Best Online Colleges in Minnesota

Sponsored Schools
Online or Campus
Badge (Online) with 2-Line TitleBest Collegesin Minnesota2017
See MethodologyGet Ranking Seal

Students interested in an online program in Minnesota can pursue their education in a state that has taken steps to reflect its dedication to affordable and quality higher education. The Minnesota legislature voted in 2013 to reject tax cuts for a number of high-earning households and businesses, enabling the state to prevent higher education cuts and freezing tuition for public colleges. In the same year, the MN Dream Act, also known as the “Prosperity Act,” became law, making undocumented students eligible for in-state tuition and financial aid.

A number of tools are available for students interested in online programs and courses. Distance Minnesota, a group of four colleges, is an organization that provides a shared course catalogue as well as 24/7 support for students. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education also offers assistance on its website by identifying credible online programs, assessing your online learning readiness, and helping prospective students calculate costs and savings. And as a member of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, Minnesota students are entitled to tuition reciprocity with other member states.

See Methodology
Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 79.84 3/5 73% Minneapolis, MN

One of the best online colleges in Minnesota, UM offers a variety of undergraduate degrees completely online, from Applied Health and Manufacturing Management, to Communication and Accounting. Coursework for partially online degree programs, including Social Work and Medical Laboratory Sciences, are available 50-80% online. The University’s main campus is located in Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul), and is home to 30,500 undergraduate students. Students can participate in more than 800 student groups, such as Cafe Culture, Entrepreneurship Club, and Hip Hop Lab. The school offers undergraduate and graduate certificates, graduate degrees, and doctorate degrees. The University has four other campuses in addition to Twin Cities. Alumni include former Vice President Walter Mondale and Tony Dungy, Super Bowl championship coach. University alumni have started approximately 10,000 companies. Online students resources include technology help; free training software for MS office programs, and a free mini course in Overcoming Your Tendency to Procrastinate.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
2 Minnesota State University-Mankato 69.22 3/5 52% Mankato, MN

Founded in 1868, Minnesota State - Mankato is one of the top online colleges in Minnesota. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges, the University offers only online completion degrees at the bachelor’s level. These include: Applied Organizational Studies, International Business, Technical Communication, Dental Hygiene, and RN Baccalaureate Completion. Students utilize the Desire 2 Learn course management system. As the University is a member of NC-SARA, prospective students should ensure their state is a group participant. The University has a total enrollment of more than 15,000 students, including 1,100 international students from 90 countries. There are approximately 300 student groups, intramurals, fraternities and sororities on campus, and more than 2,000 students participate in service-learning programs. The University’s men’s and women’s hockey teams are NCAA Division I, while its other varsity sports are part of Division II.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
3 University of Northwestern-St Paul 68.28 4/5 66% Saint Paul, MN

One of Minnesota’s online colleges is the Northwestern-St. Paul. At the bachelor’s level, only one online degree program is available: the bachelor of arts in Biblical studies. The degree requires 125 credits through courses including Bible Customs and Geography and Advanced Biblical Interpretation. An associate of arts and Bible and certificate in Bible are also offered online. Northwestern has online master’s programs in education, human services, theological studies, and more.

The University is a Christian liberal arts institution located on the outskirts of Minneapolis-St. Paul, and the 107-acre campus is situated at Lake Johanna. Founded in 1902 with just seven students, it now enrolls 3,487 undergraduate and graduate students. Evangelical minister Billy Graham served as the University’s president from 1947-52. The university’s Northwestern Eagles are members of NCAA Division III. Northwestern Media, a University ministry, operates 15 Christian radio stations in eight midwestern cities. The Five16 Film Festival is a popular annual event presenting student films.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
4 Concordia University-Saint Paul 66.09 3/5 47% Saint Paul, MN

Concordia is one of the top online colleges in Minnesota. It offers 19 bachelor’s degree programs completely online, including business, exercise science, pulmonary science, and human resource management. The Cohort Learning Model utilized by on-campus students is part of the online student experience. Students are placed in groups for the duration of their program, which improves the depth and breadth of their educations. The Concordia Partnership Advantage provides online and on-campus students tuition discounts and priority admission for employees of partnering companies and organizations, from 7-Eleven and UPS, to Best Buy and local police and social service associations.

