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Missouri Online Colleges & Universities: Top Schools for 2018

Updated on: 01/04/2018
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With well over 100 colleges and universities in Missouri, students have plenty of options available to them. However, finding a program that both suits your needs and your budget can be challenging. Continue reading to find all of the resources you want on what Missouri has to offer and learn more about accredited online learning in the state. Find a list of online colleges in Missouri and get answers to common questions about tuition, residency requirements, state-sponsored programs, financial aid, scholarships and more.

Top Picks for Affordability: Missouri’s Best Online Colleges for 2018

Our experts and researchers have analyzed hundreds of schools in order to narrow down the best accredited online colleges in Missouri. Schools were ranked according to our rigorous criteria, such as their affordability, number of online programs, student-to-faculty ratios and more. Keep reading to see the schools that made the best and most affordable online colleges in Missouri list for 2017 – 2018.

  • Accredited public or private not-for-profit institution

  • At least 3 online associate degrees or certificate programs (2-year schools)

  • At least 3 online bachelor’s or master’s degrees (4-year schools)

  • Annual in-state tuition below $5,000 (2-year schools)

  • Annual in-state tuition below $25,000 (4-year schools)

Colleges receive a total score based on performance in the following categories:

  • Average in-state net price for first-time/full-time undergraduates

  • Count and breadth of online programs available

  • Student-teacher ratio

  • 6-year graduation rate (4-year schools only)

  • % of beginning, full-time undergrads receiving scholarship/grant aid from the college

  • Average $ of financial aid students receive directly from the college

  • Availability of academic/career counseling services

  • Availability of job placement services for students and graduates

  • 3-year loan default rate

  • AC Online Peer-Based Value (PBV)*

*PBV is a proprietary metric that compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or a similar) qualitative score. It also compares the qualitative score of the program to the score of other programs with the same (or similar) cost. In short, the PBV calculation denotes the overall value – or ‘bang for your buck’ – of an online degree.

Our college rankings are backed by data collected and analyzed from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, a program managed by the National Center for Education Statistics. Surveying over 7,500 colleges annually, it is among the most longstanding and trusted providers of U.S. postsecondary information.

  • Most recent “Final Release” data available as of October 2017

Rank University Location Score Annual Tuition # of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher RatioGrad RateCredit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Webster University Saint Louis, MO 100.00 $24,500 24 95% 13:159%yes yes yes
2 Missouri University of Science and Technology Rolla, MO 98.56 $8,220 16 84% 19:163%no yes yes
3 Park University Parkville, MO 98.42 $10,500 30 65% 17:143%yes yes yes
4 University of Missouri-St Louis Saint Louis, MO 98.16 $9,474 3 84% 17:146%no yes yes
5 Northwest Missouri State University Maryville, MO 98.10 $4,288 7 94% 20:148%no yes yes
6 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO 98.03 $24,694 6 85% 13:167%yes yes yes
7 Lindenwood University Saint Charles, MO 98.00 $15,230 7 96% 13:145%yes yes yes
8 Missouri Baptist University Saint Louis, MO 97.93 $21,620 10 98% 18:143%yes yes yes
9 University of Missouri-Columbia Columbia, MO 97.84 $8,220 19 65% 20:170%no yes yes
10 Hannibal-LaGrange University Hannibal, MO 97.78 $18,680 6 87% 11:161%yes yes yes
11 Fontbonne University Saint Louis, MO 97.72 $22,770 4 93% 11:137%yes yes yes
12 Culver-Stockton College Canton, MO 97.41 $23,750 4 96% 15:145%no yes yes
13 William Woods University Fulton, MO 97.26 $20,550 5 100% 11:156%yes yes yes
14 Columbia College Columbia, MO 97.16 $6,582 28 22% 32:141%yes yes yes
15 University of Central Missouri Warrensburg, MO 97.13 $6,395 20 63% 20:154%yes yes yes
16 Missouri State University-Springfield Springfield, MO 97.12 $6,120 31 55% 21:153%no yes yes
17 Southeast Missouri State University Cape Girardeau, MO 96.90 $6,047 10 74% 21:149%no yes yes
18 Evangel University Springfield, MO 96.86 $19,676 4 84% 14:151%yes yes yes
19 Missouri Southern State University Joplin, MO 95.62 $5,196 7 58% 18:136%yes yes yes
20 Drury University Springfield, MO 95.56 $8,970 5 79% 19:154%no yes yes
21 City Vision College Kansas City, MO 94.60 $6,000 4 100% 7:1N/Ayes no no
22 Calvary Bible College and Theological Seminary Kansas City, MO 94.11 $9,520 3 69% 7:143%yes no yes
23 Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Kansas City, MO 91.82 $5,980 3 29% 18:117%yes yes no
24 Central Methodist University-College of Graduate and Extended Studies Fayette, MO 90.78 $6,750 26 N/A 18:1N/Ano no yes
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2-Year Best College Rankings

