2022 Top Public Colleges and Universities in Missouri

Public colleges and universities are often the most affordable option for students pursuing higher education, but it's not just affordability that makes these institutions attractive. Public institutions also rank highly among the best colleges and universities in many states, Missouri included.

Public colleges and universities receive state and federal funding. Although they generally have larger class sizes than private institutions, they also tend to offer a wide variety of academic programs, diverse student bodies, and prestigious research opportunities.

2022 Best Public Colleges and Universities in Missouri

  1. #1

    Lex La-Ray Technical Center

    Lexington, MO

    Graduation Rate

    82%

    Enrollment

    31

    Format

    In person

    Lex La-Ray Technical Center hosts a total of 10 certificate programs, offering varied professional education to Missouri students. Programs deliver rigorous curricula that prepare learners for careers and further studies. Students acquire knowledge to enter the workforce or advance their careers. Learners can explore how to apply lessons learned in real-world contexts. The institution undergoes regular evaluations to maintain its accreditation status. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. As an accredited institution, learners enrolled in the school qualify for federal financial aid. The school's website provides information about each program's residency and practical experience requirements. The postsecondary institution has received accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education.

  2. #2

    Grand River Technical School

    Chillicothe, MO

    Graduation Rate

    93%

    Enrollment

    84

    Format

    In person

    Grand River Technical School hosts 9 certificate programs, offering professional training to students throughout Missouri. Learners complete rigorous curricula emphasizing theoretical and practical knowledge. Degree-seekers prepare to launch their career or pursue promotions. The school's experiential learning opportunities help learners apply their knowledge in the real world. The institution meets high academic standards to maintain its accreditation status. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. As an accredited institution, learners enrolled in the school can receive federal financial aid. Students can learn about requirements through the school's website. The institution has been accredited by the Council on Occupational Education.

  3. #3

    Lake Career and Technical Center

    Camdenton, MO

    Graduation Rate

    100%

    Enrollment

    9

    Format

    In person

    A public school based in in Missouri, Lake Career and Technical Center offers professional training in many different fields. Candidates can study online in person in Camdenton. Learners can enroll in 7 certificate programs. The programs train students in one specialized area of study. Learners can complete diplomas and certificates in far less time than traditional four-year bachelor's degrees. Certificates and diplomas can improve students' professional and academic prospects. Earning a professional credential can help students increase their job opportunities and salary potential. These credentials can also lead students to an associate or bachelor's degree Credits earned in a diploma or certificate program may transfer to a two- or four-year degree.

  4. #4

    Applied Technology Services

    Sunset Hills, MO

    Graduation Rate

    79%

    Enrollment

    143

    Format

    In person

    Located in Missouri, Applied Technology Services offers 1 certificate programs. Enrollees complete a rigorous curriculum emphasizing both theory and practice. Students gain skills necessary to succeed in professional roles. The school's experiential learning opportunities help enrollees apply their knowledge in the real world. The accredited institution meets high academic standards. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. As an accredited institution, enrollees in a program at the school can receive federal financial aid. The school provides information about general education and major coursework on its website. The institution has been accredited by the Council on Occupational Education.

  5. #5

    Hillyard Technical Center

    Saint Joseph, MO

    Graduation Rate

    81%

    Enrollment

    70

    Format

    In person

    A top-ranked public school in Missouri, Hillyard Technical Center offers a variety of professional programs. Learners interested in a faster course of study can select from 6 certificate programs at the school. Program curriculum teaches core topics and specialized training. The programs feature rigorous curricula. After graduating from a certificate, students seek opportunities in related fields. A total of 100% of students get financial aid to pay for college. Learners can receive federal financial aid at this accredited institution. The school's admissions department can answer questions about the application process. The school is accredited by an independent body to ensure quality.

