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Online Colleges in North Dakota

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Since 2008, North Dakota has distinguished itself by significantly increasing state funding for higher education. With tuition fees below the national average, new quality standards, spending per student skyrocketing and a collaborative and interconnected state university system, new students will find their options for higher education increasingly attractive in coming years. Financially and academically, North Dakota is taking significant strides forward in delivering quality education to its growing population.

But before we dive into our list of best online colleges in ND for 2016, let’s start with the state of higher education and online education in particular in North Dakota today.


A Brief Overview of Higher Education in North Dakota

In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that North Dakota had 21 degree-granting institutions, broken down as follows: 14 public schools, 6 nonprofits and 1 for-profits. The total number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the ’12-’13 school year at these schools was: 5,275 at public schools, 648 at private nonprofits and 60 at private for-profits.

Tuition-wise, the College Board found that, in the ’15-’16 school year, the average in-state tuition and fees for four-year public schools was $7,690, while the out-of-state average was $18,580.

As for the state’s financial aid efforts, the National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs (NASSGAP) reported that North Dakota awarded $9.94 million in need-based grants and $8.44 million in non-need grants for the ’13-’14 school year. Grants make up 4.5% of the state’s total fiscal support for higher education. State funding for higher education increased 38.6% from’ 08-’14, marking the highest funding increase of any state.

There was also a 20.3% increase in state spending per student from ‘14-’15, again making North Dakota a leader in this area.

With exceptionally low unemployment, booming population growth projected through 2020 and a growing legislative budget surplus, the future of higher education looks bright in North Dakota. Addressing the need for greater unification and collaboration amongst institutions of higher learning, the State Board of Higher Education has implemented the North Dakota University System’s Pathways to Student Success Plan, which addresses issues of higher education standards of quality, affordable tuition and accountability.

The plan is also designed to bolster the North Dakota University System over a five year time period. This plan, though still debated and undergoing changes in policy and leadership, will certainly play a central role in the future of higher education in North Dakota. Expanding access to non-traditional educational delivery methods is high on the list of talking points in response to growing demand for online, distance learning resources.


The State of Online Higher Education in North Dakota

The NCES estimates that at least 22.9% of students enrolled in North Dakota’s Title IV institutions are in fully online programs. Of those, 5.2% were reported to be undergraduates and 67% were found to be living in North Dakota.

Though there are fewer colleges and universities in North Dakota, most of the top public and private institutions offer numerous degree programs fully online. Spread across its 11 universities, the North Dakota University System’s online offerings now include over 1000 courses, numerous certificate programs and 41 bachelor’s and 38 graduate degrees.

North Dakota is also a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, which offers students cost-saving options for online learning and resources for out-of-state students. Online degrees from many of these institutions are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Because of the rural geography of North Dakota and the sparse distribution of institutions, online education will surely provide an effective option for students living in more remote parts of the state.


Best Online Colleges in North Dakota

Below, you will find our rankings of the best online four-year programs in North Dakota. Our profiles look at how schools approach online education and then list out their services for distance students and their popular, fully online degrees. After reviewing our best of North Dakota, explore our state resources, like a database of every college and university in North Dakota or our index of popular in-state scholarships.

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

Methodology

To determine the best online colleges in each state, we examined the factors most important to prospective students: Academic quality and reputation, online program strength, and cost and student aid. At the most basic level, we use the following formula to determine the best online colleges: Academic Quality + Online Offerings + Cost and Student Aid = Final Score. Of course, there's more to these calculations than meets the eye. Visit our methodology page to discover the data points that shape our formula and to learn more about the process we use to rank schools.

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University of North Dakota

1
University of North Dakota
Grand Forks
$7,508
$17,794

An Online Education at University of North Dakota

The majority of online courses at UND are managed with the Blackboard learning management platform. The system allows students to access instructor-provided materials for each course, turn in assignments, participate in chats and other forms of class collaboration and view grades. Other software applications that enhance the virtual learning process include Tegrity, Collaboration Stations, SafeAssign, Adobe Connect, Adobe Presenter, Citrix and Clickers. Online self-help is accessed via the SmarThinking tutoring service and Atomic Learning training modules.

