Best Colleges & Universities in North Dakota

best_colleges_north_dakotaIf you love the outdoors, are looking for a vibrant job market, and hope for little-to-no debt after college, then the Peace Garden State may be the place for you. North Dakota boasts natural beauty, a booming economy, and an abundance of financial aid programs for college students.

The state has a high Native American population, so North Dakota also hosts a few tribal colleges explicitly tailored to the needs of Native American students. You can find colleges for those from all walks of life in North Dakota.

North Dakota is always looking for ways to entice students to attend their in-state colleges and universities, so schooling costs are both reasonable and negotiable. Out-of-state tuition rates are almost as low as the average in-state rates. North Dakota is part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE). This organization offers nonresident tuition rates and discounts to students in 16 western states, including North Dakota. To learn more about this program, see https://www.wiche.edu/wue/.

North Dakota also reserves reciprocity agreements with the neighboring states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota, as well as the Canadian province of Manitoba, as well as a limited agreement with Iowa Lakes Community College. These allow students of those states to pay lower tuition rates than other out-of-state students. Through this program, non-resident admission fees and tuition costs are either reduced or eliminated entirely. See if you qualify to take part in this program by visiting https://www.ohe.state.mn.us/mPg.cfm?pageID=97. North Dakota schools also take part in the Midwest Student Exchange Program, which allows students from participating states to pay no more than 150% of the in-state tuition at another participating state’s colleges or universities. Learn about this and find out if you could take part in this program by visiting https://www.mhec.org/programs/midwest-student-exchange-program.

All in all, North Dakota’s post-secondary institutions have a lot to offer at a fraction of the cost. You can enjoy the weather from each of the four seasons and the natural wonders of North Dakota with the surety that you are on the right path to success.

Colleges and Universities in North Dakota Fast Facts

  • Fall enrollment (2017) = 53,749
  • Degrees awarded in North Dakota (2016) = 12,385
  • Median in-state public tuition (2016) = $5,138
  • Median out-of-state tuition (2016) = $7,785
  • Largest schools by number of degrees awarded = 1. University of North Dakota, 2. North Dakota State University-Main Campus, 3. Bismarck State College

Sources: NCES, DataUSA

Rankings

EDsmart assesses colleges in North Dakota based on data in four main areas:

  • Cost (average net price)
  • Academic quality (graduation rate)
  • Student satisfaction (retention rate)
  • Salary After Attending (the median earnings of former students who received federal financial aid, at 10 years after entering the school)

All data was gathered from the U.S. Dept of Education websites College Scorecard and College Navigator.

This ranking aims to help students make informed decisions about which college to attend, enabling them to assess the affordability and value of top schools in North Dakota.

Best Colleges & Universities in North Dakota

1.University of North Dakota

Score: 100

Average Net Price: $15,056
Retention Rate: 80%
Graduation Rate: 55%
Salary After Attending: $48,700

The University of North Dakota is a public university that was established in 1883. It is located in Grand Forks, North Dakota. In 2019, this university ranked second for best colleges in North Dakota and 48 for best college athletics in the United States. Students who attend this university have the option to study over 225 different academic fields. In addition, there are graduate programs in business, law, engineering, and education. The University of North Dakota also has an exceptional medicine program for students interested in pursuing a medical field. Students can earn a bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, medical, or a law degree at this university. The most popular majors usually are Liberal Arts and Humanities, Nursing, Psychology, Communications, Medical Laboratory Technician, Accounting, Professional Pilot, and Mechanical Engineering. This college also has some of the highest-ranking faculty worldwide, and it is known for its incredible research and creation of Unmanned Aerial Systems, Rural Health, and Petroleum Engineering. This university is one of the best schools in North Dakota, offering wonderful education opportunities to students from all around the country.

University of North Dakota. (2019). U.S. News & World Report L.P. Retrieved from: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/university-of-north-dakota-3005

University of North Dakota. (2019). Niche. Retrieved from: https://www.niche.com/colleges/university-of-north-dakota/

2. North Dakota State University-Main Campus

Score: 99.6

Average Net Price: $15,265
Retention Rate: 79%
Graduation Rate: 57%
Salary After Attending: $48,200

North Dakota State University-Main Campus is a public university that was formed in the year 1890. It is located in Fargo, North Dakota. In 2019, this university ranked first for best schools in North Dakota, which is impressive. It also ranked 22 for best colleges that offer Agricultural Sciences in the United States and 29 for best college athletics in the United States. There are over 100 different undergraduate academic majors for students to choose from at this university, along with master’s degrees in business, engineering, and education. The most popular undergraduate majors at this institution are Nursing, Human Development, Mechanical Engineering, Psychology, Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Business. North Dakota State University is one of the best colleges in ND, providing excellent education opportunities to the public. In addition, it is a high-quality research university that combines research and teaching for a wonderful learning environment for its students.

