Best Online Colleges in Mississippi

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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.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1Mississippi College75.003/562%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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2William Carey University70.003/558%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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3University of Southern Mississippi69.753/550%Hattiesburg, 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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4Mississippi State University63.753/558%Mississippi State, 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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4University of Mississippi63.753/560%University, 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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6Blue Mountain College60.503/543%Blue Mountain, MS

Blue Mountain College (BMC) is a Christian liberal arts college nestled in the rolling hills of North Mississippi. The school, supported by the Mississippi Baptist Convention, has approximately 600 students and a student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1. The school offers three undergraduate degrees in disciplines including business, education, fine arts and speech, mathematics, and natural science.

BMC is one of the online colleges in Mississippi that offers a BS in business administration, BS in psychology, and BS in criminal justice 100% online. BMC also offers the General Education Program 100% online in an eight-week long course format, so on-campus or online students can fulfill bachelor's degree general education requirements. Students have access to 17 online databases, a vast collection of ebooks, and an online campus bookstore.

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7Mississippi University for Women53.253/539%Columbus, MS

Located in Columbus and founded as the first public college for women in the U.S., MUW began accepting male students over 30 years ago. Offering more than 50 degrees and concentrations through its four colleges, MUW boasts small class sizes (nearly 60% of the school's classes have fewer than 20 students) and 75 student organizations on campus. Some of the undergraduate programs MUW provides through in-person instruction include music therapy, food journalism, kinesiology, and speech-language pathology. A notable alumnus of MUW is Pulitzer-Prize winning author Eudora Welty.

MUW is also one of the best online colleges in Mississippi, with 12 undergraduate programs and two graduate programs available for distance learners through the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS). MUW's online bachelor's degrees include business administration, which has five concentrations available, and public health education. The university provides a variety of resources for distance learners, including financial aid, counseling services, and career services.

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8Belhaven University52.253/549%Jackson, MS

Founded in 1883, Belhaven University (BU) is a nationally recognized Christian university providing students with a strong liberal arts program and an environment in which life's purpose can be found. BU offers 70 areas of study, graduate programs, pre-professional and certificate programs, some of it via e-learning.

One of the best online colleges in Mississippi, BU's online degree programs are grounded in the institution's Christian teaching heritage. Bachelor's degree are offered 100% online in areas such as psychology, Biblical Studies, business, and accounting. A program of note is the BS in management, which has a criminal justice concentration designed for professionals seeking to work in a leadership capacity within the judicial and correctional system. The school notes than bachelor's degrees can be completed online in fewer than four years depending on credit transfers. BU, a Military Friendly School, offers tuition discounts, military benefits and college credit for military training.

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9Jackson State University49.503/545%Jackson, MS

Jackson State offers two programs entirely online: a bachelor’s degree in child care and family education, and a master’s degree in business administration. The child care and family education offering is a degree-completion program.

Applicants must already have their associate degree or have earned at least 45 credits before they apply. Prospective MBA distance learners must have earned an undergraduate degree with a 2.5 GPA or better. For both programs, the degree is priced competitively, with no application fee for the BS program and a nominal charge for out-of-state MBA applicants.

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10Mississippi Valley State University43.001/522%Itta Bena, MS

First offering classes to 14 students in 1950 under the name Mississippi Vocational College, MVSU is located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. The school provides extensive undergraduate and graduate programs in education, professional studies, and arts and sciences. Some bachelor's degrees available at MVSU include accounting, music education, and computer science. Graduate programs include master's degrees in special education, social work, and bioinformatics. The university also offers an honors program, which focuses on developing students' skills in effective communication, critical thinking, information management, and civic responsibility.

In addition, MVSU ranks highly among online colleges in Mississippi, offering distance-learning courses in fields like business, education, criminal justice, and organizational management through the Blackboard LMS. Online students can access technical support through MVSU's Department of Distance and Online Education, but all academic advising is provided by the appropriate academic department.

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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.
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