Rochester families have a number of choices when it comes to primary and secondary education. Minnesota allows interdistrict choice, which means students can attend schools either inside or outside their zoned school district.
Most students in Rochester attend schools within the Rochester Public Schools system, which is the seventh-largest school district in the state. The district serves more than 17,000 students through 17 elementary schools, four middle schools, three high schools and one alternative learning center.
The district's high schools have a collective graduation rate of more than 80 percent, and some 84 percent of graduates go on to pursue a post-secondary education. In 2016, the district opened the Career and Technical Education Center at Heintz (CTECH) to allow high school students to simultaneously earn college credit for high school classes. The Zumbro Education District is comprised of seven southeastern Minnesota school districts – Blooming Prairie, Byron, Hayfield, Kasson-Mantorville, Pine Island, Stewartville and Triton.
Rochester Catholic Schools district consists of four schools – Holy Spirit Catholic School, St. Francis of Assisi School and St. John the Evangelist/St. Pius X School, all of which serve students in grades pre-K-8; as well as Lourdes High School. The schools are overseen by the Rochester Franciscan Sisters, who continue a long tradition of ministering through education. Rochester Central Lutheran School dates back to 1875 and educates students age 3 through eighth grade. Schaeffer Academy offers a Christian-based classical curriculum for grades K-12.
Rochester is also home to a number of tuition-free public charter schools, including the Rochester Beacon Academy, the K-8 Rochester Math and Science Academy and the Rochester STEM Academy, the state's first STEM immersion high school. The Rochester Off-Campus Charter High School offers students a hands-on, project-based learning environment. Students choose a subject to research and spend time exploring that topic with guidance from teachers. TransformED College and Career Academy serves grades 7-12 with small class sizes and inquiry-based learning.
Colleges and Universities
Rochester families have access to more than a dozen colleges and universities within an hour's drive. Rochester Community and Technical College and Minnesota State College Southeast Technical offer certificates and two-year diplomas in a number of vocational trades. The University of Minnesota Rochester, Augsburg College, St. Mary's University Rochester, Winona State University-Rochester and University of Minnesota Duluth offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs. National American University, the College of St. Scholastica and Kaplan University offer online associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs. Rochester is also home to several specialty higher education institutions, including Mayo Medical Center and the Minnesota School of Business Rochester campus.