Online Colleges in Minnesota

Most Affordable Online Colleges

COLLEGE FINDER

Article Sources

Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we generated a list of colleges and universities that met the following criteria:

  • Level of institution is either "Four or more years" or "At least 2 but less than 4 years"
  • Data is reported for all 11 ranking variables listed in the Methodology section
  • At least 1 percent of students are taking at least some of the classes via distance education
  • "Number of programs offered via distance education" was an integer greater than 0

We ranked the resulting 1,813 colleges on 11 criteria, using provisional 2016-17 data from IPEDS:

  1. Number of programs offered via distance education
  2. Ratio of students participating fully or partially in DE to Total Enrollment
  3. Average in-state tuition for undergraduates
  4. Total electronic library collections, including digital books, databases, and media
  5. Graduation rate
  6. Retention rate
  7. The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Guaranteed, Other)
  8. Services (Academic/Career, Placement for Completers)
  9. Credit offerings (Dual, Life, AP, Military)
  10. Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
  11. Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools' tuition amounts are based on 2016-17 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

Methodology Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Sources :

  1. About Saint Paul, City of Saint Paul, http://www.stpaul.gov/index.aspx?NID=2219
  2. Bemidji State University, http://www.bemidjistate.edu/academics/distance/
  3. Course Catalog, Pine Technical & Community College, http://www.pine.edu/assets/uploads/PTCC_catalog16-17.pdf
  4. Course Catalog, Leech Lake Tribal College, http://lltc.edu/download/lltc-catalog-2015-2017/?wpdmdl=1879
  5. Degrees and Certificates, North Hennepin Community College, http://www.nhcc.edu/academic-programs/degrees-and-certificates
  6. Duluth Facts, Visit Duluth, http://www.visitduluth.com/about/duluth_facts.php
  7. Economy at a Glance: Minnesota, Bureau of Labor Statistics, July, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.mn.htm
  8. Lynn Johnson, Interim Director of Distance Learning, Bemijdi State University, interview with the author May, 2015
  9. May 2015 Metropolitan Area and Wage Estimates: Duluth, MN-WI, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_20260.htm
  10. May 2015 Metropolitan Area and Wage Estimates: Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_33460.htm
  11. May 2015 Metropolitan Area and Wage Estimates: Rochester, MN, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_40340.htm
  12. May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: Minnesota, Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mn.htm
  13. Minnesota data, The Lumina Foundation, http://strongernation.luminafoundation.org/report/2016/#minnesota
  14. Minnesota State, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, https://mnscu.edu/system/index.html
  15. Online and Distance Education, Minnesota State University-Mankato, https://www.mnsu.edu/ext/programs.html
  16. Online Certification Prep Courses, Winona State University, https://www.winona.edu/adult-learnrs/prep-courses.asp
  17. Online Courses and Programs, Metropolitan State University, http://www.metrostate.edu/msweb/explore/col/courses_programs.html
  18. Online Degrees, Programs and Courses, Minnesota State University Moorhead, https://www.mnstate.edu/online.aspx
  19. Online Education. St. Cloud State University. http://www.stcloudstate.edu/online/programs/default.aspx
  20. Online Learning, Anoka-Ramsey Community College, http://www.anokaramsey.edu/academics/online-learning/#course-types
