Best Community Colleges in Mississippi

Mississippi community colleges offer many educational opportunities. Find out more about these schools, the state, and in-demand occupations.

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by Staff Writers

Published on January 24, 2022

Edited by Darlene Earnest
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What's the biggest perk of a community college over a four-year university? For many, it's affordability. Mississippi community colleges can offer that. No-cost tuition is available for some in-state students.

Some other advantages about community colleges? Smaller class sizes and a wide variety of courses.

Mississippi also boasts some of the top online community colleges in the nation.

Why Study in Mississippi?

Educational Opportunities

There are all kinds of educational opportunities in Mississippi. One path allows students to start at a community college and then finish their studies at one of the state's well-known four-year schools.

"There's no doubt that the data for decades talks about that if you graduate from a community college in Mississippi that you will perform better in years three and four academically when you go to university," said Meridian Community College President Dr. Thomas Huebner in an interview with WTOK TV.

Economy

Like every other state, Mississippi is working to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For 2022, the state is projected to see steady, slow economic growth. The job outlook follows a similar pattern. Some professions like healthcare and various technology fields are growing faster than others.

While Mississippi's economy isn't "booming," the relative stability has helped the state overcome some economic ups and downs.

Cost of Living

According to the World Population Review, the cost of living in Mississippi was the lowest in the nation in 2021. Certainly, a contributor to this low cost of living is having the lowest housing costs in the country as well, with an average home price of $128,000.

Groceries and utilities cost less than in other areas of the country, along with transportation and gas prices.

Cultural and Community Offerings

Mississippi has plenty of cultural and community offerings. And they vary across the state.

Cities like Natchez have thriving tourism economies. Towns along the coast tend to be more relaxed.

The music scene in Mississippi can be incredible. It's the birthplace of the Delta blues. Gospel and rock also have a strong presence in the state.

Larger cities like Jackson, Hattiesburg, and Biloxi feature a rich nightlife with many restaurants and other venues that offer fine Southern dining and great entertainment.

Climate

If you prefer warmer weather over colder temperatures, Mississippi may be the right fit for you. Wintry weather rarely shows up in the state. Summers can be hot, and humid. High humidity is common throughout the summer months, and rainfall is pretty evenly distributed year-round.

However, Mississippi rarely has an "average" year.

Some years contain flooding and storms, and others are marked by drought. Locals call it "feast or famine" when it comes to weather. The year will either be calm or filled with weather events, with little in between.

Top Degree Programs in Mississippi

Best Online Associate in Education Programs Best Online Associate in Early Childhood Education Programs Best Online Associate in Marketing Programs Best Online Associate in Healthcare Administration Programs Best Online Associate in Medical Billing and Coding Programs Best Online Associate in Web Development Programs

Featured Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Mississippi Employment Outlook

Mississippi's employment outlook overall is stable, but there are growing industries and careers. Average job growth is expected to remain between 1-2% overall. This is due to the declining number of jobs in the mining and logging industries and increases in manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, and information technology occupations.

Employment in government jobs saw declines, but education and health services fields have added jobs slightly faster than other sectors.

5 Mississippi Jobs in Demand


Physical Therapist Assistant

Job Outlook: The demand for physical therapist assistants is projected to grow 32% nationwide from 2020-2030. This is one of the jobs most in demand in Mississippi as well. It indicates the state is making strides in adding healthcare professionals to its workforce.

Description: Supervised by physical therapists, these assistants help patients regain movement and strength after illness, injury, or disease.


Home Health Aide

Description: The home health aide or caregiver helps those with severe illness, dementia, or injury to manage everyday activities. They also monitor the health of these patients, assist them with nutrition and mobility, and more.

This career is often a gateway to other opportunities in the medical field. Those with some college or trade school education and on-the-job training may pursue these jobs. However, those with an associate degree in a healthcare-related field generally earn more.


