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Online Colleges in Minnesota

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On this page, we’ve collected resources that will help you approach earning an online degree from one of Minnesota’s online colleges. We begin by providing fact-driven surveys on postsecondary and online education in Minnesota today, which will give you a good idea of things like funding and enrollment trends.

Following these surveys are our rankings of online colleges in Minnesota that offer distance-based degree programs, ranked by affordability. You can find state-specific scholarship information, as well ― keep in mind that most funding opportunities are open to both online and on-campus students. Following rankings and aid info is our list of resources, which consists of trusted sites designed to help you with your higher education research. Finally, you can explore our database of online colleges across the country.

Postsecondary Education in Minnesota

Between 2008 and 2014, the average tuition inflation-adjusted rate at four-year public schools in Minnesota rose 19.5%.

Minnesota’s state and local government grant spending per student has fallen by 30.8% since 2008; nationally, state grant spending increased 9.8% during the same time period.

Tuition and fees at Minnesota’s public four-year institutions are just 8% higher than they were in 2009, nationally public four-year tuition rose a full 17%.

Minnesota enrollment rates across all public higher education institutions grew just over 10% between 2002 and 2012, national enrollment rates climbed 19% over the same period.

Online Education in Minnesota

NCES Report

According to a recent NCES report, in fall 2012, 26.2% of students enrolled in Title IV institutions in Minnesota (119,366 students) were in exclusively online programs.

  • 38.4% of those students were undergraduates
  • 5% were in public 4-year institutions
  • 3.9% were in private not-for-profit 4-year institutions
  • 78.3% were in private for-profit 4-year institutions
  • 24.9% were living in Minnesota
  • 72% were living elsewhere in the United States

The Minnesota Online Quality Initiative is a statewide effort to provide higher education faculty with the tools and resources needed to provide top-notch distance education courses.

Distance Minnesota is an e-learning consortium providing a variety of services targeted towards students, including: e-advising, an online course database, learning labs and support programs for special populations.

Most Affordable Online Colleges in Minnesota

Below you’ll find the very best online colleges in Minnesota, sorted by affordability. These rankings identify the fully online programs in a school’s catalogue, explain how the school’s online interface works and spotlight the recognition a school has received for its online initiatives.

Want to know what it takes to make our rankings? Check out our distinct approach.

Minnesota State University-Moorhead

Minnesota State University-Moorhead

An Online Education at Minnesota State University-Moorhead

Minnesota State University at Moorhead offers two undergraduate programs online, which students can either take fully online or as a hybrid, with online and in-person courses. Students taking advantage of hybrid programs can take part in lectures, group activities and chat sessions online, while still having access to face-to-face meetings with instructors. Students in online programs cover the same material as students in traditional programs and will have the same amount of interaction with peers and instructors, while receiving the same degree as traditional students in the same programs.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Operations Management

For students who don’t want to enroll in a full degree program, there are over 100 courses available to take one-by-one in the Course Schedule. Students can search the schedule for programs that are either fully online or hybrid (in person and online) classes.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Master of Healthcare Administration
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Master of Science in Educational Leadership
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Nurse Educator Graduate Certificate
  • Professional Counseling Graduate Certificate

The university offers several resources to help students determine if they are a good fit for an online degree program, including a preparatory quiz to make sure they have the necessary equipment and skills. Some of the software they use to manage online courses include Respondus, Panopto, WebEx and WikiSpace.

Contact Information

1104 7th Ave S
Moorhead, MN 56563
(218) 477-4000

Acclaim for online programs

  • #106 on US News And World Report’s Regional Universities (Midwest)

Metropolitan State University

Metropolitan State University
Saint Paul

An Online Education at Metropolitan State University

MSU has more online programs than all other state universities in Minnesota combined. Students have the option of completing their class work fully online or combining it with in-person class time, internships or other learning formats. The school offers a number of undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as graduate certificate programs. The student body is primarily made up of adult learners with full-time jobs, and so courses are structured around creating a schedule that allows for those students to succeed while still keeping up with the demands of the course.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Business Administration (B.S.)
  • Finance (B.S.)
  • Human Resource Management (B.S.)
  • Management (B.S.)
  • Marketing (B.S.)
  • Organizational Administration (B.A.S.)
  • Law Enforcement (B.S.) for licensed peace officers

MSU offers graduate certificate programs for specialized training in fields like Database Administration, Healthcare Information Technology Management and Information Assurance (Security).