  6. #6

    Kirksville Area Technical Center

    Kirksville, MO

    Graduation Rate

    73%

    Enrollment

    35

    Format

    In person

    Kirksville Area Technical Center hosts a total of 6 certificate programs, offering varied professional education to Missouri students. Students complete a rigorous curriculum and develop theoretical and practical knowledge. Students gain skills necessary to launch their career or pursue promotions. Experiential learning opportunities let learners apply their knowledge in real-world contexts. The institution undergoes regular evaluations to maintain its accreditation status. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. Enrollees at the accredited postsecondary institution can receive federal financial aid. Prospective degree-seekers can learn about program requirements through the college's website. The postsecondary institution is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education.

  7. #7

    Saline County Career Center

    Marshall, MO

    Graduation Rate

    100%

    Enrollment

    24

    Format

    In person

    A public school located in in Missouri, Saline County Career Center offers professional education for many career paths. The school offers courses in person in Marshall or via distance education. Learners can choose from 1 certificate programs. Students in programs gain specialized professional training. Diploma and certificate programs don't require general education courses, which makes them faster to complete than four-year bachelor's degrees. Diplomas and certificates can help stuents change the direction of their careers. Comon professional outcomes include more job opportunities and increased salary potential. A diploma or certificate can also prepare students to enroll in an associate or bachelor's program. Some schools let students transfer credits from a diploma or certificate toward another degree.

  8. #8

    University of Missouri-Columbia

    Columbia, MO

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    30,014

    Format

    Online, In person

    From its campus in Columbia, Missouri, University of Missouri-Columbia awards degrees as a public institution. Instructors draw on their expertise in diverse fields. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or a bachelor's degree. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The institution reports that 89% of learners receive financial aid, while 38% take out loans. Bachelor's students graduate from the school at a rate of 71%. The admission rate for applicants is 81%. Prospective applicants can contact the admissions office for more information about applying. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  9. #9

    State Technical College of Missouri

    Linn, MO

    Graduation Rate

    74%

    Enrollment

    1,724

    Format

    In person

    State Technical College of Missouri is a public institution located in Linn, Missouri. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. At the accredited institution, learners qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. At the institution, 95% of students receive financial aid and 47% take out loans. Learners graduate from the school at a rate of 74%. We do not currently have data on the school's admission rate. Admissions advisors can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. State Technical College of Missouri has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

  10. #10

    South Central Career Center

    West Plains, MO

    Graduation Rate

    77%

    Enrollment

    58

    Format

    In person

    Offering 7 certificate programs, South Central Career Center ranks among the top schools in Missouri. Students can often complete a diploma or certificate in weeks or months. These credential programs focus on career advancement, building new skills in an accelerated timeframe. Students develop specialized skills that apply to specific career paths. The school has received accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education. Students can contact South Central Career Center's admission department with any questions about the application process. After finishing a program, graduates seek careers in a corresponding field.

Showing 1 to 10 of 50 results
PreviousNext

Why Choose a Public College or University in Missouri?

The best public colleges in Missouri offer students standout academics at an affordable price. The state features a network of 13 public colleges and universities and 16 public two-year colleges, providing students with many options to pursue higher education. In addition to their affordability, public institutions in Missouri offer strong academics and active campus life.

When weighing public versus private colleges, finances typically play a significant role in the decision-making process. The affordability of public four-year colleges allows students to enhance their career options while minimizing student debt.

Prospective students should also consider what they value in their on-campus experience. If students prioritize small class sizes and a small-town feel, a large public institution may feel overwhelming. When choosing a college, learners should ensure that their choice meets various financial, academic, and social factors.

Students interested in attending college in Missouri should consider public colleges and universities in Missouri. These schools offer affordable tuition rates and the benefits of a big college experience. Continue reading to learn more about the best public schools in Missouri.

Pros and Cons of Attending a Public College or University in Missouri

Pros

Public colleges and universities traditionally have more affordable tuition rates than private institutions. Students also usually receive more access to on-campus employment.Public institutions often feature a robust campus life with sporting events, Greek life, and various student organizations that play large roles in the school's culture.Public schools often provide diverse majors, minors, and other academic opportunities.

