2022 Top Public Colleges and Universities in Minnesota

Public colleges and universities are often the most affordable option for students pursuing higher education, but it's not just affordability that makes these institutions attractive. Public colleges and universities also rank highly among the best institutions in many states, Minnesota included.

Public institutions receive state and federal funding. Although they generally have larger class sizes than private institutions, they also tend to offer a wide variety of academic programs, diverse student bodies, and prestigious research opportunities.

2022 Best Public Colleges and Universities in Minnesota

  1. #1

    University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

    Minneapolis, MN

    Graduation Rate

    83%

    Enrollment

    51,327

    Format

    Online, In person

    From its campus in Minneapolis, Minnesota, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities enrolls students in programs as a public institution. Students leave the school with an accredited degree that prepares them for the workforce. Learners benefit from the school's academic rigor and affordable tuition rate. Many of the school's degrees make national rankings. Data on the school's average cost per credit is currently unavailable. As an accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Students receive an average aid award of $ 9544, making the average tuition cost after aid $ 17279. Learners choose from academic and technical programs. Students complete fundamentals courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  2. #2

    Minnesota State University-Mankato

    Mankato, MN

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    14,325

    Format

    Online, In person

    Minnesota State University-Mankato, which is often listed among the best schools, operates from its main campus in Mankato, Minnesota. Students choose from a variety of degree-granting programs. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help students meet their professional goals. Enrollees typically earn an associate degree in two years, a bachelor's degree in four years, a master's degree in two, and a doctoral degree in 3-7 years. Applicants may qualify for a test score waiver. These policies make it easier to enroll. The admissions department can help students complete the application process. Learners also use financial aid to pay for their college degree. Minnesota State University-Mankato has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

  3. #3

    University of Minnesota-Crookston

    Crookston, MN

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    2,768

    Format

    Online, In person

    Located in Crookston, Minnesota, University of Minnesota-Crookston attracts students with their well-regarded programs. Enrollees take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The programs offer academic and technical tracks to help students meet their career goals. Depending on the degree or certificate type, enrollees can spend anywhere from a few months up to as many as seven years completing a program. Some programs may operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. A test score waiver makes it easier to enroll. The admissions department can help students complete the process. Students at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. University of Minnesota-Crookston has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an independent accrediting body.

  4. #4

    University of Minnesota-Morris

    Morris, MN

    Graduation Rate

    58%

    Enrollment

    1,499

    Format

    In person

    From its campus in Morris, Minnesota, University of Minnesota-Morris enrolls students as a public institution. Students learn from experts in multiple disciplines. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. A total of 98% of students receive financial aid and 47% take out loans at the institution. Learners graduate from the school at a rate of 58%. The admission rate is 57% for hopeful students. Prospective applicants can contact the admission department for more information about applying. University of Minnesota-Morris has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an independent accrediting body.

  5. #5

    Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System Office

    ST PAUL, MN

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    Not Provided

    Format

    The institution's rigorous programs rank among the best in the nation. Information on the student-to-instructor ratio is unavailable. Data on the average amount of aid students receive is unavailable. Data on the graduation rate is currently unavailable. The institution understands that hands-on experience makes graduates more competitive in the job market. The institution's admission rate is unknown at this time. Many schools no longer require test scores for admission. Prospective applicants can contact the admissions office for more information about applying.

  6. #6

    Alexandria Technical & Community College

    Alexandria, MN

    Graduation Rate

    58%

    Enrollment

    2,591

    Format

    Online, In person

    From its campus in Alexandria, Minnesota, Alexandria Technical & Community College educates college students as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their professional goals. Students complete courses and experiential learning opportunities to bolster their knowledge. Applicants may qualify for a standardized test score waiver. This makes it easier to enroll. The school supports learners with tutoring and career services. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. Learners at this accredited school also qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Alexandria Technical & Community College holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

  7. #7

    Winona State University

    Winona, MN

    Graduation Rate

    59%

    Enrollment

    7,605

    Format

    Online, In person

    From its campus in Minnesota, Winona State University enrolls students in 109 programs. Students choose from rigorous, top-ranked programs at the school. The school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 19-to-1. The institution reports that 90% of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid. The school reports a graduation rate of 59%. Hands-on experience helps graduates stand out on the job market. The school incorporates internships, research opportunities, and service learning. The admission rate is 68% for hopeful students. Some programs no longer require test scores for admission.

