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Online Colleges in North Dakota

Most Affordable Online Colleges
School Interviews
Dr. Kristen Warmoth
- Dean for the Center for Extended Learning, Minot State University
"MSU began offering online courses in the 1990's."
See entire interview

Introduction

With its long stretches of open country and spacious range lands and prairies, North Dakota is well suited to distance learning. With so many residents living in small towns or cities with limited resources, it's good to know that many of the state's universities and colleges are offering online degree programs or classes to help working adults advance their careers or earn a diploma.

There are 17 universities or colleges in North Dakota, and 12 of them are public institutions. National universities, such as Argosy, also offer degree programs and online classes to North Dakota residents, although none has a physical campuses in the state.

Students can earn a variety of degrees, diplomas, and certifications through online schools in North Dakota. Whether you are a registered nurse and you want to complete a BSN program, or you're looking for an associate degree in Business, North Dakota online degree programs can help you reach your educational goals from your living room, a coffee shop, the library, or anywhere else with an Internet connection.

There are just under 725,000 residents of North Dakota, and among the 85,000 who are between 18 and 24 years old, 55 percent have attended some college or earned a two-year associate degree. Among the 450,000 who are older than 25, almost 20 percent have a bachelor's degree and 7.5 percent have an advanced or professional degree.

Among the state's 422,000 workers, the annual mean wage is $42,410, which equates to a mean hourly wage of $20.39. That's also the median earnings level for an over-25 bachelor's degree holder in North Dakota, although those with a graduate or professional degree earn $57,258. The median earnings for high school graduates with no college degree is $21,003.

While many colleges and universities in North Dakota offer online classes in conjunction with face-to-face classes on campuses, a large number of colleges and community colleges are offering entire degree programs online, training the next general of farm equipment sales people and petroleum and chemical engineers for the state from their home computers.

Most Affordable Colleges in North Dakota

The following list ranks the 10 schools in North Dakota that offer online degrees at the lowest tuition costs. This ranking is based on a number of factors that are important to prospective students such as the number of degree programs that are taught online, and information on tuition fees, graduation rate and accreditation. Tuition figures are sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (2014-2015) and reflect in-state tuition (when in-state tuition is available) for all students, including online students. See our Methodology section for more details on the ranking methodology.

1

Cankdeska Cikana Community College

Tuition/Year
$3,300
Graduation Rate
15%
# of Online Degrees
NA
Accredited
 
School Type
2-year

About

Cankdeska Cikana Community College in Fort Totten, North Dakota, is a small college that has been awarded land grant status by Congress. The school is chartered by the Spirit Lake Dakota Nation and it offers a number of online classes, including Composition, Introduction to Computers and Developmental Psychology. These course are taught using the online Moodle system.
School Website: 
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2

Bismarck State College

Tuition/Year
$3,520
Graduation Rate
41%
# of Online Degrees
20
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

In addition to its 19 online Associate degree program, Bismarck offers the only Bachelor's of Applied Science in Energy Management program in the nation. It's offered through the National Energy Center of Excellence and focuses on issues managers in the energy industry are faced with. Among the other programs, Associate degrees are offered in Electric Power Technology; Electrical Transmission Systems Technology; Nuclear Power Technology; Petroleum Production Technology; Power Plant Technology; Process Plant Technology; Renewable Generation Technology; Bachelor of Applied Science in Energy Management; Instrumentation and Control Technology.
School Website: 
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3

Lake Region State College

Tuition/Year
$4,074
Graduation Rate
40%
# of Online Degrees
6
Accredited
 
School Type
2-year

About

Lake Region State gets college students ready for a Bachelor's degree program by helping them through the first half of their college studies. The school is located in the city of Devils Lake, a premier vacation destination. Lake Region State offers online Associate degree programs in Arts; Accounting and Business Administration; Early Childhood Education; Fitness Trainer Technician; Law Enforcement; and Speech Language Pathology.
School Website: 
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4

Dakota College at Bottineau

Tuition/Year
$4,098
Graduation Rate
28%
# of Online Degrees
14
Accredited
 
School Type
2-year

About

DCB is an accredited community college that offers many vocational programs that focus on job-readiness skills, as well as a liberal arts program with a strong foundation of classes that transfer to four-year institutions. Its Associate degree programs online include Accounting Technician; Administrative Assistant; Advertising & Marketing; Bookkeeping; Caregiver Services; College Studies; Land Management; Medical Assistant; Medical Administrative Assistant; Medical Coding; Paraprofessional Educator; Recreation Management; Reception Services; and Urban Forestry Technology.
School Website: 
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5

North Dakota State College of Science

Tuition/Year
$4,438
Graduation Rate
47%
# of Online Degrees
10
Accredited
 
School Type
2-year

About

NDSCS offers a variety of online classes from its campus in Fargo, N.D. These programs include Architectural Drafting; Business Technology Management; Liberal Arts; Health Information; Marketing Management; Medical Coding; Pharmacy Technician; Practical Nursing; Technical Studies; and Web Design and Development.
School Website: 
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6

Dickinson State University

Tuition/Year
$6,050
Graduation Rate
39%
# of Online Degrees
9
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

