Online Colleges in North Dakota

This guide was designed to help you determine if an online college in North Dakota is right for you. There are many benefits to getting a college degree, like qualifying for better-paying jobs. Studying online can make getting your degree cheaper by reducing the cost of housing and transportation; it’s worth considering even if you live in the same state as the school you want to attend.

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Higher Learning Initiatives in North Dakota

University of North Dakota Online and Distance Education

The University of North Dakota (UND) offers many online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs through its online and distance education programs. The online bachelor’s programs offered by UND are ranked third in the nation for student services by U.S. News & World Report and UND’s online branch is considered one of the most accessible and advanced online schools in North Dakota. UND has been offering distance learning options to students since correspondence-by-mail courses in 1911. The university’s transition to offering 100% online degree programs demonstrates the school’s commitment to delivering the best courses to distance learners in North Dakota.

North Dakota Center for Distance Education

High school students and middle school students in North Dakota who cannot attend in-person classes or would prefer to take courses that aren’t offered at their school have the option of enrolling at the North Dakota Center for Distance Education. This forward-thinking online school offers a variety of Advanced Placement and standard courses to learners in grades 6-12. Each of its courses, taught by education leaders in North Dakota, meets the state’s rigorous standards. Additionally, the North Dakota Center for Distance Education works with the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction to help ensure that nontraditional students in North Dakota receive a first-class online education.

North Dakota Educational Technology Council

The North Dakota Educational Technology Council oversees technology in K-12 public schools in North Dakota. The council works with teachers and administrators to deploy and use devices like iPads and e-readers in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms. The North Dakota Educational Technology Council also applies for and manages technology education grants for North Dakota schools. These grants fund many of the technology initiatives that introduce the newest and most useful gadgets to schools in the state.

Popular Degree Programs in North Dakota

Online colleges in North Dakota want students to get the most out of their tuition, and one of the best ways to do this is by keeping their programs up-to-date. That means updating or even creating new programs to guide students towards degrees that will be relevant for years to come.

  • Engineering Mechanics, Physics, and Science: Though not the most common degrees in the state, a larger percentage of North Dakota residents have degrees in these fields than in any other state. This could be because North Dakota schools excel in these areas, because there are interesting jobs in these fields, or a little of both.
  • Business Management and Administration:

Paying for College in North Dakota

Price is a big factor when choosing a college. Studying at an online college in North Dakota can help you save money even if you’re an out-of-state student, as many schools charge in-state tuition for online courses regardless of where students live. Of course, tuition isn’t the only factor in college costs, so make sure to include expenses like textbooks, technology fees, and course materials.

Tuition Prices

As you can see from the table below, North Dakota’s two-year colleges are a little more expensive than the national average, while the state’s four-year schools are a little more affordable. As these are average tuition rates, some colleges will be more expensive, while others will be cheaper.

Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2017-18

 Public Two YearPublic Four Year
North Dakota$4,830$8,660
U.S. Average$4,234$9,978

Source: College Board

Employment Outlook in North Dakota

Though the annual mean wage for North Dakota is a little lower than the national mean wage, the state has a lower unemployment rate, making getting a job slightly easier with the right degree or experience. The cost of living in the state is on par with the rest of the country, so the mean wage likely reflects more low-paying positions that don’t require a college degree.

Unemployment rate, August 2018
North Dakota2.8%
United States3.8%

Source: BLS

Annual Mean Wage, May 2017
North Dakota$48,130
United States$50,620

Source: BLS

Accreditation for Colleges in North Dakota

When you choose an online college in North Dakota, make sure you choose an accredited one. Accreditation is the process by which a college is certified to teach students and grant degrees. Without accreditation, a college’s degrees are worthless. There are two common kinds of accreditation applied to institutions as a whole: regional and national. The difference is one of jurisdiction; public colleges are accredited by regional boards, while private colleges and some technical schools are usually accredited by national boards. In North Dakota, public universities are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

You may also come across programs or degrees within a college that have further accreditation by a professional organization in the field. This is referred to as programmatic accreditation and, while not required for colleges to teach these subjects, carries further distinction. These departments have shown they hold themselves to additional standards, and degrees from such colleges tend to be more impressive to employers. Keeping an eye out for programmatic accreditation is a good idea when choosing a college.

