Whether you live in Jefferson City, St. Louis, or in the Ozarks region, Missouri's online colleges can provide residents throughout the state an opportunity to earn an associate, bachelor's, or master's degree. An online college can be a great fit for working professionals or others who lead busy lives — you can take classes at times that align with your schedule without making drastic changes to your lifestyle.

Here's a look at Missouri's online college landscape:

  • Associate degree programs can be completed at 48 colleges while bachelor's degree programs are available at 51, and master's degrees can be earned at 49 schools.
  • The majority of online degree programs in the state can be found at Missouri University of Science and Technology, Park University, and Webster University.
  • The University of Missouri is the largest university system in the state with four campuses that offer online degree programs.

Missouri's higher education goal is for all residents in the state to earn a certificate or degree by 2025. The state's 15 to Finish program, designed to encourage students to enroll in 15 credits per semester, is one initiative that supports this goal.

Below, we've selected the 10 best online colleges in Missouri as well as the most affordable ones. In addition, we've listed a number of Missouri-specific financial aid options that can make your degree more affordable.

What Makes a Good Online College in Missouri?

We've created multiple rankings that show the best online schools in Missouri, each based on carefully selected criteria. The most important of our criteria is that every school on this page is accredited by an official accrediting agency, such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Take a look at our "What is College Accreditation?" page to learn more about the importance of accreditation. For details about accreditation specific to Missouri, visit the Missouri Department of Education.

We create these rankings to help students select the right online school in Missouri. By displaying data and describing the best schools, we make it easy to learn important facts such as average in-state tuition, average amount of financial aid awarded and number of online programs offered. Check out the "What Makes a Good Online College?" section on our "About Us" page to find out why we believe these factors are relevant to the online college experience in Missouri.


Best Online Colleges in Missouri for 2019-20

Our list of the best colleges in Missouri was compiled with data drawn from the National Center for Education Statistics. We analyzed all the schools in the state that offer distance education programs, using multiple data points such as each school's percentage of online learners and the net cost for in-state tuition. For more details about the methodology used, see the bottom of this web page.


Maryville University of Saint Louis

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is MUSL like?

Moving to the No.1 spot on our list of best online colleges in Missouri, MUSL is a private, military-friendly school founded in 1872. In the 1980s, the university launched its "Weekend College," which allowed working adults to earn a degree entirely on the weekends. This flexibility in education has continued through the school's online degree programs, available at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

What online programs are at MUSL?

MUSL features online start dates in the fall, spring and summer. Online students work on their own schedule and may be able to transfer in credits. Most online learners at the school are enrolled in MUSL's online graduate programs, which include disciplines like business administration, nursing and cybersecurity.

What online resources does MUSL offer?

The Career Success & Professional Development office helps online students with internships, career readiness and virtual interview practice. It's also worth noting that there are no application fees or entrance exams for MUSL.


Calvary University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is CU like?

Calvary University is a Christian-based school open to students of all faiths, as well as military students and adult learners. The Bible is considered foundational in every class.

What online programs are at CU?

Online coursework at CU is delivered through the Canvas learning management system. The school's seminary, dual credit offerings and international programs all make use of online coursework. Fully online degree programs are also available at the associate, bachelor's and master's levels, including online master's programs in education, worship arts or organizational development.

What online resources does CU offer?

Online learners can access resources such as e-books through the school's Hilda Kroker Library. Students also can find helpful writing and study tips through CU's Clark Academic Center. CU offers financial assistance to students, and is also developing two programs to help students with expenses: the Study and Work Program, and the Nikao Leadership Institute.


University of Missouri-Columbia

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is UMC like?

UMC is a public research university founded in 1839, and is Missouri's largest university. It's one of the top 10 universities in the country for undergraduate research, and returns to our list of the top online schools in Missouri for another year. UMC is justifiably proud of the fact that 45 percent of its students graduate with no debt.

What online programs are available at UMC?

Both semester-based and self-paced courses are available online, delivered through the Canvas learning management system. Courses may be offered fully online or through a web-enhanced curriculum format.

Online degree programs are available at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels, as well as independent study, ed-specialist programs and certificate programs. Available online fields of study at UMC include arts and humanities, food science and engineering, among others.

What online resources does UMC offer?

The Writing Center's "Online Writery" offers undergraduates with feedback on their writing, and the Career Center supplies students with career advice and guidance. Student ambassadors may also be helpful for answering questions.


University of Central Missouri

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is UCM like?

Rising from No.6 on last year's list of top online universities in Missouri to No.4 on this year's, UCM elicits many awards for commitment and achievement. The university reports that over 95 percent of UCM graduates find employment (or continue their education) within six months of earning their degree.

What online programs are at UCM?

Online fields of study range from criminal justice to marketing and more, offered in the form of completion degrees, fully online undergraduate and graduate programs, distance-based certificates and individual online courses. UCM coursework is delivered through the Blackboard learning management system.

What online resources does UCM offer?

Online students at UCM qualify for in-state tuition no matter where they live. An online orientation helps new students learn about the process of completing online coursework, and live chat is available to answer questions. Additionally, online learners have access to academic and financial aid advising, the library and the writing lab.


Southeast Missouri State University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is SMSU like?

SMSU, a public university founded in 1873, awards more than $50 million in academic scholarships annually, including 1,500 scholarship endowments. The university works to stay ahead of changing market demands in order to help its students join the workforce after graduation. Internships and experiential learning are available in many of the school's majors.

What online programs are at SMSU?

Students can choose from online bachelor's, master's and specialist degree programs, as well as certificate programs and various minors. Disciplines include healthcare administration, nursing, technology management and many others. Prospective students can try out a demo course to explore the Moodle course management software, which SMSU uses to host course curricula and discussion forums.

What online resources does SMSU offer?