North Dakota State University. (2019). U.S. News & World Report L.P. Retrieved from: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/north-dakota-state-9265

North Dakota State University. (2019). Niche. Retrieved from: https://www.niche.com/colleges/north-dakota-state-university/

3. University of Mary

Score: 98.6

Average Net Price: $17,342
Retention Rate: 78%
Graduation Rate: 54%
Salary After Attending: $48,000

The University of Mary is a private, Catholic college that was created in the year 1959. It is located in Bismarck, North Dakota. In 2019, this university ranked fourth for best value colleges in North Dakota and 93 for best Catholic colleges in the United States. This college’s mission is to “exist to serve the religious, academic, and cultural needs of the people in this region and beyond.” It welcomes students of all religions and backgrounds, but it takes great pride in its Christian, Catholic, and Benedictine faith. This school is also huge advocates for justice and peace and is a high-ranking educational institution providing professionally focused degree programs that focus on liberal arts, global and civic service, amazing internship opportunities, and mentorships by well-known faculty and staff. In addition, The University of Mary is one of the most affordable private universities across the United States, so all students can have access to an affordable private education. There are almost 60 undergraduate fields of study, 14 master’s degrees, and four doctoral programs offered at this school. The most popular majors generally are Liberal Arts and Humanities, Nursing, Business, Elementary Education, Athletic Training, and Kinesiology and Exercise Science.

About the University of Mary. (2019). University of Mary. Retrieved from: https://www.umary.edu/about/

University of Mary. (2019). U.S. News & World Report L.P. Retrieved from: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/university-of-mary-2992

University of Mary. (2019). Niche. Retrieved from: https://www.niche.com/colleges/university-of-mary/

4. North Dakota State College of Science

Score: 98.2

Average Net Price: $11,010
Retention Rate: 68%
Graduation Rate: 50%
Salary After Attending: $43,400

North Dakota State College of Science is a public community college that was founded in the year 1903. It is located in Wahpeton, North Dakota. In 2019, this community college ranked 65 for best community colleges in North Dakota. The highest degree that students can obtain at this school is an associate degree. Students are able to study 11 different fields at this school, and the fields most often chosen are Liberal Arts and Humanities, Diesel Mechanics, Welding, Licensed Practical Nursing, Electrical Engineering Technician, Emergency Medical Technician, Agricultural Business, and Agricultural Mechanics and Machinery. Some of the great features of this school are that it has an open admissions policy and offers course credit for life experiences; it also has a small student body, which gives students more individualized attention with a 13 to 1 student-faculty ratio.

North Dakota State College of Science. (2019). U.S. News & World Report L.P. Retrieved from: https://www.usnews.com/education/community-colleges/north-dakota-state-college-of-science-CC06031

North Dakota State College of Science. (2019). Niche. Retrieved from: https://www.niche.com/colleges/north-dakota-state-college-of-science/

5. Minot State University

Score: 97.8

Average Net Price: $10,806
Retention Rate: 70%
Graduation Rate: 40%
Salary After Attending: $41,200

Minot State University is a public university that was founded in 1913. It is located in Minot, North Dakota. In 2019, this university ranked fourth for best colleges in North Dakota, 27 for best online colleges in the United States, and 32 for top public schools. Minot State University is committed to providing excellent educational opportunities, great learning environments, and serving the public. The most popular areas of study at this college are Business, Nursing, Elementary Education, Social Work and Youth Services, Criminal Justice and Safety Studies, Marketing, and Liberal Arts and Humanities. This school is also committed to providing a wonderful education to students anywhere in the world as well as preparing students for the ever changing social and technological challenges. In addition, it is determined to inspire creativity among students and professors of the college and give students the skills and education they need to succeed in various career choices.

