Online Colleges in North Dakota

Most Affordable Online Colleges

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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% 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 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.

Methodology Sources

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

Sources :

  • Bismarck State College, http://energy.bismarckstate.edu/programs/enrg/
  • Bismarck State College people, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bismarck_State_College
  • Cankdeska Cikana Community College, http://www.littlehoop.edu/content/index.php/about
  • College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?
  • Dakota College at Bottineau people, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dakota_College_at_Bottineau#Notable_alumni
  • Lake Region State College, http://www.lrsc.edu/academics/lrsc-online-campus
  • Dakota College At Bottineau, http://www.dakotacollege.edu/online/online-programs-classes/online-associate-degree-programs/
  • Mayville State University, http://www.mayvillestate.edu/msu-online/msu-online/programs/
  • Dickinson State University people, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dickinson_State_University#Notable_alumn
  • Minot State University people, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minot,_North_Dakota
  • North Dakota State College of Science, https://www.ndscs.edu/academics/things-to-know-academics/academic-clusters-departments/#location:Online|view:all
  • Rasmussen College, http://www.rasmussen.edu/locations/online-campus/degrees/
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ga.htm
  • U S. Census Bureau, The America Community Survey, http://www.census.gov/acs/www/
  • U.S. Census Bureau, American Fact Finder, http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_12_1YR_S1501&prodType=table
  • University of North Dakota people, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_University_of_North_Dakota_people
  • Valley City State University people, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valley_City_State_University#Notable_alumni
  • North Dakota University System - North Dakota Grants & Scholarships, Accessed April 2017, http://www.ndus.nodak.edu/students/paying-for-college/grants-scholarships/
  • United Tribes Technical College, accessed April 25, 2018, http://www.uttc.edu/
  • North Dakota State College of Science, accessed April 25, 2018, https://www.ndscs.edu/
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Since North Dakota is mostly rural with long distances between cities, attending an online college in the state may make sense for you. It can give you the chance to earn an associate, bachelor's, or master's degree online at your home or any other convenient location. You can select from more than a dozen online colleges in North Dakota. Here's an overview of available options:

  • Of the 16 online colleges in North Dakota, 11 are public and 5 are private, including two faith-based colleges and one tribal college.
  • Online associate and bachelor's degree programs are available at 12 colleges, while master's degrees can be earned at 7 of them.
  • Rasmussen College-North Dakota has the most online degree programs available, and across the North Dakota University System (NDUS), more than 1,000 courses are available online.
  • Students who choose an online college in North Dakota can choose from a plethora of majors such as business management, accounting, marketing, early childhood education, nursing, and human services.

If you've already earned some college credits either in North Dakota or in another state and you're looking to go back to school, a number of state initiatives in North Dakota can help you transfer those credits.

To find the 10 best online colleges in North Dakota and see why we think those colleges are top-notch choices, keep reading. Scroll down to also learn more about financial aid options that may be available, such as North Dakota-specific grants and scholarships.

Best Online Colleges in North Dakota for 2018-19

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If you're curious about online learning in the state of North Dakota, your best first step is researching programs and schools. To help with your search, we used data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to see how the online colleges of North Dakota stack up to one another, looking at factors such as accessibility, graduation rate and net cost. The unique methodology we used for this ranking can also help you make your own rankings with our Top Colleges Tool; for more details on that methodology, see the bottom of this page.

1

University of Mary

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.
$17,445
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.
61%
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.
12
School Type
4-year

The University of Mary is a private Catholic university that strives to apply Benedictine values to their teaching. While the school is still traditional at its core, that hasn't stopped it from offering online degree programs that are accessible to on- or off-campus students alike. Seeing as UMary accepts approved transfer credits from previous college courses as well as credits from work experience, it can be an excellent college choice for students from all walks of life.

Your list of online options at UMary is rather larger than it may first appear. The university focuses primarily on online master's degree programs, and many of these programs feature an armful of possible concentrations to choose from, giving students a lot of customization as to how and what they want to study.

2

Valley City 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.
$7,196
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.
72%
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.
12
School Type
4-year

Valley City State University is an established regional university that was founded in 1890 as a teacher's college, a legacy that continues to inform the university's specialty in education. VCSU's online students can pursue an undergraduate degree program in professional communication, music or one of several specializations of education, or a Master of Education degree program with the option of several additional concentrations, such as technology education or library and information technologies. Multiple minors are also available, as well as a handful of certificates and an ESL endorsement.