Concordia is a Christian liberal arts university founded in 1893, with its main campus in St. Paul. On-campus students can participate in 16 NCAA Division II sports teams, ministry and Bible study groups, and the annual Strawberry Festival. In 2014-15, students volunteered nearly 8,000 hours through service learning programs.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
5 The College of Saint Scholastica 62.19 3/5 65% Duluth, MN

Saint Scholastica is a Catholic Benedictine institution that was founded in 1912. With both online and virtual classroom platforms available to students, it is also one of the best online colleges in Minnesota. Online degree programs include nursing, health information management, computer information systems, and more. Online students receive a personal advisor to help with course planning and support, and access to counseling, tutoring, and advising. Learners benefit from the online programs small class sizes, resulting in individualized attention.

While the college has 10 locations in Minnesota and two in Arizona, its main campus is in Duluth, which is home to 1,770 full-time undergraduates. The 186-acre campus is adjacent to Lake Superior. Students participate in Community Day (meal preparation for those in need, reading to elementary students, etc.), Homecoming, and the All-School Christmas Party and Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. A sampling of student groups are the Art Club, Earth Action, Figure Skating Club, and The Cable newspaper. The Saints Athletics teams include men’s and women’s hockey and basketball.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
6 Crown College 60.94 4/5 47% Saint Bonifacius, MN

Crown is one of Minnesota’s online colleges. It’s a “Bible College” affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination, it offers biblically-based educations. Online degrees are available in Christian programs like Biblical studies and Christian ministry, including a variety of disciplines in business, psychology/counseling, and criminal justice. The school offers online certificates, minor’s, associate’s, bachelor's, and graduate degrees. Many study abroad programs are offered, giving students an experience they can’t receive domestically. Almost 50% of students participate in a serve trip before graduating or serve an off-campus community.

Crown’s 215-acre campus is located in St. Bonifacius, which is 30 miles west of Minneapolis. There are 1,300 students enrolled at the College representing 20 countries. More than half of graduating seniors go on at least one missions service trip, and 25% of students participate in the College’s 16 NCAA Division III athletics teams. More than 70% of faculty members hold doctorate degrees.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
7 Winona State University 58.59 3/5 53% Winona, MN

Winona State has five colleges: Business, Education, Liberal Arts, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Science and Engineering. As one of Minnesota’s online colleges, it offers a wide variety of courses online utilizing the Desire to Learn platform. Only one degree program is fully online: the healthcare leadership and administration online completion degree. The school offers over 100 online non-credit courses and certificate programs.

The University’s main campus is in Winona, and it has two other locations. The Rochester campus offers a variety of bachelor degree completion programs on-site, such as Accounting and Nursing. Approximately 8,500 students are enrolled at the University, and on-campus students enjoy a wealth of art, music, and theater opportunities. Student groups like Jazz Club and Geology Club, along with intramural sports - including volleyball, softball, football, basketball, and soccer - are popular activities. The “Warrior Athletics” comprise of 13 NCAA Division II teams.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
8 University of Minnesota-Duluth 58.59 3/5 54% Duluth, MN

UM-Duluth was established in 1895 as a teacher’s college. It is one of five campuses of the University of Minnesota with a total enrollment of 10,878 students and 526 full-time faculty. As one of the best online colleges in Minnesota, it offers a bachelor degree in psychology completely online. The social work bachelor degree is a hybrid online program. Moodle is the University’s online course management platform. Non-credit degrees are available in gambling addiction studies, construction project management, sustainable management, and others.

