Best Online Colleges in Minnesota

portrait of Staff Writers
by Staff Writers
Published on August 19, 2021
Edited by Rebecca Long

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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As of 2021, Minnesota offers nearly 100 options for online learning. You can avoid the harsh winters and still receive a dynamic education at the best online colleges in the state.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for healthcare workers has increased nationally. Graduation statistics for Minnesota reflect this field's growth, with 25% of graduates finding work in healthcare. Educational services and retail are the other top industries in the state.

In Minnesota, the majority of 2010 graduates were employed by the second year after graduation and earned a median annual salary of $43,870. With dozens of options for fields of study in Minnesota, anyone can find the perfect online learning option.

Top Online Degree Programs in Minnesota

Minnesota Employment Outlook

A 2021 survey of Minnesota business firms by the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development found that 46% anticipate employment growth. Home to the Mayo Clinic and the state in which the battery-powered pacemaker, Minnesota is considered a leader in healthcare. A 2018 National Retail Federation study found that a quarter of all jobs in Minnesota exist in the retail industry.

Despite a positive job outlook for the state, Minnesota isn't expected to fully recover the jobs lost during the pandemic until late 2022 or early 2023, according to the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development.

5 Minnesota Jobs in Demand

Software Developers

Annual Median Salary in Minnesota (2021): $108,140

Job Outlook: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), positions for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers are projected to grow 22% between 2020 and 2030. Software developers are needed in business services, the financial sector, and information technology. Depending on education level, years of experience, and location, these professionals can earn over $150,000 a year.


General and Operations Managers

Annual Median Salary in Minnesota (2021): $104,000

Job Outlook: In Minnesota, general and operations managers are most needed in the travel, manufacturing, and professional services fields. According to the BLS, positions for managers are projected to grow 9% over the next decade. The Department of Employment and Economic Development classifies this job as "in high demand."


Financial Managers

Annual Median Salary in Minnesota (2021): $129,410

Job Outlook: Every business needs an employee or department to manage its finances. The Department of Employment and Economic Development projects positions for financial managers to increase by about 16,355 jobs over the next 10 years.


Elementary School Teachers

Annual Median Salary in Minnesota (2021): $61,430

Job Outlook: The Department of Employment and Economic Development projects there will be nearly 19,000 openings for elementary school teachers over the next decade. According to a 2021 report by the department about the supply and demand of Minnesota teachers, 70% of respondents said they were impacted by the state's teacher shortage.


Management Analysts

Annual Median Salary in Minnesota (2021): $87,610

Job Outlook: The Department of Employment and Economic Development projects 20,000 job openings for management analysts in Minnesota over the next 10 years. Top fields of employment for these professionals include professional services, public administration, and financial activities.


Popular Career Paths in Minnesota

Best Accredited Online Colleges in Minnesota

How We Rank Schools

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Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

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University of Minnesota-Twin Cities View School Profile Minneapolis, MN

The best online university in Minnesota, the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities offers 17 online bachelor's degrees and 10 online undergraduate certificates. Graduate students can select from dozens of online graduate degree and certificate programs.

Students can pursue degrees in fields such as applied health, health management, and international business. All bachelor's degrees feature a 120-credit curriculum that includes general education requirements.

In addition to one-on-one academic and career counseling, UMN offers online learners short tutorials that cover software and online learning best practices. Also, each program website includes the latest career outlook information to help prospective students decide among similar majors.

UMN accepts new undergraduates in the spring, summer, and fall semesters. Applicants can submit GED scores, and all students pay the same per-credit tuition rate regardless of residency. The university awards merit-based scholarships based on incoming students' high school GPA, intended major, and other factors.

Minnesota State University-Mankato View School Profile Mankato, MN

The perfect choice for learners who already possess an associate degree, Minnesota State University - Mankato offers five online bachelor's degree completion programs in areas such as applied leadership and dental hygiene.

Learners can supplement a degree by completing one of seven minors in areas such as aging studies, marketing, and urban studies. Additionally, this top online Minnesota university boasts over two dozen online master's degrees and certificates.

Minnesota State Mankato offers 11 academic services available to online learners. The university's Career Development Center helps students explore internships, craft a resume, and apply to graduate school. Degree-seekers can also contact the Center for Academic Success to find a tutor or speak to an academic advisor.

