More than 30 colleges across Mississippi offer degree programs entirely online. These include major research universities, HBCU’s and private colleges. The diversity of school choices all but guarantees that Mississippi has an online program to interest students from all backgrounds. Additionally, as a member of the Southern Regional Education Board, Mississippi’s online public schools offer reduced tuition to out-of-state students in the South.
But before we look at the best online colleges in Mississippi for 2017, let’s start with the state of higher education and online education in particular in Mississippi today.
A Brief Overview of Higher Education in Mississippi
In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that Mississippi had 42 degree-granting institutions, broken down as follows: 24 public schools, 9 nonprofits and 9 for-profits. The total number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the ’12-’13 school year at these schools was: 11,696 at public schools, 2,370 at private nonprofits and 10 at private for-profits.
- 24 public
- 9 non-profit
- 9 for-profit
Tuition-wise, the College Board found that, in the ’15-’16 school year, the average in-state tuition and fees for four-year public schools was $7,150, while the out-of-state average was $19,480.
As for the state’s financial aid efforts, the National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs (NASSGAP) reported that Mississippi awarded $8.325 million in need-based grants and $19.646 million in non-need grants for the ’13-’14 school year. Grants make up 2.9% of the state’s total fiscal support for higher education.
The future of education in Mississippi looks bright as tuition and fees for in-state students remain below the national average, and despite an increase of 22.7% from ‘08-’14 in tuition at public colleges and universities in Mississippi, state and local government grants have increased 17.9% from ‘12-’13, showing significant steps towards affordable education. Overall enrollment has also risen approximately 20% from ‘02-’12, just beating the national average. With the level of grant money awarded across the board, students from all backgrounds can be sure that Mississippi is enjoying an upswing in quality and affordability in higher education.
The State of Online Higher Education in Mississippi
The NCES estimates that at least 9.1% of students enrolled in Mississippi’s Title IV institutions are in fully online programs. Of those, 77.2% were reported to be undergraduates and 86.4% were found to be living in Mississippi.
As we mentioned above, Mississippi is a member of the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus. An initiative that lets students sift through an impressive directory of online programs throughout the southeast U.S. SREB also has strong aid initiatives. Services like the Academic Common Market/Electronic Campus and the Regional Contract Program for Health Professions let students fully enroll in a selection of out-of-state programs while paying in-state rates. While the program selection is small and the admissions criteria strict, for qualified students these are incredible opportunities.
The Mississippi Public Universities site offers prospective students financial aid resources as well as a program search engine. Paired with the Southern Regional Education Board website, prospective online students from Mississippi and neighboring states can find all relevant information regarding online colleges in MS.
Best Online Colleges in Mississippi
Below, you will find our rankings of the best online four-year programs in Mississippi. Our profiles look at how schools approach online education and then list out their services for distance students and their popular, fully online degrees. After reviewing the best online schools in Mississippi, explore our state resources, like a database of every college and university in Mississippi or our index of popular in-state scholarships.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
|1||Mississippi College||Clinton||$$$$$||200 South Capitol Street|
Clinton, MS 39058
Mississippi College has delivered a quality Christian education for nearly 200 years. Although it is the oldest college in the state, MC is dedicated to innovation and provides one of the finest online colleges in Mississippi. Many of MC’s 5,000 students study liberal arts and sciences online. MC offers online certificates and full master's and bachelor's degree programs, including accelerated degrees that can be completed in one year.
Online students have access to MC's extensive library and online database, plus the online writing center. Local students can get involved with more than 50 chartered organizations, from ministries to athletic groups to academic societies. MC also has a vibrant online community with its own organizations.
|2||University of Southern Mississippi||Hattiesburg||$$$$$||118 College Drive # 0001|
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
After its inception as a teachers college 100 years ago, the University of Southern Mississippi has grown into a research-driven institution serving more than 15,000 students. USM is a dual-campus school with locations in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, as well as teaching and research sites throughout the state. Students of USM’s 10 online undergraduate programs study according to their schedules, while still adhering to structured semesters, deadlines, and weekly demands.
Some courses require real-time meetings with instructors and peers. The Office of Online Learning at USM provides academic resources, as well as technical support and training. This department also helps instructors with online course design and multimedia services, ensuring that every online course meets USM's high standards as one of the best online schools in Mississippi. USM has more than 280 on-campus student groups, and the two campuses average 500 school events per month.
|3||Belhaven University||Jackson||$$$$$||1500 Peachtree St|
Jackson, MS 39202
Founded in 1883, Belhaven University is a Christian college and one of a select group of schools that are nationally accredited in each of the major arts. BU is one of the leading online colleges in Mississippi, offering nine online bachelor's degree programs, which are scheduled into eight-week terms with multiple start dates throughout the year. Online classes require weekly discussions, participation, and adherence to deadlines, but students complete coursework according to their own schedules. Students can complete online programs in less than four years.
