Best Private Colleges in Minnesota 2022

Private colleges, unlike large public institutions, can be a great option for students wanting a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Here is our list of the best private colleges in Minnesota.

Best Private Colleges in Minnesota 2022

Colleges and Universities in Minnesota

One of largest public higher education institutes in the country, the University of Minnesota has main campuses in both of the Twin Cities, Saint Paul and Minneapolis. This school costs about $15,000 in tuition, and provides its students with competitive programs in fields like nursing, education, economics, and psychology. And the options don’t stop there. There are more than 20 schools in the state with religious affiliations, including larger schools like the University of St. Thomas, which campuses in both Twin Cities, and smaller schools like Oak Hills Christian College in Bemidji.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

For students striving to keep costs low in a smaller school environment, Southwest Minnesota State University offers tuition below the national average and serves about 3,500 students. Additionally, those on track to become a teacher or health care provider may be eligible for one of Minnesota’s loan forgiveness programs after graduation. Minnesota also boasts a large network of private colleges, two of which, Walden University and Capella University, primarily cater to online students.

Ever heard the phrase, There’s an app for that? Well, in Minnesota they say something similar, There’s a festival for that. This fun state doesn’t hold back when it comes to celebrating. With events like the Grumpy Old Men Festival, World Festival, and the Perham Turtle Fest, students earning their degrees at one of Minnesota’s more than 70 colleges won’t miss out on a good time.

Discover some of Minnesota’s top programs and learn how you can earn your associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree while cashing in on some of this state’s unique experiences.


What are Minnesota’s Colleges & Universities?

Minnesota’s Best Overall

What is the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a bachelor’s degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

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How do we determine Minnesota's best private colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence in their fields of study.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is freer from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 21 private universities in Minnesota. To be included in the list below of the best private universities in Minnesota, schools must be fully accredited, private, non-profit institution, and must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.

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Best Private Colleges in Minnesota

  1. #1

    Carleton College

    Northfield , MN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1450/32

    What is Carleton College known for?

    Carleton College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Sociology
    • Philosophy
    • Anthropology
    • Literature
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. #3

    University of St. Thomas

    Saint Paul , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    80%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1255/26

    What is University of St. Thomas known for?

    University of St. Thomas ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Law
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Social Work
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. #4

    Hamline University

    Saint Paul , MN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/22

    What is Hamline University known for?

    Hamline University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Political Science
    • Law
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Anthropology
    • Physics
    • Education
    • Business
    • Literature
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #5

    St. Olaf College

    Northfield , MN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    51%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1310/29

    What is St. Olaf College known for?

    St. Olaf College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Economics
    • Chemistry
    • Social Work
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #6

    Gustavus Adolphus College

    Saint Peter , MN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    78%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Gustavus Adolphus College known for?

    Gustavus Adolphus College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • History
    • Economics
    • Sociology
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #7

    Concordia College

    Moorhead , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1149/24

    What is Concordia College known for?

    Concordia College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Physics
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  7. #8

    Augsburg University

    Minneapolis , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1180/20

    What is Augsburg University known for?

    Augsburg University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Social Work
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1147/25

    What is College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University known for?

    College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Physics
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  9. #10

    St. Catherine University

    Saint Paul , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/24

    What is St. Catherine University known for?

    St. Catherine University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  10. Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1113/23

    What is Saint Mary's University of Minnesota known for?

    Saint Mary's University of Minnesota’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Social Work
    • Communications
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Economics
    • Computer Science
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #12

    Bethel University

    Saint Paul , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/24

    What is Bethel University known for?

    Bethel University ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #13

    College of St. Scholastica

    Duluth , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    4K

    What is College of St. Scholastica known for?

    College of St. Scholastica’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1220/24

    What is University of Northwestern – St. Paul known for?

    University of Northwestern – St. Paul’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • History
    • Religious Studies
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Social Work
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #15

    North Central University

    Minneapolis , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1077/21

    What is North Central University known for?

    North Central University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #16

    Bethany Lutheran College

    Mankato , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/23

    What is Bethany Lutheran College known for?

    Bethany Lutheran College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Religious Studies
    • Medical
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #17

    Dunwoody College of Technology

    Minneapolis , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Dunwoody College of Technology known for?

    Dunwoody College of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #18

    Concordia University, St. Paul

    Saint Paul , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Concordia University, St. Paul known for?

    Concordia University, St. Paul’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • History
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #19

    Crown College

    Saint Bonifacius , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    47%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1090/20

    What is Crown College known for?

    Crown College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • History
    • Education
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. #20

    Walden University

    Minneapolis , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Graduation

    100%

    Student body

    40K

    What is Walden University known for?

    Walden University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. #21

    Capella University

    Minneapolis , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Student body

    30K

    What is Capella University known for?

    Capella University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

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Minnesota’s Best Private Colleges in Your Area Interest

Resources for College-Bound Students

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. Carleton College
  2. Macalester College
  3. St. Olaf College
  4. Hamline University
  5. College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University
  6. Gustavus Adolphus College
  7. University of St. Thomas
  8. Augsburg University
  9. Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
  10. Concordia College
  11. Bethel University
  12. St. Catherine University
  13. Concordia University, St. Paul
  14. University of Northwestern – St. Paul
  15. College of St. Scholastica
  16. Dunwoody College of Technology
  17. Bethany Lutheran College