Minnesota State Mankato uses rolling admissions, and freshmen applicants submit ACT scores. All online learners pay the in-state tuition rate, and undergraduates may qualify for up to $6,000 per year in merit-based scholarships. Other competitive scholarships award $2,500-$4,000 per year.

Concordia University-Saint Paul View School Profile Saint Paul, MN

Learners at Concordia University - St. Paul can select from 43 online bachelor's programs, master's programs, and certificates. Special programs at this top online Minnesota university include a bachelor's degree in exercise science and a master's in differentiated instruction. Additionally, the university's online associate in general studies prepares degree-seekers to transfer to a four-year program at an in-state public college or university.

Each academic department offers a suite of resources to help students choose the right program and succeed academically, such as career guides and links to professional organizations. CSP also runs a career blog where industry experts discuss topics such as burnout, teaching children with ADHD, and how to address conflict in the workplace.

Freshmen applicants should possess a high school diploma with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Other application materials include an essay on an assigned topic.

Learners who work for a partner organization receive a $2,000 tuition discount. Active-duty service members and veterans also qualify for a reduced tuition rate through the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Crown College View School Profile Saint Bonifacius, MN

Crown College offers 10 online bachelor's degrees to prepare graduates for careers in fields such as ministry, business, and counseling. Degree-seekers can personalize their program by completing one of nine minors in areas such as marketing and psychology.

This top online Minnesota college also delivers four undergraduate certificates. Additionally, graduate students at Crown can select from eight master's degrees and five certificates.

Crown's in-depth student handbook provides learners with extensive information on how to access tutors, academic advisors, and other services. The college's Office of Career Services provides both one-on-one mentoring and FOCUS 2 CAREER software, which allows learners to research how different majors influence career prospects.

Crown does not accept GED diplomas, and applicants with fewer than 24 transferable credits must submit high school transcripts. Ministry programs require a statement of faith. All incoming learners provide FAFSA results, and Crown provides a tuition discount for active-duty service members and veterans.

Bethel University View School Profile Saint Paul, MN

Based in Arden Hills, Bethel University provides a world-class education rooted in the Christian faith. Students can choose from 35 online undergraduate and graduate programs, including bachelor's degrees in accounting and Christian ministries.

The AA and AS programs prepare degree-seekers to transfer to a bachelor's degree completion program. Additionally, many of the master's and doctoral degrees train practicing educators for a career in administration.

The Academic Enrichment and Support Center at this top online Minnesota university features many academic support options. Online learners can attend a virtual online study skills workshop. Tutors can also help students over the phone or through videoconferencing. As learners near graduation, they can visit the Online Career Center to hone networking skills and receive a resume critique.

Application requirements include a high school diploma, statement of faith, and ACT or SAT scores. Transfer credit should reflect a minimum C grade.

Bethel awards $3,500-$20,300 per year in automatic merit-based scholarships to incoming freshmen and transfer students with an excellent high school GPA.

Minnesota State University Moorhead View School Profile Moorhead, MN

With dozens of online degrees, licenses, and certifications, Minnesota State University Moorhead attracts students with a broad range of academic interests and career goals. Undergraduate degrees at this top online Minnesota university include an RN-to-BSN track, operations management, and global supply chain management. Additionally, nearly all graduate programs prepare education administrators and specialists.

Academic support at MSU Moorhead features both academic advisors and counselors. Advisors help learners create a graduate plan, while counselors provide students with academic success skills and tutoring resources through the university's Academic Assistant Program. MSU Moorhead's Writing Support Center offers both in-person and virtual 50-minute appointments.

Freshmen applicants should have either a high school diploma or GED scores, and transfer credit must reflect a minimum 2.0 undergraduate GPA.

Incoming undergraduates may qualify for up to $2,000 per year in automatic merit-based scholarships. MSU Moorhead also awards other competitive scholarships, each of which requires a separate application.

The College of Saint Scholastica View School Profile Duluth, MN

A Roman Catholic college located in Duluth, the College of St. Scholastica offers eight online bachelor's degrees in topics such as computer information systems, RN-to-BSN, and organizational leadership. This top online Minnesota college also features a self-designed major where students can create a custom curriculum. Additionally, learners who already possess a bachelor's degree can earn a certificate in health information management.

All online learners work with a personal advisor, who helps them select courses and stay on track for graduation. The college caps online class sizes, which means students can typically receive individualized help from a professor. Outside of class, learners can explore careers and hone interviewing skills through the school's Career Services Department.

