Minnesota is one of the best-educated states in the Union, ranking second in the nation (behind only Massachusetts) in the number of working-age residents with an associate degree or higher. One reason for Minnesota’s well-educated population is the number of high quality colleges and universities in the state. From public universities to small private colleges to trade schools offering numerous skills and technologies, students in Minnesota have many options for pursuing higher education. This guide presents an overview of the best colleges in Minnesota, pointers on which might be most affordable, and which might have the best outlook for graduates. Read on for rankings, lists and college planning programs about Minnesota colleges.

Ranking Minnesota’s Best Colleges for 2017

Minnesota Minnesota

Not all institutions of higher learning are created equal. From cost of attendance to class size to the number of programs available for study, each school has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on the student’s perspective and academic goals. Our ranking of the best Minnesota colleges takes some guesswork out of the process of choosing by looking at hard statistics such as student-to-teacher ratio, tuition and graduation rate.

Rank School Name Score Tuition Fees Alumni Earnings Student/Teacher Ratio Gift Financial AidGraduation Rate Acceptance Rate # Online Programs # Total Programs Placement Services Credit for Experience
1
Hennepin Technical College
99.80
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$33,900
21:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
3%
29% N/A 1 128 Yes Yes
2
Hibbing Community College
99.74
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$34,600
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
10%
32% N/A 3 38 Yes Yes
3
North Hennepin Community College
99.59
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$36,600
24:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
2%
16% N/A 9 61 Yes Yes
4
Rochester Community and Technical College
99.15
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$35,000
21:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
7%
19% N/A 5 99 Yes Yes
5
Minnesota State Community and Technical College
99.10
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$32,900
21:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
5%
32% N/A 16 108 Yes Yes
6
Dakota County Technical College
98.91
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$34,400
20:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
10%
38% N/A 4 107 Yes Yes
7
Anoka-Ramsey Community College
98.74
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$36,500
28:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
4%
13% N/A 3 40 Yes Yes
8
Alexandria Technical & Community College
98.66
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$35,600
23:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
25%
55% N/A 9 57 Yes Yes
9
South Central College
98.64
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$32,300
18:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
8%
22% N/A 6 91 Yes Yes
10
St Cloud Technical and Community College
98.61
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$35,600
23:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
5%
28% N/A 3 85 Yes Yes
11
Minneapolis Community and Technical College
97.96
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$32,800
24:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
14% N/A 3 111 Yes Yes
12
Inver Hills Community College
97.84
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$38,400
24:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
14% N/A 2 44 Yes Yes
13
Itasca Community College
97.38
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$30,300
23:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
24%
31% N/A 0 19 Yes Yes
14
Normandale Community College
97.12
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$37,000
26:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
4%
16% N/A 2 44 No Yes
15
Lake Superior College
97.09
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$34,000
22:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
29% N/A 6 80 Yes Yes
16
Riverland Community College
97.06
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$32,000
20:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
15%
31% N/A 5 66 Yes No
17
Central Lakes College
96.89
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$32,000
25:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
13%
35% N/A 4 72 Yes Yes
18
Vermilion Community College
96.35
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$31,600
23:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
21%
32% N/A 0 27 Yes Yes
19
Northwest Technical College
95.83
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
N/A
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
5%
29% N/A 11 57 Yes Yes
20
Century College
95.73
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$35,000
24:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
13% N/A 1 101 Yes Yes
21
Pine Technical Community College
95.59
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$26,900
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
22% N/A 0 29 No Yes
22
Anoka Technical College
95.48
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$37,200
21:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
25% N/A 1 54 Yes Yes
23
Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical
95.44
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$32,800
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
29% N/A 12 79 Yes Yes
24
Ridgewater College
95.30
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$32,300
21:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
43% N/A 3 114 Yes Yes
25
Northland Community and Technical College
95.11
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$34,500
20:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
28% N/A 5 78 No Yes
26
Saint Paul College
95.02
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$31,500
26:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
20% N/A 2 102 Yes Yes
27
White Earth Tribal and Community College
94.98
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
N/A
6:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
4% N/A 0 6 No No
28
Mesabi Range College
94.28
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
N/A
20:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
38% N/A 1 31 Yes Yes
29
Rainy River Community College
93.60
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$27,200
21:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
30% N/A 0 9 Yes No
30
Minnesota West Community and Technical College
88.66
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$32,400
20:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
47% N/A 11 92 Yes Yes
31
Leech Lake Tribal College
87.48
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
N/A
10:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
1%
10% N/A 1 10 No No
32
Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College
86.00
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$25,900
29:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
4%
20% N/A 0 20 No Yes
Rank School Name Score Tuition Fees Alumni Earnings Student/Teacher Ratio Gift Financial AidGraduation Rate Acceptance Rate # Online Programs # Total Programs Placement Services Credit for Experience
1
Gustavus Adolphus College
99.73
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$50,100
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
98%
83% 61% 0 48 Yes No
2
St Catherine University
99.51
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$45,300
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
99%
59% 67% 1 80 Yes Yes
3
Saint Johns University
99.02
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$55,900
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
77% 79% 3 40 Yes No
4
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
98.50
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$47,800
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
54%
73% 45% 17 311 Yes Yes
5
The College of St Scholastica
98.50
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$47,500
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
65% 66% 6 62 Yes Yes
6
Bethel University
98.25
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$44,000
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
71% 95% 8 76 Yes Yes
7
Augsburg College
98.24
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$44,800
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
99%
60% 68% 0 92 Yes Yes
8
Carleton College
98.13
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$46,100
9:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
63%
94% 23% 0 57 Yes No
9
Hamline University
97.95
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$46,900
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
63% 70% 5 58 Yes Yes
10
University of St Thomas
97.83
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$54,300
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
96%
74% 87% 1 123 No No
11
College of Saint Benedict
97.72
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$47,600
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
81% 82% 0 38 Yes No
12
Macalester College
97.11
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$45,700
10:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
74%
90% 36% 0 41 Yes No
13
St Olaf College
96.07
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$44,800
11:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
87%
86% 51% 0 45 Yes No
14
Concordia College at Moorhead
95.97
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$41,200
12:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
68% 64% 1 68 Yes No
15
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
94.49
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$41,600
16:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
99%
62% 74% 6 98 No Yes
16
Concordia University-Saint Paul
93.61
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$45,300
15:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
85%
47% 53% 29 66 Yes Yes
17
University of Minnesota-Duluth
92.97
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$43,300
18:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
56%
54% 77% 4 107 Yes Yes
18
Minnesota State University-Mankato
92.13
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$42,700
23:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
22%
52% 67% 6 162 Yes No
19
University of Minnesota-Morris
92.09
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$38,800
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
89%
60% 64% 0 34 Yes Yes
20
Saint Cloud State University
91.68
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$40,800
22:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
39%
49% 82% 4 153 Yes Yes
21
Martin Luther College
91.63
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$40,400
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
87%
73% 97% 1 17 Yes No
22
Winona State University
91.55
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$41,900
20:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
43%
53% 63% 5 75 Yes Yes
23
University of Northwestern-St Paul
91.49
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$35,300
18:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
66% 70% 6 66 Yes No
24
Bethany Lutheran College
91.34
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$34,000
9:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
100%
51% 78% 0 19 No No
25
Metropolitan State University
89.76
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$43,600
17:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
N/A
35% 100% 11 56 No Yes
26
Minnesota State University-Moorhead
88.58
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$37,000
20:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
38%
46% 84% 6 91 Yes No
27
University of Minnesota-Crookston
88.28
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$39,900
21:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
84%
47% 72% 9 32 Yes Yes
28
Minneapolis College of Art and Design
88.02
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$31,400
13:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
97%
61% 64% 1 15 Yes No
29
North Central University
87.83
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$29,600
14:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
98%
46% 91% 0 38 Yes Yes
30
Bemidji State University
87.46
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$37,300
22:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
43%
44% 94% 12 69 Yes Yes
31
Southwest Minnesota State University
86.09
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$35,600
29:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
76%
41% 67% 0 51 Yes No
32
Crown College
86.00
Published in-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students.
$$$$$
Annual median earnings 10 years after entering the college. Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.
$31,600
18:1
First-time, full-time undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid directly from the postsecondary institution.
89%
47% 28% 15 44 No Yes

Search & Compare Colleges in Minnesota

What if the goal is to search through specific criteria and compare the results? That’s what students get with this search tool, which allows them to drill down on certain criteria, such as tuition rates or student population, and then compare the schools that meet those guidelines. The result is a nice way to help students narrow down their short list of potential colleges in Minnesota.

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College Planning & Assistance Programs in Minnesota

Preparing for college is not easy. It takes hard work and careful planning to find the financial resources and build up the academic record needed to successfully transition from high school to college. Once in higher education, many students could use assistance in maximizing their college experience, transitioning to college life and preparing for the working world after graduation. There are many resources available to help students do all of this. Here are just a few.

