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Online Colleges in Missouri

Most Affordable Online Colleges
   Page Contents

The Gateway Arch on the west bank of the Mississippi River, which is the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere, is known as the "Gateway to the West." The many colleges and universities in Missouri often serve as the gateway to opportunity for Missouri residents and online students.

The University of Missouri System comprises four universities in Columbus, St. Louis, Rolla and Kansas City. Total enrollment for fall of 2016 was 76,000 students. The Missouri State University system features campuses in Mountain Grove, West Plains and a main campus in Springfield that serve 26,000 students annually. The system features 180 bachelor's degree options, with 10 fully online degree paths.

The Independent Colleges and Universities of Missouri system features 20 colleges and universities located in all parts of the state. The system enrolls 35 percent of all college students in Missouri, it reports. Many students get their educational journeys started in the Missouri Community College System, a statewide system of two-year colleges with 38 campuses.

The chart below represents the total number of degree-granting institutions for online college students in Missouri.

Degree LevelNumber of Online ProgramsNumber of Colleges
Associate16227
Bachelor's18335
Master's15840

There were more than 6 million people living in Missouri in July of 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. In 2014, 26 percent of the population over the age of 25 had obtained at least a bachelor's degree, the bureau adds. Missouri residents with bachelor's degrees took home median earnings of $44,388 in 2014, while residents with professional or advanced degrees earned a median salary of $56,837, the Census Bureau reports.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 2.71 million people employed in Missouri in May of 2015, and they earned median annual wages of $33,384.

Most Affordable Online Colleges in Missouri

Below are the most affordable two- and four-year online colleges in Missouri. Colleges were ranked by cost of in-state tuition. If there were any ties, the tie was broken by the average net price. Average net price is the cost of attendance not including funds provided through financial aid by federal, state, local government or institutional grants and scholarships.

Most Affordable Two-Year Online Colleges in Missouri

Many students prefer to get their educational journey started at a two-year college. Below are the five most affordable two-year online colleges in Missouri.

1

East Central College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$2,664
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
18.47%
Institution Type
Public

About

Located in Union, East Central College served 3,222 students in the fall of 2015. ECC students can enroll in many different online classes as they work to complete degree requirements. ECC offers a mix of fully online, hybrid and web-enhanced classes using the Moodle content management platform. Students can enroll in online classes in agriculture, life sciences, business, communications, programming, technical writing, health, nutrition, medical terminology, and many more. Although ECC offers many online study options, students still are expected to complete much of their coursework on campus.

School Website: 
GO
2

Crowder College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$2,712
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
32.36%
Institution Type
Public

About

Located in Neosho, Crowder College is a two-year state community college that served more than 5,580 students in the fall of 2015. Students at Crowder College can enroll in many different online classes on the path to earning their associate degree or technical certificate. Coursework proceeds at the same pace as on-campus classes, the college notes. Students can pursue associate degrees in dozens of fields, including biology, business administration, journalism, photography, mathematics, teaching, health care and more. Crowder College uses the Blackboard content management system.

School Website: 
GO
3

North Central Missouri College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$3,270
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
48.57%
Institution Type
Public

About

Founded in 1925, NCMC serves students in the greater Trenton region and beyond via a rich system of online class offerings. North Central Missouri College offers all its general education courses online, so students who take classes on campus can enroll in any number of web-based courses as the work to complete degree requirements. North Central Missouri College also offers fully online degree programs in accounting, arts, nursing, early childhood education, business and technology management/technology and criminal justice. It also offers a certificate program in business management. NCMC uses Blackboard as its content management platform.

School Website: 
GO
4

State Fair Community College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$3,288
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
53.46%
Institution Type
Public

About

SFCC is located in Sedalia, but it serves more than 5,000 students in 14 counties of west-central Missouri. State Fair Community College offers more than two-dozen degree paths and academic programs for on-campus students. SFCC also offers a mix of fully online classes, as well as hybrid and web-enhanced courses. Students can pursue fully online Associate of Arts degrees in medical assisting or business management, as well as a certificate in medical assisting. SFCC also offers general education courses online for members of the U.S. Air Force who want to complete the Community College of the Air Force associate degree program.