Minot State University. (2019). U.S. News & World Report L.P. Retrieved from: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/minot-state-2994

Minot State University. (2019). Niche. Retrieved from: https://www.niche.com/colleges/minot-state-university/

6. University of Jamestown

Score: 97.8

Average Net Price: $18,109
Retention Rate: 74%
Graduation Rate: 51%
Salary After Attending: $43,800

The University of Jamestown is a private university that was established in the year 1883. It is located in Jamestown, North Dakota. In 2019, this university ranked first for best value colleges in North Dakota, 39 for best regional colleges in the Midwest, and 49 for top performers on Social Mobility. This school offers high-quality and a large variety of academic programs while also providing skills for students to grow and develop. This is a small college with big college opportunities. In addition, the center of arts events is held at the University of Jamestown giving public access to touring theatre and music group events. The successful educational model that students go through is called the Jamestown Journey to Success, which includes traditional liberal arts education with professional programs. This Journey to Success model will provide each student with the knowledge and skills that are needed to lead successful lives. The programs with the most graduates at this university are Nursing, Business, Elementary Education, Kinesiology and Exercise Science, and Psychology.

University of Jamestown. (2019). U.S. News & World Report L.P. Retrieved from: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/jamestown-college-2990

University of Jamestown. (2019). Niche. Retrieved from: https://www.niche.com/colleges/university-of-jamestown/

7. Lake Region State College

Score: 96.8

Average Net Price: $9.926
Retention Rate: 60%
Graduation Rate: 49%
Salary After Attending: $35,800

Lake Region State College is a public community college that was founded in 1941. It is located in Devils Lake, North Dakota. In 2019, it ranked 102 for Best Community Colleges in the United States. The highest degree students can achieve at this college is an associate degree. The student to faculty ratio is 14:1, and it offers an open admissions policy providing credit for life experiences. In addition, this college features 11 different academic majors. The most popular majors that students usually choose at this facility are Police and Criminal Science, Liberal Arts and Humanities, Licensed Practical Nurse Training, Nursing, Business, Child Care Provider, and Computer Installation and Repair. Lake Region State College’s motto is “We change lives,” and it takes pride in upholding this motto. Most students who attend this college end up furthering their education and transferring to a university.

Welcome to LRSC. (2018). Lake Region State College. Retrieved from: https://www.lrsc.edu/discover-lrsc/welcome-lrsc

Lake Region State College. (2019). U.S. News & World Report L.P. Retrieved from: https://www.usnews.com/education/community-colleges/lake-region-state-college-CC04412

Lake Region State College. (2019). Niche. Retrieved from: https://www.niche.com/colleges/lake-region-state-college/

8. Valley City State University

Score:

Average Net Price: $12,565
Retention Rate: 71%
Graduation Rate: 35%
Salary After Attending: $39,300

Valley City State University is a public university that opened its doors in 1890. It is located in Valley City, North Dakota. In 2019, the university ranked second for top public schools, 32 for best online colleges in the United States, and 43 for best regional colleges in the Midwest. This school offers incredible academic opportunities in over 80 different undergraduate programs. Students usually choose to pursue programs in Elementary Education, Business, Wildlife and Fisheries Management, Physical Education Teaching and Coaching, Psychology, and Education. Valley City State University is a beautiful, historic campus. It was one of the first universities to offer each full-time student a laptop for their use. The college fully supports teaching students the skill of using technology and features several fully online undergraduate majors for student’s convenience. In addition, students can earn a graduate degree online through this school. The two online master’s degree programs offered are Master of Education and Master of Arts in Teaching.

Valley City State University. (2019). U.S. News & World Report L.P. Retrieved from: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/valley-city-state-3008

Valley City State University. (2019). Niche. Retrieved from: https://www.niche.com/colleges/valley-city-state-university/

9. Turtle Mountain Community College

Score: 96.2

Average Net Price: $9,000
Retention Rate: 71%
Graduation Rate: 25%
Salary After Attending: $23,200

Turtle Mountain Community College is a private community college that was founded in the year 1972. It is located in Belcourt, North Dakota. The mission of the college is to focus “on general studies, undergraduate education, career and technical education, scholarly research, and continuous improvement of student learning.” This is a tribally controlled college that serves the educational needs of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Indians, but they are also open to serving individuals of different backgrounds who are committed to earning an education. There are many options of associate degrees along with certificate programs, and students even have the choice to earn a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Secondary Science Teacher Education through this college. The most popular program’s students of this school usually choose to pursue are Liberal Arts and Humanities, Truck and Commercial Vehicle Operation, Welding, Computer Systems Technician, and Elementary Education. This community college is located on a beautiful Indian reservation and is very affordable. In addition, the faculty and staff are committed to helping each student succeed.

