Worst Colleges In Minnesota

Last Updated on May 26, 2024 by Team College Learners

Minnesota is home to several colleges and universities, but not all institutions are created equal. Some have lower graduation rates compared to others, which may raise concerns for prospective students looking to pursue higher education in the state. The worst colleges in Minnesota, based on their graduation rates, include the University of Phoenix Minneapolis/St Paul Campus, Leech Lake Tribal College, White Earth Tribal and Community College, National American University Brooklyn Center, and several others.

When considering admission to one of the worst colleges in Minnesota, prospective students should be aware of the basic admission requirements. These may include submitting high school transcripts or GED scores, completing an application form, providing letters of recommendation, and writing a personal statement. Some colleges may also require standardized test scores, such as the ACT or SAT, and proof of English proficiency for international students.

The admission process for the worst colleges in Minnesota can vary depending on the institution. Prospective students are encouraged to visit the college’s website or contact the admissions office for specific instructions on how to apply. It is important to carefully review the admission requirements and deadlines, gather all necessary documents, and submit a complete application to increase the chances of being accepted into one of these colleges.

Worst Colleges In Minnesota


  1. University of Phoenix Minneapolis/St Paul Campus – Saint Louis Park, MN 7.2%

  2. Leech Lake Tribal College – Cass Lake, MN 9.7%

  3. White Earth Tribal and Community College – Mahnomen, MN 9.3%

  4. National American University Brooklyn Center – Brooklyn Center, MN 12.8%

  5. Century Community and Technical College – White Bear Lake, MN 13.8%

  6. Minneapolis Community and Technical College – Minneapolis, MN 14%

  7. North Hennepin Community College – Brooklyn Park, MN 14.1%

  8. National American University Roseville – Roseville, MN 18.6%

  9. Anoka Ramsey Community College – Coon Rapids, MN 19.7%

  10. Inver Hills Community College – Inver Grove Heights, MN 20%

  11. Saint Paul College A Community and Technical College – Saint Paul, MN 19.8%

  12. Normandale Community College – Bloomington, MN 20.6%

  13. Rochester Community and Technical College – Rochester, MN 21%

  14. National American University Bloomington – Bloomington, MN 22.4%

  15. Anoka Technical College – Anoka, MN 23.9%

  16. Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College – Cloquet, MN 23%

  17. South Central College – North Mankato, MN 24.6%

  18. Pine Technical College – Pine City, MN 24.8%

About Worst Colleges In Minnesota

The right to free speech on college campuses in America is no longer guaranteed, and Minnesota’s private universities are a prime example.

Campus administrators continually undermine the liberty of students to speak as they choose, which is why the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) exists. FIRE’s mission is to “defend and sustain the individual rights of students and faculty members at America’s colleges and universities,” including the right to free speech.

FIRE argues that a university’s “intellectual vitality” relies on the ability of students and faculty to freely express their ideas. This cannot happen when “students or faculty members fear punishment for expressing views that might be unpopular” with the public in general or with school officials.

FIRE ratings

FIRE provides a comprehensive database of American universities that are notorious for restricting free speech. The organization does this by giving each campus it reviews a rating of “red light,” “yellow light,” or “green light.”

A “red-light” school has one or more policies that clearly and directly violate free speech. “A ‘clear’ restriction is one that unambiguously infringes on what is or should be protected expression,” according to FIRE’s explanation of the ratings.

A “yellow-light” school has policies that restrict some free speech, but in a more limited fashion than a red-light school does. A yellow institution is often given this rating for vague wording in its policies that could “too easily be used to restrict protected expression.”

If FIRE reviews a campus’s policies and finds it does not have any that sincerely violate the right to free speech, that university is given a “green light.”

Laura Beltz, a senior program officer for FIRE, told Alpha News that not a single Minnesota school reviewed by the organization received a green light.

“All of the Minnesota schools rated in our database have at least one policy that could too easily be applied to restrict protected speech,” she said.

Minnesota’s red-light universities
Of the ten Minnesota schools reviewed by FIRE in July 2020, Carleton College, St. Olaf College, and Macalester College were given red ratings.

Carleton College’s campus in Northfield, Minnesota. (Carleton College/Facebook)
All three schools are private institutions — meaning they have no legal obligation to protect free speech — but they promise to uphold the First Amendment in their own handbooks and stated values.

“While they’re not legally bound by the First Amendment, these three schools do promise their students free speech rights in official policy materials and need to live up to those commitments,” Beltz noted.

Carleton College in Northfield earned a red light because of its policy on “sexually inappropriate conduct,” which bans speech that could be deemed offensive by the recipient.

