2020 Best Online Community Colleges in Minnesota

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 5/7/2020
2020 Best Online Community Colleges in Minnesota Badge

Students in Minnesota who want to earn an associate degree or certificate online can turn to any of the community colleges on this list. They all offer at least one fully online associate degree program, and many offer dozens. For example, #1-ranked Lake Superior College allows online students to choose from 10 different associate degrees, as well as over 10 online certificates. Alexandria Technical & Community College follows closely behind at #2, and students enrolled there can pick one of 14 online associate degrees to pursue, including an AA in Liberal Arts and an AS in Business.

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Locations
# 1 #1 Lake Superior College $5,653 Duluth
# 2 #2 Alexandria Technical & Community College $5,970 Alexandria
# 3 #3 Northland Community and Technical College $5,970 Thief River Falls (and 1 other)
# 4 #4 Minnesota State Community and Technical College $5,968 Fergus Falls (and 2 others)
# 5 #5 Dakota County Technical College $5,670 Rosemount
# 6 #6 Rochester Community and Technical College $5,970 Rochester
# 7 #7 Ridgewater College $5,549 Willmar
# 8 #8 Saint Paul College $5,450 Saint Paul
# 9 #9 Minnesota West Community and Technical College $5,675 Granite Falls
# 10 #10 Minnesota State College Southeast $5,169 Winona
# 11 #11 St Cloud Technical and Community College $6,304 St. Cloud
# 12 #12 Anoka-Ramsey Community College $5,612 Coon Rapids
# 13 #13 South Central College $6,015 North Mankato
# 14 #14 North Hennepin Community College $5,850 Brooklyn Park
# 15 #15 Northwest Technical College $5,970 Bemidji
# 16 #16 Central Lakes College $5,815 Brainerd
# 17 #17 Hibbing Community College $5,807 Hibbing
# 18 #18 Normandale Community College $5,589 Bloomington
# 19 #19 Inver Hills Community College $5,386 Inver Grove Heights
# 20 #20 Riverland Community College $6,541 Austin
# 21 #21 Mesabi Range College $6,220 Virginia
# 22 #22 Minneapolis Community and Technical College $6,147 Minneapolis

2020 Online Community Colleges in Minnesota - Ranking Details

For each school, we conducted manual research to provide prospective students with more details about the schools' online programs. Explore online degrees offered and accreditation information below.

#1 Lake Superior College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,653
  • Locations: Duluth
  • Accreditation: HLC

Lake Superior College offers 10 degree programs, as well as certificates and special diplomas, that can be earned 100-percent online. Students enrolled in an online associate degree program should set aside three hours of work per week for every one hour of class time. Anyone considering this online learning program should be self-motivated and able to do the coursework with very little instructor input. Online students correspond with their instructor and classmates via online class discussions, and assignments and tests are submitted electronically. Available online associate degrees include an Associate of Science in Business and Technology, an Associate of Applied Science in Accountant, and a Paralegal Studies Associate of Science and Associate in Applied Science.

#2 Alexandria Technical & Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,970
  • Locations: Alexandria
  • Accreditation: HLC

Alexandria Technical & Community College offers nine associate degree programs, one certificate program, and two special diplomas through its online learning platform. Tuition for online students is $199 per credit and does not change regardless of residency. Online students have access to a wealth of educational resources, including online tutoring services and academic support. Examples of associate degrees offered online include an Associate in Applied Science in Legal Administrative Assistance, an Associate in Applied Science in Medical Administration, and an Associate in Applied Science in Paralegal. The Certificate in Speech-Language Pathology Assistant can be earned fully online, as well as the Diploma in Law Enforcement Career Transition and the Diploma in Medical Coding Specialist.

#3 Northland Community and Technical College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,970
  • Locations: Thief River Falls (and 1 other)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Students who enroll in the Northland Community and Technical College’s online learning program can pursue their degrees at an accelerated pace. Online students interact with their instructors and classmates via a messaging system, message boards, email, and forums. Class assignments, tests, and quizzes are submitted electronically, typically on a weekly basis. Depending on the degree program chosen, students will either complete their coursework entirely online or with a mix of online and in-person classes. Examples of degrees offered include an Associate in Applied Science in Dietetic Technician, an Associate in Applied Science in Digital Marketing, and an Associate in Applied Science in Medical Coding Specialist.

#4 Minnesota State Community and Technical College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,968
  • Locations: Fergus Falls (and 2 others)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Minnesota State Community and Technical College affords students unable to travel to the main campus the opportunity to earn an associate degree, certificate, or diploma through its online learning program. The cost of tuition is roughly $199 per credit hour. Several academic resources are available to online students, including financial aid, an electronic library, online tutoring, and academic advisement. Available degrees include an Associate in Applied Science in Business Entrepreneurship, an Associate in Applied Science in Human Resources, and an Associate in Applied Science in Pharmacy Technology. Students interested in a certificate have options such as web design, network security, and sign language interpreting-medical.