Minnesota Education Equity Partnership

The Minnesota Education Equity Partnership’s (MNEEP) goal is for all students to have equal access to education in Minnesota regardless of their race, class, creed or nationality. Utilizing a multifaceted approach, the MNEEP takes various steps to achieve that educational equality, including educating policy makers to recognize the advantages of promoting a diverse students body, empowering students and families to reach for their academic and professional goals, improving college access and addressing school discipline disparities among different types of students based on their race.

Minnesota College Goal

This initiative helps Minnesota students and families take full advantage of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Consisting of volunteers, the program connects financial experts with families of students who plan to attend college. Between February and May, numerous FAFSA workshops are offered in locations all over Minnesota. Special attention goes to low income families or those who have no prior college graduates. MCG helps students find all the financial aid possible in order to make college easier.

Minnesota Self Loan Program

This long-term, low-interest loan is administered by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. The loan has either a fixed interest rate, currently 6.5%, or a variable rate which is often a bit lower. In order to be eligible, students must be attending school at least part-time, make satisfactory academic progress, and be current on any other student loan payments. The program has a cumulative limit of $100,000 for a four-year program, $140,000 for a graduate school program, and much lower amounts for associate, certificate or other programs.

Cost Analysis of Attending College in Minnesota

Most students who attend college in Minnesota will not have the benefit of free tuition or a scholarship that pays for everything. As a result, the cost of a particular school will be one of the most important considerations. How do the colleges in Minnesota stack up to each other and the rest of the colleges across the United States? We did the research to help aspiring students make informed decisions.

Average Minnesota Tuition & Fees at 4-Year Public Colleges

Source: CollegeBoard

% of Minnesota Students Receiving Financial Aid

Source: IPEDS

Average Financial Aid Award for Minnesota Students

Source: IPEDS

* Institutional aid represents grant and scholarship funds directly awarded by a postsecondary institution.

* Financial aid data represents 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Most Affordable Colleges in Minnesota

Tuition is not the only number prospective students should research; some schools will offer more scholarships and financial aid options than others do. Therefore, the actual cost of attendance can be substantially different between schools, even if they have similar base tuitions. The following is a list of the most affordable colleges in Minnesota based on the actual cost of attendance, calculated by subtracting the typical financial aid package from the tuition rate.

Average
Annual Net
Price

Cost for students awarded federal financial aid, after school and government aid is deducted. At public colleges, only applies to in-state students.

Minnesota College Net Price vs. National Average
MINNESOTA $19,461 Average
Annual Net Price
$18,073

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Minnesota Colleges with Highest-Paid Alumni

If college is an investment, an individual needs to know what the return on the investment is before deciding to take it on. This section looks at what graduates from the top six schools in Minnesota are actually making. Earning figures spanning 10 years after graduating, as well as comparisons between Minnesota and national averages, are all included here.

Annual
Median Earnings
10 Years
After Entering
College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

Minnesota Alumni Salaries vs. National Average
MINNESOTA $42,420 Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After Entering College
$42,759

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Colleges in Minnesota with Least Alumni Debt

A high salary after graduating college is great, but must be put into perspective-and few things will do that faster than student loan debt. The following ranking shows what students who graduate from Minnesota colleges might expect from student debt.

Median
Federal Student
Loan Debt After
Graduation

Only for undergraduates who completed college; does not include Parent-PLUS loans.

Minnesota College Grad Debt Vs. National Average
MINNESOTA $22,297 Median Federal Student
Loan Debt After Graduation
$23,145

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

What Does it Cost Students to Live in Minnesota?

In addition to worrying about tuition and financial aid, students must also consider the costs in the area where they might live for two years, four years or longer. The cost of living in Minnesota tends to be a bit higher than the national average in every category, which is why it is so important for students to do serious research into what to expect financially. The following table compares the cost of living in metro areas of the state, as well as the national average.

area composite index housing groceries utilities transportation health care misc.
Statewide Average 101% 94% 105% 90% 105% 108% 106%
Mankato 94% 76% 103% 78% 94% 113% 108%
Minneapolis 107% 110% 106% 94% 108% 106% 109%
Rochester 101% 94% 99% 97% 115% 99% 104%
St. Cloud 96% 78% 111% 91% 97% 115% 103%
St. Paul 106% 109% 105% 92% 108% 106% 109%

Source: The Council for Community and Economic Research

Minnesota Colleges Accreditation

College isn’t easy or cheap, so when choosing which one to attend, prospective students want to know their degree will pay off. While many things can affect whether a college degree from a particular school is worth it, accreditation should always be at the top of a student’s wish list. Accreditation ensures a school has been evaluated by an independent body and proven to have consistent, high-quality programs.

