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History of Minnesota State University – Mankato Aviation Program

Whether you want to pursue aviation for a career or personal enjoyment, you’ll first need the proper education from the right school. Minnesota State University, Mankato has the state’s only four-year aviation-based program, while boasting a high post-graduation job-placement rate to boot. But is this college worth going to? Let’s take a look at the history of MNSU Mankato aviation program and its future outlook in order to help you decide whether or not it fits your needs as a college institution. 

History of Minnesota State Mankato Aviation School

The history of Minnesota State University goes back more than a century, when in the 1800s, local governments recognized the need to educate the growing immigrant population. Because of a generous donation from a hometown legislator, along with some other financial maneuvering by the city, the founding of the Mankato Normal School was written into state law in 1860. Its original mission was to train teachers to work in the region’s rural schools. By the time the United States entered World War II, the school had grown substantially and was now offering four-year bachelor’s degrees under the new name, Mankato State Teachers College. Once the war ended, student enrollment around the country exploded and the school, outgrowing its original campus, started constructing entirely new, state-of-the-art facilities. By the mid-1960s, it had grown large enough to be designated the University of Southern Minnesota. A decade later, the school grew another 40 percent while simultaneously increasing the number of academic programs, entering the science, engineering, aviation and medical spaces.  The school took its current and final name, Minnesota State University, Mankato, in 1995. At the same time, along with seven other state universities, it was transferred under the leadership of a new system, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. This would be a major milestone as it was the start of a shift toward being able to award doctoral degrees, finally reaching that point in 2007.

MNSU Mankato Aviation of the Future 

Today, the only nationally accredited Aviation and Airport Management program in Minnesota is at this iconic Mankato college. They supply pilots to many airports in the midwest region, particularly Delta, which has a hub at Minneapolis-St. Paul International AIrport, and Sun Country. Both companies have started on-the-job / graduation-to-hire programs for MNSU students. In addition, enrollment has increased over 60 percent in the past decade, so slots are filling up fast and much-needed expansions are in the works.

What to Expect Attending Minnesota State University, Mankato


MNSU’s campus covers over 300 acres and houses 30 buildings to serve students learning and living needs. There are 3,000 students that live on campus, enjoying amenities like an observatory, large recreation complex and a music library, among other things.


At this Mankato aviation college, you will do your flight training at Mankato Regional Airport, via the instructor group, North Star Aviation. 


The aviation department has a faculty of seven; the entire student body is made up of over 12,000 students and is the second-largest university in the state. 


The department of aviation allows students to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation with a concentration in Professional Flight, Aviation Management, or Aeronautics. Additionally, you can pursue a minor in Professional Flight, Private Flight and Aeronautics. This can lead to jobs like professional corporate pilot, flight instructor, air traffic controller, airport administration and much more.


The aviation program sponsors several scholarships for deserving students, awarded each spring at the school’s Annual Aviation Banquet. 

Tuition Cost

The total four-year cost to get a bachelor’s degree in aviation at MNSU is about $146,000, including aviation fees of about $81,000. 


More Information on MNSU Aviation Department

Are you interested in becoming a pilot?

If you’re looking for an alternative to the classic, four-year schooling options, take a look at the programs offered by Inflight Pilot Training. When you work with our team, you can earn certification in less time through accelerated programs, while saving money on college tuition overhead. With a variety of licenses and learning plans, we design our programs around you, the student, so you have a better chance of being successful. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.