The school’s campus handbook states: “Sexually inappropriate conduct includes unwelcome sexual conduct that may not rise to the level of sexual harassment. Conduct that may be considered sexually inappropriate may be isolated behavior not sufficiently serious to be sexual harass­ment under this policy.”

About APSU

In addition, Carleton was deemed red for its media and internet usage policy, which bans any material that is “demeaning or discriminatory via any electronic mail, bulletin board, or other computer network facility.”

St. Olaf College, also located in Northfield, was given a red rating because of its strict internet usage policy.

The St. Olaf campus in Northfield, Minnesota. (St. Olaf/Facebook)
This policy states that students and staff are subject to disciplinary review for either creating or posting material that is deemed “offensive, pornographic, libelous, or intended to harass.”

St. Olaf drew national attention in 2018 when it prohibited Ben Shapiro, a popular conservative influencer, from speaking at the school.

St. Olaf reportedly said that it would be inappropriate for him to speak at the scheduled time since it was close to the one-year anniversary of certain anti-racism protests on campus. School officials called Shapiro “divisive” and said his appearance would have been “counterproductive.”

Macalester, a private school in St. Paul, was also given a red light due to both its sexual misconduct policy and internet usage policy.

Macalester’s sexual misconduct policy, as seen below, defines punishable behavior as conduct that is “clearly” offensive from both a “subjective” and an “objective” point of view. Eight examples are included in the handbook, many of which are protected speech.

“Gossip about sexual relations” and “verbal commentary about an individual’s body” are considered sexual harassment and punishable behavior.

Macalester’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, as found on FIRE
Macalester’s internet usage policy, which prohibits “inappropriate” or “objectionable” social media material both on and off campus, was featured in an April 2020 article from FIRE on the nation’s “Worst IT Policies.”

“The consequences for violating Macalester’s policy are also severe, with their threats of serious institutional punishment and even criminal charges,” the article notes.

Yellow-light schools
The two University of Minnesota schools reviewed by FIRE, the Twin Cities and Morris campuses, both received yellow ratings.

Some of Morris’s policies allow for punishment of any type of bullying that causes stress or any action that could be considered disruptive. These policies are extremely vague and leave room for interpretation as to how students should be punished, according to FIRE.

While no Minnesota public schools received the worst rating, yellow-rated policies must also be revised to “better track First Amendment standards,” Beltz said.

“Language from yellow-light policies, which place more vague restrictions on speech, have been struck down by courts as unconstitutional, costing schools time and money,” Beltz told Alpha News.

FIRE’s model legislation
Beltz also informed Alpha News that state lawmakers can remedy the situation by passing legislation that promotes student rights.

“Legislation that either promotes student rights by directing universities to adopt clear commitments to free expression or that curtails particular types of restrictions on speech — for example, banning ‘free speech zones,’ which limit student demonstrations to small, out of the way areas on campus — can be helpful in encouraging universities to revise their restrictive policies,” Beltz said.

She noted that FIRE has drafted model legislation for legislators to consider and works with them to adopt speech-protective measures. The model bills include a Campus Free Expression Act, a College Student Free Speech and Association Act, a College Free Press Act, and a Student and Administration Equality Act.

FIRE said it works “across the political spectrum” with lawmakers to protect First Amendment rights on campus.

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Gina
The worst thing about my school is the fact that the lectures with the professors are so large. In this setting, I don’t feel comfortable asking the professor questions for fear of seeming like the “idiot freshman” who takes up everyone’s time during lecture with stupid questions. I mostly just ask the TAs questions instead. Office hours are also a great opportunity to ask questions.

1. Concordia University St Paul

For those with disabilities, the university doesn’t offer the easiest transportation for the student. During the winter, those in wheelchairs would not be able to get around campus easily. The classrooms, transportation, and accessibility for buildings needs to be reconsidered for those traveling by wheelchair. Other forms of mental disabilities is considered different and not given full attention towards that individual experiences, making that individual feel very alone and segregated from the university as a community. Such things as these would change the campus community in a very large and positive output.

Alexandra

The University doesn’t designate enough resources to protecting its female student body. 1 in 4 women will be victims of sexual assault during their college careers. More attention should be brought not only to reported incidents and assault statistics, but also to mindsets and behaviors that lead to unsafe environments for women.

Katrina

In my opinion, the worst thing about the University of Minnesota Twin Cities is its size. Physically, the campus is very spread out and can make getting to classes a time-consuming process. As a large research university, it also relies on TAs to perform a lot of the grading and student interaction rather than having the students directly interact with the professors. However, I think this varies greatly with each department and area of study. Being a large school also has many benefits, as it has a lot to offer to its students in terms of resources and opportunities.

