Why Choose a Public College or University in Minnesota?
Minnesota is home to 12 public four-year colleges and universities, including the University of Minnesota. This university system oversees campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and Twin Cities.
Students can find some of the best colleges in Minnesota in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The school with the largest enrollment — the University of Minnesota Twin Cities (UMN) — spans both cities. It is also one of the leading public research institutions in the U.S. and the only land-grant university in Minnesota.
Minnesota also offers more than 30 private nonprofit four-year colleges and universities. There are several differences between private vs. public colleges. For example, students who enroll at public institutions in Minnesota can take advantage of lower tuition rates and an abundance of extracurricular activities and programs. On the other hand, private schools may offer smaller class sizes and a close-knit community.
The Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP) is a multi-state tuition reciprocity program that allows residents of eight states, including Minnesota, to attend specific public colleges and pay no more than 150% of in-state tuition. A few participating states include Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.
Additionally, some of the best online colleges in Minnesota do not charge out-of-state residency fees. Before you decide on a school, learn more about how to choose the right college for you.
Pros and Cons of Attending a Public College or University in Minnesota
Public colleges and universities in Minnesota generally charge lower tuition rates than private institutions.
Minnesota offers hundreds of programs at its 12 public, four-year institutions, enabling students to choose the right college size and academic program.
Some public universities in Minnesota offer advanced research facilities.
Due to nonresident fees, out-of-state students may find that tuition costs at public and private colleges are comparable.
Many public schools are in larger cities, which may feature a relatively high cost of living.
While big public schools can offer a thriving student life, some students prefer smaller student bodies and class sizes.
Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Universities in Minnesota
There are significant differences between nonprofit and for-profit colleges. Nonprofit colleges receive funding from the government as well as from tuition, fees, and endowments.
These colleges are managed by a board of directors whose intent is to provide a quality education for their students. Excess money goes back into the school to improve operations, programs, and student activities.
For-profit colleges receive funding primarily from tuition and from investors and shareholders who expect to make a return on their investment. While both pros and cons are associated with for-profit colleges, their primary objective is profit.
There are also 12 four-year for-profit institutions in Minnesota, seven of which are Rasmussen Universities. Students can determine if a school is for-profit by calling the administration office or checking the school’s website.
How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Public College or University in Minnesota?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average cost of tuition and fees for in-state students at Minnesota’s public four-year colleges was $11,748 in 2019-20. The average cost for room and board was $9,863.
Qualifying for in-state vs. out-of-state tuition can offer significant savings. For example, out-of-state students at Minnesota’s public colleges and universities paid an average of $24,442 in tuition and fees during the 2019-20 school year.
Students at private institutions in Minnesota paid an average of almost $46,000 in tuition, room, and board in 2019-20. However, there are several misconceptions about paying for college, one of which is that private universities always cost more. For example, private school students who qualify for large financial aid packages may end up paying less in tuition than average public school prices.
The most expensive public university in the state is UMN, which advertises in-state tuition and fees of $15,626 for 2022-23. Alternatively, Minnesota State University, Mankato offers the lowest tuition, charging about $9,200 per year for in-state learners.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Public Colleges and Universities in Minnesota
How many public colleges and universities are there in Minnesota?
There are 12 public four-year universities in Minnesota, including the University of Minnesota and its five campuses. These universities enroll about 125,000 students annually. UMN is the largest school, enrolling over 50,000 learners. In contrast, the University of Minnesota Rochester, which specializes in undergraduate health sciences, limits enrollment to about 1,000 students.
Minnesota is also home to about 30 community and technical colleges offering vocational instruction and associate programs. Community college students may also complete their general education requirements before transferring to a four-year college.
What is the most expensive public university in Minnesota?
The most expensive public university in Minnesota is also the largest. UMN is charging about $15,600 in tuition and fees for residents and $34,600 for nonresidents for the 2022-23 academic year. The university estimates room and board will come to about $11,750.
Additional costs include books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses. The total estimated annual cost comes to more than $32,000 and $53,000 for in-state and out-of-state students, respectively.
According to the NCES, the national average for tuition and fees at four-year public institutions from 2019-20 was $9,349 for residents and $27,023 for nonresidents. Learn why college is so expensive and how you can make it more affordable.
What is the least expensive public university in Minnesota?
Minnesota State University, Mankato, offers the lowest tuition among public universities. In-state students paid $9,146 for tuition and fees for the 2021-22 academic year. The cost for out-of-state students was almost twice as high — $18,200. This school also offers reciprocity and lower tuition costs for residents in MSEP member states.
Another relatively inexpensive public university in Minnesota is St. Cloud State University. The school charged $9,170 in tuition and fees for residents during the 2021-22 school year and $18,010 for nonresidents.
What is the biggest public university in Minnesota?
UMN is the biggest public university in Minnesota and one of the nation’s largest schools. Over 50,000 students attend this school, and its campus encompasses more than 1,150 acres in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Because of its size, students can select from hundreds of student organizations and thousands of courses at UMN. It is Minnesota’s only land-grant university, and it is also recognized as one of the top public research institutions in the nation.
Is a public college or university right for me?
Public colleges and universities offer several benefits, including lower tuition rates, more degree programs, and some of the top research facilities in the nation. Comparatively, private institutions may provide smaller class sizes, a more intimate college experience, and some of the most prestigious academic programs.
The right college for you depends on your academic and career goals and the learning environment best suited for your personality. Additional considerations may include your preference for extracurricular activities and college sports. Also, remember that many colleges offer significant financial aid packages that can greatly reduce your out-of-pocket costs.