St. Cloud State University appears in our ranking of the 10 Most Affordable Doctorate in Higher Education Online 2018.

Located near the Mississippi River, St. Cloud State University is a large university with an enrollment of more than 14,000. Established in 1869 as the Third State Normal School, it had a small campus that consisted of a single building. Students took classes on the first floor and slept in rooms on the upper floors. This helped keep costs down and let the school earn funds that it would later use to expand its campus. Though the school added some junior college classes to its curriculum, it dropped those classes around the turn of the century to focus more on bachelor’s degree programs. This also led to the school becoming the St. Cloud State Teachers College and then St. Cloud College before becoming St. Cloud State University. It primarily uses the abbreviation SCSU today.

SCSU now offers more than 200 degree programs across six different schools. Forbes ranks the university on the national level, while Washington Monthly calls it one of the top graduate schools in the country. The university also ranks as one of the best colleges in the Midwest, according to U.S. News & World Report. SCSU operates a Twin Cities Graduate Center in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area that offers graduate classes for students. Those students, as well as doctoral students, can also enroll in one of the online programs that SCSU now offers too.

St. Cloud State University Accreditation Details

Accreditation falls into two categories: specialty and regional. Regional accreditation, which some refer to as institutional accreditation, means that the university has full accreditation for all its degree and certificate programs. The regional accreditation that SCSU has from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) allows students to use the assistance they get after filing the FAFSA and helps them transfer credits they earned in high school or college into a university program. St. Cloud State University has specialty accreditation from organizations such as the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) for many of its programs as well.

St. Cloud State University Application Requirements

Students applying to the university’s higher education administration program should attempt to submit their applications by the priority deadline of January 15. If the university does not fill all the spots in this program, it will accept applications up through March 15. Though it may accept applications until the beginning of June, this very rarely happens because it usually accepts the maximum number of students it can accommodate by the first or second deadline. Students will submit an application to the School of Graduate Studies and meet any of the other requirements that the program itself has.

The program asks for official transcripts that show the applicant has both a bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree. Students must have an undergrad grade point average of 3.0 or higher and the same GPA in their graduate programs. It also asks for an official GRE score and requires that students submit a score received within the last four years. They will also submit a professional writing sample such as an article published in an academic journal or a paper presented at a professional conference. SCSU will also accept a student’s thesis.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Online students attending SCSU will pay either a resident or nonresident rate, even if they take all their classes over the Internet. Minnesota residents pay around $8,200 a year for tuition and fees. Nonresidents pay around $25,800 a year. This is the rate that the university charges full-time students, but it allows part-time students to pay a rate based on the number of credits they want to take. Students must fill out a form and show the university proof that they live in Minnesota and are full-time residents to qualify for the resident rate. Those who live in Manitoba, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin can qualify for a reciprocity program that reduces their tuition.

Most students need at least one type of financial aid to pay for some of their costs. The best way for them to find out what type of aid is available to them based on their family’s income level is with the FAFSA. Doctoral students usually use government loans to pay some of their costs. They can keep borrowing money while in college until they hit their loan caps. Students may want to consider one or more alternative loans, which they can take out on their own or with the help of a cosigner. Graduate PLUS loans are another option for grad students and doctoral candidates who need more help. St. Cloud State University will accept the grants and scholarships that students obtain from other organizations also.

Higher Education Administration Ed.D. Online

While many online programs just feature online work, the SCSU higher education administration program features some offline opportunities for students. This is one of the only programs that allows students to actually study abroad. Online students can take time off work and go with a small group of students to study overseas. While many of the classes in this program feature lectures that students can watch while completing their work, it also features some asynchronous courses too. These courses ask students to log in at the same time each week and watch real-time videos that show their professors doing lectures in front of them. They can then connect with other students and ask questions of their teachers.

Though students must take 72 credits of classes to earn an educational doctorate degree, this program allows students to earn a graduate degree and then transition into the doctoral program. Those students will take 36 credits of classes, but they have the chance to take doctoral courses while working on their degrees. The university will accept up to 12 credits from a graduate program towards this degree.

Students will take 30 credits of required courses and at least eight credits of electives before working on their dissertations. They earn 21 credits from classes such as Research Design in Higher Education and Qualitative Methods. Online students have access to all the same resources that traditional doctoral candidates do and can work with the advisors St. Cloud State University assigns to them as they do their dissertations.