Madison

The tuition is frightening for an out of state student.

Alyssa

The worst thing about my school is that greek life is a pretty big part of the campus and the parties and events are very exclusive. The academic advisors are also not very halpful and there is not a lot of funding for out of state tuition.

Kimberlea

The University of Minnesota seems huge at first but once you start taking classes you realize that people are generally on one of the three campuses so it seems like a smaller school. I often run into people I know! There’s truly something for everybody, whether that’s athletics, academics, or arts and to do any of those you do not have to be the best! There are intramurals and clubs and somebody new to meet everyday. Its a great place to explore who you want to be and to meet interesting people all while at a good school

Keia

Sometimes the schoolwork can seem like too much and it gets very stressful. It is important to stay organized and focused. Once finals week comes, you want to know what tests you have to study for and what material you need to know. Finals week can be very overwhelming because sometimes all your finals could be scheduled for the same day.

Khalifa

The weather is the absolute worse. I have lived in Minnesota for the majority of my life, and the winter isn’t that fun of a time to be at the U.

Elizabeth

Its size makes it unwieldy to run and administrators often need a lot of prodding to solve problems – even the ones they made themselves.

The University Of Chicago

Christine
It is a very reserached-based school. Therefore, many of the professors are teaching on the side; however, their true focus is there research, which makes it sometimes difficult to get in touch with certain professors.

Kimberlea
Again, the worst thing is cost. This is because I have to pay. But it is completely worth it since I am able to attend the school that makes me feel at home.

Nalee
Well everyone has their own opinions on what is the worst thing about their school, but for me, I think that the worst thing about the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities has nothing to do with academics or social networking, but its humongous campus is what I find very exhausting. Such as when I am walking from class to class. Especially in the winter time when the weather can get bitter, I would always need to run to avoid frostbites.

Brandon
That all of the scholarships (pretty much) are for in state students. Even though reciprocity is talked about a lot, they don’t mention the fact that they save all of their good scholarships and grants for Minnesota residents.

Brandon
The pollution can’t get really bothersome at times, especially near building entrances where smokers tend to congregate. Why? Well, I hate the smell and prefer to breathe fresh air.

Addison
The large number of students does make it hard to feel connected to your professors, but that is easily fixed by going to office hours.

Guopeng
My university is a world famous school, the university of Minnesota at Twin Cities. Therefore, its student population is very huge indeed, which might be the worst thing of it. With the huge student population, the professor can’t teach every class here themselves and sometimes don’t even know about who you are. And the student service office as well as the office of student finance is not very effective due to the same reason. They can’t supply detailed service for each individual. and it usually causes inconvenience for us.

The worst colleges for free speech in Minnesota - Alpha News

Kirsten
The hardest thing about attending the U of M is the bureaucracy. Sometimes, you can’t get a straight answer on anything because you need to talk to several different people to answer one question. For example, I earned two bachelor’s degrees (a BA and a BS) at the same time, and the registrar’s office didn’t obtain the information properly, although the colleges did. I had to spend an entire day straightening out this mess so I could graduate with both degrees on time.

Jamie
The academic advising is awful. I was assigned to four different advisors at various times while attending this school. None of them gave me helpful advice nor were they often and readily available for in person meetings. I had to figure out my graduation path and create my schedule on my own which was very difficult as I struggled to get required classes done as well as be aware of and complete all of my requirements on time.

Adam
The worst thing would be the large amount of people and how every event seems very crowded. Other than that it’s a very nice University.

Kayla
I think that it’s pretty big, lots of people find themselves lost. But if you’re from a big city or school then it’s not a big deal.

Scott
Mass number of students and a sense from many of them that they aren’t here to learn.

Tyler
The worst thing about my school is that there are so many students, some of the classes are very large. This may not seem bad, after all it allows you to almost always find someone you know in your classes, but the Professor will not know you very well unless you take the initiative to get to know them. Also, you can skip class and the Professor will not hold you accountable.

Pang
I think in my opinion and experience, there is nothing worst about my school.

Christie
That there are classes on Fridays still because they are trying to phase them out.

Jaide
For me, the worst this about my school is the quality of the dorms. Although they are okay, there is definitely room for improvement.

David
Sometimes classes are in buildings that are far away, which can be annoying because of the amount of time needed to get there. I usually leave about 20 minutes before class.

Cortney
The fees that are added on top of the tuition at the school. Dining fees, lofting fees, bus fees, there are just lots of them. The Dining Halls food starts to get repetitive over the year also, but its not terrible.

