Each year, more than 58,000 Mississippi students enroll in online classes, earning associate, bachelor's, and graduate degrees. At every public university and private school, online classes are becoming popular for their convenience and affordability. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, there are 41 institutions of higher education in Mississippi, including eight four-year public schools, 15 two-year public institutions, nine private nonprofit schools, and nine for-profit schools. With numerous degree options to select from, including a Mississippi college online MBA, prospective distance learners enjoy a wide variety of choices.
This article ranks the best online colleges in Mississippi. It also offers an overview of distance learning in the state, tuition discount opportunities, and job outlook statistics for Mississippi college graduates. If you're considering enrolling in online college courses in Mississippi or applying to online community colleges in Mississippi, read on to learn more.
But before we look at the best online colleges in Mississippi for 2019, let's start with the state of higher education and online education in Mississippi.
A Brief Overview of Higher Education in Mississippi
Mississippi is home to numerous colleges and universities, and students planning to attend a two-year or four-year institution enjoy a variety of options, including multiple online colleges in Mississippi. The 41 degree-granting institutions located across the state enroll a total of 172,712 students.
- 24 public
- 9 non-profit
- 9 for-profit
Mississippi college students also benefit from tuition rates below the national average. According to CollegeBoard, two-year public colleges in Mississippi charged an average annual tuition rate of $3,190 during the 2018-2019 academic year, while students at four-year public colleges paid roughly $8,420 a year. The state’s flagship university, the University of Mississippi, or Ole Miss, charges just $8,660 a year in tuition, making it more affordable than nearly all other flagship public institutions. Tuition costs also vary according to institution type. While private schools typically charge overall higher rates, out-of-state students usually pay more at public universities. Online students often receive tuition discounts at both public and private institutions.
In addition, many Mississippi college students participate in grant and aid programs that further lower their educational costs. This funding comes from both need- and merit-based opportunities. According to the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs, the Mississippi higher education legislative plan provided undergraduate students with over $15 million in aid. Overall, Mississippi college students received more than $39 million in state grants and scholarships.
The State of Online Higher Education in Mississippi
According to a 2017 Online Learning Survey, over 58,000 Mississippi college students were enrolled in online courses. With 33.8% of Mississippi students — or 58,211 individuals — taking at least one online course, the state exceeds the 29.7% national average. Mississippi is home to 20,723 distance learners who take all of their courses entirely online, with just under 15,000 completing undergraduate degrees and 5,786 enrolled in graduate programs.
Tuition Breaks for Out-of-State Students
Many online colleges in Mississippi offer tuition discounts for out-of-state students. Some of the best online colleges in Mississippi provide distance learners with lower tuition rates, and many allow online students to pay a flat, in-state tuition rate. Similarly, students attending a Mississippi college may qualify for in-state tuition through an alliance of schools organized by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB). Created with the goal of improving educational accessibility, SREB operates in 15 member states, including Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware.
Out-of-state candidates also benefit from SREB’s Academic Common Market, which decreases tuition costs for qualifying students attending Mississippi colleges. Residents of one of SREB’s 15 participating states can apply to pay in-state tuition if they attend a public institution located in another member state. Interested students can start by selecting a program available in their state, applying to either an undergraduate or graduate program at their prospective Mississippi school, and submitting state residency documentation. After completing these steps, residents of SREB member states are permitted to pay in-state tuition rates at their chosen Mississippi institution.
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, as well as 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||$$$$$||200 South Capitol Street|
Clinton, MS 39058
Mississippi College is a private Baptist-affiliated university located in Clinton; it is the oldest college in the state and the state's largest private institution of higher learning. The school offers programs in over 80 undergraduate majors and 50 graduate fields of study. Students looking to attend online colleges in Mississippi should consider MC, as it offers diverse online programs.
These online degree programs follow a typical semester schedule with start dates in fall, spring, and summer, except for accelerated programs. They offer two accelerated online bachelor's degrees: a bachelor of science in business and administration and a bachelor of science in communication. In addition, MC offers accelerated online programs in nursing and education that follow seven-week term schedules. Program lengths and requirements vary depending on the field of study, degree level, and whether the school offers an accelerated version. All online courses use Moodle as their virtual learning management platform; there, students can access lectures, readings, assignments, and other course materials.