#5 Dakota County Technical College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,670
  • Locations: Rosemount
  • Accreditation: HLC

Dakota County Technical College allows distance learners to obtain a degree or certificate almost completely online (some degrees require one on-campus visit). Additionally, specific degree programs may require a visit to campus for an exam or to an approved proctor location. Degrees offered through the school’s online learning program include an Associate in Applied Science in Accounting, an Associate in Applied Science in Marketing Design Specialist, and an Associate of Science in Business Marketing. Tuition for online courses is about $184 per credit.

#6 Rochester Community and Technical College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,970
  • Locations: Rochester
  • Accreditation: HLC

Rochester Community and Technical College offers several associate degrees, certificates, and special diplomas through its online learning program. All Associate of Science programs require the completion of 60 credit hours. Specific Associate of Applied Science programs, such as medical administrative assistant and health information technology, will require additional credits. Cost of tuition is roughly $188 per credit hour for both in-state and out-of-state residents. Classes are self-paced and online students should anticipate a minimum of two hours of coursework for each class outside of regular class time.

#7 Ridgewater College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,549
  • Locations: Willmar
  • Accreditation: HLC

Several associate degrees, certificates, and one Diploma in Computer Aided Drafting and Design are offered through Ridgewater College’s online program. Available degrees include an Associate of Arts in Law Enforcement, an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts, and an Associate in Applied Science in Multimedia Design Technology. Certificates include activity management, early childhood education, and medical coding specialist. Tuition is about $185 per credit for both state residents and non-residents. Online students are provided with academic resources including financial aid, a library, and a Ridgewater Warrior ID.

#8 Saint Paul College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,450
  • Locations: Saint Paul
  • Accreditation: HLC

Individuals interested in earning either an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Arts in Business with a Transfer Pathway can do so through the online program designed by Saint Paul College-A Community and Technical College. The e-learning format is best-suited for self-motivated individuals who can work independently and with little instructor input. Classes are asynchronous and students access their coursework through the Brightspace system. Students learning from a distance should set aside a minimum of three hours of study weekly for each class.

#9 Minnesota West Community and Technical College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,675
  • Locations: Granite Falls
  • Accreditation: HLC

Associate degrees, certificates, and special diplomas can be earned through the e-learning program designed by the Minnesota West Community and Technical College. Online students should set aside six to nine hours of study each week per course. The school recommends students take advantage of the free online learning orientation that equips newcomers with the program tools and materials. Some of the degrees offered online include an Associate in Applied Science in Computer and Networking Technology, an Associate of Science in Nursing, and an Associate in Applied Science in Energy Technical Specialist. Students can also earn a Certificate in Accounting or a Certificate in Computer Specialist among many other online options.

#10 Minnesota State College Southeast

  • Annual Tuition: $5,169
  • Locations: Winona
  • Accreditation: HLC

Individuals interested in earning an associate degree online can do so through Minnesota State College Southeast. Students are not required to attend on-campus classes, although they must participate in online class discussion with their classmates and instructor, complete weekly assignments, and follow the course syllabus. All online students are provided with academic advisement, course evaluations, and information technology support. A few of the degrees offered online include an Associate in Applied Science in Accounting, an Associate in Applied Science in Medical Administrative Assistant, and an Associate in Applied Science in Early Childhood Education.

#11 St Cloud Technical and Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $6,304
  • Locations: St. Cloud
  • Accreditation: HLC

St. Cloud Technical and Community College offers three associate degrees through its online learning platform. Students can choose an Associate in Applied Science in Finance and Credit, an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences, or an Associate of Science in Business Management. A Diploma in Finance and Credit is also offered online. Online students have access to a wealth of academic resources including academic advising, a bookstore, a help desk, disability services, and financial aid. The cost of online tuition is about $210 per credit hour.

#12 Anoka-Ramsey Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,612
  • Locations: Coon Rapids
  • Accreditation: HLC

Anoka-Ramsey Community College offers a total of six fully online programs: an Associate in Applied Science in Accounting, an Associate of Arts, an Associate of Science in Business, an Associate of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, a Business Generalist Certificate, and a Business Computer Applications Certificate. The associate degree programs require completion of 60 credit hours, all of which can be done 100-percent online. Distance learners submit their assignments, take tests and quizzes, and correspond with their instructor through the D2L Brightspace system. Cost of tuition is about $183 per credit for online students.

#13 South Central College

  • Annual Tuition: $6,015
  • Locations: North Mankato
  • Accreditation: HLC

Three associate degrees, three certificates, and one diploma are offered 100-percent online through South Central College’s e-learning program. Students can earn an Associate in Applied Science in Administrative Office Specialist, an Associate in Applied Science in Child Development, and an Associate in Applied Science in Community Social Service. Alternatively, students can obtain a Certificate in Administration of Child Care Programs, a Certificate in Community Social Service, and a Certificate in Web Programming. Most credits can be transferred to four-year colleges for students wishing to seek a bachelor’s degree. Academic resources are available to online students, including academic advising and financial aid.

