It’s known as “The Land of 10,000 Lakes,” but Minnesota has just as much to boast about on dry land!
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The northern state offers top-notch colleges and universities, generous grant and scholarship programs, and is ahead of the nation when it comes to online learning opportunities.
Overview of Higher Education in Minnesota
In Minnesota, there are 88 degree-granting institutions, according to a 2018-2019 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Of those, 44 are public, 34 are non-profit, and 10 are for-profit. To attend one of the state’s 4-year public institutions, NCES reports that residents will pay approximately $11,381. Nonresidents will pay closer to $22,780, which is far below the national average of $26,382.
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Fellow Midwesterners may get a bit of a discount, thanks to Minnesota’s partnership with the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP). MSEP offers a tuition reciprocity program that allows students to enroll at public colleges and universities in participating states while paying no more than 150% of the in-state tuition rate.
About Online Colleges in Minnesota
2018 data by the NCES stated that 31.4% of college students in Minnesota were enrolled exclusively in online courses, which is more than twice the national average.
On top of that, an additional 16.1% were participating in a hybrid of online and on-campus courses. One of the state’s top online colleges, University of Minnesota, offers multiple certificates, as well as undergraduate, graduate and doctorate degrees online.
Some programs, such as Psychology, Information Technology Management, Accounting, Marketing and many more, are available in a fully online format. Others may be offered through partially online formats, where 50-80% of the instruction is online. Likewise, Minnesota State University offers bachelor’s degree completion programs, undergraduate certificates and graduate programs through fully online formats.
Private schools like Concordia University and Bethel University also offer online learning opportunities. And in fact, two of the largest regionally accredited online colleges in the country, Walden University and Capella University, are located in Minnesota.
A number of tools exist to help support online learners in the state. Distance Minnesota is a partnership between 4 schools, providing online coaching, faculty development and 24/7 support for students. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education is an agency that helps students locate credible online programs, and understand and procure financial aid, among other things.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Minnesota
If you plan to pursue a degree from a college or university in Minnesota, the first thing you should do is complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is how you access federal, state and private financial aid.
Since financial aid is usually awarded on a first come first served basis, it’s important that you apply as soon as possible. The FAFSA becomes available on October 1st of each year. Filling out the FAFSA application is quite simple.
You will need to include you and your parents’ financial information (unless you’re considered “independent”). This information will help calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and from there determine how much and what type of financial aid you are offered. The best types of financial aid are grants and scholarships, as these do not have to be repaid.
The state of Minnesota offers a number of grants and scholarships to help residents afford higher education. Two of the most far-reaching state programs include:
- Minnesota Academic Excellence Scholarship – For students who have demonstrated outstanding ability, achievement and potential in one of the following subjects: English, creative writing, fine arts, foreign language, math, science or social science
- Minnesota State Grant Program – Need based assistance for low and moderate income families
The state also administers the following aid programs for students with special circumstances:
- Minnesota Child Care Grant – Assistance with childcare costs for students who have children under the age of 12
- Public Safety Officer’s Survivor Grant – For the child or surviving spouse of a public service officer killed in the line of duty
- Alliss Opportunity Grant – For adults returning to college
- Minnesota Indian Scholarship – For students who are of ¼ or more Indian ancestry and demonstrate financial need
- Minnesota Educational Assistance for War Orphans – For the child of a veteran who died because of a service-related condition
- Minnesota Veterans’ Dependents Assistance Program – For the child of a person considered to be a prisoner of war or person missing in action
- Education Vouchers for Former Youth In Care – For students who have been or are still in foster care
- Federal Grants for Aspiring Teachers – For students who intend to teach in an elementary or secondary school that services students from low-income families
Additionally, Minnesota offers a number of loan forgiveness programs to those in the healthcare field who agree to serve in specific areas for a certain period of time.
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The programs listed above are funded by the state, but there are many more financial assistance opportunities available to Minnesotans. Here are just a few:
|Scholarship Name||Scholarship amount|
|Linden Scholarship||$1500 for 2-year college, $3000 for 4-year college|
|Minnesota Masonic Charities Scholarships||Varies|
|Page Education Foundation Grant||$2500|
|Robert Yourzak Scholarship||Up to $2000|
Even more scholarships can be found using online scholarship search sites such as Fastweb.com. There, you can enter some basic information about yourself and be matched with scholarships available locally and nationally.
You should also check with the colleges and universities you’re considering. Each one will offer its own financial assistance programs, and can help you determine what you may qualify for and how to apply.
List of Online Colleges in Minnesota
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Augsburg University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Bemidji State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Bethel University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
CSP is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Crown College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Hamline University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Martin Luther College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Metropolitan State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Minnesota State University – Mankato is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Southwest Minnesota State University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the Higher Learning Commission.
St. Cloud State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The College of St. Scholastica is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Minnesota – Crookston is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Northwestern – St. Paul is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of St. Thomas is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Walden is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Winona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Minnesota is a land of 10,000 opportunities! The northern state has a number of excellent institutions, many of which offer fully or partially online degree programs. And residents can review dozens of grants and scholarships to help ease the financial burden.