Most private colleges and out-of-state public postsecondary educational institutions offering programs in Minnesota must be registered with the Office of Higher Education. A registered institution must have approval to use "academy", "college", "institute" or "university" in its name and to grant degrees for programs offered in Minnesota or to Minnesota residents where the students do not leave the State of Minnesota for a majority of the program or course.
Registered institutions and institutions offering online/distance education programs to Minnesota residents are an important part of Minnesota postsecondary education.
Registration requires institutions to submit information to the Office of Higher Education and to have a plan for preservation of student records. The Office of Higher Education maintains a list of the locations of closed schools' records.
Approval to grant degrees or to use "academy", "college", "institute" or "university" in the institution's name requires:
- academic degrees that meet state standards,
- sufficient finances,
- an appropriate faculty,
- sound institutional policies and practices, and
- accurate and useful information about programs, tuition and fees, admissions, evaluation, dismissal and refunds
In addition, a number of private and out-of-state public schools offering online/distance education programs to Minnesota residents are doing so through the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), which Minnesota participates in. This expands educational choices for Minnesota residents. A list of states participating in SARA and schools in those states authorized to offer online/distance education programs to Minnesota residents is posted on the SARA website.
Private and out-of-state public colleges and universities should review the statute and rules to determine whether they come under this statute or meet one of the listed exemptions:
Rules & Statutes
The following application packets contain instructions for submitting information for registration and can be filled in and saved.
Complaints that registered institutions are not complying with state standards will be investigated by the Office of Higher Education.