Online Christian Colleges in Minnesota

With nearly 200 public and private postsecondary institutions throughout the state, Minnesota has a strong higher education system and a well-educated population. About 70% of the state's public high school graduating class of 2014 went on to attend a postsecondary institution, and a vast majority of those students chose an in-state school, according to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.

three out of four adult residents are Christian, 74% of adults say religion is important in their lives, with one-third of the population attending religious services at least once a week Pew Research Center

Nationally, the state ranks second in the percentage of its population with an associate degree or higher. Along with a commitment to education, Minnesotans have a dedication to their faith. About three out of four adult residents are Christian, according to the Pew Research Center. Similarly, 74% of adults say religion is important in their lives, with one-third of the population attending religious services at least once a week.

Due to the state's devotion to both education and religion, Minnesota is home to several Christian colleges and universities. Students in these schools have the benefit of growing in their faith alongside students with similar values. While Christian colleges in Minnesota represent a variety of denominations, the majority are affiliated with either the Catholic Church or a Protestant denomination like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Among the many Christian colleges in Minnesota, several offer online programs. Students in online Christian colleges receive the same, faith-based education as their on-campus peers, but have the convenience of learning from the comfort of their homes. Online programs are often delivered asynchronously, meaning they do not have set class schedules. Students complete their work when it is most convenient for them, making distance learning a great option for students with family or work obligations.

Christian online colleges may also be more affordable than their on-campus counterparts because students do not have to incur the costs of commuting or campus accommodations, such as fees for student life, wellness, and activities. Some schools also offer online students flat tuition rates, so students pay the same whether they live in or outside Minnesota.

Although distance learners aren't physically on campus, they can still fully integrate into their school's faith-based community. Many online Christian colleges offer services such as online spiritual support and counseling, live streams of student worship services, and online groups and forums that allow students to connect with one another. Online programs also typically require the same core curriculum as traditional programs, which commonly feature courses in Christian studies.

There are several high-quality Christian colleges in Minnesota. To help narrow their options, students should consider the main elements they want in a college. Prospective students can start their search by deciding what type of degree they want to earn, whether they want their program to have a Bible or ministry focus, and if they want a liberal arts-based education. Students pursuing an online program may also want to find schools that incorporate faith into the distance learning experience.

Beyond academics, students may want to evaluate a college's environment to determine whether it's a good fit for them. Christian colleges in Minnesota are all private institutions that usually have smaller student populations, providing students smaller class sizes and a more close-knit campus community. Students wanting a larger campus may prefer a school such as the University of St. Thomas, a Catholic college in Minnesota's capital city of St. Paul, that enrolls about 10,000 students.

Christian colleges in Minnesota are all private institutions that usually have smaller student populations, providing students smaller class sizes and a more close-knit campus community

A college's location can also be an important factor when considering off-campus activity options, safety, and internship and volunteer opportunities. Many Christian colleges in Minnesota are located in the the state's largest metropolitan area -- referred to as the Twin Cities -- which includes Minneapolis and St. Paul. Some faith-based schools, however, are housed in smaller towns.

Lastly, students may want to review a college's policies and values. Some Christian colleges require students to regularly attend church services, abstain from certain activities and substances such as drugs and alcohol, and abide by specific lifestyle standards.

Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools

Although seminary schools and Bible schools are both faith-based, their missions and program offerings are different. Seminary schools are typically graduate schools that prepare graduates for ministry or clergy professions, such as the pastorate. Some also prepare learners for careers in the nonprofit sector, academia, and counseling. The curriculum typically focuses on the Bible, theology, and philosophy and ethics. Seminary graduates, meanwhile, generally earn a master of divinity, master's of arts, or a doctor of ministry.

Bibles schools are typically geared toward undergraduate students, though some also offer graduate programs. Depending on the Bible college, students may earn a variety of degrees that are common among traditional four-year schools. The curriculum is unique, however, because of its biblical foundation. These programs commonly prepare students for ministry, though some graduates may also pursue careers that are not faith-based.

Accreditation for Christian Colleges

Accreditation is essential for a higher education institution and its students. Colleges and universities seek regional or national accreditation, while individual programs or departments may apply for specialized accreditation within their area of study. Private educational agencies grant accreditation, and the U.S. Department of Education oversees the entire postsecondary accreditation system. Regional accreditation is often considered the highest standard and is most common among schools. Meanwhile, trade, vocational, and online schools often hold national accreditation.

An institution must be regionally or nationally accredited for its students to receive federal financial aid. Additionally, many regionally or nationally accredited schools only accept transfer credits from students who previously attended an accredited institution. Students can use the U.S. Department of Education's searchable database to check a school's or program's accreditation status.

