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.

See Methodology
Rank School Name Ranking Score Location Description
1 Mississippi College RANKING SCORE 72.50 COST Graduation Rate 59% LOCATION 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 Mississippi State University RANKING SCORE 69.75 COST Graduation Rate 60% LOCATION 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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3 University of Southern Mississippi RANKING SCORE 68.75 COST Graduation Rate 45% LOCATION 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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4 William Carey University RANKING SCORE 66.50 COST Graduation Rate 46% LOCATION Hattiesburg, MS

With campuses in Biloxi and Hattiesburg, William Carey University offers a variety of fully online undergraduate and programs in areas of education, nursing, music and ministry studies, and natural and behavioral studies. The university also offers several hybrid programs, including two doctoral degrees.

Carey is one of the most affordable online schools in Mississippi; all online students pay the same per-credit tuition rate, regardless of state residency. The university offers discounted tuition rates for military members and their families.

Freshman applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores and official high school transcripts. Transfer applicants must have a minimum 2.0 GPA and must submit college transcripts.

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5 Blue Mountain College RANKING SCORE 66.00 COST Graduation Rate 51% LOCATION 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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6 Mississippi University for Women RANKING SCORE 65.00 COST Graduation Rate 46% LOCATION Columbus, MS

The W was founded in 1884 in Columbus, Mississippi. The university has been coeducational since 1982. One of the top online schools in Mississippi, MUW offers a variety of online programs, including two graduate programs, three certificate programs, and 13 bachelor's degree programs.

Most of The W's undergraduate programs follow a 2+2 model; students complete the first two years of their bachelor's degree at a community college and the final two years of online coursework at The W. The university offers six minors entirely online.

Transfer applicants must have an associate degree or at least 30 transferable credit hours. Applicants with fewer than 30 previous credit hours must submit high school transcripts.

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7 Belhaven University RANKING SCORE 56.75 COST Graduation Rate 36% LOCATION 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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8 Jackson State University RANKING SCORE 55.75 COST Graduation Rate 38% LOCATION Jackson, MS

JSU is an historically black university founded in 1877. The school provides online degree programs designed to meet the needs of both recent high school graduates and working professionals, with flexible learning environments that effectively utilize technology.

JSU's distance learning programs offer some of the greatest variety among online colleges in Mississippi. JSU offers online bachelor's degrees in childcare and family education, criminal justice, healthcare administration, professional disciplinary studies, and emergency management technology. The university also offers 10 online master's degrees and four specialist programs.

Freshman applicants must provide high school transcripts or GED reports and ACT or SAT scores. The university gives preference to applicants with at least a 3.2 high school GPA. Transfer applicants must submit all college transcripts.

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9 Tougaloo College RANKING SCORE 41.50 COST Graduation Rate 42% LOCATION Tougaloo, MS

Tougaloo College is located outside Jackson and is one of the fastest-growing online colleges in Mississippi. Founded in 1869, Tougaloo College offers a variety of online degrees, including an online bachelor's degree in child development. The school recently added a bachelor's of interdisciplinary studies to its online offerings.

Distance learners design a course of study that aligns with their academic and career goals. Tougaloo's flexible online programs are cohort-based and offer four start dates per year.

All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of state residency. Freshman applicants must have at least a 2.0 high school GPA. Transfer applicants must have a minimum 2.0 GPA in all previous college coursework.

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10 Mississippi Valley State University RANKING SCORE 37.50 COST Graduation Rate 31% LOCATION Itta Bena, MS

Founded in 1950 in Bena, MVSU offers a broad selection of distance learning courses that allow students to complete degrees partially or fully online. One of the top online schools in Mississippi, MVSU offers online courses in areas such as business, criminal justice, education, foreign language, engineering, mass communications, and natural science.

Students access online course materials through Blackboard. Freshman applicants must submit high school transcripts or GED reports and ACT or SAT scores. Transfer applicants must have a minimum 2.0 GPA in all previous college coursework. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition rate for online classes.

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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.

See Methodology
Rank School Name Ranking Score Location Description
1 Mississippi University for Women RANKING SCORE 73.13 COST Graduation Rate 37.99% LOCATION 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 RANKING SCORE 66.25 COST Graduation Rate 48.15% LOCATION 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 RANKING SCORE 62.50 COST Graduation Rate 53.28% LOCATION 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 RANKING SCORE 61.88 COST Graduation Rate N/A LOCATION 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 RANKING SCORE 55.00 COST Graduation Rate 46.86% LOCATION 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.

In 2016, according to data from the 2016 IPEDS report (published in November 2017), most online bachelor's degrees offered in Mississippi were in business administration and management:

Business Administration and Management

Employment growth in this profession is moderate in Mississippi. According to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, long term projections show an increase of 8% in the total number of jobs between 2014 and 2024. Wages decreased by 11% from 2011-2016.