Gala
The classes fill up really fast, so by the time I register, it is hard to get into classes I need most

Andrew
The worst thing about my school is that it does not have a Forensic Science degree. Although my major is Physics and Astrophsyics, and this would not directly affect me, if my school had this major, my girlfriend would be able to join me at the University of Minnesota. Currently, however, she is attending Texas A&M. Besides this, I feel as though my school is perfect for me, other than having to ride my bike in below zero weather.

Emily
The only thing that is not the best about this school is the large size. Making friends in class is a little more difficult when you most likely will not see those classmates again next semester. Often times they will have other classes in another part of campus at least a 15 minute walk away.

Amal
The campus is so big that sometimes it is very tiring to walk long walks because at the end of the day I become really tired.

Sydney
The worst thing about my school is the expansiveness of the campus. It is spread across the Minnesota River and between Minneapolis and St. Paul and this can make it hard to find classes and it can take a long time to get from one class to another even while using the bus system.

Jennifer
My school has a lot to offer any individual; however with so much to offer, the campus has gotten very large. The campus is divided into three main areas: East Bank, West Bank, and St. Paul campus. My closest class to walk to from where I live on campus takes ten minutes. There is a bus system to help shorten the distance, but in the winter any walk across campus gets chilly.

Max
The worst part I would have to say is the bitter cold. It can be a challenge to bundle up and go to classes especially if they are far away.

Amy
Probably the cost of tuition and other expenses (ie text books, parking). I would like to go back full time, but it maybe cost prohibative to do so.

Tram
University of Minnesota is an enormous institution in that it is difficult to find your niche within the university. There are so many student activities to choose from and try them out to see which ones fit best. It takes some time to do so but there is not a lot of time because one also has to focus on their academic work. The courses in college are more challenging than those in high school so there is a need to dedicate more time to learn the concepts being taught in class.

Is a University Degree a Waste of Money? | CBC.ca

Jessica
Unfortunately, there is not much available financial aid since the University is so large.

Alyssa
The University of Minnesota provides ample opportunities for students to get involved and to grow as an individual. As an out of state student originally from South Dakota however, it has been difficult to meet students who do not live in the suburbs of Minneapolis. Many come to the University with their high school friends and do not learn to accept others into their set group of friends. Since this campus is one of the biggest in the nation however, I have learned to make meaningful relationships with the people around me.

debbie
The school is sold on Social Justice, yet students have recently become dollar signs instead of individuals. The school is focusing more on expanding and growing versus keeping the small community that they are trying to sell to incoming students. Tuition prices have more than doubled in the last 5 years. The school has been spending money on growing and increasing the student body, making lassroom sizes bigger and making staff and faculty overworked.

Pete
The worst thing about our school are the days that it is below zero outside because you sometimes have to walk a long way to class.

Jessica
The in the mathematics and engineering classes the T.A. barely speak english and it is hard to learn from them. When the communication is hindered by a language barrier student are much less amped to seek out help when needed.

Peri
The busing can be slow at times, which can make it hard to get to class on time because there are two different campuses.

Joshua
Perhaps the size and variety of options can be very daunting for new students. The University is home to 50,000 students and is very near the heart of a large metropolitan area. However, it does not take long for people to get acclamated and really get a small-town community feeling while on the campus and even out in the city. Despite the confusion, this place has a niche and something to offer for every person, sometimes it just take a bit of looking to find it.

Sarah
Most of the social events revolve around sororities or fraternities. However, you can still easily get into fraternity parties.

Alyssa
The large classrooms.

Anna
I was a transfer student in the spring of 2007 and I felt that the resources to help transfer students adjust to the new campus were lacking.

Andrea
I have more motivation to stay in bed on weekends or to miss class in the mornings because of the cold weather.

Ellen
I’m really glad that they offer my unique major (Speech Language Hearing Sciences) but since not many students are enrolled under this major, they only offer each class at a single, specific time in the year. Having your classes layed out for you each semester isn’t bad unless, for example, you learn about the major in the spring and find out that many classes of the introductory courses are only offered in the fall.

Minnesota students had the fifth highest per-borrower average debt in the country, according to LendEDU, a consumer-finance website that recently analyzed 2017 student loan data.

The Minnesota Private College Council disputes the LendEDU analysis’ methodology. The council says, per its own analysis, that Minnesota ranks ninth in the nation for per-graduate average debt, rather than fifth. In addition, schools self-report this data, so it’s not comprehensive of all the state’s schools. The site’s analysis contains a trove of information on Minnesota colleges and universities

  1. The College of St. Scholastica
  2. University of St. Thomas
  3. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
  4. St. Catherine University
  5. Augsburg University
  6. Bethel University
  7. Hamline University
  8. Concordia University
  9. Crown College
  10. Winona State University

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