  21. Parks and Recreation, City of Duluth, http://www.duluthmn.gov/parks/
  22. State and National Employment and Unemployment, Minnesota Employment and Economic Development, https://mn.gov/deed/data/current-econ-highlights/state-national-employment.jsp
  23. The Best Places for Businesses and Careers, Forbes Magazine, http://www.forbes.com/best-places-for-business/list/#tab:overall_header:education
  24. WETCC offers an Associate of Arts Degree with These Areas of Emphasis, http://www.wetcc.edu/degrees-offered.html
  25. "White Earth Tribal College expands courses to online," http://www.dl-online.com/content/white-earth-tribal-college-expands-courses-online
  26. Why Duluth? Duluth Economic Development Authority, http://www.dulutheda.org/choose-duluth/why-duluth.
  27. Accreditation, University of Minnesota, http://www.academic.umn.edu/provost/reviews/accreditation.html
  28. Minnesota State, https://mnscu.edu/system/index.html
  29. The Institute for College Access and Success, Minnesota, Accessed December 2016, http://ticas.org/posd/state-state-data-2015#overlay=posd/state_data/2015/mn
  30. Minnesota Academic Excellence Scholarship, Accessed December 2016, https://www.ohe.state.mn.us/mPg.cfm?PageID=15
  31. Minnesota Indian Scholarship, Accessed December 2016, http://www.ohe.state.mn.us/mPg.cfm?pageID=149
  32. Evelyn Lenander Education Scholarship, Accessed December 2016, https://www.communitygiving.org/scholarship/detail/Lenander-Evelyn-Education-Scholarship/11
  33. Minnesota State Grant, Accessed December 2016, http://www.ohe.state.mn.us/mPg.cfm?pageID=138
  34. Minnesota OHE Child Care Grant, Accessed December 2016, http://www.ohe.state.mn.us/mPg.cfm?pageID=140
  35. Minnesota OHE SELF Loans, Accessed December 2016, http://www.ohe.state.mn.us/mPg.cfm?pageID=170
  36. Capella University, https://www.capella.edu/#
  37. Extended Learning, Bemidji State University, https://www.bemidjistate.edu/academics/distance/online-degrees/
  38. About Us, Bemidji State University, https://www.bemidjistate.edu/about/
  39. Our Lake, Bemidji State University, https://www.bemidjistate.edu/about/lake/
  40. Online, University of Northwestern St. Paul, https://unwsp.edu/find-your-degree/ways-to-learn/online
  41. About Us, University of Northwestern St. Paul, https://unwsp.edu/about-us
  42. Radio Ministries, University of Northwestern St. Paul, https://unwsp.edu/about-us/radio-ministries
  43. Online Programs, University of Minnesota Crookston, https://www.crk.umn.edu/units/online
  44. About the University of Minnesota Crookston, University of Minnesota Crookston, https://www.crk.umn.edu/about-us
  45. Free Pre-Evaluation, University of Minnesota Crookston, https://www.crk.umn.edu/units/online-programs/free-pre-evaluation
  46. Scholarships, University of Minnesota Crookston, https://onestop.crk.umn.edu/finances/scholarships
  47. University Extended Education, Minnesota State University Mankato, http://www.mnsu.edu/ext/
  48. Fast Facts About Minnesota State Mankato, Minnesota State University Mankato, https://mankato.mnsu.edu/about-the-university/fast-facts/
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Minnesota is a state with many claims to fame. It is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes — and in fact has even more lakes than that, clocking in at 11,842 in total — and is also famous as the location of the Mall of America (the largest mall in the U.S.). It's clear Minnesota is a state overflowing with options both natural and manmade that can enrich the lives of its residents. And don't think for a moment that Minnesota falls behind when it comes to educational options, either.