School Website: 
GO
5

Ozarks Technical Community College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$3,420
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
33.1%
Institution Type
Public

About

OTCC is a regional community college system with campus locations in Springfield, Richwood Valley, Table Rock, Lebanon and Waynesville. Students can enroll in online classes via OTC Online, the system's portal for online education. OTC Online features nine fully online associate degree paths, including study in the arts, criminal justice, business, business and marketing, interdepartmental studies, health information technology, accounting and business management and behavioral sciences. It also offers two fully online certificate programs in business and marketing and business technology. Hybrid programs at OTC Online include associate degrees in dental assisting, biological clinical science and hearing instrument science.

School Website: 
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Most Affordable Four-Year Online Colleges in Missouri

For many students, a bachelor's or master's degree is the tool they need to potentially land the job of their dreams. The universities listed below are the five most affordable online four-year colleges in Missouri.

1

Northwest Missouri State University

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$4,288
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
23.59%
Institution Type
Public

About

NMSU is a state-assisted four-year university located in Marysville. The university served 6,530 students in the fall semester of 2016, including 5,628 undergraduate students. On-campus students can take a wide range of classes through Northwest Online, the university's online extension. Students also can pursue fully online bachelor's degrees in business management or marketing, or they can pursue master's degrees in geographical information science, instructional technology, recreation, teaching or special education. Northwest Missouri State University also has an online MBA program. The University also offers online certificate programs in teaching and instructional technology.

School Website: 
GO
2

Harris-Stowe State University

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$4,776
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
31.95%
Institution Type
Public

About

Located near downtown St. Louis, Harris-Stowe State University offers online degree programs in healthcare management, general criminal justice, juvenile criminal justice and criminal justice-policing. Coursework includes a mix of degree requirements and general educational requirements. For instance, the criminal justice degrees include courses such court systems, corrections, criminology, policing and criminal law, as well as electives such as forensic science, criminal evidence, white-collar crime and other related topics. Harris-Stowe State University uses eLearning as its online content management platform.

School Website: 
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3

Missouri Southern State University

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$5,196
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
38.8%
Institution Type
Public

About

Located in Joplin, MSSU offers 130 bachelor's degree programs. Students who wish to study online can choose from 14 different bachelor's degree options. Missouri Southern State University also offers 11 fully online certificate programs and one professional credential. MSSU Online offers online bachelor's degree programs in general studies, business administration, criminal justice administration, environmental and health safety, dental hygiene, respiratory therapy, radiology and paramedics, among others. Students who register for certain online classes may be required to take proctored exams at the MSSU campus or an approved proctored location, the university notes.

School Website: 
GO
4

Missouri Western State University

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$5,488
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
47.46%
Institution Type
Public

About

Situated on a 700-acre campus in St. Joseph, MWSU serves students throughout western Missouri. Students who wish to take online classes at Missouri Western must complete a pre-test to determine that they understand the nature of online classes and meet technical requirements, the university notes. MWSU offers fully online bachelor's degree programs in health information management, criminal justice, childhood studies, business, economics, health, psychology and general studies. Undergraduate students also can enroll in dozens of different online classes as they work toward completion of their degree requirements. Online options for undergraduates include study in accounting, biology, communications, economics, education, mathematics and many other core classes.

School Website: 
GO
5

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$5,980
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
38.79%
Institution Type
Private

About

Located in the heart of Kansas City, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is a small faith-based college that offers associate, undergraduate, master and doctoral degree programs. MBTS offers online classes through OnlineYou. Coursework runs six terms each year and lasts for eight weeks. MBTS offers associate degree programs in biblical studies and divinity, as well as bachelor's degree programs in Christian ministry and biblical studies. It has master's degree options in Christian education, church planting, leadership, youth ministry, counseling, missionary work, Christian counseling and more. MBTS uses Blackboard as its online content management platform.

School Website: 
GO

College Accreditation in Missouri

Students should be as diligent about choosing a properly accredited college as they are about choosing their degree programs. Accreditation means the degrees students earn are valid because their institution's educational programs have been peer-reviewed and meet rigid quality standards.

