Online Colleges in Mississippi

Most Affordable Online Colleges

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Article Sources

Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we generated a list of colleges and universities that met the following criteria:

  • Level of institution is either "Four or more years" or "At least 2 but less than 4 years"
  • Data is reported for all 11 ranking variables listed in the Methodology section
  • At least 1 percent of students are taking at least some of the classes via distance education
  • "Number of programs offered via distance education" was an integer greater than 0

We ranked the resulting 1,813 colleges on 11 criteria, using provisional 2016-17 data from IPEDS:

  1. Number of programs offered via distance education
  2. Ratio of students participating fully or partially in DE to Total Enrollment
  3. Average in-state tuition for undergraduates
  4. Total electronic library collections, including digital books, databases, and media
  5. Graduation rate
  6. Retention rate
  7. The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Guaranteed, Other)
  8. Services (Academic/Career, Placement for Completers)
  9. Credit offerings (Dual, Life, AP, Military)
  10. Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
  11. Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools' tuition amounts are based on 2016-17 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

Methodology Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Sources :

  • April Thompson, Director of Summer, Winter, and Online Sessions, University of Mississippi, interview with the author May 2015
  • 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
  • Regional Accrediting Organizations 2016-2017, Council for Higher Education Accreditation, accessed January 2017, http://www.chea.org/Directories/regional.asp
  • University of Southern Mississippi, http://www.usm.edu/undergraduate/location/online
  • Mississippi College, http://www.mc.edu/online/
  • 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/
  • 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 Southern Mississippi Eagle Learning Online, http://www.usm.edu/elo/
  • 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
  • Virginia College-Jackson, http://www.vc.edu/online/online-college.cfm
  • Rise Up! Financial Aid, Accessed April 2017, http://riseupms.com/financial/
  • Rise Up! State Aid, Accessed April 2017, http://riseupms.com/state-aid/
  • Rise Up! Apply for State Aid, Accessed April 2017, http://riseupms.com/financial/#3/
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Mississippi has long been at the forefront of higher education — the state was the first in the nation to have a planned system of junior colleges. This system began as a series of local agricultural high schools, which were founded in order to provide education to students who lived too far away from towns to attend school there. As such, Mississippi has been long aware of how difficult it can be for students to travel to a place where they can earn a quality education; it is no surprise, then, that the Magnolia State has embraced online and distance learning.

The 15 community colleges of Mississippi offer a comprehensive system of online education through the Mississippi Virtual Community College (MSVCC), which offered more than 3,100 online courses for the fall 2017 semester. The MSVCC also offers access to the Mississippi Electronic Online Libraries (MELO), a virtual library that was developed in 2000 to provide distance learners in Mississippi with access to online databases, ebooks, journals and scholarly Web sites.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, there are 28 different institutions that award associate degrees in the state, 17 colleges and universities that award bachelor's degrees, and 15 institutes that are authorized to deliver graduate-level programs. Eight of the most premier of these universities, including Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), make up the Mississippi Public Universities system. Distance learners can pursue dozens of different bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees through the eight universities in this system.

Best Online Colleges in Mississippi for 2018-19

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Students have a wealth of options when it comes to distance learning in Mississippi. To help narrow down your search for the perfect online Mississippi college, we used data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics and our own personalized methodology to find the best options available in the state. You can find more about our methodology at the bottom of this page, or try narrowing down a ranking based on your own criteria with our Top Colleges Tool; first, however, consider browsing our list of the 10 best online colleges in Mississippi.

1

University of Southern Mississippi

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$7,659
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.
46%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
35
School Type
4-year

The University of Southern Mississippi has campus locations at Hattiesburg and Long Beach, as well as its online campus, "Online at Southern Miss." A variety of online degree programs are available through Southern Miss, among them child and family studies, industrial engineering technology, and library and information science. This university also offers multiple campus support services for distance learners, such as the USM Counseling Center, tutoring, and writing and reading labs.

2

Holmes Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$2,740
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.
50%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
83
School Type
2-year

Holmes Community College offers multiple fully online associate degree programs in subjects such as medical office technology, paralegal technology and medical billing and coding technology. However, as part of the Mississippi Virtual Community College consortium, Holmes students also have access to the online courses of all 15 community colleges in the Magnolia State. Courses through the MSVCC are delivered via the Canvas learning management system, and come in several different formats -- Holmes specifically features several courses in eight-week full-term format and several others in a four-week accelerated format.