Tuition for online programs at MC does not include registration, technology, and health services fees. Undergraduate students enrolled in accelerated programs receive a 10% discount on tuition. Graduate tuition fluctuates depending on the program. For example, tuition for the medical science program currently costs $660 per credit hour, while tuition for a doctorate of professional counseling currently costs $412 per credit hour.
Mississippi College is regionally accreditedby the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|2||University of Southern Mississippi||Hattiesburg||$$$$$||118 College Drive # 0001|
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
The University of Southern Mississippi is a public research university also known as Southern Miss. The main campus is located in Hattiesburg, but there is a campus in Long Beach and five satellite teaching and research sites throughout the state. Southern Miss is also one of many affordable online colleges in Mississippi, providing a selection of online programs.
Tuition for online college courses at Southern Mississippi costs less for undergraduate students than for graduate students. Additional course fees may apply depending on the course or program; these fees generally range from $20-150 per credit hour. Online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.
Program length and course requirements vary. The online bachelor of liberal studies program requires 40 credits of coursework in the major area of study in addition to general education courses. The online bachelor of science in child and family studies requires 55 credits of coursework in the major area of study in addition to general education courses. General education courses cover areas of written communication, natural science, humanities and fine arts, social and behavioral sciences, and mathematics. Transfer students gain admission if they hold an associate degree from an accredited institution, or if they completed at least 30 credits of general education coursework.
The University of Southern Mississippi is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|3||Belhaven University||Jackson||$$$$$||1500 Peachtree St|
Jackson, MS 39202
Founded in 1883, Belhaven University is a private Christian liberal arts university based in Jackson, Mississippi with satellite campuses in Atlanta, Chattanooga, Dalton, Houston, Madison, Memphis, and Orlando. Belhaven serves as one of the top Christian online colleges in Mississippi. The school's online degree offerings include associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate programs -- making it one of the best online colleges in Mississippi.
The school's online courses cater to students with unpredictable schedules and other obligations. Instructors deliver coursework asynchronously, which means students can listen to lectures at their convenience. However, students do need to meet weekly assignment deadlines. Program length varies, but in general, online undergraduate degrees at Belhaven require 124 credit hours that students complete in four years. All programs center around a Christian perspective, and general education requirements include courses on the Bible. If a student possesses transfer credits from an accredited university, this can reduce the time it takes to complete the degree. Online graduate degrees require 36 credits of coursework that students can complete in two years.
Tuition rates vary year by year, but students typically pay less for undergraduate programs and certificates than they do for graduate programs and certificates. Belhaven also provides a military discount to those currently serving and to veterans and veterans' spouses. Students must also pay a technology fee of $75 per course in addition to an application and graduate audit fee.
Belhaven is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|4||Blue Mountain College||Blue Mountain||$$$$$||201 W Main St|
Blue Mountain, MS 38610-9509
Blue Mountain College is a private Baptist liberal arts college located in Blue Mountain, Mississippi. It was originally founded as a women's college but opened its doors to men in 2005. Today, the school offers online bachelor programs in psychology and business. Online courses constitute eight weeks, with six start dates each year.
The school's online degrees emphasize a Christian perspective and require courses in biblical studies as a part of the general requirements. The school's bachelor of science in psychology online degree requires 120 credit hours that students complete in four years. Required major-related courses include introduction to psychology, human growth and development, abnormal psychology, and other foundational classes. Blue Mountain College also offers both an online bachelor of arts and bachelor of science in business administration.
The main difference between the two lies with the foreign language and science general education requirements; the bachelor of arts requires 12 credits of foreign language, while the bachelor of science requires eight credits of biological science and three to four credits of physical science.
BMC accepts transfer students with an associate degree or some level of college credit at another institution. Students may transfer up to 70 credit hours from a community or junior college. Students must earn 25% of their degree at BMC, in person or virtually. Tuition is the same for all students regardless of residency.