Most Minnesota Bible colleges, seminaries, and other Christian schools hold regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, one of the six major regional institutional accreditors in the U.S. Seminaries in this state also typically hold accreditation from the Association of Theological Schools' Commission on Accrediting, whose membership includes 260 graduate theological schools in the U.S. and Canada. The Association for Biblical Higher Education, which includes 200 postsecondary institutions in North America that specialize in biblical ministry formation and professional leadership education, also accredits a few Christian colleges in Minnesota.

Fortunately for graduates of Christian colleges in Minnesota, the state's economy and job outlook looks bright. In March 2018, Minnesota's unemployment rate was 3.2%, compared to the national rate of 4.1%. The state gained more than 21,000 jobs -- a .7% increase -- from March 2017 to March 2018, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Nationally, jobs increased by 1.6% during that period.

Minnesotans earn a mean hourly wage of $25.35 and an annual salary of $52,730, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

The state's five fastest growing industries include education and health services, trade, transportation, and utilities, government, manufacturing, and construction. Across all occupations, Minnesotans earn a mean hourly wage of $25.35 and an annual salary of $52,730, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Their pay is slightly higher than the nationwide $24.34 mean hourly pay and $50,620 annual salary. Wages are highest in the Twin Cities area and in Rochester, home to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic.

The table below highlights employment and average hourly and annual wages for students interested in community and social service-related careers after graduation. The table includes 10 occupations -- including counselors and clergy members -- that graduates of Christian colleges in Minnesota can pursue.

Community and Social Service Occupations in Minnesota
Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors 2,420 $22.43 $46,650
Marriage and Family Therapists 1,080 $23.76 $49,420
Mental Health Counselors 4,140 $23.46 $48,790
Rehabilitation Counselors 3,580 $18.84 $39,180
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 7,210 $26.44 $55,000
Healthcare Social Workers 3,110 $27.59 $57,390
Social and Human Service Assistants 13,820 $16.53 $34,380
Clergy 840 $22.83 $47,500
Directors, Religious Activities and Education 340 $23.28 $48,430
Religious Workers, all other 100 $16.88 $35,100
Source: BLS, May 2017

Students active in their Christian faith are eligible for many national, state, and local scholarships. Funding opportunities are available to students who belong to several different denominations. Some Christian colleges in Minnesota also provide scholarships to incoming students. Additionally, students can benefit from a pool of private scholarships and grants offered to all Minnesota residents.

Christian Scholarships

General Board of Higher Education and Ministry General Scholarship $500 to $1,000

Who Can Apply: The United Methodist Church grants this scholarship to undergraduate and graduates. Applicants must have at least a 2.5 GPA and have an active membership in the United Methodist Church for at least one year. View Scholarship

InFaith Community Foundation Scholarship $5,000

Who Can Apply: Formerly the Lutheran Community Foundation Scholarship, this scholarship is awarded to students who are members of congregations holding active organizational endowment funds at InFaith Community Foundation. Applicants must be high school seniors who are seeking a four-year degree at an accredited college or university. Students must have at least a 3.0 GPA and demonstrate financial need. View Scholarship

Catholic Financial Life College Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: Catholic Financial Life, a life insurance company for Catholics, awards this scholarship to financial members who are 23 or younger. Applicants must have performed a minimum of 10 service hours with a Catholic Financial Life chapter, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, or another nonprofit organization. Students must attend an accredited school. View Scholarship

Herbert W. and Corinne Chilstrom Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America provide funding to Lutheran women who are entering their final year at an ELCA seminary. Applicants must be ELCA members and be endorsed by their synodical candidacy committee. This scholarship is for second-career women, so students must have initially graduated from college at least five years ago. View Scholarship

National Presbyterian College Scholarship $2,500

Who Can Apply: Members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) who attend Presbyterian colleges or universities are eligible for this scholarship. Applicants must be entering their first year of college. Recipients can renew the scholarship each year if they maintain a 2.5 GPA and participate in campus ministry or regularly attend church. They must also complete a series of essay questions. View Scholarship

Scholarships for Minnesota Residents

Minnesota Indian Scholarship Program $4,000

Who Can Apply: The Minnesota Office of Higher Education provides financial assistance to Minnesota students who are at least one-fourth American Indian and demonstrate financial need. Applicants must be undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in an accredited school. Students may receive this funding for a maximum of 10 years, with five years for undergraduate school and an additional five years for graduate school. View Scholarship

Minnesota Masonic Charities Undergraduate Scholarship $6,000

Who Can Apply: Minnesota Masonic Charities provide 20 scholarships each year to current college freshman, sophomores, or juniors who graduated from a Minnesota high school. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA and be enrolled in a four-year program. Candidates may receive $2,000 annually for up to three years. View Scholarship

