Mississippi colleges offer numerous levels of online study to accommodate individual academic goals. Whether students are seeking vocational or technical training, a four-year undergraduate degree or post-graduate studies, there is a program in Mississippi to meet those needs. Distance learning is particularly appealing to students seeking to complete a degree or take courses in a major subject not available on a campus convenient to their geographic location.
At the forefront of public postsecondary online education is the Mississippi Public Universities system, which includes the University of Mississippi. All eight MPU campuses offer online degree programs and/or courses in a distance learning format. Several of Mississippi’s two-year public community colleges offer courses online. Among these schools are Meridian Community College, Mississippi Delta Community College, and East Central Community College.
Online programs can additionally be found at many private, non-profit colleges, such as Mississippi College, Blue Mountain College, and William Carey University.
One of the best ways to approach Mississippi’s current online college environment is to take a look at its major educational centers. In most cases, these are located in or near the state’s largest metropolitan areas. A good example of such an area in Mississippi is Jackson. The following two segments focus on the Hospitality State’s capital city its vibrant postsecondary community.
Mississippi’s capital and largest city is home to numerous colleges, including Jackson State University, the fourth largest institution of higher education in the state. Jackson area students can also choose from options such as Mississippi College, the state’s oldest university and the country’s second oldest Baptist school. Jackson is also home to Belhaven University, a four-year Christian liberal arts college that has the honor of hosting the International Ballet Competition.
Millsaps College, which has historical ties to the Methodist Church, attracts more than half of its undergraduates from outside Mississippi. Academic offerings include the option to undertake a self-designed major or complete field study at the college’s biocultural reserve in the Yucatan region of Mexico. Another educational pioneer in Jackson is Tougaloo College, known for its support of the Civil Rights movement. A historically black, private liberal arts institution, Tougaloo features 29 bachelor’s degrees and three associate degrees. Situated on 500 acres at the northern edge of the city, this religious college welcomes applicants of all backgrounds.
Jackson’s universities provide flexible learning options. Tougaloo uses web-based modules in hybrid programs for continuing education certificates, while Millsaps incorporates online components in its accelerated MBA program. Belhaven’s online offerings span associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees as well as certificate programs. Mississippi College serves working adults through accelerated online degree and certificate programs. Among its online majors are business administration, paralegal studies, and loss prevention. Online graduate programs include specialized degrees such as a master’s in applied communication with an emphasis in health services administration. Some online degrees such as nursing and athletic administration require practical or clinical experience in addition to academic courses.
Jackson State University, another option for distance learning, requires online faculty to study distance learning methodology and advises e-learners to undertake Blackboard orientation training. JSU delivers individual courses electronically in subjects such as biology, criminal justice, and psychology. Graduate students can enroll in programs such as an online MBA or a master’s in sport science. JSU also awards a hybrid bachelor’s degree in professional interdisciplinary studies with the option of specializing in faith-based leadership or human resource development. This adult learners program incorporates cooperative learning groups, weekend courses, interactive video classes, and online instruction.
Aspiring students should calculate the various costs associated with prospective Mississippi colleges before enrolling. First and foremost, a budget should allocate funds for tuition, which can vary according to the type of school and a student’s eligibility for resident status. Mississippi colleges offer a comparative cost advantage: in-state tuition rates rank fifth in the nation for affordability. In 2012, yearly tuition averaged $7,151 for students who qualified as state residents.
Budgeting for Mississippi students extends beyond tuition to related costs, including college fees. Schools may charge for services such as registration, orientation, and late schedule changes. College websites generally outline additional costs, which could fund campus government, student legal services, intramural sports, or recreation facilities. In 2012, Mississippi college students paid an average of $813 in fees, bringing their total costs to $7,964 for each academic year.