Top Careers in Business Administration

In 2016, what were the top careers in Mississippi for people who had a degree in business administration and management?

Career Name Number of Jobs Average Annual Wage
General and Operations Managers 24,110 $84,750
Administrative Services Managers 3,040 $67,680
Industrial Production Managers 1,650 $92,900
Management Analysts 1,480 $76,110
Sales Managers 1,460 $100,170
Construction Managers 1,120 $68,660
Managers, All Other 990 $89,370
Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers 950 $78,030
Cost Estimators 950 $55,530
Chief Executives 940 $116,330
Social and Community Service Managers 780 $46,880
Business Teachers, Postsecondary 570 $91,580
Career Outlook for General and Operations Managers in Mississippi

Data source: Mississippi Department of Employment Security, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Wages - General and Operations Managers (2011 - 2016)

Data source: Mississippi Department of Employment Security, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Best Schools for Business Administration

In Mississippi, the best online business administration and management bachelor's degrees are offered by:


Registered Nursing

Employment growth in this profession is moderate in Mississippi. According to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, long term projections show an increase of 15% in the total number of jobs between 2014 and 2024. Wages increased by 1% from 2011-2016.

Top Careers in Registered Nursing

What were the top careers in Mississippi in 2016 for people who had a degree in registered nursing?

Career Name Number of Jobs Average Annual Wage
Registered Nurses 28,590 $57,010
Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary 620 $72,390
Career Outlook for Registered Nurses in Mississippi

Data source: Mississippi Department of Employment Security, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Wages - Registered Nurses (2011 - 2016)

Data source: Mississippi Department of Employment Security, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Best Schools for Registered Nursing

In Mississippi, the best online registered nursing bachelor's degrees are offered by:


Health Care Administration/Management

Employment growth in this profession is strong in Mississippi. According to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, long term projections show an increase of 19% in the total number of jobs between 2014 and 2024. Wages increased by 10% from 2011-2016.

Top Careers in Health Care Administration

In 2016, what were the top careers in Mississippi for people who had a degree in health care administration/management?

Career Name Number of Jobs Average Annual Wage
Medical and Health Services Managers 2,580 $85,220
Career Outlook for Medical and Health Services Managers in Mississippi

Data source: Mississippi Department of Employment Security, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Wages - Medical and Health Services Managers (2011 - 2016)

Data source: Mississippi Department of Employment Security, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Best Schools for Health Care Administration

In Mississippi, the best online health care administration/management bachelor's degrees are offered by:


Bible/Biblical Studies

Employment growth in this profession in Mississippi is limited. According to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, long term projections show an increase of 19% in the total number of jobs between 2014 and 2024. Wages decreased by 27% from 2011-2016.

Top Careers in Biblical Studies

In 2016, what were the top careers in Mississippi for people who had a degree in bible/biblical studies?

Career Name Number of Jobs Average Annual Wage
Directors, Religious Activities and Education 70 $40,390
Philosophy and Religion Teachers, Postsecondary 70 $65,900
Career Outlook for Directors of Religious Activities and Education in Mississippi

Data source: Mississippi Department of Employment Security, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Wages - Directors, Religious Activities and Education (2011 - 2016)

Data source: Mississippi Department of Employment Security, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Best Schools for Biblical Studies

In Mississippi, the best online bible/biblical studies bachelor's degrees are offered by:


Elementary Education and Teaching

Employment growth in this profession is moderate in Mississippi. According to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, long term projections show an increase of 7% in the total number of jobs between 2014 and 2024. Wages increased by 2% from 2011-2016.

Top Careers in Elementary Education

In 2016, what were the top careers in Mississippi for people who had a degree in elementary education and teaching?

Career Name Number of Jobs Average Annual Wage
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 15,390 $42,370
Career Outlook for Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education in Mississippi

Data source: Mississippi Department of Employment Security, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Wages - Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education (2011 - 2016)

Data source: Mississippi Department of Employment Security, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Best Schools for Elementary Education

In Mississippi, the best online elementary education and teaching bachelor's degrees are offered by:


Rankings Archive

Best Online Colleges in Mississippi of 2017
Rank School Location
1 Mississippi College Clinton, MS
2 University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg, MS
3 Mississippi State University Mississippi State, MS
4 Blue Mountain College Blue Mountain, MS
5 Belhaven University Jackson, MS
Most Affordable
RANK SCHOOL LOCATION
1 Mississippi University for Women Columbus, MS
2 Blue Mountain College Blue Mountain, MS
3 Mississippi College Clinton, MS
4 Mississippi State University Mississippi State, MS
5 University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg, MS
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