Scholarships for North Dakota Online College Students

The following list of scholarships can help you get started finding funding for your college experience. Scholarships are competitive and usually targeted at specific student populations. Finding those that apply to you takes time, but these serve as a good starting point.

North Dakota Academic Scholarships

Who Can Apply: North Dakota high school seniors with a 3.0 GPA and ACT scores of 24 or higher may apply. Scholarship must be applied within six years of high school graduation.
Amount: Up to $6,000

Apply Here

North Dakota Career & Technical Education Scholarships

Who Can Apply: North Dakota high school seniors who have completed a specific program of study with a 3.0 or better GPA, score a 24 or higher on the ACT or three 5s on WorkKeys assessments may apply.
Amount: Up to $6,000

Apply Here

North Dakota Indian Scholarships

Who Can Apply: North Dakota resident students who are members of a federally recognized Native American tribe or nation and are enrolled in a North Dakota college or university can apply.
Amount: Up to $2,000

Apply Here

North Dakota Scholars Program

Who Can Apply: North Dakota high school students in the 99th percentile of ACT testing are eligible. Scholarship can be renewed for up to four years.
Amount: Varies

Apply Here

North Dakota State Student Incentive Grant Program

Who Can Apply: North Dakota high school graduates who are first-time undergraduate students at a college in North Dakota may apply.
Amount: Up to $975 per semester

Apply Here

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Occupations Loan Forgiveness Program

Who Can Apply: Residents with a STEM degree working in their field for over 12 months with an annual income of less than $60,000 are eligible.
Amount: Up to $6,000 in loan forgiveness

Apply Here

Edward O. Nesheim Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Residents of North Dakota or the children of veterans, who are attending a North Dakota college or university and majoring in agriculture, human nutrition, or medicine are eligible.
Amount: $1,500

Apply Here

North Dakota American Legion Riders Scholarship

Who Can Apply: North Dakota high school seniors who are the children or grandchildren of a veteran or active duty service member and have been accepted to an in-state college may apply.
Amount: Varies

Apply Here

BNSF Railway Company Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Dependents of a BNSF employee attending a college within the U.S. can apply. The scholarship may be renewed for up to three additional years.
Amount: Up to $2,500

Apply Here

Korean American Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Korean-American students with a 3.0 or better high school GP who live within one of several Midwestern states (including North Dakota) may apply. Applicants must demonstrate financial need.
Amount: Varies

Apply Here

Resources for Students in North Dakota

  • North Dakota University System: The organization’s website is a great source of information on what to expect from the college experience. The site provides information for students, parents, and employees.
  • North Dakota OER: Part of the Open Education Commons, this site contains a wealth of free educational resources. Though many of these are geared towards primary and secondary students, there are resources for higher education as well, and links to a variety of related resources.
  • FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid allows you to qualify for financial aid form the United States Department of Education. Most colleges and states, as well as several private organizations, use the information in your FAFSA to determine if you qualify for scholarships.
  • Western Undergraduate Exchange: North Dakota is one of 16 states and territories which participates in the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE). This program is designed to allow students from member states to attend schools in other member states at or near in-state tuition prices.
  • WICHE: Overseeing WUE is the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, which works to improve access to higher education in these states and territories as well as to ensure the highest quality educational experiences are available. Their website contains information and resources that can be helpful to students in these states.

Online Schools in North Dakota

Bismarck State College

Bismarck, ND

  • Graduation Rate: N/A
  • Average Net Price: $8,393

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Dickinson State University

Dickinson, ND

  • Graduation Rate: 35%
  • Average Net Price: $10,592

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Mayville State University

Mayville, ND

  • Graduation Rate: 39%
  • Average Net Price: $11,759

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Minot State University

Minot, ND

  • Graduation Rate: 33%
  • Average Net Price: $10,235

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North Dakota State University-Main Campus

Fargo, ND

  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Average Net Price: $14,014

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Trinity Bible College and Graduate School

Ellendale, ND

  • Graduation Rate: 29%
  • Average Net Price: $14,199

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University of Mary

Bismarck, ND

  • Graduation Rate: 20%
  • Average Net Price: $14,069

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University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND

  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Average Net Price: $15,457

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Valley City State University

Valley City, ND

  • Graduation Rate: 41%
  • Average Net Price: $10,823

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