College: Why Minnesota – Mpls.St.Paul Magazine

This feature was written by Studio MSP writers. While some of our advertisers were sourced, no advertiser paid to be included.

Research Ready

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities is an R1 Doctoral University, indicating the highest level of research activity.  Iowa State University and North Dakota State University are the closest colleges with the same distinction.

$1.15 billion

Record-setting amount of research funds awarded to U of M in 2021. The National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation contribute the most federal support.


The number of partnerships that the U of M Extension celebrates across all 87 counties in Minnesota


The number of research-only staff at the U of M, according to U.S. News and World Report


Most recent national ranking of U of M’s chemical engineering undergraduate program, according to U.S. News and World Report

Need For Nurses

The past few years have proved that nurses are essential to our health. The University of St. Thomas aims to address the national nurse shortage with the introduction of its completely new Susan S. Morrison School of Nursing within the Morrison Family College of Health. It welcomed its first cohort of master’s in nursing students last fall, with about a third of students being people of color. The program’s multimillion-dollar simulation lab includes innovative robots acting as patients in a variety of clinical settings.

Raising the Bar

Gustavus Adolphus College completed the first phase of its 160,000-square-foot expansion of the Lund Center—its fitness, athletics, and wellness center—which includes a larger weight-training facility, an open-concept cardio center, three aerobics rooms, new locker rooms, and a new student lounge.

Building The Future

The interior of the historic Old Music Hall at Carleton College, built in 1914, was refurbished and recently reopened as Hasenstab Hall, the new home of political science and international relations.

Answering The Call

Thanks to St. Cloud State University’s partnership with GeoComm, students can work at the university’s Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility (ISELF)’s Visualization Lab—a state-of-the-art science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) lab—to design software to help 911 operators pinpoint a caller’s location.

Big Deal, Small Scope

Hamline University’s new high-tech scanning electron microscope allows students to explore microscopic structures and their electrical, optical, magnetic, chemical, and biological properties.

Sweet New Suites

St. Olaf College recently invested in its campus housing with the Ole Avenue Project, which includes a new residence hall and townhouses along St. Olaf Avenue.

Support For Parents

The U.S. Department of Education’s Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program provides funds to colleges to run campus-based child care or offer reimbursement for off-campus day care. Minneapolis Community and Technical College was awarded $1.2 million through September 2026 to assist parents with limited income when it comes to child care.

40% of college students face food insecurity at some point in their college journeys. The Minnesota State university system recently partnered with United Way 211 to develop a statewide resource that connects students to local resources.

Pick Your Partner

New strategic partnerships blossom on Minnesota campuses.

The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University chose Brian J. Bruess as the first president of both institutions. Together, they developed the Strong Integration initiative, which creates a new governance and leadership structure.

St. Catherine University and Fontbonne University recently announced a partnership that will launch a new graduate program in speech-language pathology in St. Paul. The program includes a free community clinic for patients with communications disorders.

Minnesota State Mankato and Minnesota North College recently partnered to create the Maverick Advance Plan, which enables students to complete a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) degree in a fully online program with guidance and resources from both colleges.

$1 million

The amount that Macalester College received in grant funds from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create the new Macalester Native and Indigenous Initiative, which is “dedicated to engagement with and scholarship around Indigenous people, culture and history.” The grant continues the work of faculty, staff, and students to “make Indigenous people and issues more visible on campus.”

The In-State Advantage 

Five reasons why you shouldn’t overlook Minnesota colleges.

1) Learn More For Less

Students often receive more federal, state, and institutional grants and scholarships if they study in state. Participating Minnesota universities also offer free applications as part of College Knowledge Month in October, so mark your calendars!

2) It Feel More Familiar

“Some students may already have an affiliation with an institution close to home,” says Jonathan Nicholson, director of college counseling at Breck School. “Perhaps a parent, family member, or friend attended the institution, so there is already familiarity.”

3) Embrace New Opportunities

“There are many fantastic institutions in Minnesota that offer tremendous opportunities that draw students from around the country and world,” Nicholson says.

4) Better Networking Opportunites

Studying at a local college or university allows students who have a connection to the university—including sports, research, or arts—to pursue those interests before, during, and after college, which can aid in their professional and career development. Careers that require state certification may make it advantageous to stay in state, too.

5) Higher Acceptance Rates

Acceptance rates are often higher for in-state students. For example, although the University of Minnesota Twin Cities boasts a diverse student body, with admitted students from all over the world, seven in ten students are from Minnesota. “We see that students who have a love of Minnesota, and all it has to offer, thrive,” says Jules Block, school counselor at Edina High School.

This article was originally published in the January 2023 issue of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine.

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