CSS uses rolling admissions for online programs, and freshmen applicants should have either a high school diploma or GED scores. Before applying, prospective transfer students can submit undergraduate transcripts for a preliminary review.

The college's scholarship directory posts new private scholarship opportunities throughout the year.

University of Northwestern-St Paul View School Profile Saint Paul, MN

The University of Northwestern - St. Paul offers nine online programs that include undergraduate certificates, bachelor's degrees, and master's degrees. Many tracks -- such as the master's in divinity and the bachelor's in biblical and theological studies -- train aspiring lay and ordained ministers. Additionally, the university offers two online early college programs for high school students who live in and around St. Paul.

Learners who need help with coursework can set up a virtual tutoring session through UNW's ALPHA Center. Career development services at this top online Minnesota university include career fairs, interview coaching, and an in-depth career planning guide available to all students. Online learners also benefit from 24/7 IT support.

UNW admits new learners in the spring, summer, and fall semesters. Freshmen applicants should possess a high school diploma and submit ACT or SAT scores. All degree-seekers pay a flat, per-semester tuition rate.

Undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree may qualify for a merit-based scholarship opportunity. Each scholarship requires a separate application.

Metropolitan State University View School Profile Saint Paul, MN

Online programs available through Metropolitan State University include nine bachelor's degrees, five master's degrees, and four graduate certificates.

Bachelor's programs at this top online Minnesota university include organizational administration and human resources management. Undergraduates can also create a custom degree by selecting individualized studies, while graduate programs and certificates at Metropolitan State focus on management and computer science topics.

Metropolitan State offers online learners extensive support services. Specialized service departments help Asian Americans, African Americans, and veterans succeed academically and find a fulfilling career. All students can also speak with a career advisor and explore local career opportunities through Handshake software.

Prospective students should possess either a high school diploma or GED scores. However, Metropolitan State prefers applicants who graduated high school with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Transfer credit should reflect a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Foundation scholarships require a separate application by the fall deadline.

Oak Hills Christian College View School Profile Bemidji, MN

Students at Oak Hills Christian College can select from two online bachelor's degrees and two online associate degrees in business administration and ministry and leadership.

The bachelor's degrees feature a 120-credit curriculum, and both options require courses in biblical studies and Christian ministry. The 63-credit associate degrees prepare learners for both a bachelor's-completion program and an entry-level career. Additionally, all online programs at this top online Minnesota college offer full- and part-time tracks.

Through OHCC's Cummings Library, online learners can access many valuable academic support tools. Research guides include foreign language support, literary criticism, and theological dictionaries.

Applicants submit high school transcripts or GED scores and ACT or SAT scores. Transfer credit should reflect a minimum C grade, and OHCC's two online bachelor's programs accept up to 66 transfer credits.

Financial aid counselors work closely with students to explore and apply for private scholarships and grant opportunities.

Hamline University View School Profile Saint Paul, MN

Learners who already possess an associate degree -- or significant transfer credit -- can pursue an online bachelor's degree completion program in business or psychology through Hamline University. All courses use an asynchronous curriculum, and programs feature both full- and part-time options. Additionally, some learners can graduate in just 18 months.

HU's online academic and career counselors help degree-seekers register for courses, stay on track for graduation, and explore career opportunities. Experts at the Writing and Communication Center critique student essays and teach lifelong writing skills. Other resources include free tutoring sessions and academic skills seminars.

HU offers multiple start dates per year, and online learners save 50% on tuition compared to on-campus degree-seekers. Applicants should possess at least 40 transferable credits and two years of work experience in any field. Application materials also include a short essay. Degree-seekers at this top online Minnesota university may qualify for a federally backed grant or loan.

Bemidji State University View School Profile Bemidji, MN

Bemidji State University provides eight online bachelor's degrees in fields such as accounting, criminal justice, and sociology. Minors such as geography and psychology allow learners to customize a degree. Students can finish these degree-completion programs in 1-2 years. Additionally, BSU offers two online certificates in technology management and Lean Six Sigma.

BSU has an agreement with Tutor.com to provide students with up to 15 hours of free tutoring sessions. Learners who need additional assistance pay a subscription fee. The university's Writing Resource Center provides one-on-one help with essays, cover letters, and other tasks. The university's Career Services Department posts jobs for both students and alumni. Learners at this top online Minnesota university can also receive IT support during university business hours.