Belhaven has a dedicated online support staff, who work with students to ensure their success. The Jackson, Mississippi, campus typically enrolls 1,000 undergraduate students, and BU has approximately 4,500 students total, including graduate and online studies.
|4||Blue Mountain College||Blue Mountain||$$$$$||201 W Main St|
Blue Mountain, MS 38610-9509
Set amongst the rolling hills in North Mississippi, Blue Mountain College develops students into mindful academics with Christian character. With 500 students, BMC is a small, student-centered college and one of the top online schools in Mississippi. BMC offers multiple scheduling options for its eight-week online courses, for maximum flexibility. To ensure online students are prepared for their studies, BMC has developed an online training program to familiarize future students with BMC's online learning platform. All students, both on-campus and online, have access to the 35,000 titles in BMC's electronic library, the Teaching and Learning Center, and IT support.
|5||Mississippi State University||Mississippi State||$$$$$||Lee Boulevard|
Mississippi State, MS 39762
Mississippi State University enrolled its first students in 1880. After substantial expansion, MSU now offers more than 175 degree programs and is one of the top online colleges in Mississippi. Some fully online bachelor’s degree programs require work experience, which can often be completed at the student's current place of work. The Center for Distance Education at MSU provides a four-day course in managing the online system to ensure that online students are prepared for their studies. In addition to online-specific support, students have access to MSU's extensive library collection, the IT support center, tutoring, and the writing center.
|6||Mississippi University for Women||Columbus||$$$$$|
In 1884, Mississippi University for Women became the first U.S. public college for women. On campus, MUW delivers high-quality education in a personalized learning environment, but it also strives to make its programs accessible to students across the country and the world. With over 60 majors in 17 academic departments, including 12 online bachelor's degree programs, MUW is one of the top online colleges in Mississippi. In most disciplines, MUW offers all junior- and senior-level programs online and allows a significant number of transfer credits. Online student support includes the Student Success Center, tutoring and writing center services, career services, and access to the Fant Memorial Library’s substantial digital databases. Many of MUW’s 75 campus organizations are open to online students.
|7||Jackson State University||Jackson||$$$$$||1440 J R Lynch Street|
Jackson, MS 39217
Jackson State University takes pride in its technologically advanced approach to education and its diverse student body. JSU has established itself as one of the leading online schools in Mississippi and offers a number of fully online degree programs. While most online courses are taught asynchronously, some require scheduled class sessions to stimulate class discussion and proctor exams at approved locations across the country. JSU provides a wealth of software and resources to help students meet the technological requirements of online study.
JSU has one of the country’s most environmentally friendly campuses, and student life is centered around groups and organizations that help the Jackson community. Online students are encouraged to engage with their own communities, spreading the giving spirit wherever JSU students live and study.
|8||Mississippi Valley State University||Itta Bena||$$$$$|
Itta Bena, MS
In its first academic year, Mississippi Valley State University taught 14 students. Set on 450 acres of land, MVSU now enrolls more than 2,500 students each fall and offers the most extensive course options among online colleges in Mississippi. Online students can work toward bachelor's and master's degrees in a variety of fields. Online courses are flexible to fit life’s demands, but follow regular semester schedules to maintain a sense of structure. Some courses require proctored exams at pre-approved locations. At MVSU, online students access the same resources as on-campus students, including the library and student support and career services.
Most Affordable Online Colleges in Mississippi
Below you’ll another list of the top online colleges in Mississippi, this time sorted by affordability, as determined by tuition rate.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||School Link||Cost|
|1||Mississippi University for Women||Columbus||School profile||$$$$$|
|2||Jackson State University||Jackson||School profile||$$$$$|
|3||University of Southern Mississippi||Hattiesburg||School profile||$$$$$|
|4||University of Mississippi Medical Center||Jackson||School profile||$$$$$|
|5||Mississippi College||Clinton||School profile||$$$$$|
|6||Belhaven University||Jackson||School profile||$$$$$|
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Mississippi
Academic Excellence Scholarship
Academic Excellence scholarships are open to freshmen at the University of Mississippi. Selection is based on academic achievement. To qualify for the maximum award of $6,996 per year, students must have a GPA of 3.0+, an ACT score of 33+ and SAT score of 1440+.
Entergy Mississippi Inc.’s Excellence in Education Scholarship
This scholarship is available to students at Copiah-Lincoln Community College who are pursuing a career or technical field of study. Applicants must be Mississippi residents, have a GPA of 2.5+, and demonstrate financial need.
Higher Education Legislative Plan for Needy Students (HELP)
Created by the Mississippi Legislature, this award is for Mississippi high school graduates with a GPA of 2.5+ and an ACT score of 20+. Selection is based on financial need. Award covers tuition and fees at any public college in Mississippi.
Lott Leadership Scholarship
Available to freshmen entering the University of Mississippi, the Lott Leadership Scholarship is for students with outstanding records of leadership and academic achievement who are pursuing a degree in public policy. Selection is competitive. Award amount varies.
For freshmen entering the University of Mississippi with an ACT score of 20+ and a GPA of 3.2+. Selection is competitive, based on academic merit, financial need, leadership, and the Luckyday essay. Maximum award is $20,000, distributed as $5,000 per year.
Millsaps Need-Based Grant
The Need-Based Grant at Millsaps College ranges from $500 to $10,000 per year. Award amount is based on applicants’ financial need, and is determined by the Office of Financial Aid. Recipients may re-apply each year for renewal.
Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant (MESG)
This grant is available to first-time freshmen entering Blue Mountain College with a GPA of 3.5+ and an ACT score of 29+. Maximum award is $2,500 per year for 4 years.
Mississippi Resident Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG)
Blue Mountain College provides this grant to full-time students of any class standing who are Mississippi residents. Academic requirements are a GPA of 2.5+ and ACT score of 15+. Award amount is based on financial need. Maximum amount is $1,000 for 4 years.
This state-funded scholarship is available to students who will attend a public two- or four-year college in Mississippi. Applicants must be graduating from a Mississippi high school with a GPA of 2.5+ and ACT score of 20+. Selection is based on academic merit, financial need, and community involvement.
Phi Theta Kappa Dean’s Scholar
This scholarship is available to members of Phi Theta Kappa who are entering Mississippi College as transfer students. A GPA between 3.75 and 3.99 is required. Applicants must have at least 24 transferable credits. Maximum award amount is $9,000.
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