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Public and Nonprofit Administration
  • Management Information Systems
  • Business Administration (MBA)

The MSU Center For Online Learning team created a sample course using the same software, Desire2Learn, that all the universities regular online courses use. This allows prospective students to navigate around a sample online course to make sure their system has the correct requirements and they are able to connect with course material online in a meaningful way.

Contact Information

700 E Seventh St
Saint Paul, MN 55106-5000
(651) 793-1212

Saint Cloud State University

Saint Cloud State University
Saint Cloud

An Online Education at Saint Cloud State University

SCSU online offers over 200 graduate and undergraduate courses to students seeking the flexibility of an online education. Many of the online courses are taught by the same instructors who teach the traditional on-campus courses, and most courses use the same textbooks and materials as well. Only one degree programs is offered fully online, while most require blended time spent on campus doing in-person work as well.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Bachelor in Elective Studies with a Major in Liberal Studies

The school also offers minors and licensure programs that can be completed online, including subjects like Criminal Justice, Community Psychology and Driver Education Teacher Preparation Licensure.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Applied Behavior Analysis, Master of Science
  • Criminal Justice Studies, Master of Science
  • Information Media, Instructional Design and Training, Master of Science
  • Teaching English as a Second Language, Master of Arts in English emphasis

SCSU Center for Continuing Studies offers a number of resources for online students to make sure their needs are met and they don’t fall behind. Online students can get access to free tutoring (called Smarthinking, which can be accessed 24 hours a day), as well as tools for taking proctored exams, podcasts for answering FAQs and more.

St. Cloud State University is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

Contact Information

720 Fourth Ave. South
Saint Cloud, MN 56301-4498
(320) 308-0121

Bemidji State University

Bemidji State University

An Online Education at Bemidji State University

BSU offers a number of undergraduate degrees online, though none of them can be completed online in their entirety. Instead, students take part in a program called the 2+2 Option. To complete the 2+2 degree, student must do 2 years of their undergraduate degree on the BSU campus or transfer to BSU online from a two-year community college. The final 2 years of the degree program can then be taken either fully online or via a combination of online and on-campus courses.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Accounting
  • Applied Engineering
  • Business Administration
  • Criminal Justice
  • Elementary Education
  • Marketing Communication
  • Nursing

Students can also take part in graduate programs designed to work with the schedules of working professionals.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Masters of Business Administration
  • Master of Science in Special Education

BSU also offers two certificate programs online, in Online Teaching and Secondary Education Licensure. BSU is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System.

Contact Information

1500 Birchmont Dr
Bemidji, MN 56601
(800) 475-2001

The College of Saint Scholastica

The College of Saint Scholastica

An Online Education at The College of Saint Scholastica

CSS online students get access to almost all of the same benefits as students doing their coursework on campus. Online courses offer students small class sizes, tutoring, library services, student community groups, financial aid and a personal advisor. Personal advisors help students plot out an individual course of study to help them reach their goals; advisors also support students throughout their time at university. In their classes, students participate in lectures, group work and multimedia presentations. They also have access to online discussion boards used by fellow students and faculty.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • B.A. Management
  • B.A. Marketing
  • B.A. Organizational Behavior
  • B.A./B.S Computer Science/Computer Information Systems
  • B.S. Health Information Management
  • Post-baccalaureate Nursing
  • RN to BS Online Nursing Track

There are a number of certificate programs available for online students at CSS as well. The subject areas include Educational Technology, Healthcare Informatics and Project Management.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Rural Healthcare MBA
  • M.A. IT Leadership
  • Master of Education
  • M.S. Health Information Management
  • M.S. Health Informatics
  • M.S Project Management
  • Post-master's Doctor of Nursing Practice

Students who have previous school or work experience may be eligible for CSS Complete, an accelerated online program. It is a way to craft a more cost-effective degree, by letting students apply credit from massive open online courses (MOOCS), military experience, work experience or previous education to their online degree. Students meet with advisors to see how their previous experience adds up to a full degree and to craft a personalized program.

Contact Information

1200 Kenwood Ave
Duluth, MN 55811-4199
(218) 723-6000

Acclaim for online programs

  • #42 on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Education Programs

Crown College

Crown College
Saint Bonifacius

An Online Education at Crown College

Crown college offers students a Christian college experience while pursuing traditional bachelor's and graduate degrees online. The School of Online Studies is open to all students who have a high school diploma, GED or a minimum GPA of 2.0 in previous college experience. Some students will receive awards of financial aid, and all students will be set up with an academic advisor who will help plot out the course of study and orient students to the online classroom.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Business Administration B.S.
  • Christian Ministry B.S.
  • Criminal Justice B.S.
  • Disaster and Emergency Management B.S.
  • General/Liberal Studies B.S.
  • Psychology/Counseling B.S.