Computer Programmer and Software Developer

Description: A computer programmer writes code or other computer languages that enable computer or phone applications and software to operate correctly. They'll usually work in offices or even remotely. Software developers design computer applications and programs.

You can pursue a job as a computer programmer or software developer with an associate of sciences in software development. However, many employers will want additional on-the-job training or a bachelor's degree if you want to move ahead in your career.


Plastics Technicians

Description: Plastics technicians set up, operate, and monitor the machines that shape, mold, and cut plastics, often as a part of a more extensive manufacturing process. Most of the time they work in plants or factories. The most common degree is an associate of science in manufacturing or, in some cases, process management.


Industrial Mechanic

Description: The duties of the industrial mechanic involve installation, maintenance, and repair of factory machinery and other industrial machines in a variety of industries. The most common associate degree in the field is in mechanical engineering. Many industrial mechanics move on to pursue a bachelor's degree or other on-the-job and formal training.


Popular Career Paths in Mississippi

Business Administration Healthcare Administration Nursing Education Mechanical Engineering Industrial Engineering Software Engineering Physical Therapy

Best Accredited Community Colleges in Mississippi

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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Best Community Colleges in Mississippi

  1. Copiah-Lincoln Community College
    Location

    Wesson, MS

    Tuition

    $4433

    At Co-Lin, learners can select a transfer- or career-orientated associate degree in one of eight academic areas, including business, fine arts, and science. Many degrees boast an entirely online curriculum, and program websites link current and prospective degree-seekers with extracurricular activities and leadership opportunities.

    Both online and on-campus undergraduates at this Mississippi community college can access the school's valuable student services. At The Write Place, students receive one-on-one writing assistance from volunteer instructors. As degree-seekers approach graduation, they can also consult with career and transfer advisors. Co-Lin boasts transfer agreements with many in-state public colleges and universities.

    Co-Lin accepts students who hold a high school diploma or GED certificate. Incoming students without ACT scores must take placement tests. All students can apply for financial aid, and Co-Lin awards scholarships to learners who earned a 19 or higher on the ACT; these awards max out at $1,400 per semester.

  2. Southwest Mississippi Community College
    Location

    Summit, MS

    Tuition

    $5079

    SMCC's academic programs include pre-professional associate degrees and career and technical education in areas such as automotive technology, cosmetology, and marketing management technology. Certificate programs may vary throughout the year, depending on student demand. Online courses use Canvas and Cengage, among other online learning tools. SMCC also offers Net Tutor software to all online students at no additional cost.

    SMCC boasts multiple clubs, teams, and organizations that allow students to build interpersonal bonds outside of class. Academically gifted degree-seekers can join Phi Theta Kappa or the Student Government Association. Intramural sports include basketball, ping pong, and dodgeball.

    Prospective students can apply for the spring, summer, or fall semester. SMCC highly recommends that applicants submit ACT scores. Financial aid opportunities at this community college in Mississippi include merit-based scholarships; students with a minimum 21 ACT score qualify. The college awards additional financial aid to undergraduates who maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.

  3. East Central Community College
    Location

    Decatur, MS

    Tuition

    $5014

    ECCC's academic programs boast transfer- and career-orientated degrees, as well as four healthcare programs that train future EMTs and surgical technicians. Distance learning at this Mississippi community college features all courses offered by the Mississippi Virtual Community College. This allows online learners at ECCC to benefit from many of the state's best community college instructors.

    In addition to associate degrees and certificates, ECCC offers GED preparation courses and dual-enrollment programs for high school students who live in the Decatur area. High school students can earn college credit through dual-credit and dual-enrollment tracks. The college's Success Center provides one-on-one tutoring support in over 15 academic areas, and faculty members lead tutoring sessions.

    ECCC accepts new degree-seekers in the summer, fall, and spring semesters. New learners without ACT scores must take the ACCUPLACER exam to determine their initial English and math course placements. Incoming students may qualify for institutional scholarships. The college awards a full-tuition scholarship to all learners who earned a 29 or above on the ACT.