The 244-acre Duluth campus is adjacent to Lake Superior, and on-campus students enjoy art exhibits, opera, jazz concerts, and theater productions produced by the School of Fine Arts. Men’s and women’s hockey is part of NCAA Division I, while the other varsity sports teams are members of Division II. Activities include intramural sports, fraternities and sororities, and social, political, religious, and academic clubs.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
9 Minnesota State University Moorhead 52.34 3/5 46% Moorhead, MN

Minnesota’s online colleges include Minnesota State-Moorhead. The school offers more than 100 online courses, but only has four fully online undergraduate degree programs. They are all bachelor of science degree completion programs: business administration, RN to BSN, operations management, and project management. Minnesota-Moorhead offers master’s programs including nursing, special education, and educational leadership; master’s certificates are available in school counseling, professional counseling, and nurse educator. Online programs are taught through the Brightspace learning management platform and WebEx is used to conduct synchronous meetings.

Students have the opportunity to participate in one of 15 Learning Communities, which assist with improving GPAs and increasing campus involvement through support and collaboration. With more than 100 student organizations, from Anime Club to Cricket Club, along with Greek Life and intramural sports, on-campus students enjoy a variety of activities. The Dragon Athletics include 14 varsity teams and are members of NCAA Division II.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
10 Bemidji State University 51.88 3/5 44% Bemidji, MN

Bemidji State is one of the best online colleges in Minnesota. Students can pursue seven, 100 percent online bachelor degree programs, but they are all completion degrees. 24 college credits must have already been obtained prior to enrollment. The available online degree completion programs include: accounting, applied engineering, applied management, business administration, criminal justice, marketing communication, and psychology. There are three hybrid online bachelor programs: elementary education, nursing, and social work. Courses are taught through the Brightspace Learning Management Platform. Online student resources include database access and nearly 34,000 electronic periodical titles.

The University has approximately 5,000 undergraduate and 300 graduate students. It operates the American Indian Resource Center, which delivers outreach and educational programs. Intramurals like flag football and dodgeball, student clubs, and music and theater productions are popular. Students can rent University snowshoes, camping equipment, kayaks, canoes, and more for their enjoyment.

Tweet this Share this School Profile

More About Online Colleges in Minnesota

There are a few programs in Minnesota to help colleges and universities in the state improve their online options. The Minnesota Online Quality Initiative provides resources and tools for faculty and administrators to develop effective online curriculums. Additionally, Distance Minnesota is an online learning consortium of four schools that offers students several degree paths entirely online. Additionally, the platform provides several services for online students, including advising, an online courses database and support programs. As more schools offer more online programs, the time is right to pursue an online degree in a Minnesota college or university.

Browse our list of the best online colleges in Minnesota for more insight into distance learning programs in this state.

NCES Report

According to an NCES report from 2012, of the roughly 455,000 students enrolled at Minnesota colleges and universities in 2012, 26.2% of them were enrolled exclusively in distance education courses.

  • 13.6% were undergraduates
  • 3.8% were in public four-year schools
  • 11.3% attended public two-year schools
  • 67.1% were in private, for-profit schools
Best Online Colleges in Minnesota of 2016
Rank School Location
1 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
2 University of Northwestern - St Paul Saint Paul, MN
3 University of Minnesota - Morris Morris, MN
4 Crown College Saint Bonifacius, MN
5 University of Minnesota - Crookston Crookston, MN
6 The College of Saint Scholastica Duluth, MN
7 University of Minnesota - Duluth Duluth, MN
8 Minnesota State University - Mankato Mankato, MN
9 Winona State University Winona, MN
10 Bethel University - Minnesota Saint Paul, MN
11 St. Catherine University Saint Paul, MN
12 Bemidji State University Bemidji, MN
13 Minnesota State University - Moorhead Moorhead, MN
14 Saint Cloud State University Saint Cloud, MN
15 Metropolitan State University Saint Paul, MN
16 Southwest Minnesota State University Marshall, MN