Crown College offers a number of other programs for online students, including associate and certificate programs.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Business Administration MBA
  • Business Administration MBA, Non-Profits
  • Christian Studies MA
  • International Leadership Studies
  • Ministry Leadership
  • Organizational Leadership MA

Crown Online offers 24-hour free tutoring for all online students. Students also receive their own email address, access to an online bookstore, free academic counseling, an online chaplain for faith resources, an online orientation, a school social network and an online library with over 160,000 ebooks.

Crown College undergraduate and graduate programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission: North Central Association.

Contact Information

8700 College View Drive
Saint Bonifacius, MN 55375-9001
(952) 446-4100

Acclaim for online programs

  • Ranked among nation’s "Top Online Programs" by US News & World Report
  • "Top Ten Online Christian Colleges" by
  • Top Ten Most Affordable Christian Colleges in the Midwest by the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU)

Concordia University-Saint Paul

Concordia University-Saint Paul
Saint Paul

An Online Education at Concordia University-Saint Paul

CUSP offers online undergraduate and graduate degrees for adult students seeking a flexible program of study. Centered on a Christian-based education, students can pursue degrees in a number of traditional fields in online courses or blended courses that combine online and in-person learning. The school has been accredited since 1967, and was reaccredited in 2008 by the Higher Learning Commission. Students who pursue online degrees at CUSP get to create flexible class schedules and are able to access faculty for support.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Computer Science
  • Psychology
  • Family Science
  • Criminal Justice
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Hospitality Management
  • Child Development

CUSP also offers associate programs in General Studies and Early Childhood Education.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Education - Classroom Instruction
  • Exercise Science
  • Business Administration - Healthcare Management
  • Criminal Justice Leadership
  • Family Science
  • Forensic Mental Health
  • Special Education

CUSP makes training available to all potential online students, so they can get details and instruction on how to take an online course.

Online students who are accepted and stay enrolled in their program will maintain the same tuition rate at all times. The tuition rate is determined by need and financial aid, although online students do receive a tuition discount. This discount limits eligibility to other institutional scholarships, but financial aid is also available to students who apply and are eligible.

Students in fully online programs will receive all of their course material online; however, they are invited to campus to meet with professors face-to-face if they are interested. Online students also have access to the campus library, though again that access is in-person only.

Contact Information

1282 Concordia Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55104-5494
(651) 641-8278

Acclaim for online programs

  • #40 on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Bachelor’s Programs
  • #111 on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online MBA Programs
  • #60 on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Business Programs (Excluding MBA)
  • #34 on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs
  • #60 on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Education Programs

Bethel University

Bethel University
Saint Paul

An Online Education at Bethel University

BU offers classes for working adults who want to start or complete their undergraduate education, and those who are pursuing graduate degrees as well. Students experience small class sizes, high quality course material and easy access to knowledgeable professors in a Christian faith-based environment. Many of the degree programs at BU can be accelerated, so that some students may be able to complete a bachelor’s in as little as 2 years.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Business Management
  • Christian Ministries
  • Human Services
  • Nursing (RN to B.S.)
  • Organizational Leadership

BU also offers Associate of Arts degrees and Associate of Science degrees in Business and Leadership. However, BU does not offer any online graduate programs at this time. Some courses are offered online on an individual basis to help students get additional credits they may need.

Financial aid and scholarships are available for students, and there are special benefits for members of the military and people employed by corporate partners of the school.

BU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The Education and Nursing programs at BU are also approved by the Minnesota Board of Teaching and Minnesota Board of Nursing.

Contact Information

3900 Bethel Dr
Saint Paul, MN 55112
(651) 638-6400

University of Minnesota – Crookston

University of Minnesota – Crookston

An Online Education at University of Minnesota – Crookston

UMC offers online courses for undergraduate students using a platform called Moodle, which enables students to access all of their course and personal information in one place. Students within degree programs are given priority access to the courses required for their degree every semester, and after that time all students (even those not enrolled in a degree program) will have the opportunity to enroll in any class available.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Accounting
  • Applied Health
  • Applied Studies
  • Communication
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Health Management

Students also have the option of taking on a minor when pursuing an online undergraduate degree. The topics for minor study include:

Online Certificates

  • Finance Certificate
  • Health Informatics Certificates
  • Manufacturing Management Certificate
  • Taxation Certificate

Students in online programs take courses through the platform Moodle. They are given a UMC login and password, which allow them to view all of their available courses from their user dashboard, as well as their grades, financial information, transcripts and the contact information for all of their course instructors.