The university's tech support staff is highly trained in Apple and PC maintenance and the intricacies of educational software. Help is available via live chat, email or over the phone.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Nursing - RN to BSN Program
  • Communication
  • Psychology
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Petroleum Engineering

Students who wish to continue their education, or working professionals returning to school, also have an impressive number of choices among distance-only degree plans.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Business Administration (MBA)
  • Elementary Education
  • Social Work (MSW for BSW Students)
  • Nursing
  • Space Studies
  • Applied Economics
  • Public Health (MPH)

Over a dozen certification programs are on the distance learning menu as well. Working professionals can advance their knowledge and marketability through study in education specialties, nurse education, environmental engineering, policy analysis, social entrepreneurship and others.

Contact Information

264 Centennial Drive, Stop 8193
Grand Forks, ND 58202-8193
(800) 225-5863


Acclaim for online programs

  • #194on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Bachelor's Programs
  • #25on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Business Programs (excluding MBA)
  • #32on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online MBA Programs

Minot State University

2
Minot State University
Minot
$6,086

An Online Education at Minot State University

MSU provides interested students with the opportunity to pursue several undergraduate- and graduate-level degrees and certificates completely online. With a few degree-specific exceptions, classes are asynchronous and students are never required to appear on campus.

MSU employs the Blackboard Learn distance education software. This method of content delivery is augmented by Tegrity, Collaborate, SafeAssignment and the Respondus LockDown Browser; all of these technologies combine to create a dynamic, fully engaged learning experience. An exhaustive student services page links everything a distance education student could need, including the SmarThinking Online Tutoring tool, the writing center, advising and the Gordon B. Olson Library.

Undergraduates can choose from ten bachelor's degree programs and three professional certifications.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Management
  • Management Information Systems
  • Marketing
  • International Business
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing for Registered Nurses
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Services: Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • Bachelor of General Studies

Professionals in software, web development or management can earn specialized credentials online, as can educational professionals who work with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Master of Science in Management (MSM)
  • Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS)
  • Master of Science in Special Education

Online courses follow the traditional school calendar, and degrees are completed in the same time frame as students' campus-bound peers, though courses can be accessed 24/7.

Contact Information

500 University Ave W
Minot, ND 58707
(701) 858-3000


Acclaim for online programs

  • #142on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Bachelor's Programs
  • #71on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Business Programs (excluding MBA)

Dickinson State University

3
Dickinson State University
Dickinson
$5,846
$8,198

An Online Education at Dickinson State University

DSU delivers its distance education offerings via the Moodle learning management system, which is supplemented by Tegrity and Blackboard Collaborate. Used together, this technology allows for productive collaboration with classmates and instructors. Most courses are taken asynchronously, but professors have the option to include components that require students to log on at a certain time. Not all quizzes and exams require proctoring, but the Respondus LockDown Browser is used for safe testing when a proctor is needed.

Students and faculty have 24/7 access to the Atomic Learning online resource. This tool provides training and best practices information on Moodle and 200 other software platforms and applications used in the virtual classroom. One-on-one live-chat tutoring is also provided free of charge via the SmarThinking distance education service.

DSU offers a number of bachelor's degree programs fully online, as well as a selection of associate degrees and professional certification in human resources.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • BS in Accounting
  • BS in Business Administration
  • BS in Finance
  • BS in Human Resource Management
  • Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Bachelor of University Studies

Online students at DSU receive the full breadth of student services that are offered to its campus students. Each student is assigned a distance learning advisor and an advisor within the field of study.

Students living outside of North Dakota are welcomed, however, DSU is unable to offer degrees in every state and potential applicants should check the state authorization page to ensure they are eligible to pursue a degree.

Contact Information

291 Campus Drive
Dickinson, ND 58601-4896
(701) 483-2507

Valley City State University

4
Valley City State University
Valley City
$6,516
$14,596

An Online Education at Valley City State University

VCSU offers a range of options for adult students seeking a bachelor's degree. Students may attend traditional classrooms on several North Dakota campuses, via interactive video in real time or by distance learning or correspondence courses. Some classes may be hybrids of online learning and face-to-face class time. Qualified distance learners can buy or rent laptops from the university.

