Online colleges in Mississippi offer degree programs in a wide variety of fields, including:
- Art and design
- Information technology
- Criminal justice
According to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, between 2008 and 2018 the job market should be favorable for positions in the professional, scientific, and technical services; health care and social assistance; and educational services industries.
Armed with a degree from an online college in Mississippi, you have a better chance of attaining a position whose pay exceeds the 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics reported mean hourly wage in Mississippi of $17.34 (a yearly salary of $36,070.) If you decide to go for an Associate's degree, which typically requires two years of school, the Census Bureau estimates you can increase your annual income up to about $39,771. If you pursue a four-year Bachelor degree, your salary can jump to about $56,665. A Master's or PhD degree can only boost your earnings potential even further.
Workers with an Associate's, Bachelor's or Masters degree really stand out in Mississippi, where the percentage of residents who have a college degree is low when compared to other states. Among those 18 to 24 years old, only 5.6 percent have a Bachelor's degree, although 46 percent have either attended college or earned an Associate's degree, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2012. Among those older than 25, 8 percent have an Associate's degree, 12.8 percent have a Bachelor's degree and 7.2 percent have a graduate or professional degree.
There are about 1.3 million workers in Mississippi, whose total population is approaching 3 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates from 2013. The state has 19 schools that offer a Bachelor's degree program, and nine of them are public schools, most of which offer online degree programs for people who have trouble finding time to attend classes on one of their campuses.
Most Affordable Colleges in Mississippi
The following list ranks the 10 schools in Mississippi that offer online degrees at the lowest tuition costs. This ranking is based on a number of factors that are important to prospective students such as the actual degree programs that are taught online, and information on tuition fees, accreditation and notable alumni. Tuition figures are sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (2013-2014) and reflect in-state tuition (when in-state tuition is available) for all students, including online students. See our Methodology section for more details on the ranking methodology.
The Mississippi University for Women, which also admits men, offers a variety of Master's and Bachelor's degree programs online. For its undergraduate online programs, students are expected to complete two years of study at a community college before they can enroll in two years of Bachelor's degree online study. Its Bachelor's degree programs are in Nursing; Public Safety Administration; General Business; Management Information Systems; Public Health Education; Entrepreneurship; Human Resources Management; Legal Administration; and Management Information Systems. Online graduate programs are in Global Commerce; and Health Education.
Jackson State, known as the Urban University of Mississippi, is located in Jackson, Miss. It offers two online degree programs - a Bachelor's in Child Care and Family Education and a Master's degree in Business Administration. The school, founded in 1877, emphasizes public service programs that focus on finding solutions to urban problems. Candidates for the Bachelor's program need to have 45 or more undergraduate credits or an Associate's degree.
Southern Miss has several locations along Mississippi's beautiful Gulf Coast, but many students are coming to campus through its robust online degree programs. The University of Southern Mississippi offers online Bachelor's degrees in Applied Technology; Construction Engineering Technology; Elementary Education; Library and Information Science; Nursing; Special Education; Tourism; Industrial Engineering Technology; and Special Education. Its School of Library and Information Science also offers some of its graduate degrees online, including Library and Information Science; and Library Media Management. Some of the other Master's programs include Human Capital Development; Sports Coaching Education; Logistics, Trade and Transportation; Medical Laboratory Sciences; Nursing; Nutrition and Food Systems; Political Science; Sport Management, and Teaching of Languages. The school also offers a Ph.D in Human Capital Development.
Ole Miss Online provides a broad spectrum of online degree programs, from Bachelor's degrees to a doctorate program. Online Bachelor's degree programs include Clinical Laboratory Sciences; Dental Hygiene; Health Informatics and Information Management; Health Sciences; and Radiological Sciences. Online Master's degrees are offered in Health Care Administration; Business Administration; Elementary Education; Literacy Education; Higher Education and Student Personnel; Health Informatics and Information Management; Health Sciences; Acute Care Nurse Practitioner; Gerontology Nurse Practitioner; Family Nurse Practitioner; Nurse Educator; Nursing and Health Care Administrator; and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Ole Miss also offers an online doctorate in Health Administration.
Mississippi State's Center for Distance Education offers Bachelor's, Master's and doctorate degree programs online. Unlike many schools, online students pay the in-state rate, regardless of where they are learning from. There are also tuition waivers available for senior citizens. The Bachelor's degrees include Elementary Education with concentrations in early childhood or middle school; Geosciences, with a concentration in broadcast and operational meteorology; Interdisciplinary Studies; and Technology Teacher Education. Some for its Master's degree programs include Teaching; Business Administration; Aerospace Engineering; Food Science; Forestry; General Biology; Geosciences with concentrations in applied meteorology or teachers in geosciences; Industrial Engineering; Information Systems; and Workforce Educational Leadership. Its doctorate programs include Community College Leadership; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Engineering with concentrations in aerospace engineering or civil engineering; and Industrial and Systems Engineering.