BMC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|5||Mississippi State University||Mississippi State||$$$$$||Lee Boulevard|
Mississippi State, MS 39762
Mississippi State University is a public four-year research university located in Starkville. In addition to the main campus, the school boasts satellite campuses in Meridian, Biloxi, and Vicksburg. The school offers a wide selection of online and distance education programs on a semester schedule, with start dates in the fall, spring, and summer.
Degree requirements and lengths vary depending on the area of study, course level, and whether students take classes part time or full time. For example, the school's online bachelor of science in interdisciplinary studies requires 122 credit hours of coursework while the school's online bachelor of business administration requires 124 credit hours of coursework. Students can complete most undergraduate programs in four years.
The school's online master's in business administration requires 30 credit hours of coursework, while its master of civil and environmental engineering requires 24 credit hours of coursework and six credit hours of research for the thesis track -- or 33 credit hours of coursework for the non-thesis track. Students complete most master's programs in two years.
Residents and nonresidents pay the same tuition rates. While undergraduate tuition typically costs less than graduate tuition, students should check with the particular program to determine exact costs. Students also need to pay instructional support fees and distance education fees in addition to tuition costs.
MSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school's business administration degrees hold accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
|6||Mississippi University for Women||Columbus||$$$$$||1100 College Street|
Columbus, MS 39701
Informally known as "The W", Mississippi University for Women is a four-year public university located in Columbus. MUW is a coeducational institution, having opened enrollment to men in 1982. MUW offers undergraduate and graduate programs in over 50 areas of study. In addition to the school's on-campus programs, they also administer online programs. Students can complete their online master's degrees and graduate certificates entirely online. The school's bachelor's programs are "2 + 2" programs, where students complete the first two years at a community college or on campus and the latter two years online.
Time of completion for the "2 + 2" programs depends largely on the field of study, course requirements, and how many transfer credits the program accepts. For instance, the bachelor of business administration in healthcare management requires 120 credit hours of coursework, and students can transfer in up to 90 credit hours.
In comparison, the bachelor of science in public health education requires 124 credit hours of coursework and accepts up to 62 credits from a community college. MUW's online graduate programs also vary in length. Their master's in business administration requires 36 credit hours of coursework that students can complete in 14 months as a full-time student. MUW's online master of public health program, on the other hand, requires 36 credit hours of coursework and an additional three credits of research or internship experience.
The Mississippi University for Women is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|7||Jackson State University||Jackson||$$$$$||1440 J R Lynch Street|
Jackson, MS 39217
Founded during the reconstruction era in 1877, Jackson State University is a historically black public university located in Jackson Mississippi. In order to accommodate both traditional and nontraditional students restricted by location and time, the school offers a variety of online programs and blended learning course offerings.
Jackson State University's online undergraduate programs require 122 to 124 credit hours of coursework that students complete in four years. Some of the general education course requirements include English composition, introduction to biology, history of civilization, college algebra, and other foundational classes.
Major course requirements vary by area of study. The school's online graduate programs require 30 to 36 credit hours of coursework that takes 1-2 years to complete. Most of JSU's online programs operate on an eight-week term schedule, during which students typically complete two courses. Instructors deliver online courses through Canvas, a virtual eLearning management system. While most courses are asynchronous, some courses may require students to log in simultaneously to the Canvas system.
In addition to completely online degrees, JSU also offers hybrid learning experiences, which involve a combination of face-to-face instruction and online delivery. These courses meet in person roughly 51% of the time and operate virtually the rest of the course.
JSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|8||Mississippi Valley State University||Itta Bena||$$$$$||14000 Highway 82 West|
Itta Bena, MS 38941-1400
Mississippi Valley State University is a historically black public university that offers a variety of bachelor's and master's programs through their colleges of art and sciences, professional studies, education, and graduate studies. Many programs offer the option of online or hybrid courses. Instructors deliver online coursework, whether synchronous or asynchronous, through the Blackboard eLearning management system Courses operate on a semester schedule with start dates in fall, spring, and summer.
