Central Lakes College

Students at Central Lakes College Entrance.

Imagine the places you'll go...At many colleges and universities you have to give up a lot. At Central Lakes College an excellent education won't cost you a fortune. Central Lakes College has two exceptional state-of-the-art campuses, in Staples and Brainerd, right in the center of the beautiful lakes and forests of the Minnesota tourism area. With a knowledgeable, caring faculty and more than 70 transfer and career programs, Central Lakes College is the college of choice for seekers of success.

Central Lakes College
501 W. College Drive
Brainerd, MN 56401

Toll-Free: (800) 933-0346
Local: (218) 855-8037

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To arrange a campus visit,
call toll-free:
(800) 933-0346
TTY: (800) 627-3529


City: Brainerd
Population: 13,621

City: Staples
Population: 2,705

School highlights

At many colleges and universities you're just another face in the crowd. At Central Lakes College your education is a personalized experience with small classes, supportive faculty and staff.

• Affordable – Financial aid and foundation scholarships of more than $10 million annually to 75 percent of students.

• Location – Central to outdoor activity and easily reached from anywhere in the state.

• Comfort – Campuses that are modern, safe and clean.

• Variety – More than 70 transfer and career programs to start you on a four-year degree or path to program-related employment.

• Friendly – Caring instructors and support staff keep students first.

• Support – Mentors, tutors, advisors and counselors, all working for you.

• Visionary – Leading the way for continuity of credits, from high school through postsecondary career paths.

• Partners – Agreements with school districts, municipalities and university partners for lifelong learning opportunities.

• Full college experience – Cultural arts, athletics, student government, nationally recognized civic engagement and business internships.



Student enrollment and demographics

  • Total number of students served: 6,213
  • Full-time students: 50.1%
  • Part-time students: 49.9%
  • Percent female: 56.6%
  • Percent male: 43.3%
  • Percent students of color: 8.7%

Largest programs

Liberal Arts for transfer to a four-year school; Nursing; Heavy Equipment Operations and Maintenance; Law Enforcement; Computer Technology; Natural Resources; Business; Media Technologies, Environmental, Health and Human Services; Manufacturing; Transportation.

Unique programs

Honors Associate in Arts Degree; Videography Production; Child Development Care and Guidance; American Sign Language; Robotics and Automated Systems; Associate in Fine Arts - Theater Performance, Special Education, Emerging Digital Technologies; Enology; Viticulture.


Student housing is adjacent to campus or within walking distance.


Brainerd & Crow Wing County Public Transit shuttle serves Brainerd campus

  • Bus


Central Lakes College offers spacious parking in lots surrounding the Brainerd and Staples locations. Convenient access from any CLC parking lot to the buildings.

  • Off-street


Admissions requirements

Central Lakes College has an open admissions policy. This means:

  • You can enroll if you have a high school diploma or a GED. Even without those, you may be admitted if you demonstrate potential for success in college.
  • You don’t have to take a standardized test to be admitted, and your high school grades and class rank are not considered.
  • After you are admitted, you will take a placement test. That will tell you if you need to take remedial or developmental courses, which will not count toward a degree, before you can take college-level courses. Many students need just one developmental course, often in math or English. If you have taken these subjects every year in high school, you are more likely to do well on the placement test.

You can complete your studies in less time and for less total cost if you come well prepared for college-level work, especially by taking math, English, science and social studies classes every year in high school. Also, some programs of study require more math and science, so your high school preparation makes a difference.

Apply early in 12th grade. That increases your chances of being admitted to the specific program you want when you enter college. Some programs are more popular than others and fill early.

Apply online

Using the e-application, you may apply to Central Lakes College and other schools in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.


Quality, innovation, support

Central Lakes College provides a top-quality, affordable education. Students at Central Lakes College choose from over 70 academic programs offered in a friendly, supportive environment by creative instructors who are well-qualified to challenge and nurture all who wish to learn. Personal attention from faculty and staff, real-world experiences and outstanding student support services focus on building your future.

Degrees offered: Associate in Arts, Associate in Arts Honors, Associate in Science, Associate in Applied Science, Associate of Fine Arts, diplomas, certificates.