At DSU, the distance education program is tailored for students who don't have time to travel to campus for face-to-face classes. DSU offers a variety of online degrees and has campuses in Bismarck, Williston and Dickinson. Associate degrees are offered in Agriculture Sales/Service Equine Management; Agriculture Sales/Service Equine Training; and Arts. Online Bachelor's degrees are offered in Accounting; Applied Science; Business Administration; Finance; Human Resource Management; and University Studies.
School Website: 
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7

Minot State University

Tuition/Year
$6,225
Graduation Rate
37%
# of Online Degrees
14
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Minot provides online Bachelor's degree programs in Management, Management Information Systems; Marketing; International Business; Applied Management; Applied Business Information Technology; Nursing; and General Studies. Online Master's degrees are offer in Management; Information systems; and Special Education. An online Associate degree is available in Human Services, with a major in Intellectual/Development Disabilities.
School Website: 
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8

Mayville State University

Tuition/Year
$6,489
Graduation Rate
36%
# of Online Degrees
9
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Mayville uses hybrid schedules for many of its degree programs and many of its Bachelor's and Associate degree programs are fully online. The online Associate degrees are in Business Management and Early Childhood and the Bachelor's degree programs online are in Business Administration; Early Childhood; Mathematics Education; Mathematics; Nursing; Special Education; and University Studies.
School Website: 
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9

Valley City State University

Tuition/Year
$6,674
Graduation Rate
46%
# of Online Degrees
11
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Valley City offers online Master's degrees in Education in four disciplines, including Technology Education; Teaching and Technology; Library and Information Technologies; and Teaching English Language Learners. Bachelor's degrees are offered in Business Education; English Education; Career and Technical Education; History Education; Technology Education; Professional Communication; and Music.
School Website: 
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10

University of North Dakota

Tuition/Year
$7,741
Graduation Rate
55%
# of Online Degrees
35
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

In addition to its 22 Master's degree programs and its two doctoral programs offered online, the University of North Dakota also offers 11 online Bachelor's degree programs in Chemical Engineering; Civil Engineering; Communication; Electrical Engineering; General Studies; Mechanical Engineering; Nursing - Accelerated BSN Program; Nursing - RN to BSN Program; Petroleum Engineering; Psychology; and Social Science.
School Website: 
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11

Rasmussen College

Tuition/Year
$10,764
Graduation Rate
33%
# of Online Degrees
43
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Rasmussen has two locations in North Dakota, in Fargo and Bismark, and plenty of online options to choose from. Online degree programs range from business disciplines, such as Accounting and Marketing, to Education and Technology.
School Website: 
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School Interviews

Kristen Warmoth

Dr. Kristen Warmoth, Dean for the Center for Extended Learning, Minot State University

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at MSU?

MSU began offering online courses in the 1990's. Today, we offer 10 undergraduate degrees, seven graduate degrees, three undergraduate certificates, and one graduate certificate completely online (http://www.minotstateu.edu/online/degrees.shtml). The curricula for our online degrees are the same as that used on campus. Courses are taught predominantly by campus faculty.

Q. What advice would you give to students interested in an online degree program?

First, make sure that the institution from which you are seeking your degree is regionally accredited. There should be information on the institution homepage. Take the time to do a little research before you apply. Second, make sure that learning online is a good fit for you. If you have trouble managing your time or setting a schedule and sticking to it, online learning is probably not a good fit. Finally, make sure you have the tools to help you be successful. This would include a high speed Internet connection, relatively new equipment and the support of your family and friends.

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

Over the years, online learning has evolved beyond a strictly text-based format. Today, information is delivered in ways that appeal to different learning styles and the result is an enhanced learning experience. I expect that tools to enrich the online learning environment will continue to evolve. I believe that many institutions are finding that by the time their students graduate, they have taken at least one online course. Distance education provides students with ways to add flexibility to their class schedules and speed up the time it takes to graduate. I believe that in order for institutions to remain competitive, even those who have a strong brick-and-mortar tradition, they must to some degree engage in online learning.


Lynette Krenelka

Lynette Krenelka, Ph.D., Director, Office of Extended Learning, University of North Dakota

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at UND?

UND offers over 40 Bachelors, Masters, Doctoral and graduate certificate programs online. Undergraduate and graduate disciplines from various colleges are offered online and include: Arts and Sciences, Business, Communication, Education, Engineering, Medical and Health Sciences, Nursing, and Psychology. Many of the programs are completely online, while others have an on-campus visit required. Some of programs offer synchronous delivery, while others utilize asynchronous delivery. All of the online degree and certificate programs have the same accreditation and admission standards as the on-campus curriculum and programs. The rigor, learning outcomes and assessment process is the same for online as it is for on campus programs. Students at a distance receive the same student services as an on-campus student receives. UND also offers many more online, semester-based courses and labs, as well as enroll-anytime, self-paced online courses to meet students’ needs. UND continues to support its lifelong learners through non-credit, online and face-to-face activities, as well.  