The North Star State is home to dozens of colleges and universities, many of which offer online degree programs in order to support success for the greatest percentage of students. To demonstrate their commitment to the advancement of distance education, three two-year colleges and a university partner formed Distance Minnesota, an online higher education consortium. As of 2017, the membership delivers more than 36,000 credits of coursework to over 12,000 online students annually.

Best Online Colleges in Minnesota for 2018-19

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There aren't 10,000 universities in Minnesota the way there are lakes, but it can feel like it sometimes when you're staring at a list of institutions, trying to decide which one might suit you best. To help you make your decision, try our list of the 10 best online colleges in Minnesota, right here. Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and our own unique methodology (details at the bottom of this page), we found the following Minnesota institutions to be the 10 best for online learning in the entire state.

If you'd like to create your own ranking of online colleges, narrowed down by your own criteria, check out our Top Colleges Tool.

1

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$14,142
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
24%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
42
School Type
4-year

The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities works in conjunction with the University of Minnesota-Rochester to offer online programs and courses for students of the UMN system. Online courses from UMN-Twin Cities can be reviewed using the "Search for classes" tool of the MyU online portal, and can be searched according to each course's level of online engagement:

  • Fully online courses can be completed entirely online. Fully online courses that require a practicum or rotation allow students to complete these requirements in their own community, rather than at a UMN campus.
  • Primarily online courses are at least 80 percent online, with the on-campus requirements compressed into a short, intensive time period, i.e. a two-week long summer session. Weekly campus visits are not required.
  • Partially online courses are between 50 and 80 percent online, in the manner of hybrid learning.
2

Concordia University-Saint Paul

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$21,250
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
67%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
50
School Type
4-year

Concordia University-St. Paul offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs that can be earned completely online, in fields from business administration to nursing, from creative writing to exercise science. Online students also have access to a dedicated help desk in case any issues arise with their courses, and they can conveniently access library resources to aid them in their studies as well.

Minnesotan students looking to transfer to a four-year university should be especially aware of the Concordia Colleague Advantage. This partnership helps students who are transferring from a Concordia partner institution to pursue an undergraduate degree program at Concordia with several potential advantages, including a seamless transfer of credits, priority admission and even a scholarship!

3

Capella University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$13,998
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
100%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
202
School Type
4-year

Headquartered in Minneapolis, Capella University is a for-profit, entirely online school designed for working professionals, busy parents and other nontraditional students. Capella students are able to select from dozens of online education programs, ranging from the certificate level all the way up to the doctoral level. Many fields of study are offered, including psychology, business, health sciences and information technology. Furthermore, Capella students can choose between two online learning formats for their programs: FlexPath is entirely self-paced with one-on-one engagement, while GuidedPath offers structured deadlines and an interactive atmosphere.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

225 South 6th St,
9th Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402
 
4

Bemidji State University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$8,394
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
40%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
17
School Type
4-year

Situated on the shores of the beautiful Lake Bemidji -- named "Bemidjigamaa," or "a lake with crossing waters," centuries ago by the Ojibwe people -- it's no surprise that Bemidji State University cares deeply about their environment. In 2017, BSU's admirable sustainability efforts were sufficient for the university to be awarded a Green Ribbon for sustainability from the U.S. Department of Education.

BSU's uniqueness extends to its online degree programs, which are primarily bachelor's degree completion programs in subjects such as accounting, engineering, business and psychology. Several intriguing minors -- i.e. fraud examination, geography and project management -- exist to complement these programs. To ease the cost of education, BSU doesn't impose an out-of-state tuition surcharge, and does offer numerous scholarships specifically for distance learners.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

1500 Birchmont Drive,
Bemidji, MN 56601
 
5

University of Northwestern-St. Paul

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$29,460
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
48%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
20
School Type
4-year

A Christ-centered liberal arts university, University of Northwestern-St. Paul was founded in 1902, and started up its first Christian radio station in 1949. As of 2018, UNW owns and operates 16 radio stations, offering a combination of Christian music and preaching that can help its online students to feel connected to their school and their faith from anywhere in the world.

Online education options abound here, including undergraduate programs in general studies, business management and health psychology, and graduate programs in education, divinity and organizational leadership. Dozens of individual online courses are also available for UNW students who want the on-campus experience but need a bit more flexibility in their schedule.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

3003 Snelling Ave N,
Saint Paul, MN 55113
 
6

University of Minnesota-Crookston

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$11,700
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
42%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
16
School Type
4-year

The northernmost of the five University of Minnesota System campuses, the University of Minnesota-Crookston is a public, coeducational institution also known as "Laptop U" for the laptops it equips its students and faculty with. UMC students can choose to enroll in a bevvy of online bachelor's degree programs, including those in agricultural business, entrepreneurship, manufacturing management, international business and more.