Cons

For some students, a large public institution's size can feel impersonal and impact academic performance.Due to large class sizes, students may have difficulty accessing their professors. Public college and university students can often expect less one-on-one time with their instructors.Sometimes navigating administrative issues at large schools can prove challenging. Due to their size and staffing shortages, completing seemingly simple tasks can be challenging.

Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Colleges and Universities in Missouri

Especially for students pursuing a four-year degree, for-profit institutions typically lack the accreditation, student support, and academic credentials that nonprofit schools offer. All of the top public colleges and universities in Missouri are nonprofit institutions and meet the rigorous standards set by accrediting institutions.

While for-profit schools in Missouri advertise their accessibility and admission rates, these programs typically cost more than the best public schools in Missouri. For-profit schools can have a bad reputation because they often prioritize profits over academics and student services.

How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Public College or University in Missouri?

The cost of college can vary widely between schools. But public colleges in Missouri offer in-state students access to reasonable tuition rates and standout academic opportunities. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average in-state tuition for Missouri students fell just under $9,000 for the 2019-2020 year. Students who attended private institutions paid over $26,000 that year in tuition and fees.

While non-resident students pay more than in-state learners, out-of-state tuition is often still less expensive than private tuition. NCES data also reveal that room and board costs between public and private schools are relatively similar — the vast cost difference when paying for college lies almost exclusively in tuition rates.

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

Frequently Asked Questions About Public Colleges and Universities in Missouri

How many public colleges and universities are there in Missouri?

According to the Missouri Department of Higher Education, the state has 13 public four-year colleges and universities and more than a dozen public community colleges. As a result, Missouri offers various affordable academic paths for prospective students.

The best public schools in Missouri offer affordable tuition rates, strong academics, career services, and student support. All of the state's four-year public institutions hold accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

What is the most expensive public college or university in Missouri?

The University of Missouri-Columbia is among Missouri's most expensive public four-year institutions. According to NCES data, in-state students paid $11,475 in tuition and fees for the 2021-2022 academic year. Out-of-state students paid over $30,000. Room and board fees cost students another $10,796 on average that year.

While college is expensive, students can reduce costs. Alongside various financial aid tools, students can complete large portions of their general education requirements at community colleges throughout the state. This option allows learners to complete academic requirements at a cheaper rate while reducing their time at four-year institutions.

What is the least expensive public college or university in Missouri?

Harris-Stowe State University is among the least expensive public four-year colleges and universities in Missouri. According to NCES data, in-state tuition and fees for the 2021-2022 academic year averaged $5,868. Out-of-state students paid $10,500 in tuition and fees.

Various factors impact how much college costs, but public institutions in Missouri offer an inexpensive path to a bachelor's degree. Unlike private schools that often charge high tuition rates, the best public schools in Missouri offer low-cost undergraduate programs.

What is the biggest public college or university in Missouri?

The University of Missouri-Columbia, also known as Mizzou, is the state's flagship public institution with the state's largest student body. With a student enrollment of over 30,000, Mizzou is a public land-grant university that was established in 1839. Mizzou is also home to one of the oldest journalism schools in the world.

Some of Mizzou's most popular undergraduate degrees include business, health sciences, engineering, and biomedical sciences. In addition to strong academics, Mizzou is known for Division I athletics and Greek culture. Missouri's flagship school offers more than 300 programs.

Is a public college or university right for me?

Choosing a public institution is a solid choice for cost-conscious students who might prefer the hustle and bustle of a large college campus. Students enrolling in public institutions can expect strong academics and an active campus culture that involves college mainstays like sports, Greek life, and various student organizations.

If a public institution's size feels daunting, private schools might be a better choice. While the cost of private institutions can seem prohibitive, many students often have access to generous scholarship opportunities. When researching potential schools, contact admissions officials to answer questions and start a dialogue.