  4. East Mississippi Community College
    Location

    Scooba, MS

    Tuition

    $5805

    EMCC's academic programs feature career- and transfer-orientated associate degrees, as well as professional certificates. Students planning to transfer to a four-year college can select a major from one of three academic divisions: humanities and fine arts, mathematics and science, or social science and business. Popular associate programs at this Mississippi community college include forensics, geoscience, and poultry science.

    Distance learning students at EMCC can select from over 450 courses each semester through the Mississippi Virtual Community College -- a consortium of 15 community colleges throughout the state. Many courses offer eight- and 15-week options, and new courses start every two months.

    Prospective degree-seekers who are 20 years old and younger must submit ACT scores. Both on-campus and online learners complete a virtual orientation session before registering for courses. Full-time students with excellent ACT scores may qualify for an institutional scholarship. EMCC also awards financial aid to student athletes and learners who maintain an excellent undergraduate GPA.

  5. Mississippi Delta Community College
    Location

    Moorhead, MS

    Tuition

    $2650

    MDCC offers transfer degrees, career and technical education, and professional development for working professionals. Transfer students can select from dozens of degrees in seven academic areas. Degree-seekers who need to take remedial coursework enroll in the College Prep, Life Skills, and Education Department. After meeting academic benchmarks, these students can start an associate degree.

    MDCC also boasts an Honors College. Requirements include a minimum 25 on the ACT. Degree-seekers must also maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA, take at least 16 credits each semester, and complete honors courses. Finally, Honors College students receive a book allowance and may qualify for additional scholarships.

    Prospective degree-seekers can apply for the spring, summer, or fall semester. First-time college students submit ACT scores in addition to high school transcripts or GED scores. Incoming learners with a minimum 18 ACT score receive a college-funded scholarship. MDCC also awards grants and runs work-study programs on campus.

  6. Coahoma Community College
    Location

    Clarksdale, MS

    Tuition

    $1067

    CCC features a small student-to-teacher ratio, affordable tuition for in-state students, and over 60 associate degrees. This Mississippi community college's seven academic departments award transfer degrees in art, English, math, music, and many other in-demand subjects. Career and technical education programs include barbering, child development, and culinary arts. Many academic programs boast honor societies, clubs, and student organizations.

    Prospective distance learners can take the READI Assessment to determine whether they are likely to succeed academically through online learning. Some online courses may ask degree-seekers to take proctored exams on campus. As a result, learners who do not live near the college's Clarksdale campus should look into testing requirements before enrolling.

    CCC uses different application requirements for first-year students, transfer students, dual-enrollment students, and veterans. All prospective degree-seekers applying to associate programs must submit ACT scores, regardless of their age. Scholarships at this Mississippi community college consider applicants' high school and/or college GPAs, as well as standardized test scores. CCC posts new scholarship opportunities in the fall and spring semesters.

  7. Itawamba Community College
    Location

    Fulton, MS

    Tuition

    $6,377

    ICC offers transfer degrees, career and technical education pathways, and health science programs. This Mississippi community college offers 112 associate degrees from its Belden, Fulton, and Tupelo campuses. ICC also offers online courses outside of those available through the Mississippi Virtual Community College. ICC provides online students with tutoring resources at no additional cost.

    In addition to awarding degrees, ICC partners with community agencies to provide workforce training to Mississippi residents. The Workforce Development Center on the Belden campus partners with outside companies and organizations to create professional development courses for employees.

    Applicants ages 23 and younger must submit ACT scores. In addition to GED scores, ICC accepts HiSET and TASC scores. In-state degree-seekers save approximately 40% on tuition compared to their out-of-state peers. Incoming ICC students should apply for financial aid by deadlines on August 15 or January 15.

  8. Northwest Mississippi Community College
    Location

    Senatobia, MS

    Tuition

    $5,650

    Northwest boasts three academic pathways for current students: academic degrees, technical degrees, and career certificates. The college also offers professional development courses for primary and secondary school teachers living in and around Senatobia, Oxford, and Southaven. This Mississippi community college's non-credit courses also provide community members with personal enrichment opportunities at an affordable cost.

