Higher Education


With 31.5 percent of its population that has completed a bachelor's degree, Minnesota ranks 11th nationwide, according to the Census Bureau (2009).

That’s no surprise.

There are 180 public and private postsecondary institutions in Minnesota.  The institutions include some of the most admired colleges and universities in the nation and renowned programs that draw students from nearly every corner of the globe including:

  • 12 public four-year institutions (5 University of Minnesota campuses and 7 State University campuses).
  • 30 public two-year community and technical colleges.
  • 100 private career schools offering two-year degrees and limited career bachelor's degrees and graduate programs.
  • 26 private colleges and universities offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Source: Minnesota Office of Higher Education, Basic Series, 2009.

University of Minnesota

The University serves more than 67,000 students and offers more than 370 degree programs. Campuses are located in the Twin Cities, Duluth, Morris, Crookston and Rochester.

In addition, there are 10 U of M research and outreach centers and 16 regional extension offices throughout the state.

University of Minnesota Fall Enrollment (2010)

Undergraduate 43,471
Graduate 14,662
First Professional 3,988
Non-Degree 5,811

Total 67,932

Source: University of Minnesota.

Academic Performance

U of M ranks as the 11th public research university in a 2009 report.

Considering both public and private universities, the U of M is ranked 15th, surpassing prestigious private institutions such as the University of Chicago (22nd) and Princeton University (23rd).

The U of M spent $624.1 million in research in 2007, exceeding other top institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ($614.4 million) and Harvard University ($451.3 million).

Source: The Center For Measuring University Performance, University of Florida.

State Colleges and Universities

The colleges and universities operate 54 campuses in 47 Minnesota communities and serve 277,000 students in credit-based courses. Overall, the system produces about 34,700 graduates each year.

In addition to credit-based courses, the system offers customized training programs that serve about 179,500 employees from 6,000 Minnesota businesses each year.

Some MnSCU Fast Facts

  • The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is the fifth-largest system of two- and four-year colleges and universities in the country, based on student enrollment.
  • About 93,300 students took online courses during the 2009-2010 academic year.
  • All of the system's two-year community and technical colleges have an open admissions policy, which means that anyone with a high school diploma or GED may enroll.
  • More than 80 percent of graduates stay in Minnesota to work or continue their education.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Educate:

  • 49 percent of the state's new teaching graduates.
  • 83 percent of the state's new nursing graduates.
  • 85 percent of the state's law enforcement officers.
  • 84 percent of new graduates in the construction trades.
  • 90 percent of new mechanics graduates.
  • 38 percent of the state's new business graduates.
  • 9,000 firefighters and emergency first responders each year.

Source: Amazing Facts, 2010. Minnesota State Colleges And Universities.

Private Colleges

Minnesota's private colleges and universities are among the best in the country.

  • Carlton College (eighth) and Macalester College (26th) rank among the Best Liberal Arts Colleges in the country, according to 2011 rankings by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Hamline University ranks first in Minnesota and ninth among 142 universities in the Midwest region in the magazine’s Best Regional Universities category.
  • Rankings for other Minnesota private colleges and universities in the Regional category include Bethel University (tied for 17th), St. Catherine University (tied for 17th), Augsburg College (22nd), College of St. Scholastica (24th), and Concordia University (95th).

Students at Minnesota's private colleges accounted for 30 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded in the state (9,334) and 39 percent of all graduate degrees (5,176) in the school year 2009-2010

In the fall of 2010, more than 60,300 students were enrolled in Minnesota's private colleges and universities. About 71 percent (43,024 students) were undergraduate while 29 percent (17,300 students) were graduate.

Enrollment In Minnesota's Private Colleges and Universities (Fall 2010)
University of St. Thomas 10,839
Saint Mary's University 6,058
St. Catherine University 5,328
Hamline University 5,003
Bethel University 4,397
All Other Private Colleges 28,699
Total 60,324

The private colleges and universities offer a broad array of majors and award the following share of bachelor’s degrees in Minnesota:

  • 50 percent of all physical science degrees
  • 46 percent of all mathematics degrees
  • 44 percent of all history profession degrees
  • 40 percent of all health profession degrees
  • 36 percent of all biological and biomedical science degrees
  • 36 percent of all foreign language degrees
  • 29 percent of all visual and performing arts degrees
  • 34 percent of all business degrees

For graduate degrees statewide, the private colleges award:

  • 50 percent of all master’s degrees in business
  • 50 percent of all master’s degrees in public administration
  • 59 percent of all master's degrees in education
  • 32 percent of all health professions degrees
  • 47 percent of all computer/information science degrees
  • 14 of the private colleges also partner with the University of Minnesota's dual degree program in engineering

Source: Minnesota Private College Council.