Three students making W's with their hands

Winona State University has once again been named the number one university in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

The 2023-24 rankings compiled by U.S. News & World Report also position Winona State as second among top public universities in the State of Minnesota and third among public universities in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Across the 12-state Midwest Region – encompassing Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and the Dakotas, among others – Winona State is ranked ninth among top public universities.

“Winona State has strong academic programs, the highest graduation rate in the Minnesota State system and a 92 percent job placement rate for our graduates. Our data show that Winona State is exceeding expectations and outperforming other universities across the region, from superior student support and financial aid opportunities to academic success and impressive graduate outcomes.”

Kenneth Janz, Ph.D.

Interim President of Winona State University

To calculate the rankings, U.S. News & World Report focuses on academic quality and places emphasis on outcome measures—including graduation rates, retention rates, graduate indebtedness, and social mobility. Outcomes are the most highly weighted ranking factor, contributing 40 percent to each school’s overall score.

U.S. News & World Report also ranks Winona State as one of the Best Colleges for Veterans. The university has been recognized annually since 2013, when U.S. News first began reporting on schools that make higher education more accessible and affordable for veterans and active service members. In this year’s list, the university retains its No. 2 position for public schools in Minnesota as well as its overall ranking of 17th in the Midwest.

In the category of “Top Performers on Social Mobility,” Winona State ranks fourth for public universities in Minnesota. This placement recognizes Winona State’s success in enrolling and graduating large proportions of economically disadvantaged students.

Finally, U.S. News recognizes Winona State as having top-ranking undergraduate programs in nursing, engineering, computer science, business and psychology.

Complete listings are available at

For more information, contact the Winona State Marketing and Communications Department at

By the Numbers:

  • 1st Ranked University in the Minnesota State System
  • 2nd Ranked “Top Public University” in Minnesota
  • 3rd Ranked “Top Public University” in Minnesota and Wisconsin
  • 4th Ranked University in Minnesota overall (ranking includes both public and private universities)
  • 9th Ranked “Top Public University” in the Midwest
  • 35th Ranked University in the Midwest overall (out of a total of 167 public and private universities)

Winona State Success Metrics

  • #1 Success Rate in the Minnesota State System
  • 92% Job Placement Rate
  • 75.1% First-Year Retention Rate
  • 61% 6-year Graduation Rate

Top-Ranking Undergraduate Programs

  • Nursing
  • Engineering
  • Computer science
  • Business
  • Psychology

About Winona State University

Originally founded as a teacher’s college, Winona State has more than 165 years’ experience educating top teaching professionals. Today, WSU offers more than 200 majors and programs at the undergraduate, pre-professional, licensure, graduate, and doctorate level in five colleges: Business, Education, Liberal Arts, Nursing & Health Sciences, and Science & Engineering. The university’s Nursing program was established 55 years ago and is well-recognized throughout the region. In addition, WSU is the only accredited undergraduate program in the U.S. that offers a Bachelor of Science in Composite Materials Engineering.