to areas of safety, nutrition, and literacy.

Learning Online in Minneapolis

Online offerings in this metropolis meet many different student needs, including degree completion, workforce training, and transfer to four-year institutions. Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s online associate degree programs cover business management, library information technology, and liberal arts, with emphases available in areas such as music and African Diaspora Studies. Some MCTC online courses may require a limited number of hours on campus.

The University of Minnesota features online degree completion programs, allowing customization for individuals with prior work experience or education. Online bachelor’s degree programs include multidisciplinary studies, with concentrations including arts and humanities, communication, science, and health science available. Students can choose from 16 online bachelor’s degrees in disciplines ranging from accounting to sport and recreation management. UM’s numerous graduate and undergraduate programs may be delivered fully online or in a blended format, as evidenced by the hybrid master’s program in health care administration.

Tuition, Fees & Cost of Living in Minnesota

Prospective Minnesota college students should do their homework by creating a budget for school-related expenses. Tuition, typically the largest cost, varies for public and private schools, and students should determine their eligibility for state resident status. Minnesota students who qualified saw average yearly tuition priced at $14,132 in 2012, the 12th highest in the nation.

Colleges may also charge additional fees for parking, campus shuttles or recreational opportunities like gym access. In 2012, Minnesota students paid an average of $696 in fees, bringing the total annual cost of education to $14,826.

The budget for college goes beyond tuition and fees, stretching to accommodate living expenses, books, supplies, and Internet connectivity for web-based coursework. Living costs in Minnesota are estimated at about 2 percent above the U.S. average; however, prices may vary for different parts of the state. The table below demonstrates the cost of living (COL) for major population centers in Minnesota, measured on a scale where 100% represents the national average:

Urban Area Composite Index Housing Groceries Utilities Transportation Health Care Misc.
Mankato -7.00% -23.50% -6.20% 13.50% 3.10% 4.30% -3.60%
St. Cloud -1.70% -19.30% 1.70% 17.20% -0.10% 2.00% 5.80%
Rochester -0.80% -8.90% -10.40% 4.80% 6.30% 9.50% 5.00%
St. Paul 10.00% 12.90% 7.00% 6.80% 3.40% 6.70% 12.20%
Minneapolis 11.00% 16.80% 11.60% 4.70% 3.70% 5.40% 10.40%

Return on investment could be one of the most overlooked criterions when it comes to college evaluation. Students and parents research tuition, fees, and location but less frequently evaluate post-graduation prospects. The following list examines the Minnesota colleges offering the best lifetime ROI, calculated by subtracting the total cost of attendance from the average lifetime earnings of alumni.

  1. Saint John’s University
  2. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
  3. Carleton College
  4. University of St. Thomas
  5. Macalester College

Accreditation Standards for Online Colleges in Minnesota

Accreditation assures prospective students that schools have met the recommended standards for providing a quality education. Students seeking financial assistance should ask prospective colleges about their accreditation status, as federal aid programs typically mandate that schools can demonstrate accreditation by an accepted organization. Colleges in Minnesota seeking regional accreditation apply to the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools ( www.northcentralassociation.org ).

Great Resources for Online Students in Minnesota

Online colleges and universities open up a new and exciting world of educational options for Minnesota students. As with anything new, there is much to discover about online learning and students should familiarize themselves with the tools and support services available to help ensure their academic success. The following list contains free resources specific to the Minnesota postsecondary educational landscape.

Major Minnesota Educational Resources