#14 North Hennepin Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,850
  • Locations: Brooklyn Park
  • Accreditation: HLC

North Hennepin Community College offers both degree programs and certificate programs to individuals interested in advancing their academic achievements in a flexible format. Available online degrees include an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts, an Associate of Science in Accounting, an Associate of Science in Computer Science, and an Associate in Applied Science in Finance Management. Various online certificates are offered in the following fields: accounting, business, computer science, and computer information systems. The school provides various resources including tutoring, financial aid, a writing center, academic advising, a counseling and career center, and a bookstore.

#15 Northwest Technical College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,970
  • Locations: Bemidji
  • Accreditation: HLC

Northwest Technical College offers multiple associate degrees, certificates, and special diplomas that are available to earn exclusively online. Students interested in refining their professional and academic skill set, joining the workforce, or transferring to a four-year college can do so by earning their associate degree. Academic and technical support is available 24/7 to online students. Available associate degrees include an Associate of Science in Nursing, an Associate in Applied Science in Medical Coding, and an Associate in Applied Science in E-Merging Computer Technology. Other online options include a Certificate in Renewable Energy, Sales and Marketing, or Production Technology.

#16 Central Lakes College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,815
  • Locations: Brainerd
  • Accreditation: HLC

Central Lakes College offers live, online classes for students unable to travel to the Central Lakes College main campus. All classes are synchronous, allowing online students to interact with the instructor and on-campus students in real time. Online students are required to “attend” the live classes by accessing them through the online learning management system. Students who miss class can log into the system to view recorded classes and lectures. Available online associate degree programs include an Associate in Applied Science in Viticulture, an Associate in Applied Science in Agricultural Science, and an Associate in Applied Science in Enology.

#17 Hibbing Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,807
  • Locations: Hibbing
  • Accreditation: HLC

Individuals interested in earning an Associate of Applied Science in Medical Laboratory Technician can obtain the degree through the online program designed by Hibbing Community College-A Technical and Community College. All classwork can be completed almost fully online with the exception of exams that may need to be proctored on campus, or at another approved location. Students can access technical support during weekday business hours and may contact their instructor and school faculty with academic questions or concerns.

#18 Normandale Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,589
  • Locations: Bloomington
  • Accreditation: HLC

Students interested in earning an associate degree or certificate in a flexible learning format can do so through Normandale Community College’s online program. Several associate degrees are available 100-percent online, including an Associate of Arts in Creative Writing, an Associate of Arts in Liberal Education, an Associate in Applied Science in Business: Marketing and Management, and an Associate in Applied Science in Computer Technology. A Certificate in Human Resources Management, a Certificate in International Business, and a Certificate in Small Business Management are a few of the certificates offered through the online program. Students who earn an associate degree are able to transfer their credits to a four-year college or enter directly into the workforce.

#19 Inver Hills Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,386
  • Locations: Inver Grove Heights
  • Accreditation: HLC

Inver Hills Community College’s online learning program allows distance learners to obtain an associate degree or certificate without attending on campus classes. The associate degrees offered require completion of 60 credits. Required credits to obtain a certificate range from 11-18 credits for business certificates to 60 credits for the Child Care Teacher Certificate. Examples of associate degrees offered include an Associate of Science in International Business and an Associate of Science in Contemporary Business. Classes are asynchronous and online students can access their course material, submit assignments, and interact with other students through a web-based learning management system.

#20 Riverland Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $6,541
  • Locations: Austin
  • Accreditation: HLC

Distance learners can earn an associate degree, special diploma, or certificate through Riverland Community College’s online learning program. Students have the option to pursue their degree at an accelerated pace or through part-time online enrollment. Associate degrees require completion of 60 credit hours. Certificate programs range from 15 to 30 credit hours. Available online degrees include an Associate in Applied Science in Web Developer, an Associate of Arts in Business, and an Associate in Applied Science in Accounting. Certificates include bookkeeper, computer applications, and social media marketing, and diplomas include medical administrative assistant and accounting.

#21 Mesabi Range College

  • Annual Tuition: $6,220
  • Locations: Virginia
  • Accreditation: HLC

Mesabi Range College offers an online A.A.S. and diploma in Business Operations & Management. Students in these programs will get experience using several different business management tools including QuickBooks and the Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access). The associate program curriculum ends with a three-credit capstone project. Instructors are available for meetings over the phone or video conferencing, and students use weekly discussion boards to communicate with their classmates and seek additional help when needed. MRC also offers an online A.A.S. and certificate in Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education. Graduates of the associate degree program may find employment as a paraprofessional educator in an early childhood program or in an elementary school.

#22 Minneapolis Community and Technical College

  • Annual Tuition: $6,147
  • Locations: Minneapolis
  • Accreditation: HLC

Minneapolis Community and Technical College offers both fully online and hybrid classes for students interested in earning an Associate in Applied Science in Library Information Technology. The school also offers a Public Information Services Certificate and a Technical Information Services Certificate through its online platform. Students access course materials, correspond with instructors, submit assignments, and take tests and quizzes through the Brightspace online learning management system. The online program is best-suited for self-directed learners who can work and meet deadlines on their own time.

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