Q. What advice would you give to students interested in an online degree program?

Take time to research the institution and degree program that you are seeking.  Is the institution accredited and/or is the program curriculum accredited (if applicable)?  Before starting an online program or course, make sure you are ready for online education; ensure you have the right tools to be successful in an online environment.  Ask yourself:

  • Do I have the time each week to spend on an online course (the same way you would spend on a campus-based course)?
  • Can I navigate through the learning management system and complete the tasks necessary within the course, such as uploading homework assignments?  Is there an online orientation offered?
  • Do I have the right computer, software and Internet connection that is needed?
  • What support systems will I need to be successful? Is there tutoring available if I need it?

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

I anticipate there will be many more competency-based learning programs in the future. These give learners more flexibility with their lifelong learning plan including time to completion and affordable options. Busy adults and working professionals are seeking flexible programs that they can access as their schedules allow.  The number of online learners will continue to increase. Technology will continue to evolve and impact how, when and where we learn.

Top Cities For Students In North Dakota

Fargo, North Dakota

Mean Wage

$40,830

Average Cost of a House

$247,098

# of Employed People

130,000

Total Population

200,000

Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree

$41,464

Economics

Fargo, located along the Minnesota border, is home to more than 200,000 people when Minnesotans located within the Fargo metropolitan area are counted. There are 130,000 workers in the area and they earn an annual mean wage of $40,830 -- slightly below the state average and equivalent to an hourly wage of $19.63. The Cost of Living Index for Fargo is 94.2, and the average cost of a home is $247,098.

Demographics

Roughly 25 percent of the state's workforce calls the Fargo metropolitan area home. Sixty-five percent of those between 18 and 24 have attended college, and more than one in four residents over the age of 25 has earned a Bachelor's degree.

Fun Facts

The city of Fargo boasts several cultural benefits as a location, thanks in part to the three universities located in the city. The Plains Art Museum in Fargo is the largest museum in the state, and there is an opera and orchestra in the city as well. Fargo is also known for its long, snowy winters and warm, thunderstorm-punctuated summers.

Bismarck, North Dakota

Mean Wage

$42,470

Average Cost of a House

$321,380

# of Employed People

68,000

Total Population

108,000

Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree

$47,525

Economics

Bismarck, located in south-central North Dakota along Interstate 84, has just under 64,000 residents living within city limits. The metropolitan area's 68,000 workers earn an annual median wage of $42,470. Average home prices are $321,380 and the Cost of Living Index is 101.3.

Demographics

The metropolitan area's workers comprise about 15 percent of the state's total workforce. Nearly 90 percent of the city's over-25 population has a high school degree, and about 22 percent have earned a Bachelor's degree.

Fun Facts

Bismarck is the state capital of North Dakota, and is the seventh fastest-growing small city in the country. The state Capitol is the tallest building in North Dakota, and there are five colleges and a university located there. Despite the long, cold winters, outdoor recreation is popular here; the parks system is extensive and includes many miles of exercise trails.

Minot, North Dakota

Mean Wage

$42,910

Average Cost of a House

$354,933

# of Employed People

62,000

Total Population

73,160

Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree

$

Economics

Minot is the fourth-largest city in North Dakota, but the third largest metropolitan area, with a population of 73,160. It's located in the central northern part of the state, and the economy is heavily influenced by the Minot Air Force Base 13 miles north of the city. The average cost of a home is $354,933, and the Cost of Living Index is 105.7.

Demographics

The 62,000 workers living within the Minot area earn an annual median salary of $42,910 and comprise about 14 percent of the state's total workforce.

Fun Facts

Despite its modest size, Minot has a vibrant arts scene, and 40 percent of its residents are of Scandinavian ancestry. The annual Norsk Hostfest is the largest Scandinavian festival in North America, and the Scandinavian Heritage Park is a must-see for visitors.

 
Other North Dakota Resources

  1. Bismarck State College, http://energy.bismarckstate.edu/programs/enrg/
  2. Bismarck State College people, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bismarck_State_College
  3. "Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ga.htm
  4. Cankdeska Cikana Community College, http://www.littlehoop.edu/content/index.php/about
  5. "College Navigator", National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?
  6. Dakota College at Bottineau people, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dakota_College_at_Bottineau#Notable_alumni
  7. Lake Region State College, http://www.lrsc.edu/academics/lrsc-online-campus
  8. Dakota College At Bottineau, http://www.dakotacollege.edu/online/online-programs-classes/online-associate-degree-programs/
  9. Mayville State University, http://www.mayvillestate.edu/msu-online/msu-online/programs/
  10. Dickinson State University people, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dickinson_State_University#Notable_alumn
  11. Minot State University people, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minot,_North_Dakota
  12. North Dakota State College of Science, https://www.ndscs.edu/academics/things-to-know-academics/academic-clusters-departments/#location:Online|view:all
  13. Rasmussen College, http://www.rasmussen.edu/locations/online-campus/degrees/
  14. "The United States Census Bureau" The America Community Survey, http://www.census.gov/acs/www/
  15. "U.S. Census Bureau," American Fact Finder, http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_12_1YR_S1501&prodType=table
  16. University of North Dakota people, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_University_of_North_Dakota_people
  17. Valley City State University people, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valley_City_State_University#Notable_alumni