Collegiate financial planning should also take into account the prices for books, supplies, and a trustworthy internet connection. Room and board can represent a significant portion of the total budget as well. The good news for cash-conscious students is that Mississippi ranks as one of the least expensive states in the nation, with living costs estimated at eight percent below the national average. This table compares the cost of living (COL) of Mississippi metropolitan areas with the national average (100%):
|Urban Area||Composite Index||Housing||Groceries||Utilities||Transportation||Health Care||Misc.|
Tuition, fees, and cost of living comprise three of the most important financial factors when vetting colleges. Students should also consider job prospects and salary expectations after graduation. In other words, what value does a degree from a particular school offer after graduation? The following list shows the top schools in Mississippi for return on investment (ROI), which is factored by taking the total cost of attendance at each school and subtracting the average lifetime earnings of its graduates:
In addition to monetary factors and academic offerings, individuals conducting a college search need to examine accreditation status Financial aid programs typically require colleges to be accredited by an official association that outlines quality standards for educational institutions. The most prestigious form of accreditation is regional; Mississippi colleges seeking this distinction apply to the Commission on Colleges for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools( www.sacscoc.org ).
Distance education is new and exciting but to ensure they are getting the best educational experience, students should educate themselves about the differences between traditional classroom and online learning environments. The best online colleges offer plenty of support services to make students’ experiences at the institution fulfilling. There are also many Mississippi-specific websites providing free tools and resources encompassing many of the needs an online student might have. Below is a short list of some of those online resources currently available at no charge to the user.
More and more often, students are demanding the convenience and flexibility only an online degree or course can provide. Many colleges in Mississippi have met this demand, not only with additional online programs and classes, but also with faculty and resources to complement them. The problem for prospective distance learners, however, is locating online learning options whose quality sets them apart from the rest. The following list ranks the top online colleges in Mississippi based on factors such as academic quality, student services and graduate success. See which schools made our list of the Best Online Colleges in Mississippi for 2015-2016.
|RANK||COLLEGE||Score||Student-Teacher Ratio||Financial Aid||Cost||MORE INFO|
|1||University of Southern Mississippi||98.85||17:1||96%|
The University of Southern Mississippi offers a variety of online college options through its distance-learning program, "Online at Southern Miss." Students can find workforce training, bachelor's, and master's degrees in subjects ranging from elementary education to library information science. Students can also find certificate programs, supplemental endorsements, single courses, and hybrid and executive programs available through distance learning.
Belhaven University provides online college programs to students who want to advance their education through distance learning. The university's distance options include a bachelor's in business administration, a master's in reading literacy, Mississippi teacher certification, and many others. As part of its online programming, the school offers personal attention, flexibility and a Christian perspective.
Mississippi College awards bachelor's and master's degrees as well as post-baccalaureate and graduate level certificates to students pursuing online college learning. Example degrees include a Bachelor's of Science in Paralegal Studies and a Master's of Science in Athletic Administration. The school, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, makes accelerated learning an important part of its distance-education program.
|4||Mississippi State University||94.78||19:1||93%|
Mississippi State University provides students with numerous opportunities to advance their education through distance learning. Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees can be completed online through the university, which is accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Subject areas include business, education, engineering, information systems and more, and the university also offers online college certificate programs.
|5||Blue Mountain College||94.34||13:1||97%|
Blue Mountain College, a Christian institution, offers online course options to students wanting to advance their education through distance learning. Classes are available through e-learning in areas such as biology, history, macroeconomics, music appreciation and the Old Testament. As with the college's campus-based learning, academic excellence, intellectual integrity, and Christian character are a part of its online programs.
|6||University of Mississippi||94.28||19:1||83%|
The University of Mississippi offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees through its distance-learning program, "OlemissOnline." Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees are among the various options online college students can choose from. Ed specialists, certificates, and individual courses are also found online. More than 200 classes are available to students who need core subjects and electives to complete their high-school diploma.
|7||University of Mississippi Medical Center||86.86||4:1||N/A|
The University of Mississippi Medical Center offers online bachelor's degree completion programs to students through distance learning. Students who already have an associate degree in fields like dental hygiene, medical laboratory science, and radiologic science can complete the last two years of a bachelor's degree through the university's "2+U" online college program.
Finding the best online degree or course to meet specific needs can require a great deal of time and effort. Students must first determine exactly what those needs are and then decide how important each is in the overall educational context. Once this is done, research can truly begin. The following search tool is designed to help students find online colleges in Mississippi by allowing them to tailor searches to their unique preferences.