Best Online Colleges in Mississippi

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Badge (Online) with 2-Line TitleBest Collegesin Mississippi2017
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The sticker price on tuition and fees for in-state students in Mississippi remains below the national average. Alongside, state and local grants have been steadily growing, reflecting the state’s commitment to providing affordable education.

As part of the Southern Regional Education Board, Mississippi students enjoy reduced tuition and a simplified enrollment process for more than 1,900 undergraduate programs, many of them online, from 15 participating SREB states. The Board also provides job and graduate program search tools and application assistance. SREB’s Electronic Campus is specifically designed for online students. With a comprehensive search function for courses and programs and financial aid and college prep assistance, students can find the classes they need to complete their degree. Paired with the Distance Learning tool from Mississippi Public Universities, and any prospective student can navigate their way their way through an online program. The Mississippi Virtual Community College is another useful organization that online students should know about. A consortium of 15 community colleges, the MVC allows students to take online courses from any of its member institutions.

The future of online education in Mississippi is bright. The state has taken steps to reduce and stabilize tuition, and has created organizations that cater to the needs of distance learners.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Mississippi College 74.72 62% Clinton, MS

The oldest college in the state, Mississippi College (MC) offers a liberal arts curriculum integrating faith and academic rigor in more than 80 undergraduate options and 50 graduate areas of study. Located in Clinton, the school is home to students from 39 states and more than 20 foreign countries.

MC is one of the online colleges in Mississippi offering accelerated bachelor's degree programs to accommodate working professionals in business administration, communication, and applied communication, in an eight-week format. Other bachelor's degree programs are offered online in paralegal studies, homeland security, RN-to-BSN, and loss prevention. The BS in administration of justice with an emphasis in loss prevention is designed for professionals in corporate loss prevention, risk management, and insurance. MC touts its affordability with low tuition, scholarships, and financial aid options. The school is committed to veterans outreach and provides help with admissions, advising, and tutorial assistance.

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2 University of Southern Mississippi 73.06 50% Hattiesburg, MS

William Carey offers a bachelor’s degree in physical education, along with an RN to BSN and graduate programs in education and criminal justice. Students can also work towards a doctorate in education leadership or complete a specialist in instructional leadership program online. Beyond these fully online programs, William Carey offers a few hybrid options that combine in-class education with online courses.

WCU stands out among other online colleges in MS due to the ample amount of resources available to students. Distance learners at WCU have access to over 50 research databases, including e-journals and e-books, and can even request to have print resources mailed to them through WCU Libraries.

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3 Mississippi State University 65.00 58% Mississippi State, MS

The University of Southern Mississippi (Southern Miss) is a research-driven institution with approximately 15,000 students and more than 180 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Undergraduate students have 142 bachelor's degree programs from which to choose on its campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, teaching and research sites throughout the state, and online.

Southern Miss is one of the best online colleges in Mississippi offering high-quality elearning education and affordability. Several degrees are offered 100% online in areas such as applied technology, business administration, and education. Of note are the 100% online BS in industrial engineering technology (logistics) and BS in industrial engineering technology, both of which prepare professionals with a strong knowledge base in the technical sciences and applied mathematics. For online students interested in pursuing a life on campus, the school has about 300 student organizations in areas such as the arts, business, athletics, Greek Life, and religion.

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4 Blue Mountain College 63.61 43% Blue Mountain, MS

Ranked among the nation's top research universities, Mississippi State University has a history of award-winning academic programs and high-quality career preparation. Mississippi State offers more than 80 majors, including bachelor's degrees in the arts and sciences, business, education, and engineering.

One of Mississippi's online colleges, Mississippi State offers four bachelor of science degrees 100% online in business technology education, elementary education with concentrations in early childhood or middle school, geosciences, and interdisciplinary studies. Of note is the BS in geosciences, concentration in broadcast and operational meteorology designed to complement military weather training. Among the resources available to online learners are the Distance@State Orientation class to all new undergraduate and graduate students, online library resources, and online tutoring. For online students who want to engage in campus life, Mississippi State offers more than 1,000 study abroad opportunities, including to several countries in Europe, Israel, and Thailand.

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5 Belhaven University 55.28 49% Jackson, MS

The University of Mississippi, commonly referred to as Ole Miss, boasts an exceptional online degree platform for both undergraduates and graduates. The school offers a range of specialized programs in business, counseling, education, engineering, English as a Second Language, health care, and nursing.

All online courses are available through Blackboard. Courses are primarily taught asynchronously; some hybrid programs and courses are available as well. All distance learners are encouraged to take advantage of Ole Miss’ electronic resources, which can be accessed through the Mississippi Libraries web site.

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If you want to qualify for a range of high-paying job opportunities, earning a college degree is key. When deciding where and what you want to study, you may end up weighing both in-state and out-of-state schools. If you are from Mississippi, there are many advantages to attending college in your home state. Sticking close to home can qualify you for in-state tuition and help you build a network of regional professional contacts. You may also benefit from your school’s name recognition on the local job market, and you’ll be relatively close by if you need to occasionally visit campus.

When researching programs, be sure to consider our list of the most affordable online colleges in Mississippi. All of the schools in this list are accredited, and our rankings highlight the colleges that offer the best blend of affordable tuition and return on investment.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Mississippi University for Women 73.13 37.99% Columbus, MS

Contrary to the school’s name, Mississippi University for Women has accepted both men and women since 1982. Locals in Columbus refer to the school as "The W," and the university offers 18 online bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs. To this end, The W delivers all online program coursework asynchronously.

