With over 16,000 students, St. Cloud State University is the largest of the public schools in the Minnesota State Colleges and University System. According to the mission statement, the university “is committed to excellence in teaching, learning, and service, fostering scholarship and enhancing collaborative relationships in a global community.” It is classed as a Master’s College and University I by the Carnegie Institute.
The university was founded in 1869 as a normal school. Over the years it grew a strong reputation as a teacher’s college. Full university status was granted in 1975, around the same time that St. Cloud developed strengths in hockey and mechanical engineering.
Academic tracks of study include more than 175 majors, minors, and pre-professional degree programs. All students receive a firm grounding in the liberal arts and a student-centered education, with a focus on individual attention and small class sizes. Seventy-five percent of faculty hold the terminal degree in their field, and classes are taught personally by professors and not teachers assistants (TAs).
Undergraduate programs are divided among five colleges: the G.R. Herberger College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Fine Arts and Humanities, the College of Science and Engineering, and the College of Social Sciences. The schools of business and education are nationally recognized as particularly outstanding programs. The five most popular undergraduate degrees are elementary education, psychology, mass communications, business computer information systems, and biology. There is also a Graduate School, a Center for Continuing Studies, and a Center for International Studies.
Graduate programs include master’s level programs in applied statistics, business, counseling education, English, exercise science, geography, public history, information media, social responsibility, and music. There are also licensure and certificate programs, largely in education but also including gerontology, chemical dependency, geography, and marriage and family therapy. The Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree is offered through the College of Education in educational administration and leadership. The university is developing a master’s program in nursing.
Accreditation is granted by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Two of the most popular fields of study at the university are business and education. The Herberger College of Business is one of only three colleges of business in the state of Minnesota to have both its undergraduate and graduate business programs nationally accredited. The education program is the top producer of new educators in the country. Sixteen different subject areas are accredited for new educators to specialize in. SCSU was the first in the nation to meet standards set by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE 2000), and to conduct website visits and totally open exit interviews for NCATE accreditation teams to report to faculty and administration.
Students who seek admission to the undergraduate Honors Program need to meet the following requirements: be in the top 10% of their graduating class, have good writing ability and test scores, and be involved in community and school activities. Once admitted to the Honors Program, students will take smaller courses, have priority registration, be able to live in the Honors dorm if they wish, and have the opportunities for study abroad and formal research presentation at Honors Conferences. They also have the option to attend a special program at Oxford University in England.
The Engage Academic Opportunity Program, which helps with the retention and academic success of Native American students.
The admissions policy dictates that the university will consider a combination of high school class rank, high school grade point average, courses completed, standardized test scores, and other indicators of academic potential or merit. As long as space is available, students who graduate in the top half of their high school class or who score 25 on the ACT or 1140 on the SAT can be assured of admission. The Admissions Committee must review the applications from those students who were home schooled or who are applying with a GED rather than a high school diploma.
In general, applicants should have completed high school courses as follows: English, mathematics through algebra and geometry, history and social studies (including one year of American history and one year of geography), science (including biology, a physical science, and laboratory work), two units of a foreign language, and one year of electives. Students who have not met the required collection of high school coursework may be required to make that coursework up or in some other way demonstrate their level of skill or competency in those areas.
Students applying to the graduate programs at St. Cloud State University should consult the individual department and/or school to which they are applying. General requirements include the GRE or other appropriate test scores (such as the GMAT), three letters of recommendation, and a bachelor’s degree with a grade point average of at least 2.75. The graduate application deadline varies with the department.
Transfer students and international students will have varying requirements depending upon their prior educational background.
The financial aid office helps fund nearly 10,000 students’ educations each year. Institutional aid is available for both merit-based and need-based applicants. Financial aid is available in the form of grants, scholarships, and loans. Many students take advantage of loan options in particular, including Federal Stafford Loans and Minnesota State Loans. All borrowers must complete entrance counseling as a condition of their loan. Work-study programs are also available for students with demonstrated need, and other students can obtain regular part-time employment on campus. Students who seek financial aid will need to fill out the Federal Student Financial Aid Form, available on-line.
Graduate students may also receive financial aid in the form of teaching or research assistantships, including a stipend and a waiver of some or all of the tuition and other fees. Graduate students should consult with their individual department about what sort of assistantships or fellowships are available and about the details of the application process. There are several university wide scholarships for graduate students, and a dozen departments also offer departmental scholarships.
Students applying from out of state and graduate students have higher costs. Students from Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, or Nebraska pay reduced out-of state tuition rates.
Student Financial Aid Details
The campus is home to more than 200 student organizations. The Center for Student Organizations and Leadership Development coordinates all student organizations, and also provides leadership development services and oversees operations of all Greek organizations. There are also more than 3100 residential students in eight different residence halls and the Stateview Apartments.
Student life includes opportunities in a diverse range of activities and organizations. There are fraternities and sororities, academic and professional groups, religious organizations, political groups, cultural organization, and special interest groups such as the Dramatic Action group or the Bowling Club. There is a student radio station and a student television station, as well as a student newspaper.
The Atwood Memorial Center on campus offers a variety of evening entertainments, including a Repertory Dance Theatre and an annual film series. There is also an art gallery with exhibits, guest lectures, and workshops.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The St. Cloud State Huskies compete in the NCAA Division I (for men’s and women’s hockey) and Division II (all other sports), the North Central Conference (NCC), and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). The Huskies field teams in baseball, football, golf, Nordic skiing, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, volleyball, wrestling, and men’s and women’s basketball and hockey.
The Athletics Department is home to high quality athletic facilities, including the National Hockey Center, Halenback Hall (basketball, volleyball, wrestling), Husky Stadium (football, soccer, winter sports), and Selke and Putz Fields (softball and baseball). Recreational athletes can take advantage of intramural opportunities, sports equipment rental, Outdoor Endeavors, the Husky Challenge Course, or the Mountain Dew Xtreme Climbing Wall. The Huskies’ new Yellow Bike Project provides community-use bicycles for everyone on campus, free of charge or maintenance worries, provided participants do not damage the bike, obey all bicycle laws, and always wear a helmet.
Student athletes receive academic support from the university in the form of tutoring, advising, and other activities as part of the Athletes for Success in the Classroom program.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.