Scholarships are available for online students; the University of Minnesota, Crookston Online Scholarship is a $500 annual scholarship for full- and part-time online students.

Contact Information

2900 University Ave
Crookston, MN 56716-5001
(800) 862-6466

Acclaim for online programs

  • #34 on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Bachelor’s Programs

University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

An Online Education at University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

UMTC offers a number of opportunities for their students with Digital Campus, a program launched in 2008 to leverage technology to spread technology to a wider number of students than ever before. Offering over 1,400 online courses, UMTC offers fully online courses as well as hybrid courses that combine online learning with in-person interaction. Online students get access to student support services and advising, and interact with fellow students and faculty using wikis, emails, chat, blogs and online discussions.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Business Management
  • Communication
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Health Management
  • Marketing
  • Psychology

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Computer Science
  • Dental Hygiene - Education
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Family Education
  • Health Informatics
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Tribal Administration and Governance

In addition to undergraduate and graduate degrees, students can also engage in Doctoral Degree programs, professional development courses, certificate programs and individual degree-completion courses.

High school students can also complete Post Secondary Enrollment Option coursework online with UMTC to get a jumpstart on their college credits.

Technology help is available to online studies via phone, email, online and in person. UMTC’s learning platform uses a number of education software tools, including Moodle, myLibrary and podcasts to deliver information to students.

Contact Information

100 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0213
(612) 625-5000

Scholarships and Financial Aid in Minnesota

Anderson Niskanen Scholarship

Deadline: January 15, 2016
Scholarship Amount $2,000 See Scholarship

Available to high school seniors at Duluth public high schools who will attend the University of Minnesota (Duluth or Twin Cities) next fall. Applicants must demonstrate financial need, and must be in the top 25% of their graduating class.

Cultural Diversity Scholarships

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount $5,000 See Scholarship

Provided by St. Cloud State University to incoming students who contribute to the cultural diversity of the student body. To be eligible, students must demonstrate academic merit through their high school curriculum, GPA, and ACT/SAT scores. Maximum award amount is $5,000 per year for 4 years.

Jeanne H. Hemmingway Scholarship

Deadline: January 15, 2016
Scholarship Amount $2,250 See Scholarship

This scholarship is available to high school seniors in St. Louis, Lake, or Cook county who will attend the University of Minnesota – Duluth next fall. Selection is based on academic merit and financial need. Applicants must be in the top 15% of their graduating class.

Minnesota Gold Scholarship

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount $10,000 See Scholarship

In-state freshmen entering the University of Minnesota are automatically considered for the Gold Scholar Award. Primary selection factors are high school GPA, class rank, and SAT or ACT scores. Outstanding talent, community service and leadership, or other proofs of character are also considered.

Minnesota State Grant

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount $10,745 See Scholarship

For in-state students attending a Minnesota public university or community college. The award is based on financial need. The maximum amount is $6,927 for students at two-year schools, or $10,745 for students at four-year schools. Funding is provided by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.

National Merit Finalist Scholarship

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount $6,000 See Scholarship

This scholarship is for incoming freshmen at St. Thomas University who have been selected as National Merit finalists. To be eligible, students must have indicated St. Thomas as their first-choice school to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Award is $6,000, and is in addition to other aid.

Presidential Leadership Scholarship

Deadline: May 5, 2015
Scholarship Amount $10,000 See Scholarship

Freshmen entering Bemidji State University are automatically considered for the Presidential Scholarship. Selection is based on academic merit. To be eligible, students must have an ACT score of 28+; and either be in the top 10% of their class, or have a GPA of 3.8+.

Presidential Scholarship

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount $20,000 See Scholarship

For freshmen entering Minnesota State University. The university will select the recipient based on high school GPA, class rank, ACT scores, leadership, and personal essay. Applicants must rank in the top 10% of their graduating class with a GPA of 3.8+ and an ACT score of 26+.

Presidential Scholarship

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount $22,000 See Scholarship

Freshmen entering Hamline University are automatically considered for the Presidential Scholarship. Selection is competitive, based on high school GPA, class rank, and SAT or ACT scores. No separate application is required.

Transfer Scholarship

Deadline: June 1, 2015
Scholarship Amount $1,000 See Scholarship

Available to transfer students entering Bemidji State University who completed an associate’s degree at a Minnesota community college. A GPA of 3.5+ is required. Applicants must be Minnesota residents. Award amount is $1,000.

Higher Education Resources in Minnesota