3

University of North Dakota

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.
$8,136
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.
36%
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.
24
School Type
4-year

The University of North Dakota is the state's oldest university, having been founded in 1883 -- six years before North Dakota even became a state! Dr. Cora Smith King, the first woman to practice medicine in North Dakota and an accomplished mountain-climber and suffragette, graduated from UND in 1889, and the university's Cora Smith Hall was named for her.

UND boasts impressive variety in its online programs, from a bachelor's degree program in petroleum engineering to a graduate certificate in autistic spectrum disorders. Furthermore, UND offers multiple online non-credit options, for example: a death investigation training program; a professional development for educators program; and a LabVIEW program designed to teach students how to develop engineering applications.

4

Mayville 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.
$6,254
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.
59%
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.
12
School Type
4-year

Although Mayville State University was established in 1889, the school has evolved substantially in the years since its founding. Through their distance-based learning platform, MSU Online, the university offers an array of online degree programs in subjects such as business administration, early childhood development, nursing and mathematics. Online minors in library media & information science, science for the elementary teacher and special needs generalist can add extra customization to a student's degree path. And since this university accepts approved transfer credit from most regionally accredited institutes, it's easy to pick up wherever you left off and complete an unfinished degree at Mayville State.

5

Minot 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.
$6,568
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.
50%
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

Minot State University is a comprehensive university located in Minot, which is also known as the "Magic City" for its miraculous and expansive growth during the early 1900s. Like its namesake, Minot State has grown into quite a force to be reckoned with over the years. The university has received numerous awards for its dynamic degree programs, including for its online programs.

Students have plenty of online degree and course options to choose from at Minot State. Their selection includes associate, bachelor's and master's programs, along with several graduate certificate programs and a smattering of different minors and concentrations. Students are not only permitted but encouraged to work with MSU's academic department to help them plan their course rotations, especially students who are adding a minor or concentration to their degree program.

6

Dickinson 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.
$6,348
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.
44%
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.
24
School Type
4-year

Dickinson State University is a public four-year institution that embraces technology, using multiple programs and services to enhance its students' online learning experience. The university uses Moodle and Blackboard Collaborate to connect students to their courses; Hoonuit (formerly Atomic Learning) and NetTutor for student tutoring and extra help; and Tegrity to record courses for later playback. If that sounds overwhelming, don't worry: Dickinson State also allows off-campus and out-of-state students to set up appointments for more personal and human assistance from their Tutoring Center.

7

Lake Region State 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.
$4,203
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.
88%
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.
5
School Type
2-year

Lake Region State College is a two-year school and a member of the North Dakota University System. Its campus is located close to the largest natural body of water in North Dakota: Devils Lake, the "Perch Capital of the World."

LRSC delivers multiple online courses and degree programs through the online learning platform Blackboard. Students can choose to pursue programs in fields such as business administration, early childhood education, fitness training and law enforcement. Online tutoring is available, and the school also offers special resources for students enrolling in online learning from out of the state.

8

North Dakota State University-Main Campus

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.
$8,327
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.
36%
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.
11
School Type
4-year

"Reimagine Education," exhorts the online division of North Dakota State University, a public research university whose main campus is located in Fargo, North Dakota. NDSU encourages students not only to take one of the university's fully online programs -- available in subjects such as sociology, software engineering and gerontology -- but to incorporate online courses into their on-campus programs, creating their own hybrid learning opportunities.

NDSU is also a member of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA), a consortium of 11 human sciences colleges who have agreed to educate one another's students through online courses. Through the Great Plains IDEA, students can enroll at and graduate from NDSU, yet take their courses with faculty from several universities across the state.

9

United Tribes 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.
$5,757
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.
7
School Type
4-year

This nonprofit institution located in Bismarck is operated by five Native American tribes: Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berhold, the Spirit Lake Tribe, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. Though the school was founded 43 years ago to serve tribal members with occupational education as well as individual and social skills in a culturally relevant setting, it welcomes students of all backgrounds.

UTTC was the first tribal college in the nation to offer fully online degree programs, and as part of its pioneering spirit, the school prides itself on online course delivery that is user-friendly. UTTC offers a fully online medical coding and billing certificate program and fully online associate degree programs in criminal justice and general studies.

Accreditation:

  • The Higher Learning Commission

Location:

3315 University Drive, Bismarck,
ND 58504
 
10

North Dakota State College of Science

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.
$4,697
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.
64%
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.
10
School Type
2-year

Founded in 1903, NDSCS is the second-oldest public, two-year college in the country. Its commitment to the quality of its education is actually guaranteed: If an employer certifies that an NDSCS graduate lacks target job competencies normally expected among entry-level employees, or if the graduate hasn't secured employment within six months of graduation, NDSCS guarantees at least six additional credits of retraining.