Online Program Specialists are assigned to students from their initial enrollment through to their graduation. Every semester, online students are kept apprised of their progress in their chosen program. Online learners also can access IT support, the writing lab and the school's Kent Library.


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is Missouri S&T like?

Missouri S&T was founded in 1870. One of 16 technological research institutions in the country, Missouri S&T is committed to applying advanced technology and science to improving the world.

What online programs are at Missouri S&T?

Online students at Missouri S&T can pursue graduate degrees, graduate certificates and professional/ continuing education coursework, delivered through the Canvas learning management system. Some of the university's programs also have the option of specializations. For example, students pursuing the M.S. in civil engineering can choose to add on a specialization in environmental engineering, structural engineering or geotechnical engineering.

What online resources does Missouri S&T offer?

Distance-learning faculty advisors are available to help online learners build degree pathways in disciplines like computer science, technical communication and more. Online students can also access the IT help desk and the Curtis Laws Wilson Library.


Missouri State University, Springfield

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is MSU like?

MSU is a comprehensive public university founded in 1905. Education is delivered on-campus as well as at 11 off-campus sites, through Evening College Plus programs and via dual credit options, ICourses and fully online and hybrid programs.

What online programs are at MSU?

Dozens of undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs are available online through MSU, which also attracts transfer students and global learners. In addition to full degree programs, there are numerous minors that can be delivered online, including information technology and criminology, among others. Online coursework is accessed through the Blackboard learning management system.

What online resources does MSU offer?

Online learners can access advising through Adult Student Services, while online Student Support Services offers career counseling and degree exploration, access to Blackboard help and more. A career planning toolkit and job search toolkit are also available online.


Webster University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is WU like?

Returning to our list of accredited online colleges in Missouri for another year, Webster University is a private nonprofit school founded in 1915 that promotes excellence, global leadership and commitment to others. It serves national and international learners, including military and transfer students, through programs offered at multiple campus locations and online.

What online programs are at WU?

Online undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs in subjects such as criminal justice and legal studies are available through WU's WorldClassRoom learning management platform. Similarly, students can pursue online completion degree programs in data analytics, nursing and media communications. Individual courses are also available online in synchronous format. WU even offers several Gainful Employment programs.

What online resources does WU offer?

Online undergraduate students at WU have access to Adobe Creative Cloud at no additional cost, which offers design and editing tools. Ebooks, articles and journals can be searched through the school's online library. CampusConnect and the IT Service Desk also help to assist online learners with technological connectivity.


Drury University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is DU like?

DU is a private liberal arts college that prides itself on teaching students about the skills and tools they need to be technically proficient and ready for their chosen field.

What online programs are at DU?

Online associate, bachelor's and master's programs are available at DU, delivered by the Moodle learning system in areas such as criminal justice and human services. Graduate students may be able to transfer in credits, select an area of emphasis in certain programs and even to participate in blended learning options. The GRE exam is not required for admission to several of the school's online graduate programs, including its Master in Education program.

What online resources does DU offer?

Online students can use the MyDrury portal to view announcements, search for courses, access the campus directory, leave feedback, contact the help desk and more. Financial aid services, advising, online tutoring and the Olin library are also available.


William Woods University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is WWU like?

Service and leadership are integral at WWU, an independent private liberal arts school that was founded in 1870. WWU puts an emphasis on affordability, promising that tuition won't increase for individual students as long as they stay continuously enrolled.

What online programs are at WWU?

Online courses at William Woods are delivered in an eight-week format through the Moodle learning system, with numerous start dates throughout the year. Many programs are designed at an accelerated pace and incorporate collaboration and networking.

Program offerings include bachelor's, transfer and graduate business programs, as well as Master of Education (MEd) programs with specializations in STEM, curriculum and instruction, teaching and technology and more. A particularly unique option is the B.S. in deaf human services.

What online resources does WWU offer?

The Owlnet Portal allows students online access to financial aid information, account balances and online tutoring at no additional cost. Links to library help, including advanced journal resources and citation guides, can also be found through Owlnet.

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Affordable Online Colleges in Missouri for 2019-20

Below are several of the most affordable two- and four-year online colleges in Missouri, organized in order of tuition costs as provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Financial Aid Resources 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.

Doing some research on financial aid in Missouri can be crucial to affording your online college education. This section can help you to get started with your research, by exploring some of the financial aid available for students attending college in Missouri.

What Grants and Scholarships are Available in Missouri?

Grants and scholarships are a great way to help 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. Here are several Missouri financial aid options that might be of use to you:

Source: Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of CollegeXpress, a division of Carnegie Dartlet. Copyright © 2020 by CollegeXpress.

Be sure to read the Ultimate Guide to Grants for advice and strategies on finding grants, and the Ultimate Guide to Scholarships to learn the same about scholarships.

Student Loans in Missouri

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 Missouri

Costs for Out-of-State Students in Missouri

The Midwest Student Exchange Program, or MSEP, is a multi-state reciprocity program, and Missouri is one of its 10 member states. This is excellent news for students from Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio or Wisconsin, as it's essentially turned the Midwest into a big, happy affordable non-resident tuition family. Essentially students from member states aren't likely to pay more than 150 percent above the in-state tuition rate, which can amount to significant savings.

There are also other school-specific ways to reduce out-of-state tuition, even for students whose states are not part of MSEP. For instance, the University of Missouri-St. Louis offers Dean's Non-Resident Scholarships, the Provost's Non-Resident Scholarship, Regional Achievement Awards (for MSEP and students from Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Tennessee) as well as Freshmen Merit Scholarships and Transfer Merit Scholarships.

As you can see, there are plenty of options to reduce your out-of-state tuition if you want to head to college in Missouri. Schedule a chat with your admissions counselor to discuss the details and further questions you may have.