North Dakota is a land of vast prairie land and vast possibilities.
The state has top-notch colleges and universities many of which offer online learning programs, and some of the lowest tuition rates in the country.
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If you’re thinking about pursuing a postsecondary degree in North Dakota, check out what’s in store for you!
Overview of Higher Education in North Dakota
North Dakota is home to 20 degree-granting institutions, according to a 2018-2019 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Of these, 14 are public institutions, 5 are non-profit private schools, and just 1 is a for-profit private school.
Many of the state’s publicly supported colleges and universities have come together to form the North Dakota University System (NDUS), which includes two research universities (North Dakota State University in Fargo, and the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks), as well as four regional universities and five community colleges.
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In 2018, the NCES reported that the average tuition and fees for a 4-year public institution in North Dakota were $8,091 for in-state students and $15,565 for out-of-state students. When compared to the national averages, that is $1,121 less for residents, and $10,817 less for non-residents! Students in the western states may get even deeper discounts, thanks to North Dakota’s partnership with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).
WICHE’s Student Exchange Program allows students to enroll in degree programs at any of the 16 participating states and territories for no more than 150% of the in-state tuition rate in the 2019-2020 school year, these programs saved North Dakota students $3,481,838.
About Online Colleges in North Dakota
NCES data from 2018 showed that 26.5% of North Dakota’s higher education students were enrolled in degree programs at online colleges. And an additional 26.3% of students were participating in a hybrid of online and on-campus classes. Today, most of North Dakota’s public and private institutions offer fully online learning opportunities.
The University of North Dakota, for example, offers more than 120 fully online programs, including certifications, undergraduate and graduate degrees. Twenty-five of their online program options can be earned entirely through self-paced online courses or a combination of semester-based courses.
Likewise, a private institution like the University of Jamestown offers fully online bachelor’s degrees in the business and communications fields, and online master’s programs in areas like leadership, education, and science.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in North Dakota
If you’re thinking about pursuing a degree in North Dakota, the first thing you should do is fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will give you access to federal, state, and even private financial aid.
The FAFSA becomes available each year on October 1st, and it’s important that you fill it out as early as possible because much of the financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Completing the FAFSA application is fairly simple.
You will need to include financial information for yourself as well as your parents (unless you’re considered “independent”). The information you provide will be used to determine how much and what type of aid you qualify for. The best forms of financial aid are grants and scholarships because these do not have to be repaid.
The state of North Dakota makes the following programs available to its college students:
- North Dakota State Grant Program – For first-time undergraduate students; Up to $1,100 per semester or $733 per quarter
- North Dakota Academic Scholarships – For high school seniors with GPA of 3.0 or higher and ACT score of 24 or higher; $750 per semester up to $6000
- North Dakota Career & Technical Education Scholarships — For high school seniors with GPA of 3.0 or higher and ACT score of 24 or higher; $750 per semester up to $6000
- North Dakota Indian Scholarships – Must be enrolled member of federally recognized Indian tribe; Merit scholarship recipients must have a GPA of 3.5 or higher, Need-based scholarship recipients must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher; Up to $2000 per year
- North Dakota Scholars Program – For high school seniors in the 95th percentile among those who took the ACT by a certain date; Covers full undergraduate tuition
The state also offers tuition and fee waivers for law enforcement officers, national guard members, dependents of veterans who were killed or disabled, and for senior citizens. Be sure to follow the links to learn more about eligibility and how to apply.
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North Dakotans can also find privately funded scholarship programs, which award funds for need and merit, as well as unique factors like the region you live in, a particular hobby or talent, or the course of study you’ve chosen.
Here are some scholarships open to residents of North Dakota:
|Scholarship Name||Scholarship amount|
|Celebrate The West High School Art Competition||(1) $1500
$200 each to state finalists
|Greater Midwest Chapter of Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Scholarship||$5000|
|Jack Shelley Scholarship||$1250|
|Marathon Petroleum Youth Leadership Awards||(20) $2500|
|Victor & Verna Johnson Scholarship||Multiple awards|
You can find even more opportunities by using scholarship search sites such as Fastweb.com, where you can enter basic information about yourself and be matched with dozens of scholarships.
And finally, be sure to check with the financial aid office at the college or university you have chosen. They will have information about assistance that is unique to the school.
List of Online Colleges in North Dakota
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.
Bismarck State College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Dickinson State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Mayville State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Minot State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
NDSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Rasmussen University – Fargo is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Jamestown is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Mary is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
UND is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Valley City State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
North Dakota takes pride in providing a first-rate higher education system, and it should. With many well-respected colleges and universities, plenty of online education programs, and generous financial aid programs, North Dakota is an excellent place to earn your postsecondary degree.