Virginia College has a campus in Jackson but is also an accredited online college offering nine online Bachelor's degree programs and several Associate's degrees. Its online college degree programs are designed for individuals who need a degree program they can squeeze into their busy work and family schedules. Its Associate's degrees are offered in Accounting; Business Administration; Criminal Justice; Culinary Arts; Healthcare Reimbursement; Human Resource Management; Medical Office Administration; Network Engineering; Office Administration; and Paralegal Studies. Bachelor's degrees are available in Business Administration; Criminal Justice; Golf Course Management; Health Services Management; Human Resource Management; Management Information Systems; Network Management; and Paralegal Studies. Virginia College also offers online Master's degrees in Business Administration; Criminal Justice; and Cybersecurity.
Like its sister institution, the University of Mississippi, UMMC offers online degree programs for students who have completed their Associate's degree and are now interested in earning a Bachelor's degree. The programs UMMC offers also require that students pass an appropriate licensure, registration or certification exam. The medical center's "2+U" online degree programs are offered in Health Sciences; Health Informatics and Information Management; Dental Hygiene; Medical Laboratory Science; and Radiological Sciences.
Tougaloo College, a private, traditionally black liberal arts college located in Tougaloo, Miss., was founded in 1869 and has a rich history. Its driving philosophy is to teach students to become self-directed learners who can apply critical thought to all areas of the lives. Toward that end it offers an online Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics.
Mississippi College is the oldest college in the state, but what draws students from around the globe is its history of providing high-quality online degree program. It offers Bachelor's degrees in Business Administration; Communication; Nursing, Paralegal Studies; and Homeland Security. Its online Master's Degrees include Health Services Administration; Applied Communication; Higher Education Administration; Teaching Arts; Professional Communication in Health Services Administration; Athletic Administration; Loss Prevention and Homeland Security.
Belhaven's curriculum is based on the school's Christian worldview, and the school emphasizes strong support and close interaction with professors for its online students. Its online Associate's degree programs include Arts; Biblical Studies; and Business. Its Bachelor's degree programs are in Applied Psychology; Biblical Studies; Interdisciplinary Studies; Accounting; Management; Management with criminal justice concentration; Business Administration; and Health Administration. Its online Master's degree programs are in Business Administration; Teaching Leadership; Educational Technology; Reading Literacy; Health Administration; Public Administration; Leadership; Leadership with ministry concentration; and Sports Administration.
April Thompson, Director of Summer, Winter, and Online Sessions, University of Mississippi
Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at your school?
The University of Mississippi offers online master's degrees in business, elementary education, and higher education and student personnel. There are master degree programs offered by The University of Mississippi Medical Center in health sciences, health information management, and various nursing specialties. UM offers online graduate certificate courses in teaching English as a second language and geospatial information science and technology. Over 100 undergraduate courses from various academic disciplines are also available online.
Q. What advice would you give to students interested in an online degree program?
Do your research. What type of program or courses are you interested in taking? What is the course format? What are your strengths and weaknesses as a student? Will an online format help or hinder your success as a student? Online courses are a terrific option, but you must pick courses/programs that fit your strengths. For example, if you struggle with writing or math, taking an online course with emphasis in those areas may not be the best option. Doing a little research by talking to other students who have taken the course, talking to the instructor, and reading the course reviews will help you choose the right online course/program for you.
Q. How do you anticipate how online learning might evolve in the coming years?
Online learning will continue to grow for many reasons. Each year more nontraditional students return to school, whether as full-time or part-time students. The online format provides access to higher education to those who work full-time, have dependents and/or live in an area that does not have access to a traditional, four-year institution. In addition to nontraditional students, with the popularity of social media and online tools, today's generation of students are more comfortable with and knowledgeable of technology than previous student generations. Many students actually prefer using online learning technology at their own pace. The student demand for online course/program options will continue to grow.
In addition to student demand, technology continues to develop, allowing more learning opportunities. Students can take a live tour of the Egyptian pyramids, interview experts in any field, and research ancient artifacts from their living rooms. It will be very interesting to see where the creative development and use of educational technology will lead.
Average Cost of a House
# of Employed People
Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree
Jackson is a banking hub for Mississippi, and other industries include construction, distribution and trade, health care and telecommunications. The Nissan Motor Co. has a plant in Jackson. According to Businessweek, Jackson had the 11th strongest metropolitan economy in the U.S. as recently as 2009, when housing prices were still climbing and unemployment remained low despite the recession. The Cost of Living Index in the Jackson metro area is 86.1, and the average cost of a home is $229,800.