3

University of Mississippi

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$7,744
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.
24%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
18
School Type
4-year

University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss, was founded in 1848 and would be Mississippi's only public institute of higher learning for the next 23 years. It no longer shoulders the entire state's education on its own shoulders, but it remains Mississippi's flagship university, offering courses and programs to students both on- and off-campus.

Ole Miss' distance learners can enroll in a variety of online master's degree programs through Ole Miss Online, such as hospitality management, educational leadership or integrated marketing communication. Individual courses, certificate programs and minors are also available, and online students can access the university's academic advising department, Career Center, UM Library and IT department if they require assistance during their degree path.

4

William Carey University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$11,700
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.
37%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
17
School Type
4-year

A private, liberal arts college steeped in Baptist heritage and Christian values, William Carey University was once known as Mississippi Woman's College. When the college became coeducational in 1956, it was renamed after William Carey -- a cobbler, linguist and missionary who is also known as the "Father of Modern Missions."

Graduate students enrolled at William Carey have the option to pursue their studies online, taking individual online courses in fields like criminal justice, education and history, or pursuing online degree programs in education, nursing, ministry studies and additional disciplines. The university delivers its online coursework through the Canvas learning management system on a trimester system, just like the on-campus courses.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Location:

498 Tuscan Avenue,
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
 
5

Mississippi University for Women, Columbus

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,065
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.
60%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
8
School Type
4-year

Mississippi University for Women

Mississippi College for Women, also known as "the W," was founded in 1884 as the first public university for women in the United States. This public institution became a coeducational college in 1982, allowing students from all over the world to partake of the W's variety of degree programs.

Through the Canvas content delivery platform, MUW offers many different undergraduate "2+2" online degree completion programs in subjects such as management, public health education, legal administration and management information systems. Online master's degree programs, minors and certificate programs round out the W's online offerings. Student support resources include technical support, online academic support, peer tutoring and online writing help via Skype.

6

Jackson State University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$7,261
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.
50%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
16
School Type
4-year

Jackson State University actually began as Natchez Seminary in 1877, founded by the American Baptist Home Mission Society. In 1882, the school moved to Jackson; when the curriculum expanded in 1899, the name was changed to match its new location. Location is no barrier to modern-day students, however, who can pursue graduate and undergraduate degree programs online through JSU Online. Coursework is delivered through the Canvas learning management system, a system JSU even uses to enhance the experience of its on-campus courses: the university hosts "Canvas enhanced courses" that meet in the classroom, yet post course materials and emails using Canvas.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Location:

1400 JR Lynch Street,
Jackson, MS 39217
 
7

Mississippi State University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$7,780
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.
17%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
16
School Type
4-year

Mississippi State University received its first students in the fall semester of 1880. In addition to the main campus in Starkville, the university educates students through a learning center located at Meridian and an online portal, known as Distance@State. Academic support for distance learners at MS State includes advising, access to the MSU Writing Center and MSU Library, and online tutoring.

Distance@State hosts online bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in many subjects, including biology, education or engineering, or more specialized fields such as forestry, environmental geosciences or secondary education. There are a handful of unique online certificate programs as well, such as the aeronautical meteorology forecaster program or the vision specialist in vocational rehabilitation program.

8

Belhaven University, Jackson

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$23,016
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%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
28
School Type
4-year

Belhaven University is a private Christian college that was founded in 1883, and is one of the few Christian universities recognized by the White House STEM Initiative. The university offers a plethora of online associate, bachelor's and graduate degree programs, as well as certificate programs, each incorporating a Christian worldview into its curriculum. Programs can be completed on an accelerated timeline if desired, with graduation dates in May and December.

The Office of Student Care at Belhaven University maintains many different services and resources for on-campus and distance learners, including academic support and academic tutoring labs. Undergraduate credits can be earned for work experience, and the Center for Career and Calling offers a variety of careers and personal support services.

9

Mississippi College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$16,740
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.
29%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
15
School Type
4-year

Mississippi College is a private Christian school that offers educational opportunities in the liberal arts and the sciences. Founded in 1826, it is the oldest private institution of higher learning in the state. Despite its long history of brick-and-mortar education, Mississippi College is eager to offer its educational bounty to students all over the world through online learning.

Students at MC can pursue distance-based learning through bachelor's and master's degree programs, or through various online certificate programs. The college also offers a small handful of alternate programs, such as an RN-to-BSN nursing bridge program, a Doctor of Professional Counseling program, or an Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership program.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Location:

200 South Capitol Street,
Clinton, MS 39058
 
10

Delta State University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,418
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.
54%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
11
School Type
4-year

A public university offering undergraduate and graduate education, Delta State University had its beginnings as a teacher-education institution. It has since expanded to offer degree programs in the arts, humanities and the sciences. Even if you are not familiar with Delta State University, you may be familiar with the school's infamous mascot: "The Okra."