In Missouri, the majority of colleges and universities are accredited through one main body:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

There are other accrediting bodies for colleges and universities in the state, however. For instance, Midwest Baptist Theological Seminary is accredited by the following body:

  • The Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS)

Students who have concerns about how their prospective university is accredited can research their prospective schools on the Department of Education's website.

School Interviews

The interviews below are with top educators in the state of Missouri who share their insights into college life in the state as well as earning an online degree in Missouri.

Dr. Darla Runyon
Online learning will evolve into a more interactive and engaging environment in the coming years.

Dr. Darla Runyon

Director of the Center for Information Technology in Education

Northwest Missouri State University

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at Northwest Missouri State University?

Northwest Missouri State University provides online classes and programs via Northwest Online. Your Connection to Success is through a Northwest Online program. Northwest Online offers five online graduate programs including a Masters in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), a Masters of Education in Teaching with two different emphasis areas: English language learner and instructional technology, and a Masters in Business Administration. Two online undergraduate degree completion programs are available through Northwest Online: a Bachelor of Science in Management and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. Certificate programs include a certificate in GIS, a certificate in instructional technology, and an English language learners certificate. General education courses offered online provide greater convenience of scheduling and time use for the student. At least one course in each area of Northwest's general education is available in the online delivery format.

Q. What advice would you give to students interested in an online degree program?

Students interested in online programs or courses should be self-motivated and able to set aside and organize their time to complete the work required in the course.

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

Online learning will evolve into a more interactive and engaging environment in the coming years. There will be more video resources and interaction along with a personalized approach to learning via interactive activities and resources.


Devon Cancilla, Ph.D.
Online learning promises to expand the reach of educational opportunities …

Devon Cancilla, Ph.D.

Vice Provost for Online and Distance Learning

University of Missouri-Kansas City

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at the University of Missouri-Kansas City?

UMKC offers fully online degrees in the professional and clinical sciences. Our undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing and dental hygiene are rigorous and prepare students for success in a variety of career paths in public health planning and delivery as well as clinical practice. UMKC also offers graduate and certificate programs in education in addition to an undergraduate online degree completion program (Bachelor of Liberal Arts) specifically designed for working professionals who need the flexibility of online instruction and who benefit from the resources and faculty involvement of a large state institution. Program listing: http://online.umkc.edu/online-programs/

Q. What advice would you give students interested in an online degree program?

When choosing an online degree program to pursue, students should consider the educational advantages provided by opportunities for clinical experience, the availability of internships, faculty involvement, and career placement. The appeal of flexibility and convenience should be matched with a challenging curriculum that will give students the best prospects for a successful and fulfilling career. I am proud to report that UMKC is a national leader in this area.

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

Online learning promises to expand the reach of educational opportunities and to focus student energy and resources on the most rewarding outcomes. In this period of rapid expansion, there is a race to keep ahead of emerging trends in online learning. UMKC is focused on developing a digital campus that incorporates the best of these new insights while renewing our commitment to be a leader in the Life and Health Sciences and to developing a professional workforce.

Financial Aid in Missouri

If you're planning to attend college in Missouri, you can count on The Missouri Department of Higher Education for support and guidance. It not only administers a number of state grant and scholarship programs, but it's also committed to helping families understand the financial aid process so they don't miss out on potential funding. For instance, the Missouri FAFSA Completion Project was launched to help walk people through the process so that they can apply for aid with less confusion.

Although the average student leaves college in Missouri with $25,844 in student loan debt, according to the Institute for College Access and Success, by maximizing your financial aid, you can offset that cost.

To get you started with your research, explore some top scholarships and grants for students attending college in Missouri.

Missouri Scholarships

Scholarships are a great way to lower the cost of college since award money does not have to be repaid. Missouri's state scholarship programs recognize students with both high academic achievement and financial need.

The A+ Scholarship Program aims to reward good students who attend or expect to attend a participating community college or vocational/technical school. Eligible students must meet several criteria including minimum GPA and exam scores, a high attendance rate and being an admirable citizen.