Jackson is home to around 260,000 workers, about 20 percent of the state's entire workforce. Workers there earn an average of $39,660 a year, or about $19.07 per hour.
Jackson is the state capital of Mississippi but it is also famous for its blues, gospel and R&B music. The city has undergone a major downtown revitalization that has brought more arts, culture and fine dining to that area. The city is also rich in historical sites, museums and a zoological park that is considered one of the finest in the South.
Average Cost of a House
# of Employed People
Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree
Although Gulfport and Biloxi had been enjoying steady population growth in the early years of the 21st Century, Hurricane Katrina and the Great Recession both had a great impact on the region. Many of Biloxi's casinos were damaged by the storm, although eight have since reopened, and gaming and tourism remains the area's prime industry. The seafood industry and military and government institutions also play a key role in Biloxi's economy.
There are an estimated 113,000 workers living in the metropolitan area around Biloxi. They comprise just under 9 percent of the state's total workforce, and according to Bureau of Labor statistics, workers there earn about $36,990 a year, for an average hourly wage of $17.79.
Biloxi is a vacation paradise. It features white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, as well as numerous golf courses, hiking and bike-riding trails, casinos and charter fishing. The weather makes it a year-round attraction.
Average Cost of a House
# of Employed People
Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree
Businesses thinking about relocating are attracted to Pascagoula because of its proximity to Mobile, Ala., 30 minutes away, and New Orleans, which is only two hours a way. Forbes.comranked it No. 108 nationally among the best small metro areas for business and careers, andArea Development Magazine ranked it 8th in the nation. The city is busy renovating its downtown district, restoring a historic local lighthouse and building new walking, biking and paddling trails.
There are about 70,000 workers in Pascagoula, roughly 5 percent of the state's entire workforce. Pascagoula workers earn an average of $43,240 a year, an average hourly wage of $20.79.
Pascagoula is home to the Aaron Jones Family Interactive Center, one of the best children's museums in the country. Visitors also enjoy the Bay Street Duck Pond, the Biloxi Fire Museum and the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The Gulf Islands National Seashore is a great place to camp or relax on the beach.
Other Mississippi Resources
- April Thompson, Director of Summer, Winter, and Online Sessions, University of Mississippi, interview with the author May 2015
- Belhaven College Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belhaven_University#Notable_Alumni
- Bloomsberg Businessweek, "Forty Strongest U.S. Metro Economies," http://images.businessweek.com/ss/09/10/1022_40_strongest_us_metro_economies/12.htm
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_27140.htm#00-0000
- City-Data.com, Biloxi: Economy, http://www.city-data.com/us-cities/The-South/Biloxi-Economy.html
- The City of Pascagula, http://cityofpascagoula.com/business
- Fun & Free on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, http://www.gulfcoast.org/visitors/attractions/fun-and-free/
- Gulf Coast Attractions, http://www.gulfcoast.org/attractions/
- Jackson State University, http://www.jsumsonline.com/online-programs.aspxJackson State University Notable
- Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackson_State_University#Notable_alumni
- List of Mississippi State University People, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Mississippi_State_University_people
- University of Southern Mississippi, http://www.usm.edu/undergraduate/location/online
- Mississippi College, http://www.mc.edu/online/
- Mississippi College Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mississippi_College#Notable_alumni
- Mississippi State University, http://distance.msstate.edu/financial
- Mississippi State University Distance Programs, http://www.distance.msstate.edu/programs
- Mississippi University for Women, http://web3.muw.edu/online
- Mississippi University for Women Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mississippi_University_for_Women#Notable_alumni
- The National Center for Education Statistics, College Finder, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=MS&l=93&ct=1
- Tougaloo College, http://www.tougalooonline.com/
- Tougaloo College, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tougaloo_College#Notable_alumni
- University of Mississippi, http://www.umc.edu/uploadedFiles/UMCedu/Content/Education/Schools/Health_Related_Professions/Clinical_Laboratory_Science/shrp_CLS%20progression%20program.pdf
- University of Mississippi Medical Center, http://www.umc.edu/Education/Schools/Health_Related_Professions/2_U/2_U_Home.aspx
- University of Mississippi Medical Center Notable Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Mississippi_Medical_Center#Notable_alumni
- University of Southern Mississippi Eagle Learning Online, http://www.usm.edu/elo/
- University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association, http://www.southernmissalumni.com/s/995/internal.aspx?sid=995&gid=1&pgid=289
- U.S. Census Bureau, America FactFinder, http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_12_5YR_S1501
- U.S. Department of Education, The Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs, http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/Index.aspx
- University of Mississippi Alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_University_of_Mississippi_alumni
- Virginia College-Jackson, http://www.vc.edu/online/online-college.cfm