Page Grants $1,000 to $2,500

Who Can Apply: The Page Education Foundation provides this scholarship to students of color who graduate from a Minnesota high school and attend a Minnesota postsecondary institution. Applicants must be in a two- or four-year program and agree to complete annual service projects with children. View Scholarship

The Salvation Army Pearl Linden Scholarship $1,500 to $3,000

Who Can Apply: Aspiring two-year and four-year college students in Ramsey, Washington, and Dakota counties in Minnesota are eligible for this scholarship. Applicants must be high school seniors who are active volunteers in their communities and demonstrate financial need. View Scholarship

Vernetta Wilson Memorial Scholarship $1,000 to $2,500

Who Can Apply: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority's Minneapolis/St. Paul Alumnae Chapter provides this scholarship to African-American and Pan-African students. Applicants must be graduating high school seniors with a 2.7 minimum GPA who have been accepted to a two-year or four-year accredited institution. They also must have completed at least 30 hours of volunteer work in their community. View Scholarship

Find a Church in Your Community

Students don't need to stop attending religious services just because they start college. Most Christian colleges have a chapel on campus, and it's easy to find off-campus churches near most colleges. Students can quickly locate Minnesota churches through online services such as Church Finder and USA Churches.

Get Connected

During college, students can connect with like-minded Christian professionals in their area of speciality through professional associations and networking websites. These groups often provide training resources, mentorships, and job listings.

  • Christian Business Network CBN is dedicated to business and ministry professionals. It boasts an array of membership services such as collaboration opportunities, private content management, special interest groups, and promotional services. CBN also creates private online groups for colleges.
  • Christian Women Business Organization CWBO includes professional Christian women who are ministry founders or executives, own businesses, and work for corporations and in sales. It has active chapters in six states, including Minnesota. Chapter membership includes access to mentoring, inspirational speakers and business training, and a prayer team.
  • Minnesota Association of Christian Counselors MACC provides mental health professionals with biblical training, support and encouragement, and networking opportunities. Its members have access to a statewide therapist listing, training, seminars, and employment listings.

Find Christian Ministries

Christian colleges are generally private institutions, which are often more expensive than public universities. Not all students can afford to attend a Christian school, and as a result, there are other options that allow students to develop their faith while enrolled in a public university in Minnesota. Several active, national campus ministry organizations are listed below.

Interdenominational
  • Campus Crusade for Christ Known as "Cru," Campus Crusade for Christ International has 2,300 U.S. campus ministries with 101,000 student and faculty members. Cru's campus ministry offers regional faith-building weekends and mission trips during spring break and summer vacation.
  • Chi Alpha Chi Alpha is a network of Christian ministries located on college campuses. Its mission is to "reconcile students to Christ" by providing communities based on prayer, worship, fellowship, and discipleship.
  • International Fellowship of Evangelical Students IFES is an international network of more than 160 evangelical Christian student movements. Its U.S. movement, the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, includes 909 groups on 590 campuses.
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes FCA engages with coaches and athletes at the professional, college, high school, and youth level. It offers resources to help athletes grow as Christian competitors, such as Bible study groups and Bible-reading plans.
Catholic
  • Catholic Campus Ministry Association CCMA is a professional organization dedicated to Catholic campus ministers. It holds an annual convention, publishes a magazine, offers a professional certification program, and produces a podcast and webinars. Its website also includes a job board.
Lutheran
  • Lutheran Student Movement U.S.A. LSM U.S.A. identifies as a pan-Lutheran organization that is open to all Lutheran students. It encourages students to grow in their relationships with God through fellowship and service learning.
Presbyterian
  • Reformed University Fellowship RUF is a ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America. Its campus ministries offer large group meetings for teaching, worship, and fellowship, small Bible group studies, service opportunities, and regional and national conferences.
  • UKirk UKirk is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It provides professional support and connection opportunities for campus ministers. UKirk's website includes a list of service and mission opportunities in every state, as well as a list of ministries in each state. It also has an interactive job board.
  • Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life BCMLife is a network of Baptist campus ministries. Its mission is to lead college students and other campus community members to faith in Jesus Christ. Its website provides a missions job board, a collegiate ministry job board, and a collegiate ministry directory.

Public Universities in Minnesota with Christian Ministries

  • University of Minnesota The state's largest university located in the Twin Cities has more than 80 religious affiliated student groups, including Cru, Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, and the Reformed University Fellowship.
  • St. Cloud State University This state college offers several Christian student ministries, including Cru, Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, UKirk Ministries, and the Catholic Student Community.
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato Located in southern Minnesota, MSUM includes many Christian student groups for all denominations, including Cru, FCA, Lutheran Campus Ministry, and the St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center.
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