  • Application deadline:  N/A
  • Award amount:  The unpaid balance of tuition and fees after all available, non-loan federal financial assistance has been applied
  • Number of scholarships awarded: Not specified
  • Renewable: Yes
  • Minimum GPA: 2.5 with ACT Math score of 17, or 2.8 with ACT Math score of 16, or 3.0 with ACT Math score of 15
  • Merit vs. need-based:  Both
  • Ethnicity: All
  • Academic status:  Attended an A+ designated high school, with high attendance, good citizenship, and at least 50 unpaid hours of tutoring or mentoring
  • Residency required:  No
The Barnett Memorial Scholarship focuses on assisting those undergraduates who are enrolled in classes part-time while also employed at least 20 hours per week outside of a work-study program. Eligible students must file the FAFSA in order to demonstrate financial need.

  • Application deadline:  File FAFSA by August 1st
  • Award amount:  The tuition charged for 6 or 9 credit hours (depending on enrollment) at the student's chosen postsecondary institution (or at the University of Missouri-Columbia, whichever amount is less)
  • Number of scholarships awarded:  N/A, based on funding availability
  • Renewable: Yes
  • Minimum GPA: 2.5
  • Merit vs. need-based:  Need-based
  • Ethnicity: All
  • Academic status:  Be enrolled at least part-time, but less than full-time at a participating Missouri post-secondary institution
  • Residency required:  Yes
The Bright Flight Program aims to reward top-ranking high school seniors with high scores on their ACT or SAT exams. There is no application to complete; the Missouri Department of Higher Education receives students' test scores and school choices from their ACT/SAT assessment records. Award recipients must attend a participating postsecondary institution within the state.

  • Application deadline:  September 30, 2017 (preferred deadline July 31)
  • Award amount:  Up to $3,000
  • Number of scholarships awarded: Not specified
  • Renewable:  Yes
  • Minimum GPA: 2.5 (for renewal only)
  • Merit vs. need-based:  Merit
  • Ethnicity: All
  • Academic status:  Composite score on the ACT or SAT must be in the top 3 percent (or in the top 4th or 5th percentiles) of all MO students taking those tests
  • Residency required:  Yes

Give yourself an edge by learning more about how to find and score scholarships. Our Ultimate Guide to Scholarships is a must-read!

Missouri Grants

College is an expensive investment, but state grants are designed to help those with the most financial need achieve their dreams. In Missouri, there is help available for current college students, as well as high school students who are doing well in school.

Access Missouri is a need-based program for Missouri residents who are full-time, undergraduate students at participating in-state schools. Students must file the FAFSA and have an Expected Family Contribution of $12,000 or less. The grant is renewable if initial eligibility and a GPA of at least 2.5 is maintained

  • Application deadline:  Must file the FAFSA by April 1, 2017 (priority deadline is February 1)
  • Award amount:  Varies from $300 to $ 2,850
Eligible Missouri high school students must score a 3 or higher on at least two Advanced Placement tests in the fields of math and/or science in order to be considered for this nonrenewable grant. Students must also receive either an A+ Scholarship or Access Missouri award, or be eligible for those programs and have a calculated award amount of zero.

  • Application deadline:  June 1, 2017
  • Award amount: $500

Be sure to read the Ultimate Guide to Grants for advice and strategies on finding grants.

Missouri Loans

Missouri does not currently offer a state-based student loan program. However, student loans are often required to help bridge the gap between financial aid and the total cost of attendance. Students are encouraged to fill out the FAFSA to see if they are eligible for federal loans, which have more favorable rates and terms and are sometimes subsidized.

Get the lowdown on student loans and what they entail in our Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Georgia

Top Cities For Students In Missouri

Situated in the nation's heartland, Missouri offers a wealth of varied job opportunities to students who graduate from online colleges in the state. Below are some of the top cities in Missouri where students may find work along with good living conditions and other favorable factors.

