2023 best colleges in Minnesota

Featuring one of the largest student populations in the United States, the University of Minnesota holds titles as a Public Ivy and the flagship university of the University of Minnesota System. But don’t sleep on St. Cloud University, which is home to the country’s first graduate-level experiential education program. Students attending Macalester College, a Hidden Ivy, and other member schools of the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities (ACTC), such as the University of St. Thomas and St. Catherine University, have the opportunity to enroll in courses at any member institution without paying additional tuition.

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  • Liberal Arts
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Net cost: The median annual cost of all students that receive any aid. This does not refer to the “sticker price”, the price listed by the college.

Earnings: The median earnings of all bachelor-level students 10 years after enrollment. This includes both students that do and do not graduate, across all majors.

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Rankings: The ranking order is based on the economic score.The economic score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better.

Net cost
Payback
Earnings
EarningsPlus
Rankings
Ranking methodology
#1 in Minnesota | #22 in Liberal Arts
Economic score: 2.35

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

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Net cost: $10,529

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.2 years

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $47,373

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $2,645

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 76%
Graduation rate: 57%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#2 in Minnesota | #26 in Liberal Arts

Saint Johns University

Collegeville, Minnesota

Economic score: 2.43

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

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Net cost: $25,487

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.5 years

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $68,716

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $2,846

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 89%
Graduation rate: 76%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#3 in Minnesota | #45 in Liberal Arts

St Olaf College

Northfield, Minnesota

Economic score: 2.82

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

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Net cost: $24,052

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.9 years

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $60,242

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $510

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 47%
Graduation rate: 87%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#4 in Minnesota | #56 in Liberal Arts

Carleton College

Northfield, Minnesota

Economic score: 3.09

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

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Net cost: $28,928

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.8 years

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $67,132

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $1,711

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 18%
Graduation rate: 92%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#5 in Minnesota | #58 in Liberal Arts

Gustavus Adolphus College

Saint Peter, Minnesota

Economic score: 3.09

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

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Net cost: $24,696

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.1 years

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $59,178

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $200

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 73%
Graduation rate: 78%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#6 in Minnesota | #79 in Liberal Arts

College of Saint Benedict

Saint Joseph, Minnesota

Economic score: 3.52

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

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Net cost: $25,954

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.6 years

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $56,367

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $1,030

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 92%
Graduation rate: 79%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#7 in Minnesota | #89 in Liberal Arts
Economic score: 3.69

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

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Net cost: $23,189

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.7 years

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $51,988

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $303

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 72%
Graduation rate: 72%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#8 in Minnesota | #97 in Liberal Arts

Macalester College

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Economic score: 3.79

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

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Net cost: $27,764

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.6 years

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $57,134

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $1,778

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 31%
Graduation rate: 91%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#9 in Minnesota | #151 in Liberal Arts

Bethany Lutheran College

Mankato, Minnesota

Economic score: 6.34

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

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Net cost: $16,107

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 4.9 years

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $40,621

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $9,964

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 61%
Graduation rate: 54%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.