Transfer students can submit their previous credits to UMC for a no-cost pre-evaluation, helping them to determine how many of their credits might transfer. Online degree-seeking students who enroll in six or more credits at UMC may apply for the Online Learning Scholarship, while those who enroll in 12 or more credits may apply for UMC's online Specialty Scholarships.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

2900 University Ave,
Crookston, MN 56716
 
7

Minnesota State University-Mankato

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$7,858
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
35%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
28
School Type
4-year

Mankato Normal School was founded in 1868, with 27 students who were all earning teaching degrees. Decades later, Minnesota State University-Mankato has evolved into a sprawling campus, educating thousands of students per year in many different subjects -- some of them at considerable distance.

MNSU-Mankato offers a substantial number of programs online, in several different formats. Many of the programs are bachelor's degree completion programs, with the option to supplement via a minor or a certificate program. There are also graduate certificate programs, a handful of graduate degree programs, and even licensure preparation programs for library media education (K-12), educational leadership (K-12) and reading (also K-12).

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

South Rd and Ellis Ave,
Mankato, MN 56001
 
8

The College of Saint Scholastica

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$35,326
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
37%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
17
School Type
4-year

Founded in 1912 on Catholic Benedictine values, the College of St. Scholastica is an independent, private college with a nationwide presence due to its online programs. The college offers several bachelor's degree completion programs, ranging from computer information systems to organizational behavior; a fully online bachelor's program in health information management; several online master's degree programs, including a Master of Education; and many other options for its online students.

Some of the college's programs are offered in a hybrid format. Students in these programs may complete the necessary in-person coursework at either the main St. Scholastica campus in Duluth, or one of eight other extended campuses across the state of Minnesota.

9

Northwest Technical College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$5,428
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
75%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
40
School Type
2-year

Northwest Technical College is a technical college that groups its degree programs into six different "Career Paths": automotive service & performance, building systems, business, child care, health care and manufacturing technology. Several of the associate degree programs the school offers in these subjects, as well as some of the diploma and certificate programs, can be taken online, thanks to a partnership with Distance Minnesota.

The college's online programs and courses are made available through the D2L Brightspace learning management system, and books needed for coursework can be ordered online. NTCMN's Learning Enrichment Center is a primary source of online academic services and resources, featuring a media-based resource center with electronic media subscriptions, tutoring services and access to libraries across Minnesota.

10

Minnesota West Community and Technical College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$5,640
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
57%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
30
School Type
2-year

Formed in 1997, Minnesota West Community and Technical College allows students the option of taking just a few online courses or completing their entire degree programs online, through the D2L Brightspace learning platform. Associate degree programs are offered in subjects such as accounting, business management, energy technical specialist and nursing. The school also features a variety of programs in computers and information technology.

MNWest encourages students who are interested in studying online to try out their no-cost, no-credit "Introduction to Online Learning" course. This can help students to determine whether online courses are a good fit for their schedule and learning style. The school also employs an entire transfer staff to assist students with transferring credits into and out of the school.

Affordable Online Colleges in Minnesota for 2018

Students interested in attending Minnesota schools may look at affordability as a key factor before applying. They also may want to know what kinds of programs affordable online colleges in Minnesota can offer, as well as the types of courses or degree programs that can be completed through a distance-based platform. In this section, prospective students, including veterans, single parents and career changers, will find 10 of the most affordable online schools in Minnesota, as well as details about their online programming.

To see Minnesota schools ranked by quality and other factors, use our Top Colleges tool.

Affordable Two-Year Online Colleges in Minnesota

The list below names five of the most affordable two-year schools in Minnesota.

College NameTuition & Fees/Year
Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Distance Education Participation
Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Number of Online Programs Offered
Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
School Type
Leech Lake Tribal College$3,92622%52-year
Pine Technical & Community College$4,02921%22-year
North Hennepin Community College$4,36739%322-year
Anoka-Ramsey Community College$4,97933%72-year
Lake Superior College$5,09643%112-year

Affordable Four-Year Online Colleges in Minnesota

Look directly below to find information on five of the most affordable four-year colleges in Minnesota.