St. Louis, MO-IL

Total Population

2,797,737

Median salary for high school grads

$28,692

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$50,269

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

9.6%

Median rent

$632

Economics

Financial services has long been one of the main economic drivers of St. Louis. Other major industries in the greater St. Louis region include health care, manufacturing and defense. Boeing is one of the city's largest employers with a head count of 15,000 workers, the St. Louis Regional Chamber reports. The Monsanto Company has its world headquarters in St. Louis.

Demographics

The City of St. Louis was home to 315,685 people in July of 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. Just over 30 percent of all residents over the age of 25 had obtained a minimum education of a bachelor's degree in 2014, the bureau notes. St. Louis residents who had bachelor's degrees earned median annual salaries of $42,698 in 2014, while residents with graduate degrees earned a median salary of $62,635, the bureau adds. According to the BLS, there were 1.32 million people employed in the Greater St. Louis Missouri-Illinois metropolitan region in May of 2015 at median annual wages of $36,524.

Fun Facts

French fur traders founded St. Louis along the banks of the Mississippi River in 1764. In 1904, St. Louis hosted a World's Fair and the Olympics. The Anhueser-Busch St. Louis Brewery is the largest brewery in the U.S. at more than 1.65 million square feet.

Kansas City, MO-KS

Total Population

2,040,869

Median salary for high school grads

$29,199

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$50,144

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

8.4%

Median rent

$660

Economics

Kansas City, Missouri, is one of the major economic hubs in the nations' heartland. Its economy is powered primarily by business services, telecommunications, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, and construction/real estate services, the Brookings Institution reports. Some of the region's largest employers include Honeywell and Ford Motor Company. Companies with headquarters at Kansas City include H&R Block and Hallmark Cards.

Demographics

More than 475,000 people called Kansas City home in July of 2015, the Census Bureau reports. Roughly 32 percent of the area's population had obtained a bachelor's degree or higher by 2014, the bureau notes. Residents with bachelor's degrees earned median annual wages of $46,568 in 2014, while residents with professional degrees earned median wages of $56,582, the Census Bureau reports. There were just over 1.02 million people working in the greater Kansas City Missouri-Kansas metropolitan region in May of 2015, the BLS reports. Median annual wages for those workers in that time was $36,857.

Fun Facts

Greater Kansas City consists of 11 counties spanning two states. It's the nation's second-largest rail center. Walt Disney lived in Kansas City's east side and attended art school there.

Springfield, MO

Total Population

444,728

Median salary for high school grads

$25,694

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$38,985

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

12%

Median rent

$537

Economics

Springfield's economic health relies on a mix of traditional and emerging industries, the Springfield Partnership for Economic Development reports. Due to its location, it's a natural transportation and logistics hub -- there are more than 40 trucking terminals in the Springfield region, the Springfield partnership reports. Companies with large distribution centers in Springfield include Kraft Heinz, O'Reilly Auto Parts, John Deere and Bass Pro Shops. Emerging industries include data centers and call centers, the partnership reports.

Demographics

Springfield had a population of 166,810 in July of 2015, the Census Bureau reports. About 26 percent of Springfield residents over the age of 25 held a bachelor's degree or higher in 2014, the bureau notes. Median annual wages for residents with bachelor's degrees in 2014 was $34,250, while median annual wages for residents with professional or graduate degrees was $46,250, the bureau notes. Just under 197,000 people were employed in the Springfield metropolitan region in May of 2015, the BLS reports. Average wages for all workers that year was just over $32,000 per year.

Fun Facts

Springfield is known as the "Birthplace of Route 66." The iconic route was so named via a telegram sent in Springfield in 1926.

 
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  44. MDHE: Marguerite Ross Barnett Memorial Scholarship, Accessed November 2016, http://dhe.mo.gov/ppc/grants/rossbarnett.php
  45. MDHE: Bright Flight Scholarship, Accessed November 2016, http://dhe.mo.gov/ppc/grants/brightflight.php
  46. MDHE: Access Missouri Financial Assistance Program, Accessed November 2016, http://dhe.mo.gov/ppc/grants/accessmo.php
  47. MDHE: Advanced Placement Incentive Grant, Accessed November 2016, http://dhe.mo.gov/ppc/grants/advancedplacement.php
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