About.(2015). Turtle Mountain Community College. Retrieved from: https://www.tm.edu/about_us/

Turtle Mountain Community College. (2019). Niche. Retrieved from: https://www.niche.com/colleges/turtle-mountain-community-college/

10. Dickinson State University

Score: 96.0

Average Net Price: $11,976
Retention Rate: 59%
Graduation Rate: 33%
Salary After Attending: $41,700

Dickinson State University is a public university that opened in 1918. It is located in Dickinson, North Dakota. In 2019, this university ranked fourth for top public schools, fifth for best value colleges in North Dakota, and 48 for best regional colleges in the Midwest. Dickinson State University’s ultimate goal is to help individuals of Southwestern North Dakota and beyond gain “intellectual, social, economic, and cultural development.” The mission that the university proudly upholds is to “provide high-quality, accessible programs; to promote excellence in teaching and learning; to support scholarly and creative activities; to provide service relevant to the economy, health, and quality of life for the citizens of North Dakota.” Most students who attend this school choose to study Business, Liberal Arts and Humanities, Accounting, Human Resources, Kinesiology and Exercise Science, Nursing, Agricultural Business, and Licensed Practical Nursing.

Dickinson State University. (2019). Niche. Retrieved from: https://www.niche.com/colleges/dickinson-state-university/

Dickinson State University. (2019). U.S. News & World Report L.P. Retrieved from: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/dickinson-state-university-2989

Further Reading: Cheapest Colleges Online

11. Williston State College

Score: 95.6

Average Net Price: $11,573
Retention Rate: 58%
Graduation Rate: 33%
Salary After Attending: $39,800

Williston State College is a public community college that was formed in the year 1957. It is located in Williston, North Dakota. The highest degree that students can achieve at this college is an associate degree. This community college offers degree programs and certificates in 8 different fields. The most popular majors studied are Liberal Arts and Humanities, Automotive Mechanics, Engineering Technician, Welding, Business, Nursing, and Licensed Practical Nurse Training. Williston State College also offers transfer programs in Associate of Arts and Science degrees, which leads students to complete their first two years of their major and transferring to a university to finish their last two years and earn a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, this school has an open admissions policy and gives credit for life experiences. The population that attends this college is very small, which is a great benefit in offering students more individualized attention with their faculty.

About us. (2016). Williston State College. Retrieved from: https://www.willistonstate.edu/About-Us.html

Williston State College. (2019). U.S. News & World Report L.P. Retrieved from: https://www.usnews.com/education/community-colleges/williston-state-college-CC09371

Williston State College. (2019). Niche. Retrieved from: https://www.niche.com/colleges/williston-state-college/

12. Mayville State University

Score: 95.6

Average Net Price: $11,942
Retention Rate: 59%
Graduation Rate: 33%
Salary After Attending: $39,300

Mayville State University is a public university that was established in 1889. It is located in Mayville, North Dakota. In 2019, this university ranked fifth for top public schools, 11 for best online colleges in the United States, and 50 for best regional colleges in the Midwest. The mission of Mayville State University is to bring exceptional teaching and learning opportunities to students while offering an inclusive and supportive learning environment that focuses on each individual. This school offers high-quality undergraduate and master’s degree programs that prepare students for a successful career. Students attending this school mostly study Business, Nursing, Elementary Education, Physical Education Teaching and Coaching, and Liberal Arts and Humanities. The university is also known to provide flexible learning opportunities to all students, and it creates an environment for creativity, intellectual curiosity, lifelong learning, and diversity. The foundation of Mayville State University is respect for others, loyalty to the institution, high ethics, responsibility and accountability of actions, and open communication.

Mayville State University. (2019). U.S. News & World Report L.P. Retrieved from: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/mayville-state-2993

Mayville State University. (2019). Niche. Retrieved from: https://www.niche.com/colleges/mayville-state-university/

13. Dakota College at Bottineau

Score: 94.6

Average Net Price: $9,748
Retention Rate: 44%
Graduation Rate: 25%
Salary After Attending: $37,900

Dakota College at Bottineau is a public college that was founded in 1906. It is located in Bottineau, North Dakota. It is a really small college with a wonderful student to factory ratio, which is 12 to 1. The highest degree that students are able to accomplish at this school is an associate degree, and it has an open admissions policy that offers credit for life experiences as well. There are 11 different fields of study that students can earn a degree or certificate in, and the most popular degrees are Liberal Arts and Humanities, Nursing, Licensed Practical Nurse Training, and Emergency Medical Technician. Its mission is to give students the opportunity to gain a high-quality education in a caring environment that values diversity and personal enrichment. The college provides personal growth by creating incredible learning opportunities so that students can earn employment or transfer to a university. Nature and technology are also big aspects at the Dakota College at Bottineau, which was once a school of forestry. Additionally, this school is known to have the best distance learning programs in the whole state of North Dakota.

