Best Public Colleges in Minnesota 2022

Public colleges and universities account for almost 75 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. The best public colleges in Minnesota provide broad access to reputable degree programs, affordable tuition, and sprawling educational communities.

Best Public 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.

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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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This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 11 public universities in Minnesota. To be included in our list of the best public colleges in Minnesota, shcools must receive direct funding from the state, be fully accredited, and offer a broad range of bachelor’s degress.

How do we determine Minnesota's best public 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.

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Best Public Colleges in Minnesota 2022

  1. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/23

    What is University of Minnesota Duluth known for?

    University of Minnesota Duluth’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Earth Sciences
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    13K

    What is Minnesota State University, Mankato known for?

    Minnesota State University, Mankato’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Anthropology
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    66%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/21

    What is Minnesota State University Moorhead known for?

    Minnesota State University Moorhead’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #5

    St. Cloud State University

    Saint Cloud , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1064/21

    What is St. Cloud State University known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Psychology
    • Social Work
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Engineering
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1165/24

    What is University of Minnesota Morris known for?

    University of Minnesota Morris’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Physics
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #7

    Winona State University

    Winona , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/21

    What is Winona State University known for?

    Winona State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Earth Sciences
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Social Work
    • Chemistry
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #8

    Bemidji State University

    Bemidji , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Bemidji State University known for?

    Bemidji State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • History
    • Physics
    • Psychology
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #9

    Metropolitan State University

    Saint Paul , MN

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    6K

    What is Metropolitan State University known for?

    Metropolitan State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • Sociology
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    What is University of Minnesota Crookston known for?

    University of Minnesota Crookston’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    997/21

    What is Southwest Minnesota State University known for?

    Southwest Minnesota State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

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Minnesota’s Best Public College in Your Area of Interest

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. University of Minnesota
  2. University of Minnesota Morris
  3. University of Minnesota Duluth
  4. Southwest Minnesota State University
  5. Minnesota State University, Mankato
  6. Winona State University
  7. University of Minnesota Crookston

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