    Distance students at Northwest use Canvas to access course content. Students and professors interact through discussion boards, blogs, and instant messaging software. Online courses have the same academic rigor as their on-campus equivalents. In the summer semester, online degree-seekers can complete courses in an accelerated format.

    Mississippi residents must submit ACT scores, while out-of-state applicants can turn in either ACT or SAT scores. Some degrees and certificates have additional application requirements. Incoming students with a minimum 20 ACT score may qualify for a Presidential or Leadership Scholarship. Other financial aid opportunities include work-study programs.

  9. Northeast Mississippi Community College
    Location

    Booneville, MS

    Tuition

    $7,576

    Northeast awards degrees and certificates in seven academic divisions, including fine arts, health sciences, and mathematics and sciences. The mathematics and sciences division boasts 21 associate degree options, many of which transfer to four-year colleges in Mississippi. Distance learning at Northeast features both traditional and accelerated courses. Each online course requires 2-3 proctored exams on the college's Booneville campus.

    Outside of class, undergraduates can participate in student government or select from dozens of clubs and organizations. Although it operates as a public college, Northeast hosts many faith-based clubs (e.g., Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Good Shepherds, and Christians on Campus). Also, Northeast's counseling center provides essential academic advising and tutoring resources.

    Like other Mississippi community colleges on this ranking, Northeast has different application requirements for first-year, returning, transfer, and dual-enrollment students. Prospective students ages 21 and older do not need to submit ACT scores. Institutional scholarships consider applicants' ACT scores, undergraduate GPA, and other academic achievements.

  10. Holmes Community College
    Location

    Goodman, MS

    Tuition

    $5334

    With three campuses throughout Mississippi -- as well as distance learning opportunities -- Holmes Community College attracts students living throughout the state. This Mississippi community college offers associate degrees in eight academic pathways, career and technical programs, GED courses, and dual-enrollment for high school students.

    Student services at Holmes Community College include course planning, IT support, and degree checklists. The college also provides online and on-campus degree-seekers with free tutoring resources. Academically gifted students tutor their peers by appointment.

    Applicants should submit academic transcripts and test scores; the college uses these documents to determine financial aid. Students who possess a 20 or higher on the ACT may qualify for free tuition. The college awards full tuition -- as well as room and board -- to incoming degree-seekers who possess a minimum 28 ACT score.

Click here to see the best colleges in Mississippi.

Frequently Asked Questions About Community Colleges in Mississippi

Are community colleges worth it? true

Community college can be a great and inexpensive way to get an associate degree and training. And it can be a good choice for those who decide to begin there and then continue on to a four-year college or university.

Mississippi offers some of the most affordable online community colleges and programs where eligible students can get free tuition. So community college in Mississippi can be worth it.

Does Mississippi have good community colleges? true

Mississippi has some great community colleges that can offer an affordable education. Small class sizes allow students to interact more with professors and peers.

The education students receive can help them go straight into the workforce or pursue additional education at a four-year institution. These are just a few of the benefits of attending a community college.

How much does it cost to go to community college in Mississippi? true

For 2020-2021, the community college tuition in Mississippi was $3,280 for in-state students and $5,800 for out-of-state students, according to the Education Data Initiative. Students who enroll in some area community colleges right after high school can receive free tuition if they meet eligibility requirements.

What is the cheapest community college in Mississippi? true

Mississippi Delta Community College is among the most affordable. In spring 2022, the full-time tuition rate is $1,545.

Is Mississippi a good place to live and study? true

Many people are drawn to live and study in Mississippi because of the wide-open spaces, outdoor opportunities, low cost of living, and inexpensive educational opportunities. If you love summer, loathe winter, and are interested in a simpler, slower-paced lifestyle, Mississippi could be the place for you.

Feature Image: Sean Pavone / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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