Online colleges edge out UMD

The latest Top 25 list of Minnesota colleges and universities, based on fall enrollment, shows the University of Minnesota Duluth rising from its No.7 rank in 2009 to No. 6 in 2010.

The annual listing appears in the Feb. 4 issue of Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

With about 11,730 students and nearly 600 faculty members, UMD followed No.1-ranked University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus, with 51,721 students; No. 2 St. Cloud State University with 18,319 students; and No. 3 Minnesota State University, Mankato, with 15,393.

Immediately trailing UMD were the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, with 10,839 students and Winona State University with 8,631 students.

But what’s really interesting is No. 2 Walden University and No. 3. Capella University. (Ya, I had never heard of them, either).

Both are online schools.

Walden, with 47,456 online students, works out of a suite in Minneapolis and Capella works out of the ninth floor of a commercial building, also in Minneapolis.

They’re two of the largest online schools in the United States, the journal says. And online learning is growing — big time.

Enrollment at Walden and Capella jumped by nearly 13,400 students or 18.4 percent in 2010, compared to 2,571 or 1.3 percent for the other schools in the Top 25 list, the journal reports.

The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth again made the list, rising from No. 20 in 2009 to No. 19 in 2010. With about 3,900 students, the private college has 10 students per faculty member, journal stats suggest. When you do the math, UMD’s ratio is 20 students per faculty member.