Students in online-only courses complete class work asynchronously. All classes are hosted on the Blackboard Learn educational management platform. Technical assistance is provided through a help desk during business hours and the Right Answers online help database. VCSU is authorized to grant degrees in every state except Alabama, Arkansas and Maryland.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Business Education, B.S.Ed.
  • Business Process Integration Management, B.A., B.S.
  • Career And Technical Education, B.S.
  • English Education, B.S.Ed.
  • History Education, B.S.Ed.
  • Professional Communication - Corporate, B.A., B.S.

Distance students may also pursue a number of undergraduate minors and graduate-level certifications online. Graduates are encouraged to continue higher education online in the Master of Education (M.Ed.) program; master's degree candidates may concentrate their studies in technology education, teaching and technology, library and information science or ELL. In addition to degrees, licensed teachers may earn professional credentials in library media, ESL instruction and technology education.

Contact Information

101 College St SW
Valley City, ND 58072
(701) 845-7990


Acclaim for online programs

  • #111on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Bachelor's Programs
  • #54on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Education Programs

North Dakota State University

5
North Dakota State University
Fargo
$7,660
$18,242

An Online Education at North Dakota State University

NDSU uses Blackboard to deliver online components for their classes. Instructors also use tools like Tegrity and Collaborate to facilitate meaningful discussion and idea exchange among students, and some professors record podcasts on iTunes. Students have access to additional resources, such as a writing center, online tutoring via SmarThinking and TutorND, the Atomic Learning training tool and full access to the digitally optimized NDSU Library.

Degree-seeking students may choose among more than 30 completely online programs.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • B.S. in Human Development & Family Science
  • B.S. in Agricultural Communication
  • B.S. in Journalism
  • B.S. in Health Communication
  • B.S. in Sociology
  • Bachelor of University Studies

Students may also pursue undergraduate minors and certificates completely online.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Master of Construction Management
  • M.Ed. in Educational Leadership: Teacher Education Option
  • M.S. or M.A. in Mass Communication
  • Master of Transportation & Urban Systems
  • M.S. in Dietetics (Great Plains IDEA)
  • M.Ed. in Family & Consumer Science Education (Great Plains IDEA)
  • M.S. in Merchandising (Great Plains IDEA)

Working adults can also take advantage of a wide range of professional certification courses that can grow their careers.

Contact Information

1301 12th Avenue North
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
(701) 231-8011

University of Mary

6
University of Mary
Bismarck
$14,730

An Online Education at University of Mary

UMary uses the Canvas LMS to deliver all of its online content and courses to students and instructors. Through its interface, students communicate with their peers and teachers and access and submit coursework; the learning management system is mobile-friendly. Students can watch several instructional videos to familiarize themselves with Canvas before they begin class.

This private, Catholic school bases all programs in the teachings of the church. It strives to prepare students for a life committed "to the common good" within their professional fields. With several online programs available at the undergraduate- and graduate-levels, students with an interest in a Benedictine-based education have many options.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Accounting
  • Business: Accounting Concentration
  • Business: Human Resources Concentration
  • Business: Management Concentration
  • Business: Marketing Concentration
  • Nursing: R.N. to B.S.N. completion program
  • Organizational Leadership

Online Graduate Degrees

  • M.B.A. in Healthcare
  • M.B.A. in Management
  • M.Ed. in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
  • M.S. in Strategic Leadership
  • M.S. in Human Performance: Exercise Physiology
  • M.S.N. Nurse Administrator B.S.N. to M.S.N.
  • M.S.N. Nurse Educator

Contact Information

7500 University Dr
Bismarck, ND 58504
(701) 255-7500


Acclaim for online programs

  • #172on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Bachelor's Programs

Mayville State University

7
Mayville State University
Mayville
$6,353
$8,675

An Online Education at Mayville State University

MSU delivers online courses via the Moodle learning management system. A mandatory online orientation provides student training a week prior to class. Instructors issue assignments on a weekly basis, and all access to class materials is asynchronous. Students are responsible for identifying a qualified proctor for their exams.

Online degrees follow the same curriculum map as on campus and is designed to be finished in an equivalent time frame. However, part-time students may appreciate that there is no minimum enrollment requirement for online classes. Distance learning students are granted access to the online and brick-and-mortar university library, academic advising services, the writing center and the bookstore. Additional training on electronic learning tools is provided via the Atomic Learning resource tool, and tutoring is available free of charge via the SmarThinking online service through Moodle.