The college offers online degrees, certificates and diplomas in a wide range of subject areas: from general liberal arts to retail and sales management, technical studies, web design, journeyworker training, business technology management and numerous health care-related subjects, such as pharmacy technician, paramedic and medical coding.

Accreditation:

  • The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Location:

800 N. 6th St., Wahpeton,
ND 58076
 

Affordable Online Colleges in North Dakota for 2018-19

The following list describes schools in North Dakota that offer online degrees at the lowest tuition costs -- a factor that is important to prospective students. The tuition data cited is what the schools reported to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, a branch of the National Center for Education Statistics. To see how schools in North Dakota ranked on a variety of other factors, visit the Top Colleges tool. 

  • School Type - 2 Years
  • School Type - 4 Years
  • 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
    Lake Region State College$4,20388%52-year
    Dakota College at Bottineau$4,28172%232-year
    North Dakota State College of Science$4,69764%102-year
    Williston State College$5,02783%62-year
  • 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
    Turtle Mountain Community College$2,25033%44-year
    Bismarck State College$3,65961%364-year
    United Tribes Technical College$5,757100%74-year
    Mayville State University$6,25459%124-year
    Dickinson State University$6,34844%244-year

College Accreditation in North Dakota

Colleges in North Dakota don't have to be accredited, but many reputable schools choose to do so. Accreditation demonstrates the quality of a college or university and also makes it possible for students to receive federal financial aid.

However, not all accreditations may be created equal. The state's regional accrediting body is:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Other national accreditations from organizations such as the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing are also well-respected. Ultimately, students should make sure any accreditation listed is recognized and legitimate. Check the Council on Higher Education Accreditation website for a complete list of accrediting agencies.

Financial Aid Resources in North Dakota

1.Real DEAL Scholarship
Type : Scholarship
Criteria:
Applicants must be North Dakota high school seniors with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Students must plan on attending an accredited college or university in North Dakota. Applicants must demonstrate involvement in at least three extracurricular activities.
Award Amount
$500
Application Deadline
February 28
Renewable
No
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
2.North Dakota School Counselor Association
Type : Scholarship
Criteria:
Applicants must be graduating seniors from a North Dakota high school. Student must submit an application signed by their school counselor. Applicants must write an essay and provide a letter of recommendation.
Award Amount
$1,000
Application Deadline
December 18
Renewable
No
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
3.Money Sense Contest
Type : Scholarship
Criteria:
Applicants must be graduating high school seniors in North Dakota planning to enroll in college. Students must create a YouTube video relating to a Money Sense topic.
Award Amount
$1,000
Application Deadline
November 17
Renewable
No
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
4.North Dakota Indian Scholarship
Type : Scholarship
Criteria:
Applicant must be an enrolled member of a federally recognized Indian tribe and a resident of North Dakota who has been accepted for admission at an institution of higher learning or state vocational program within North Dakota. Full-time enrollment and minimum 2.0 GPA required.
Award Amount
$2,000
Application Deadline
July 15
Renewable
Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 2.0 GPA.
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
Yes
Application URL

North Dakota Loans

North Dakota does not provide any state-based education loans, preferring to focus their efforts on offering a multitude of scholarships and grants instead. There are, however, two state programs that can help to reduce loan indebtedness for college graduates who work in teaching or STEM-related fields identified as having shortages. You should look into any and all scholarship and grant opportunities for which you are eligible, and pursue federal or private loans as a secondary source of funding. If you do seek federal financial assistance for your degree, keep in mind that you will need to fill out the FAFSA with details about your family's financial situation in order to apply. Private lenders have their own application process.

Learn more about student loans in the Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in North Dakota

  • North Dakota University System details all of North Dakota's state-based scholarships and grants, as well as the state's loan forgiveness programs and information on possible tuition and fee reductions for applicable students.

Costs for Out-of-State Students in North Dakota

North Dakota is a member of the 16-state Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), through which out-of-state students pay no more than 150 percent of in-state tuition at participating intuitions. For instance, if you are from California -- a state with a generally high cost of living -- looking to attend school in the Midwest, this could be a great program to take advantage of.

Several North Dakota universities have a variety of special programs available to make more affordable tuition fees a reality for out-of-state students. For instance, the University of North Dakota offers the following:

If you want to become a resident, North Dakota certainly won't make it difficult for you, especially the University of North Dakota, which only requires you to reside in the state 30 days prior to the first class day of the semester. Talk to you admissions counselor about the many ways you can get resident tuition or almost-resident tuition at North Dakota universities. 

 
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