College NameTuition & Fees/Year
Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Distance Education Participation
Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Number of Online Programs Offered
Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
School Type
Metropolitan State University$7,56646%164-year
Minnesota State University-Mankato$7,85835%284-year
Saint Cloud State University$7,91024%94-year
Minnesota State University Moorhead$8,11439%154-year
Bemidji State University$8,39440%174-year

College Accreditation in Minnesota

When researching prospective colleges in Minnesota, students should pay particular attention to whether their chosen institution is accredited through a recognized accrediting body. Accreditation is important for students because it means educational programs have been peer reviewed and are compliant with widely accepted quality standards. The degrees students earn at accredited colleges and universities, therefore, are considered valid in their home state and others as a result.

The primary accrediting body for community colleges, state universities, technical colleges and other institutions of higher learning in Minnesota is the following:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Students who wish to check how their prospective college in Minnesota is accredited can do so by checking online with the Department of Education.

School Interviews

To provide a better understanding of school options within Minnesota, and specifically at one of its public state schools, a Q&A with a distance learning director is included directly below. From this, prospective returning and new students can glean information pertinent to an online education and the kinds of programs that may be available within Minnesota's state college system.

 Lynn Johnson
I expect online programs will continue to evolve into blended programs when possible …

Lynn Johnson

Interim Director of Distance Learning

Bemijdi State University

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

Bemidji State University currently has 11 undergraduate completion programs, 3 grad programs and 2 grad certificates that are offered entirely online.

BSU typically offers nearly 500 online courses each academic year. This spring, 260 courses were offered online, and 239 are scheduled to be offered online this fall.

Bachelor's degree completion programs are offered in accounting; applied engineering; biology; business administration; criminal justice; elementary education; marketing communication; nursing; psychology; social work and technology management. BSU refers to these programs as a 2+2 option; the first two years of an undergraduate program can be completed on campus at BSU or by transferring in with an Associate of Arts degree from a two-year college, and the final two years of the program can be completed entirely online or through a combination of online and on-campus courses.

BSU offers online graduate programs in business administration (MBA); a Master of Arts in teaching, which begins this fall; a Master Of Science in education; and a Master Of Special Education. It offers online licensures in FasTrack post-baccalaureate secondary teaching; health; special education: emotional behavioral disorders; and special education: specific learning disabilities. BSU also offers online certificates in camp nursing (and is one of the only programs in the nation offering camp nursing at the graduate level) and in online teaching.

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

I try to help students understand that online courses can take more discipline than on-campus courses, because it will be up to the student to make the time to log in each day and complete assignments, etc. There is not as much accountability to "go to class," so it does become a matter of scheduling time to be online.

Also, it's harder to "hide" in an online course. Discussions are posted so the instructor is able to see who is participating and who hasn't logged in for a few days. Online courses require active participation; this can surprise some students who think it might be an "easy" way to take a course.

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

I expect online programs will continue to evolve into blended programs when possible, where students and faculty have the chance to interact in person or via video/live chat/streaming media at least a couple of times during each class. Students indicate this interaction, even a couple of times each course, helps them connect to their faculty and other students. They do appreciate the opportunity to meet occasionally, even while they need the flexibility to complete most of their work online and asynchronously.

Financial Aid Resources in Minnesota

For students who plan to attend college in their home state of Minnesota, there are a number of state-based financial aid programs that are designed to assist families. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education administers these programs and serves as a clearinghouse of information on all Minnesota financial aid opportunities. Savvy students can take advantage of the multiple state financial aid programs available to help offset the costs of college.

Below is a sampling of some of the financial aid programs that Minnesota offers to its college students.

Minnesota Gift Aid: Grants & Scholarships

Grants and scholarships are a fantastic way to help reduce the cost of college, and students in Minnesota have ample opportunities to earn them. Whether it's for academic achievements, leadership skills, or ethnic affiliations, there could be scholarship support for Minnesota students. Here are a few examples:

1.Post-Secondary Child Care Grant
Type : Grant
Criteria:
Applicant must be pursuing a non-sectarian program, meet state residency requirements, be in the first four years of a post-secondary education at a Minnesota private or public degree-granting institution or private non-profit vocational school (enrolled at least part-time), and must not be in a default on a student loan. MFIP cannot be received, eligible income guidelines must be met, and applicant must have a child 12 years or younger (or 14 or younger if disabled).
Award Amount
$2,600
Application Deadline
July 1
Renewable
Recipient must reapply for renewal.
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
2.Minnesota Indian Scholarship
Type : Scholarship
Criteria:
Applicant must be a Minnesota resident attending an in-state college. Applicant must have at least one quarter American Indian ancestry. Financial need must be demonstrated by qualifying for either Federal Pell Grant or Minnesota State Grant.
Award Amount
N/A
Application Deadline
July 1
Renewable
Recipient must reapply each year.
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
3.Robert B. and Sophia Whiteside Scholarship
Type : Scholarship
Criteria:
Applicant must be a high school senior at a Duluth public/private high school who is in the top tenth of their graduating class.
Award Amount
N/A
Application Deadline
January 15
Renewable
No
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
4.Public Safety Officers Survivor Grant
Type : Grant
Criteria:
Applicant must be the dependent child under age 23 (or under age 30 for those honorably discharged from active duty or released to a reserve or National Guard unit) or the surviving spouse of a public safety officer who was killed in the line of duty on or after January 1, 1973. Applicant must also be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, meet state residency requirements, be enrolled at least half time, be in the first five years of a post-secondary education, and must not be in default on a student loan.
Award Amount
$10,488
Application Deadline
Open
Renewable
Reapplication is required for renewal for each academic term.
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL

Learn more about how grants can help you finance your college education in our Ultimate Guide to Grants. For more information on scholarships instead, see our Ultimate Guide to Scholarships.

Minnesota Loans

Although most student loans come from the federal government, some states like Minnesota also have loan programs that are specific to students who attend college in that state. Many times, these additional loans help families bridge the gap between their financial aid offers and the total cost of attendance.

Eligible students include Minnesota residents attending an in-state or out-of-state postsecondary institution, as well as non-residents attending eligible postsecondary institutions in Minnesota. SELF Loans are not subsidized by the federal or state government, and they require a co-signer.

  • Application deadline:  Must file the FAFSA (priority deadline is February 1)
  • Award amount:  Up to $20,000 per year

For more about how student loans affect the college financial aid process, read the Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Minnesota

Featured Cities in Minnesota

Students looking at attending school in Minnesota also will be interested in the affordability of some of the major cities or areas in the state, as well as different opportunities available there. Below, we have highlighted some of the major living areas and various factors important to deciding on a place to live, as sourced from the 2015 American Community Survey (census.gov).

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Metro Area

Total Population

3,488,436

Median salary for high school grads

$32,142

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$55,540

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

26.3%

Median rent

$963

Fun Facts about Minneapolis

The City of St. Paul calls its city the "Most Livable City in America," thanks to its local economy and cultural vitality. It is also home to several Fortune 500 company headquarters, not to mention a number of historical and cultural landmarks. In 2016, Forbes Magazine ranked the area among its best places for business and careers, as well as ranking it 21st for best in education.

Duluth, MN-WI Metro Area

Total Population

279,540

Median salary for high school grads

$28,720

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$45,420

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

36.4%

Median rent

$705

Fun Facts about Duluth

Duluth is situated on Lake Superior, which is the largest freshwater lake in the world. Duluth runs along the lake's shoreline for more than 27 miles, according to the Duluth Economic Development Authority. The city has 11,000 acres of green space, 129 parks and 150 miles of unpaved hiking trails. To top it off, many of its restaurants, parks and museums are accessible by an extensive, climate-controlled skywalk downtown.

Rochester, MN Metro Area

Total Population

212,669

Median salary for high school grads

$30,802

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$53,462

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

22.2%

Median rent

$801

Fun Facts about Rochester

Rochester is a Midwestern mecca of arts and culture thanks to its Rochester Art Center, the Rochester Symphony, Chateau Theater and more. Perhaps Rochester's best known legacy, however, is its world-famous Mayo Clinic, which not only trains and supports surgeons and physicians from all across the world, but contributes thousands of dollars each year to medical research.

 
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