In order to take online or hybrid courses at MSVU, students must gain admission to the university and program of study and complete the enrollment process. Each semester, the university offers online courses in a variety of areas, including business, criminal justice, education, English and foreign languages, engineering technology, mass communications, natural science and environmental health, and organizational management.
MSVU accepts transfer students if they possess an associate degree from an accredited institution, or if they possess 30 credit hours of college-level coursework that meets MSVU's general education requirements. In order to graduate from MSVU, a student must complete at least 25% of their degree at MSVU, on campus or virtually.
Undergraduate students at MSVU typically pay less for their education than graduate students. Learners should review their particular program to determine the exact cost. Summer courses often cost less, and online students do not pay out-of-state fees.
Mississippi Valley State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Most Affordable Online Colleges in Mississippi
Below, you’ll find all of the online schools in Mississippi sorted by their tuition rates.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||School Link||Cost|
|1||University of Mississippi Medical Center||Jackson||School profile||$$$$$|
|2||Mississippi University for Women||Columbus||School profile||$$$$$|
|3||Jackson State University||Jackson||School profile||$$$$$|
|4||University of Southern Mississippi||Hattiesburg||School profile||$$$$$|
|5||Mississippi College||Clinton||School profile||$$$$$|
|6||Belhaven University||Jackson||School profile||$$$$$|
Job Outlook for College Graduates in Mississippi
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Mississippi college graduates enter an economy that employs over a million workers. While the state’s mean annual wage for all occupations sits below the national average at $38,910, graduates of online colleges in Mississippi benefit from an increasingly competitive job market, lower unemployment rates, and higher average salaries. As one study from Georgetown University demonstrates, college graduates earn around $1 million more in a lifetime than workers without a college degree.
In September 2018, Mississippi reported a 4.8% unemployment rate, which is just above the national average. However, employees with a bachelor’s degree benefit from a lower unemployment rate than non-college graduates, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In May 2018, for example, bachelor’s degree holders experienced an unemployment rate of 2.1%, which is around half that of the overall 3.9% national unemployment rate.
The job outlook in Mississippi centers upon several growing fields and occupations, including physical therapy assistant, home health aid, and industrial mechanic. Offering above-average salaries, many of these roles — including physical therapist, nurse practitioner, and software developer — require a bachelor’s or graduate degree.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Mississippi
Young Farmer Scholarship
The Farm Bureau of Mississippi sponsors this award for student members earning agricultural degrees. Recipients must attend a Mississippi institution.
Rotary Club of Jackson Mentor Scholarship
Applicants must be Hinds, Madison, or Rankin county graduates attending a Mississippi school who maintain a high school grade average of B or higher and demonstrate financial need.
Byron Keith Mallett Jr. Memorial Scholarship
While DeSoto County residents with a minimum 3.0 GPA may apply, preference is given to Lake Cormorant High School graduates.
Swayze Woodruff Memorial Mid-South Scholarship
American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) members residing in Mississippi may apply for this four-year scholarship during their senior year.
Andrew McBeath Region 9 Leadership Scholarship
In addition to three years of AQHA membership, qualifying Mississippi students must have held an officer, youth association director, or state affiliate position with the organization.
Charles M. George Memorial Scholarship
Applicants must be West Tallahatchie high school graduates with a minimum 2.8 GPA qualify who are eligible to receive a Pell Grant.
David Haire Memorial Scholarship
Awarded to DeSoto County band students, this scholarship includes an invitation to play at the Southaven Wind Symphony spring concert.
Luckyday University Scholarship
Mississippi residents attending in-state community colleges who wish to transfer to Ole Miss may apply. Eligible applicants must maintain a 2.5 GPA and hold at least 48 transfer credits.
Mississippi Nurses Foundation Scholarships
The Foundation offers over a dozen scholarships for Mississippi nursing students.
Bird Dog Foundation Annual College Scholarship Essay
High school seniors in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas may enter by composing an original essay.
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