Minnesota Online Colleges & Universities – Top Online Schools for 2014

AC Online: Ranking the Most Affordable Online Colleges in Minnesota

Minnesota claims some of the best online distance learning programs in the country. From esteemed faculty to tuition assistance, students at online schools in Minnesota enjoy all of the same benefits as their on-campus peers. This state has a plethora of fully online four-year degree programs that are all accredited institutions. So, distance learners can work toward degrees and certifications with more flexibility and excellent tuition assistance at some of the best Minnesota online colleges. To ease the search for the right online college, we’ve listed the best online programs in Minnesota, ordered from lowest tuition to highest.

Click here to see our methodology.

Metropolitan State University

700 E Seventh St, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55106-5000

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.


Saint Cloud State University

720 Fourth Ave. South, Saint Cloud, Minnesota 56301-4498

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.


Minnesota State University-Mankato

South Rd and Ellis Ave, Mankato, Minnesota 56001

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.


Minnesota State University Moorhead

1104 7th Ave S, Moorhead, Minnesota 56563

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.


Southwest Minnesota State University

1501 State St, Marshall, Minnesota 56258-5468

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.


Bemidji State University

1500 Birchmont Dr, Bemidji, Minnesota 56601

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.


Winona State University

8th and Johnson St, Winona, Minnesota 55987-5838

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.


University of Minnesota-Crookston

2900 University Ave, Crookston, Minnesota 56716-5001

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.


Martin Luther College

1995 Luther Ct, New Ulm, Minnesota 56073-3965

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.


University of Minnesota-Morris

309 Behmler Hall, Morris, Minnesota 56267

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.


University of Minnesota-Duluth

515 Darland Administration Bldg, Duluth, Minnesota 55812

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.


University of Minnesota-Rochester

300 University Square 111 South Broadway, Rochester, Minnesota 55904

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.


University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

100 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455-0213

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.

Oak Hills Christian College - Online

Oak Hills Christian College

1600 Oak Hills Rd SW, Bemidji, Minnesota 56601-8834

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.

Approach to Online Learning

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.


Crossroads College

920 Mayowood Road SW, Rochester, Minnesota 55902-2382

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.


Dunwoody College of Technology

818 Dunwoody Blvd, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403-1192

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.


North Central University

910 Elliot Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404-1391

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.


Crown College

8700 College View Drive, Saint Bonifacius, Minnesota 55375-9001

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.

Approach to Online Learning

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.


Northwestern College

3003 Snelling Ave N, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55113-1598

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.


Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

700 Terrace Heights, Winona, Minnesota 55987-1399

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.


Concordia University-Saint Paul

275 Syndicate Street North, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104-5494

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.


The College of Saint Scholastica

1200 Kenwood Ave, Duluth, Minnesota 55811-4199

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.

Approach to Online Learning

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


Minneapolis College of Art and Design

2501 Stevens Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404

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.


St Catherine University

2004 Randolph Ave, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55105

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


Hamline University

1536 Hewitt Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104-1284

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


University of St Thomas

2115 Summit Ave, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55105-1078

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.


Saint Johns University

31802 County Rd 159, Collegeville, Minnesota 56321

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.

Finding an Affordable Higher Education in Minnesota

Minnesota, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” as they call it, has more to offer than beautiful environs. Most of the population of the state lives in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, but many rural towns dot the landscape. Students that are in those little towns, as well as the larger metropolitan areas, know that getting a great education is important if they want to have a great job later in life. Education is so important that an amazing 91.5% of the residents in the state have their high school diploma, and 31.5% of the residents hold at least a bachelor’s degree. They even have 10.3% of the population holding advanced degrees. Some students are going the traditional route, but others are choosing to find affordable online schools in Minnesota.

Pursuing a Degree in Minnesota

While the population of the state might not be too large, Minnesota does still have quite a few traditional colleges. They offer 39 two-year or more schools, and 79 four-year or more schools. In addition, students could choose to go the more modern route and find affordable online colleges in Minnesota. While this could be great for those who are in the rural areas of the state, you will find that many students right in the cities are choosing the online option as well. It is far more convenient, as well will see. In addition, the online schools of today are high quality, at least when you take your time and find the right school. This means that it is going to be possible to choose a school that can provide you with everything from an associate’s degree to a doctorate.