Through the Department of Graduate and Continuing Studies, DSU offers online programs, night classes and continuing education with no out-of-state tuition fees. Many online courses and programs are available at the graduate level at DSU, in fields such as education, nursing and even commercial aviation. Coursework and materials are typically accessed through the Canvas learning management system.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Location:

1003 W. Sunflower Road,
Cleveland, MS 38733
 

Affordable Online Colleges in Mississippi for 2018

The following list presents several schools in Mississippi that offer online degree programs at affordable tuition costs. Tuition figures, sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics, reflect in-state tuition (when in-state tuition is available) for all students, including online students.

In case you'd rather see a ranking of all online Mississippi colleges, arranged by quality and any other criteria you'd like to add, try out our Top Colleges Tool.

  • School Type - 2 Years
  • School Type - 4 Years
  • COLLEGE NAMETUITION & FEES/YEAR
    Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
    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.
    NUMBER OF ONLINE PROGRAMS OFFERED
    Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
    SCHOOL TYPE
    East Central Community College$2,29051%12-year
    Meridian Community College$2,44028%102-year
    Itawamba Community College$2,62060%62-year
    Mississippi Delta Community College$2,65042%12-year
    Copiah-Lincoln Community College$2,73015%292-year
  • COLLEGE NAMETUITION & FEES/YEAR
    Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
    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.
    NUMBER OF ONLINE PROGRAMS OFFERED
    Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
    SCHOOL TYPE
    Southeastern Baptist College$4,79071%54-year
    Mississippi University for Women$6,06560%84-year
    Delta State University$6,41854%114-year
    Alcorn State University$6,54663%14-year
    Jackson State University$7,26150%164-year

College Accreditation in Mississippi

Accreditation is one way to determine the quality of education offered by a college or university. It's a voluntary process in which an accrediting body determines whether an institution of degree program meets certain minimum standards.

Each state has a regional accrediting body, and for colleges in Mississippi this is the designated organization:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Schools without regional accreditation may have received approval from other accrediting bodies. Not all organizations are recognized as legitimate by the government so students should check the school's credentials carefully. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation maintains a list of all recognized accrediting bodies.

School Interviews

April Thompson
In addition to student demand, technology continues to develop, allowing more learning opportunities.

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.

Financial Aid Resources in Mississippi

1.Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant
Type : Grant
Criteria:
Applicant must be a Mississippi resident pursuing their first certificate, associates, or bachelor's degree at an approved Mississippi college or university.
Award Amount
$1,000
Application Deadline
September 15
Renewable
Renewable if recipient has a minimum 2.5 GPA and continuous enrollment.
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
2.Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant
Type : Grant
Criteria:
Applicant must be a Mississippi resident pursuing their first certificate, associate, or bachelor's degree at an approved Mississippi college or university.
Award Amount
$2,500
Application Deadline
September 15
Renewable
Renewable if recipient has a minimum 3.5 GPA and Continuous, full-time enrollment.
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
3.Higher Education Legislative Plan for Needy ...
Type : Grant
Criteria:
Applicant must be a full-time undergraduate student with demonstrated financial need who is pursuing a first certificate, associate, or bachelor's degree. Applicant must first receive HELP as a freshman or sophomore. Minimum 2.5 GPA, minimum composite ACT score of 20, and completion of specific high school core curriculum required.
Award Amount
N/A
Application Deadline
March 31
Renewable
Renewable if recipient maintains full time enrollment and a minimum 2.5 GPA.
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
4.Summer Development Grant Program
Type : Grant
Criteria:
Award looks to assist students who do not meet the criteria for admission to one of the state's public universities. Award will assist with financial need pay for the Summer Development Program during the summer preceding the freshman year of college.
Award Amount
N/A
Application Deadline
July 31
Renewable
No
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL

Mississippi Loans

Mississippi no longer offers state-based education loans due to current budget constraints, but they do claim to provide students with nearly $30 million in state aid each year, through various scholarships and grants. Students are strongly encouraged to seek scholarships and grants before applying for loans. If at that point, you are still in need of financial assistance, you may apply for federal or private loans to help manage your college expenses. To qualify for federal loans, you will need to fill out the FAFSA with details about your family's financial situation.

For more in-depth insight into student loans, don't miss the Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Mississippi

  • Rise Up! Financial Aid provides Mississippi students with a step-by-step guide for acquiring financial assistance.
 
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