Prospective students must possess at least 24 transferable credits. All learners pay the in-state tuition rate, and online degree-seekers may qualify for one of three scholarship opportunities that award $1,000. These scholarships do not renew and require a separate application.

University of Minnesota-Crookston View School Profile Crookston, MN

The University of Minnesota - Crookston provides online bachelor's degrees, minors, and undergraduate certificates to prepare learners for a variety of careers. For instance, students can pursue a bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship or minor in cybersecurity and information assurance.

The certificates at this top online Minnesota university employ a career-aligned curriculum that graduates can use as financial managers, home nursing administrators, and tax professionals. Additionally, UMC graduate students can earn an online MBA through the University of North Dakota.

The Career Development Center at UMC provides learners with multiple tools to turn a degree or certificate into a fulfilling job. Career assessments help students identify interests, and the center offers numerous guides and videos as well as links to local internships and job openings.

UMC accepts the Common Application and evaluates prospective learners' transfer credit free of charge. Freshmen applicants submit an essay and recommendation letter in addition to transcripts or GED scores. Freshmen and transfer students may qualify for up to $5,000 in automatic merit-based scholarships.

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota View School Profile Winona, MN

Learners with an associate degree can complete an online bachelor's degree completion programs through Saint Mary's University of Minnesota in four fields: business administration, human resource management, marketing, and nursing.

This top online Minnesota university created each online degree with working professionals in mind, and all four programs use an asynchronous curriculum. Additionally, Saint Mary's delivers 15 online master's programs in areas such as cybersecurity and special education.

Saint Mary's employs a student support team that works exclusively with online learners. This team includes professors, academic advisors, and career planning professionals. Distance students also benefit from 24/7 IT support.

Prospective undergraduates can attend one of Saint Mary's monthly webinars and apply for one of six annual start dates. Credit must reflect a minimum C grade to transfer, and students can earn additional credit by completing a prior learning assessment. Degree-seekers who maintain a 2.75 GPA or higher can qualify for $2,000 in merit-based scholarships. This scholarship opportunity uses a June 15 deadline.

St Catherine University View School Profile Saint Paul, MN

The 14 online undergraduate and graduate programs at St. Catherine University prepare graduates for careers in public health, occupational therapy, and health informatics, among other fields. The College for Adults runs each undergraduate online program, and learners can graduate in two years if they possess adequate transfer credit. Additionally, most programs feature a hybrid option where degree-seekers take some courses on St. Kate's St. Paul campus.

Online students can contact the O'Neill Center for Academic Development to receive one-on-one tutoring help. St. Kate's also offers a unique money management program. Degree-seekers preparing for a career can access multiple university resources, including videos, private job boards, and contact information for career counselors.

St. Kate's hosts virtual information sessions for online programs each month. This top online Minnesota university accepts new students three times per year, and transfer credit should reflect a minimum C- grade.

Incoming learners submit FAFSA results and a financial aid application to apply for all university-funded scholarship and grant opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Colleges in Minnesota

How many online colleges are in Minnesota?

In 2021, there are over 96 colleges in Minnesota that offer online courses. Students interested in pursuing a degree at a Minnesota State school can use the college system's easily searchable website to find the right institution for you.

Does Minnesota have good online colleges?

Yes. There are many excellent online colleges in the state and traditional schools that offer online programs. Students should check to make sure schools they're interested in are operating legally and accredited. You can quickly check a list of Minnesota schools to see their license or registration status.

How much does it cost to go to college online in Minnesota?

According to the U.S. Department of Education, tuition in Minnesota can be as low as $4,000 per year for community colleges and up to nearly $55,000 annually at private schools. The state legislature spent the early part of 2020 looking into the cost of online learning compared to in-person learning and took steps to keep the costs down.

What is the cheapest online college in Minnesota?

Minnesota State Community and Technical College offers online courses for $199 per credit.

Who qualifies for free college in Minnesota?

While some colleges in the state are technically "free," tuition waivers often only apply to the cost of attendance and necessary fees. Students usually still need to pay for room and board, books, and other fees. The University of Minnesota does offer a Promise Plus Free Tuition Program for incoming first-year students. Native American students can look into the Native American Promise Tuition Program, which expands in 2022.

Learn how to maximize financial aid for online students with our scholarship guide. Find the best scholarships and grants to pay for your online degree. This guide breaks down the research methods students should use when choosing an online degree program. This landing page acts as an introduction and overview of online college planning resources for students.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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