Benefits of Choosing Online Classes in Minnesota

The online colleges of today are popular for quite a few different reasons. First, the convenience mentioned briefly earlier. The schools are online, which means that you can do your studying and your lessons through the web whenever you have the time. You are not bound to some brick and mortar school’s schedule. In the snowy area of Minnesota, this can be quite handy. It’s always nicer to be able to stay at home where it is nice and warm to do your lessons instead of trudging through the snow in an effort to make it to school on time. In addition to the convenience they offer, you will find that they are also able to offer classes in just about anything that you could want to study. You will be able to get a degree in business, computer science, information technology, art, criminal justice, and much more.

Saving Money with Online Education

One of the biggest reasons that students decide not to attend college is the cost. They fear the amount that they are going to have to pay, and they do not want to go too deep into debt with student loans. When you look at the cost of even the public schools in the state, you can see why. Going to a two-year public school is going to be $5,380 on average, and a four-year school is going to be $10,388 on average. You will still have to factor in your cost of living while you are at the school. This is just too much for many students, and that is why they are instead choosing affordable online colleges in Minnesota.

Getting a degree can make a difference in your life, and you should not let anything stop you from reaching for your dreams. Start looking for a quality program with great online classes today. Make sure that the school has accreditation, as well as a good reputation.

Previous Rankings
AC Online: Ranking the Highest ROI Colleges in Minnesota
AC Online: Ranking the Highest ROI Colleges in Minnesota

It’s important both students and parents become conscious consumers when making educational decisions. Partnering with the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the Carnegie Foundation, and PayScale.com, we generated a list of top colleges in Minnesota with low net costs (tuition + fees), and whose graduates enjoy the highest lifetime earnings when compared to non-degree holders. Check out the Minnesota colleges that made our exclusive list:

Click here to see our methodology.
Minnesota Colleges Analyzed: 145
Minnesota Colleges Ranked: 22
# College Name City ROI Tuition Type Photo
1 Saint John's University (SJU) - Collegeville, MN Collegeville $860,800 $35,486 Private not-for-profit
2 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis $825,900 $13,459 Public (In-State)
3 Carleton College Northfield $774,600 $44,445 Private not-for-profit
4 University of St. Thomas - Saint Paul, MN Saint Paul $753,700 $33,787 Private not-for-profit
5 Macalester College Saint Paul $672,500 $43,693 Private not-for-profit
6 Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) Marshall $630,600 $8,074 Public (In-State)
7 University of Minnesota - Duluth Campus Duluth $573,500 $12,785 Public (In-State)
8 Saint Cloud State University Saint Cloud $501,800 $7,472 Public (In-State)
9 Minnesota State University - Mankato Campus Mankato $496,300 $7,531 Public (In-State)
10 St. Olaf College Northfield $472,200 $39,560 Private not-for-profit
11 Concordia University - Saint Paul, MN Saint Paul $451,400 $19,700 Private not-for-profit
12 St. Catherine University - St. Paul, MN Saint Paul $411,300 $33,176 Private not-for-profit
13 Winona State University Winona $404,800 $8,710 Public (In-State)
14 Bethel University - Saint Paul, MN Saint Paul $394,300 $30,840 Private not-for-profit
15 Minneapolis College of Art and Design Minneapolis $393,100 $31,650 Private not-for-profit
16 Augsburg College Minneapolis $366,400 $31,942 Private not-for-profit
17 Minnesota State University - Moorhead Campus Moorhead $306,600 $7,834 Public (In-State)
18 Bemidji State University (BSU) Bemidji $302,600 $8,107 Public (In-State)
19 Concordia College - Moorhead, MN Moorhead $300,000 $30,860 Private not-for-profit
20 College of Saint Benedict (CSB) - Saint Joseph, MN Saint Joseph $193,900 $36,218 Private not-for-profit
21 Hamline University Saint Paul $188,000 $33,752 Private not-for-profit
22 Gustavus Adolphus College Saint Peter $177,100 $37,660 Private not-for-profit