Exclusively online students can pursue associate and bachelor's degrees or undergraduate-level certifications.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • B.A.S. in Business Administration
  • B.A. in Early Childhood
  • B.S.Ed. In Mathematics Education
  • B.S. in Mathematics
  • B.S. in Nursing
  • B.S.Ed. in Special Education
  • B.U.S. in University Studies

Contact Information

330 Third Street NE
Mayville, ND 58257-1299
(701) 788-2301


Acclaim for online programs

  • #211on U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Bachelor's Programs

Most Affordable Online Colleges in North Dakota

Below you’ll find a second ranking of the top online colleges in ND (North Dakota), sorted by their tuition rates.

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

Methodology

Our list of the most affordable online colleges is based on in-state yearly tuition, or annual tuition rates if a school does not differentiate between in-state and out-of-state students. Tuition rates are based on a full course load each semester or term. All colleges on the list offer at least one bachelor's degree completion program available entirely online. Those institutions with the lowest tuition are ranked highest, providing prospective students with a true list of the most affordable online colleges in their state.

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Dickinson State University

1
Dickinson State University
Dickinson
$5,846
$8,198

Minot State University

2
Minot State University
Minot
$6,086

Mayville State University

3
Mayville State University
Mayville
$6,353
$8,675

Valley City State University

4
Valley City State University
Valley City
$6,516
$14,596

University of North Dakota

5
University of North Dakota
Grand Forks
$7,508
$17,794

North Dakota State University

6
North Dakota State University
Fargo
$7,660
$18,242

University of Mary

7
University of Mary
Bismarck
$14,730


Scholarships and Financial Aid in North Dakota

Diversity Award

Deadline: February 15, 2017
Scholarship Amount Amount varies See Scholarship

This tuition waiver is available to undergraduates at Minot State University. To be eligible, students must have a GPA of 2.25+, and belong to a historically under-represented ethnic or economic group. North Dakota residents receive a 50% tuition reduction; Non-residents receive a 10% reduction.

Melvin R. Arnold Scholarship

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount $9,000 See Scholarship

Open to University of Jamestown students majoring in biochemistry, chemistry, biology, math, or clinical lab science. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.7+ and an ACT score of 26+ (SAT 1180+). The total award is $9,000, distributed over 4 years of undergraduate study.

North Dakota Indian Scholarship

Deadline: open
Scholarship Amount $2,000 See Scholarship

The North Dakota University System provides between 150 and 175 scholarships to members of the North Dakota Indian tribes who are enrolled in a North Dakota college or university. Selection is based on academic ability and financial need. Maximum award is $2,000 per year for 4 years.

North Dakota Scholars

Deadline: July 1, 2016
Scholarship Amount Full tuition See Scholarship

Provided by the North Dakota University System, this scholarship is available to North Dakota high school students planning to pursue an undergraduate degree. To be eligible, students must have an ACT score within the upper 5th percentile of all test takers in the state. Award is full tuition for 4 years.

North Dakota State Student Incentive Grant Program

Deadline: April 15, 2016
Scholarship Amount $1,650 See Scholarship

Provided by the North Dakota University System for students who are pursuing an undergraduate degree at a public, private, or tribal college within the state. To be eligible, students must have graduated from high school or earned a GED in North Dakota. The award is distributed based on applicants’ financial need. Maximum award is $1,650 per year.

Treacy Foundation Scholarship

Deadline: May 1, 2016
Scholarship Amount $2,000 See Scholarship

The Treacy Foundation provides this scholarship for freshmen and sophomores who are residents of North Dakota. Students are evaluated and selected based on their financial need, academic performance, and extracurriculars or community service. The award is $2,000 per year, renewable for up to 4 years.

Wilson Scholarship

Deadline: February 15, 2017
Scholarship Amount $14,000 See Scholarship

The University of Jamestown awards the Wilson Scholarship to four qualified students each year. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.6+ and an ACT score of 26+ (SAT 1180+). Participation in a Scholarship Day competition and personal interview is required. Award amounts range from $14,000 to full tuition for 4 years.


Higher Education Resources in North Dakota