Minnesota colleges are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which is the regional accrediting institution for the North Central Region. In addition to school accreditation, the college or university can pursue accreditation for individual programs as well. Here are a few examples:

Popular College Cities in Minnesota

Mankato

Mankato is known for its excellent parks, trails and opportunities for outdoor activities. It's also known as a great college town with multiple colleges and universities. Plenty of students have recognized the perks offered by the city, such as a shorter commute, a revitalized downtown and a quite young population, with a growing number of residents under the age of 34. Here are some of the colleges students might choose to attend in Mankato.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

MankatoMinnesota State University - Mankato Public $14,161 $42,700
Minnesota State University-Mankato was founded in 1868 and boasts a student body of over 15,000. Students have the opportunity to study in over 130 undergraduate and 75 graduate programs in fields such as business, humanities, allied health and behavioral sciences. The university is well-known for its research, including partnerships with the Center on Aging, Water Resources Center and Space Image Processing Center.
MankatoBethany Lutheran College Private not-for-profit $16,598 $34,000
Started in 1927, Bethany Lutheran College has worked to provide a high quality college education that is in line with the Bible and Lutheran Confessions. Operated by the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the college provides students the opportunity to study in 20 majors, including American studies, media arts and business administration. The professors at this small school are readily available for additional help and instruction, both inside and outside the classroom.
MankatoSouth Central College Public $11,410 $32,300
South Central College is a two-year college serving over 5,000 students. The academic offerings vary widely, with over 50 technical and
Minneapolis-Saint Paul

Minneapolis-Saint Paul is made up of two cities, but due to their proximity to each other, the cities are considered one metropolitan area. With such a large metropolitan area, it's no surprise that there are more than 30 colleges and universities in the area. In addition to enjoying the vast number of schools that might fit their needs, students will be happy to know they will graduate into an area with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. Here are just a few of the institutions of higher learning students should consider.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

Minneapolis-Saint PaulUniversity of Minnesota - Twin Cities Public $17,208 $47,800
The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is Minnesota's keystone public university. Established in 1851, the school also has campuses in other locations, such as Duluth, Rochester and Morris. Over 46,000 students attend the university and take advantage of the diverse academic offerings. There are over 200 graduate and undergraduate degree programs available in almost any subject, including law, horticulture, urban regional planning and interior design.
Minneapolis-Saint PaulMinneapolis College of Art and Design Private not-for-profit $24,619 $31,400
Founded in 1886, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design provides elite art and design instruction and formal degrees to students in the Twin Cities region. Attention paid to students is top-notch, with a faculty to student ratio of 10 to 1 and a student body comprised of only 700 to 800 students from all over the world. The bulk of the curriculum covers art and design subjects; however, students will still get a well-rounded education, with approximately a third of the curriculum covering liberal arts topics.
Minneapolis-Saint PaulMinneapolis Community and Technical College Public $14,467 $32,800
The student body of Minneapolis Community and Tec

Source: College Scorecard

Minnesota College Resources for Further Research

Prospective students interested in attending Minnesota colleges will want to learn how to apply, how to pay for school, and what transfer options may be available. The following list of resources is a great place to begin.

CAREERwise Education

Resources provided include career exploration tools, which help students best utilize their interests and skills. For those not yet in college, college-planning tools can help students figure out which school is right for them and how to pay for it.

Minnesota College Savings Plan

This is a version of the popular 529 college savings plan. What makes this savings plan special is the tax and estate planning benefits it receives.

Minnesota Office of Higher Education

For reliable and readily available consumer information about colleges and universities in Minnesota, this website is one of the first places prospective students should visit.

Minnesota State College Student Association

The MSCSA is comprised of students who are attending public, two-year colleges, with the goal of promoting high quality two-year college education to students.

Minnesota Transfer

This resource helps with college transfers. A plethora of information is available, such as an explanation of the transfer process, financial aid considerations and the transfer application process.

Minnesota’s Private Colleges

The Minnesota Private College Council represents various private and nonprofit liberal arts colleges and universities. In connection with the Minnesota Private College Fund, the council helps low and middle income families pay for tuition.

Ready Set Go

This is Minnesota’s information hub for high school students looking for ways to achieve college credits while still in high school.