About. (2019). Dakota College at Bottineau. Retrieved from: https://www.dakotacollege.edu/about

Dakota College at Bottineau. (2019). U.S. News & World Report L.P. Retrieved from: https://www.usnews.com/education/community-colleges/dakota-college-at-bottineau-CC02244

Dakota College at Bottineau. (2019). Niche. Retrieved from: https://www.niche.com/colleges/dakota-college-at-bottineau/

14. United Tribes Technical College

Score: 94.4

Average Net Price: $5,395
Retention Rate: 58%
Graduation Rate: 13%
Salary After Attending: $11,800

United Tribes Technical College is a tribal college providing an excellent education to Native Americans in the area and all over the country. It is located in Bismark, North Dakota and was founded in 1969. Over ten thousand American Indians have attended this college over the last 50 years from 75 various federal tribes. However, the college does serve students with all different types of backgrounds. This school is proud to be known as the first tribal college in the country to offer fully online degree programs to the public. The main objective is to provide an institution where Indians can earn a great education and gain employment after graduation. This school also emphasizes families and children and provides learning opportunities for social skills in a cultural setting. The mission is to “enhance knowledge, diversity, and leadership for all indigenous nations,” and they strive to create “cultural, educated, and healthy” individuals that can empower their communities and families.

Mission, motto, and vision. (2019). United Tribes Technical College. Retrieved from: https://uttc.edu/mission-motto-vision/

Our history. (2019). United Tribes Technical College. Retrieved from: https://uttc.edu/our-history/

15. Cankdeska Cikana Community College

Score: 93.6

Average Net Price: $5,170
Retention Rate: 44%
Graduation Rate: 10%
Salary After Attending: $16,400

Cankdeska Cikana Community College is a tribal community college that was founded in the year 1970. It is located in Fort Trotten, North Dakota on the Spirit Lake Reservation. The community college gives students opportunities to become independent and self-sufficient with educational achievement. Students are also required to learn the Spirit Lake Dakota language and culture. This school proudly develops a strong community bond that enjoys “physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.” The college was created to give Indian people somewhere to further their education because it was stressful for them to attend non-Indian schools distant from their families and the reservation. This school includes the Indian culture into each academic program to give Indian people a better chance at succeeding. In addition, Cankdeska Cikana Community College has been known to boost self-confidence and encourage students to go on and further their education at universities and four-year colleges.

History.(2019). Cankdeska Cikana Community College. Retrieved from: https://www.littlehoop.edu/history.html

Mission, vision, key values. (2019). Cankdeska Cikana Community College. Retrieved from: https://www.littlehoop.edu/mission.html

16. Trinity Bible College

Score: 93.4

Average Net Price: $21,636
Retention Rate: 58%
Graduation Rate: 38%
Salary After Attending: $27,000

Trinity Bible College is a private college that was founded in 1948. It is located in Ellendale, North Dakota. This college offers undergraduate and graduate courses to those that desire to earn a higher education. The foundational faith of this school is the General Council of the Assemblies of God USA, and it is dedicated to educating students to “bring the good news of Jesus” to the public anywhere they may go. The mission is to train and educate individuals to obtain “theological reflection and missional passion,” which will lead all people to learn “the good news of Jesus and see His love demonstrated” through each student. The Master of Arts programs that students have the option to study are Missional Leadership, Global Theology, and Rural Ministries. Additionally, this school also provides online learning opportunities, which students can earn fully online degrees in Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies as well as an Associate of Arts in Biblical Studies.

About Trinity Bible College. (2019). Trinity Bible College and Graduate School. Retrieved from: https://www.trinitybiblecollege.edu/about/

Online learning. (2019). Trinity Bible College and Graduate School. Retrieved from: https://www.trinitybiblecollege.edu/academics/online-learning

Degrees and programs. (2019). Trinity Bible College and Graduate School. Retrieved from: https://www.trinitybiblecollege.edu/academics/degrees-and-programs

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