Program TitleAward
Administrative AssistantAAS
Administrative SupportDIP
Advanced CNC Machine Tool TechnologyCERT
Advanced Farm Business ManagementATC
Advanced Tool & Die Mold MakingCERT
Agricultural Commodities MarketingCERT
American Indian StudiesCERT
Applications in Farm Business ManagementCERT
Applied Engineering TechnologyAAS
Automation TechnologiesCERT
Automotive TechnologyDIP
Business ManagementAAS
Child DevelopmentCERT
Child Development AssistantDIP
Child Development, Care and GuidanceAAS
Child Development/American Sign LanguageAAS
Computer Information TechnologyAAS
Computer Network AdministrationAAS
Computer Network Administration - CiscoAAS
Computer Network Administration - CyberSecurityAAS
Computer Support SpecialistDIP
Criminal JusticeAAS
Criminal JusticeCERT
Current Issues in Farm Business ManagementCERT
Deaf StudiesCERT
Dental AssistingDIP
Dental AssistingAAS
Diesel and Heavy Equipment TechnicianDIP
Diesel and Heavy Equipment TechnologyAAS
Emerging Digital TechnologyCERT
Environmental StudiesCERT
Essentials of Farm Business ManagementCERT
Floral DesignDIP
Graphic DesignAAS
Graphic DesignDIP
Graphic Design - Media TechnologiesDIP
Health Sciences Broad FieldAS
Healthcare Administrative SpecialistDIP
Healthcare Administrative SpecialistAAS
Healthcare TechnologyAAS
Heavy Equipment Operation and MaintenanceDIP
Help Desk SpecialistCERT
Hospitality CareersCERT
Individualized StudiesDIP
Individualized StudiesAAS
Landscape TechnologyDIP
Latin American StudiesCERT
Law Enforcement SkillsCERT
Liberal Arts/General EducationAA
Machine TechnologyCERT
Machine Tool TechnologyDIP
Machine Tool TechnologyAAS
Manufacturing Maintenance TechnicianDIP
Manufacturing TechnicianCERT
Manufacturing Welding TechnicianDIP
Marine and Small Engine TechnologyAAS
Marine and Small Engine TechnologyDIP
Matting and FramingCERT
Medical AssistantDIP
Medical AssistantAAS
Microsoft Office ProfessionalCERT
Natural Resource Law EnforcementAAS
Natural Resources TechnologyAAS
Nursing AssistantCERT
Occupational SkillsDIP
Office AssistantCERT
Ojibwe StudiesCERT
Phlebotomy TechnicianCERT
Photographic Equipment and Technical ServicesAAS
Photographic Imaging TechnologyAAS
Photographic Imaging TechnologyDIP
Photography ProductionCERT
Portrait PhotographyCERT
Practical NursingDIP
Production TechnologiesCERT
Robotic Human Machine Interface Advanced CERT
Robotic Manufacturing CERT
Robotic Offline Programming AdvancedCERT
Robotic Vision Advanced CERT
Robotic WeldingCERT
Robotic Welding AdvancedCERT
Robotics/Automated Systems TechnologyAAS
Robotics/Automated Systems TechnologyDIP
Special EducationCERT
Special EducationAAS
Specialty Crops ManagementDIP
Sustainable Greenhouse ProductionDIP
Theatre PerformanceAFA
Videography ProductionAAS
Videography ProductionDIP
Welding and FabricationDIP
Welding and FabricationAAS
Welding TechnologyCERT
Wildlife TourismCERT
Women's StudiesCERT
Young Child EducationAS
Program TitleAward
Automation TechnologiesCERT
Emerging Digital TechnologyCERT
Individualized StudiesDIP
Individualized StudiesAAS
Liberal Arts/General EducationAA
Machine TechnologyCERT
Production TechnologiesCERT
Welding TechnologyCERT
The following degrees are available from this school:
  • Advanced Technical Certificate
  • Associate in Applied Science
  • Associate in Arts
  • Associate in Science
  • Associate of Fine Arts
  • Certificate
  • Diploma
advancedCoursesearchUrl Credit courses
courseEquivalencyUrl Course equivalency
noncreditUrl Non-credit courses


Tuition & finance

Tuition and Fees (2012-2013): $5,382

FAFSA Code: 002339

How to apply for financial aid

Your key to receiving financial aid to help pay your college costs is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA form. Many students don’t realize they could qualify for grant money and federally guaranteed loans, so be sure to find out by filling out the form.

Complete the FAFSA after Jan. 1 of your senior year. Find the form online at www.fafsa.ed.gov or pick up the form at your school counselor’s office. For help with completing the form, go to your high school counselor or the financial aid office at the college or university you plan to attend.

The FAFSA determines your eligibility for one or more of the following types of financial aid:

Scholarships are a great source of aid, and you do not need to pay them back. Many scholarships are available for students with special interests and backgrounds. Talk to your guidance counselor about what kind of scholarships you can get.

You may be eligible to receive federal and state grants of $300 to more than $7,000 per year. You do not need to pay these back.

Work study
Work study programs give you the opportunity to work on campus or with approved off-campus employers to earn money to pay for college. Work study jobs are often very flexible, allowing you to work around your classes and personal schedules.

Student loans
You also may be eligible for student loans, which must be paid back. Student loans usually have a lower interest rate than other kinds of loans.

Other ways to save

Reduced out-of-state tuition
Students from other states don’t always have to pay higher tuition if they want to attend the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. If you live in Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota or Manitoba, Canada, you’re eligible for tuition rates similar to those paid by Minnesota residents. And 26 of the state colleges and universities allow students from other states to pay the lower in-state rates, so ask a college or university about its tuition charges.

Tax credits
Some college students also benefit from two federal tax credit programs, the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning tax credit. These may apply to you or your family, depending on your financial circumstances.

Veterans are welcomed at the state colleges and universities. If you’ve served in the armed forces, you might be eligible for help with paying for college. Stop by one of the on-campus veterans centers for information, support and assistance. Also, check with the campus financial aid office about benefits from the new Minnesota GI Bill. Or go to www.mymilitaryeducation.org.

Campus life

College is more than textbooks, classes, labs and studying. Plenty of clubs and program-related organizations, sports and recreational activities help you meet new friends, develop leadership and team skills, stay fit and share the fun of working together on projects.

INTERCOLLEGIATE SPORTS -- NJCAA Division III -- Women's basketball, softball, volleyball; Men's baseball, basketball, football

STUDENT ACTIVITIES -- Choir, band, drama, visual and literary art observances, student government, international student club, diversity leadership council, green club, Phi Theta Kappa honor society, intramural sports, seasonal celebration weeks, more than 20 academic clubs



  • Bookstore
  • Career Services
  • Child Care Resources
  • Computer Commons
  • Counseling Center
  • Disability Services
  • Diversity and Multiculturalism Center
  • Financial Aid
  • Fitness Center
  • Food Service/Dining Services
  • Health Services
  • International Student Services
  • Learning Commons
  • Library
  • Scholarship Foundation
  • Security
  • Star Alert
  • Student Advising
  • Student Employment Services
  • Transfer Assistance
  • TRIO Student Support Services
  • Veterans Services
  • Campus Visit was made
Student government
  • Student Senate
Theater, dance, music
  • Music
  • Theater
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Basketball
  • Golf
  • Softball
  • Volleyball