All bachelor’s degrees at The W are 2+2 programs, meaning that students must have completed two years of coursework at a community college (30 credits of general education) with a minimum GPA of 2.0 to gain acceptance. The W earns its place as one of the most affordable online colleges in Mississippi by offering scholarships and out-of-state fee waivers for military members, legacy students, and other groups.

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2 Blue Mountain College 66.25 48.15% Blue Mountain, MS

A private, Baptist-affiliated liberal arts college outside of Tupelo, Blue Mountain College offers online general education courses in addition to online bachelor’s degrees in business administration, psychology, and criminal justice. Each program utilizes synchronous learning, as students must attend online classes through Blackboard at specific times. Unlike many other online colleges in Mississippi, BMC has a low enrollment, and the school maintains small course sizes and close student/faculty relations in its online programs.

BMC welcomes transfer students, requiring a minimum GPA of 1.5 (less than 30 credits) or 2.0 (more than 30 credits) from their previous schools. As one of the more affordable online colleges in Mississippi, BMC allows online students to pay in-state, per-credit tuition.

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3 Mississippi College 62.50 53.28% Clinton, MS

Despite being the oldest college in Mississippi, Jackson's Mississippi College is a modern school, offering 33 undergraduate and graduate online programs. Designed with working adults in mind, MC’s programs strive to make online learning as accessible as possible, offering asynchronous learning and accelerated degree options.

Freshman applicants to MC need only submit a high school transcript or GED and ACT/SAT scores. Transfer students must have earned a minimum GPA of 2.0 at their previous school, although a 2.5 GPA is required to be eligible for academic scholarships. MC offers many resources to ameliorate the burden of tuition costs, including discounts for accelerated online programs in addition to scholarships. These benefits -- along with MC’s already low tuition costs -- make the school one of the most affordable online colleges in Mississippi.

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4 Mississippi State University 61.88 N/A Mississippi State, MS

Starkville’s Mississippi State University, boasts 30 online undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs. Offered through the school’s Center for Distance Education, most of these programs are master’s or doctoral degrees. In addition to offering one of the most diverse slates of distance education programs in the state, MSU is also one of the most affordable online colleges in Mississippi, allowing out-of-state online students to pay in-state tuition and offering the Distance Makes a Difference scholarship.

All transfer applicants should have earned a minimum GPA of 2.0 at their previous school, in addition to at least 30 credits or an associate degree. Freshman applicants should have earned a minimum high school GPA of 3.2, although strong SAT/ACT scores can reduce the minimum GPA requirement.

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5 University of Southern Mississippi 55.00 46.86% Hattiesburg, MS

Located in Hattiesburg, the University of Southern Mississippi offers more than 50 online undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, the most distance education programs among all colleges in Mississippi. These programs vary in delivery method, with courses using both synchronous and asynchronous courses, in addition to 16 hybrid programs. USM offers below average tuition rates and in-state tuition to all online students, earning its spot as one of the most affordable online colleges in Mississippi.

For freshman applicants, USM requires a minimum high school GPA of 3.2, although students with strong test scores and a high class ranking can apply with a lower GPA. Transfer students must have earned an associate degree or at least 30 credits at a regionally accredited school with a minimum GPA of 2.0.

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More About Online Colleges in Mississippi

Mississippi distance learning offers a number of opportunities for online degree seekers. With much to consider, students must weigh several key factors in choosing an online education program.

  • Accreditation – A degree from a school with no accreditation will be worth little in the professional world. Financial aid may also be dependent on attending a school with the proper accreditation. Important accreditation bodies in Mississippi include the Southern Association of Colleges and School Commission on Colleges.
  • Degree congruency – Many schools confer the exact same degree through on-campus and online programs. Other programs differ somewhat for the online format. If you want to receive a degree congruent to the on-campus offering, ensure this is how the program is established.
  • Job Placement and Career Advancement – You don’t simply want a degree, but one that launches your career. Investigate a school’s advisory and career placement program, and partnerships with businesses in your desired industry. For graduate-level programs, check into research and grant opportunities.

Browse our list of the best online colleges in Mississippi for more insight into distance learning programs in this state.

NCES Report

Statistics from the fall of 2012 show that 74.6% of students enrolled in Mississippi Title IV institutions were not enrolled in any distance education courses. This number was fairly consistent between undergraduate and graduate students. The NCES also reports for Mississippi that year:

  • 11.6% of students enrolled in two-year institutions studied entirely online.
  • 1.6% of students enrolled at private nonprofit four-year institutions studied entirely online.
  • 92.2% of those enrolled in online coursework through Mississippi schools were residents of Mississippi.
  • Of those enrolled at four-year private for-profit institutions, none of those completing online coursework lived outside the United States.

Rankings Archive

Best Online Colleges in Mississippi of 2016
Rank School Location
1 William Carey University Hattiesburg, MS
2 Blue Mountain College Blue Mountain, MS
3 Mississippi State University Mississippi State, MS
4 Mississippi College Clinton, MS
5 University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg, MS
6 University of Mississippi University, MS
7 Jackson State University Jackson, MS
8 Belhaven University Jackson, MS