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Northland Community & Technical College has existed in one form since 1949 when the Minnesota State Board of Education approved an area vocational school for Thief River Falls. The school would later move to its present location and merge with two other institutions of higher learning: first with Thief River Falls State Junior College and later with the East Grand Forks campus of Northwest Technical College, to form Northland Community & Technical College. Each institution brought a long history of serving the needs of area students and employers. With the advent of online education, it expanded its reach far beyond the Red River Valley and northwestern Minnesota. The brief history of each institution is described below.

History by Campus

East Grand Forks

The history of Northland Community & Technical College’s East Grand Forks campus dates back to December 1971, when the local school district was designated for an Area Vocational Technical Institute (AVTI). The first classes of the East Grand Forks AVTI were offered in January 1973 in rented facilities. The present facility opened in April 1975. Northland – EGF grew with expansion and partnerships.

The name of the college changed several times throughout its history. One of its most prominent consolidations was Northwest Technical College from 1992-2003.

In July 2003, the East Grand Forks campus of Northwest Technical College merged with Northland Community & Technical College of Thief River Falls to become a fully comprehensive college.

Historical Timeline

  • 1971 – The local school district was designated for an Area Vocational Technical Institute (AVTI).
  • 1973 – First classes of the East Grand Forks AVTI were offered in rented facilities.
  • 1975 – The present facility opened.
  • 1987 – EGF AVTI became the East Grand Forks Technical Institute.
  • 1989 – East Grand Forks Technical Institute changed its name to East Grand Forks Technical College.
  • 1992 – The name was changed to Northwest Technical College and consolidated with five area technical colleges.
  • 1995 – All public higher educational institutions were merged into one system, MnSCU (Minnesota State College and Universities).
  • 2000 – Northwest Technical College received a ten-year accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • 2003 – The college was merged with Northland Community & Technical College of Thief River Falls.

Thief River Falls Campus

The history of Northland Community & Technical College’s Thief River Falls campus dates back to 1949 when the Thief River Falls Area Vocational Institute opened. A few years later, in 1965, the Thief River Falls State Junior College held its first classes.

The names of the two colleges changed several times throughout their history. One of the most prominent changes occurred in July 1995 when the two colleges merged to create Northland Community & Technical College.

In July 2003, Northland Community & Technical College in Thief River Falls merged with the East Grand Forks campus of Northwest Technical College to become a two-campus comprehensive college.

Historical Timeline

  • 1949 – Thief River Falls Area Vocational School was established. It was held at various locations in Thief River Falls.
  • 1965 – Thief River Falls State Junior College was established and housed at Lincoln High School.
  • 1973 – Thief River Falls State Junior College was renamed Northland Community College.
  • 1995 – The two schools were merged to form Northland Community & Technical College (Northland).
  • 2000 – Received a ten-year accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • 2003 – Northland merged with Northwest Technical College in East Grand Forks. The name remained Northland Community & Technical College.