  8. #8

    Metropolitan State University

    Saint Paul, MN

    Graduation Rate

    34%

    Enrollment

    7,592

    Format

    Online, In person

    Metropolitan State University, which is often listed among the best schools, operates from its main campus in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The institution offers a variety of degree-granting programs. The programs offer academic and technical tracks to help learners meet their career goals. Enrollees can earn an associate degree in two years, a bachelor's degree in four years, a master's degree in 1-2 years, or a doctoral degree in 3-7 years. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. The waiver makes it simpler to enroll. The admissions department provides more information about the application process. Learners also use financial aid to pay for their college degree. Metropolitan State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  9. #9

    Minnesota State University Moorhead

    Moorhead, MN

    Graduation Rate

    53%

    Enrollment

    5,747

    Format

    Online, In person

    Minnesota State University Moorhead, which enrolls students in programs from its Moorhead, Minnesota campus. Students choose from multiple degree-granting programs and courses. The programs offer academic and technical tracks to help students meet their career goals. Typically, it takes students two years to complete an associate degree, four years to earn a bachelor's degree, 1-2 years for a master's degree, or 3-7 years for a doctoral degree. Some programs may no longer require standardized tests for admission. Applicants may find it easier to enroll without a test score requirement. Admission advisors can help applicants complete the process. Degree-seekers also use financial aid to cover their educational costs. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  10. #10

    Northwest Technical College

    Bemidji, MN

    Graduation Rate

    31%

    Enrollment

    947

    Format

    Online, In person

    From its campus in Bemidji, Minnesota, Northwest Technical College offers multiple programs as a public institution. Students complete programs that prepare them for careers and professional advancement. The institution provides academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Many of the school's degrees make national rankings. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Degree-seekers at this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Students receive an average aid award of $5806, making the average tuition cost after aid $11008. Learners at the school choose from academic and technical programs. Depending on their major, learners complete fundamentals courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The school holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

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Why Choose a Public College or University in Minnesota?

Minnesota is home to 12 public four-year colleges and universities, including the University of Minnesota. This university system oversees campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and Twin Cities.

Students can find some of the best colleges in Minnesota in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The school with the largest enrollment — the University of Minnesota Twin Cities (UMN) — spans both cities. It is also one of the leading public research institutions in the U.S. and the only land-grant university in Minnesota.

Minnesota also offers more than 30 private nonprofit four-year colleges and universities. There are several differences between private vs. public colleges. For example, students who enroll at public institutions in Minnesota can take advantage of lower tuition rates and an abundance of extracurricular activities and programs. On the other hand, private schools may offer smaller class sizes and a close-knit community.

The Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP) is a multi-state tuition reciprocity program that allows residents of eight states, including Minnesota, to attend specific public colleges and pay no more than 150% of in-state tuition. A few participating states include Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.

Additionally, some of the best online colleges in Minnesota do not charge out-of-state residency fees. Before you decide on a school, learn more about how to choose the right college for you.

Pros and Cons of Attending a Public College or University in Minnesota

Pros

Public colleges and universities in Minnesota generally charge lower tuition rates than private institutions.Minnesota offers hundreds of programs at its 12 public, four-year institutions, enabling students to choose the right college size and academic program.Some public universities in Minnesota offer advanced research facilities.

Cons

Due to nonresident fees, out-of-state students may find that tuition costs at public and private colleges are comparable.Many public schools are in larger cities, which may feature a relatively high cost of living.While big public schools can offer a thriving student life, some students prefer smaller student bodies and class sizes.

Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Universities in Minnesota

There are significant differences between nonprofit and for-profit colleges. Nonprofit colleges receive funding from the government as well as from tuition, fees, and endowments.

These colleges are managed by a board of directors whose intent is to provide a quality education for their students. Excess money goes back into the school to improve operations, programs, and student activities.

For-profit colleges receive funding primarily from tuition and from investors and shareholders who expect to make a return on their investment. While both pros and cons are associated with for-profit colleges, their primary objective is profit.

There are also 12 four-year for-profit institutions in Minnesota, seven of which are Rasmussen Universities. Students can determine if a school is for-profit by calling the administration office or checking the school's website.

How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Public College or University in Minnesota?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average cost of tuition and fees for in-state students at Minnesota's public four-year colleges was $11,748 in 2019-20. The average cost for room and board was $9,863.

Qualifying for in-state vs. out-of-state tuition can offer significant savings. For example, out-of-state students at Minnesota's public colleges and universities paid an average of $24,442 in tuition and fees during the 2019-20 school year.

Students at private institutions in Minnesota paid an average of almost $46,000 in tuition, room, and board in 2019-20. However, there are several misconceptions about paying for college, one of which is that private universities always cost more. For example, private school students who qualify for large financial aid packages may end up paying less in tuition than average public school prices.

The most expensive public university in the state is UMN, which advertises in-state tuition and fees of $15,626 for 2022-23. Alternatively, Minnesota State University, Mankato offers the lowest tuition, charging about $9,200 per year for in-state learners.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Public Colleges and Universities in Minnesota

How many public colleges and universities are there in Minnesota?

There are 12 public four-year universities in Minnesota, including the University of Minnesota and its five campuses. These universities enroll about 125,000 students annually. UMN is the largest school, enrolling over 50,000 learners. In contrast, the University of Minnesota Rochester, which specializes in undergraduate health sciences, limits enrollment to about 1,000 students.

Minnesota is also home to about 30 community and technical colleges offering vocational instruction and associate programs. Community college students may also complete their general education requirements before transferring to a four-year college.

What is the most expensive public university in Minnesota?

The most expensive public university in Minnesota is also the largest. UMN is charging about $15,600 in tuition and fees for residents and $34,600 for nonresidents for the 2022-23 academic year. The university estimates room and board will come to about $11,750.

Additional costs include books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses. The total estimated annual cost comes to more than $32,000 and $53,000 for in-state and out-of-state students, respectively.

According to the NCES, the national average for tuition and fees at four-year public institutions from 2019-20 was $9,349 for residents and $27,023 for nonresidents. Learn why college is so expensive and how you can make it more affordable.

What is the least expensive public university in Minnesota?

Minnesota State University, Mankato, offers the lowest tuition among public universities. In-state students paid $9,146 for tuition and fees for the 2021-22 academic year. The cost for out-of-state students was almost twice as high — $18,200. This school also offers reciprocity and lower tuition costs for residents in MSEP member states.

Another relatively inexpensive public university in Minnesota is St. Cloud State University. The school charged $9,170 in tuition and fees for residents during the 2021-22 school year and $18,010 for nonresidents.

What is the biggest public university in Minnesota?

UMN is the biggest public university in Minnesota and one of the nation's largest schools. Over 50,000 students attend this school, and its campus encompasses more than 1,150 acres in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Because of its size, students can select from hundreds of student organizations and thousands of courses at UMN. It is Minnesota's only land-grant university, and it is also recognized as one of the top public research institutions in the nation.

Is a public college or university right for me?

Public colleges and universities offer several benefits, including lower tuition rates, more degree programs, and some of the top research facilities in the nation. Comparatively, private institutions may provide smaller class sizes, a more intimate college experience, and some of the most prestigious academic programs.

The right college for you depends on your academic and career goals and the learning environment best suited for your personality. Additional considerations may include your preference for extracurricular activities and college sports. Also, remember that many colleges offer significant financial aid packages that can greatly reduce your out-of-pocket costs.