Rank University Location Score Annual Tuition # of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher RatioGrad RateCredit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Three Rivers Community College Poplar Bluff, MO 100.00 $4,320 44 17% 21:1N/Ano yes yes
2 State Fair Community College Sedalia, MO 98.43 $3,288 25 15% 17:1N/Ayes yes yes
3 Jefferson College Hillsboro, MO 97.50 $3,504 9 11% 18:1N/Ayes yes yes
4 Crowder College Neosho, MO 97.28 $2,712 18 15% 14:1N/Ayes yes yes
5 Ozarks Technical Community College Springfield, MO 95.54 $3,420 21 6% 21:1N/Ayes yes yes
6 North Central Missouri College Trenton, MO 95.38 $3,270 31 25% 20:1N/Ayes no yes
7 Moberly Area Community College Moberly, MO 94.92 $3,690 7 6% 19:1N/Ayes yes yes
8 Saint Louis Community College Saint Louis, MO 94.33 $4,050 11 3% 17:1N/Ayes yes yes

Online Colleges, A Growing Trend in Missouri

Online learning is becoming more and more popular across the United States and Missouri is no exception. The National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) reported that by fall 2012 over 50,000 students were enrolled in exclusively online programs in Missouri. Even more students were enrolled in hybrid programs that involved both on-campus and online components. The Open Education Database includes nearly 100 online schools and programs for the entire state of Missouri. Individuals interested in online programs now have dozens of opportunities and resources available.

Tuition & Financial Aid for Missouri’s Online Colleges

Colleges and universities in Missouri have two types of tuition: in-state and out-of-state. The in-state tuition is significantly lower than out-of-state and is typically only available to Missouri residents. Students who permanently reside somewhere other than Missouri pay the out-of-state tuition when attending a college or university based in Missouri. For example, in the 2015-2016 school year, public colleges and universities in Missouri had the following average tuitions:

In-state tuition: $8,178

Out-of-state tuition: $19,860

Source: U.S. Department of Education, 2017

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Establishing residency is not necessarily complicated but does require dedication: in order to qualify for in-state tuition, applicants must live in Missouri for at least one full year before applying. Learn more about establishing residency in Missouri and qualifying for in-state tuition rates in the residency section of the Missouri Code of State Regulation.

If I enroll in an online college in Missouri will I pay in-state or out-of-state tuition?

Which tuition type a student pays depends on which state they have residence in. Applicants can usually only receive in-state tuition if they live in the same state the college is based in. In these cases, Missourians are eligible for lower in-state tuitions for Missouri schools. Out-of-state students may be able to obtain in-state tuition at Missouri colleges by moving to Missouri or if certain military service exceptions apply.

However, for prospective students living in the Midwest, the Midwestern Higher Education Compact’s Midwest Student Exchange Program allows some students to qualify for a reduced out-of-state tuition rate. The participating states are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Applicants living in one of these states may qualify for a lowered tuition rate at a college or university in the other participating states.

Quick summary on tuition:
  • 1. Missouri residents are eligible for a lower tuition rate than those who live outside of Missouri at most Missouri-based schools.

  • 2. Out-of-state students who live in other Midwest states may receive a reduced out-of-state tuition from some Missouri schools thanks to the Midwestern Student Exchange Program.

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How do I find financial aid information and apply for tuition help in Missouri?

With step-by-step application guides and program directories, Missouri Department of Higher Education is a good place to start for both out-of-state students and Missouri residents. Prospective students should always submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); the United States federal government and the state of Missouri both use the FAFSA to determine a student’s eligibility for grants, loans and other forms of student aid. The FAFSA needs to be resubmitted yearly between the end of October and the end of January. Some of Missouri’s financial assistance programs are first-come-first-serve so it’s best to submit the FAFSA sooner rather than later.

Missouri’s primary financial assistance award is the Access Missouri Financial Assistance Program. The Missouri Department of Education reviews FAFSA applications to determine eligibility for this program, so there is no application or paperwork beyond submitting the FAFSA. Access Missouri is a need-based award and only available to Missouri residents.

  • Expected enrollment status


  • Financial need

    Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $12,000 or less as determined by the FAFSA application

  • Maximum award

    $2,850 per year; amount awarded depends on need, additional scholarships and length of degree or certificate program

  • Limits

    Students who already have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent credit hours are ineligible; theology and divinity programs are excluded

  • Renewable

    Yes, for a maximum of 10 semesters depending on the length of program

  • GPA

    Minimum 2.5 GPA for renewal; no minimum requirement for first year in program

College Scholarships & Grants for Missouri Students

Scholarships and grants in Missouri generally come from three places: the state or federal government, colleges themselves or a third party. The main merit-based scholarships offered by the state of Missouri are the A+ Scholarship Program and the Bright Flight Program; both are available to graduates of Missouri high schools. However, there are plenty of scholarships available in Missouri and to Missouri residents beyond these two state-sponsored programs.

How can I find out which grants and scholarships I can apply for?

The best way to narrow down the search for grants and scholarships is to decide which types you need. Generally speaking, the specific types of scholarships you can choose from are need-based, merit-based and awards for those in special situations.

If you know that paying tuition and other fees will be a significant financial hardship, submit your FAFSA early and look into programs like Access Missouri, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and the Pell Grant. Individual colleges and universities may offer need-based grants for current students as well, such as University of Missouri’s MU Grant.

Merit-based scholarships are for students who have excelled in some way, most typically academically. In addition to Missouri’s A+ Scholarship Program and the Bright Flight Program, most colleges offer their own scholarships. If you know what schools you will be applying to, see if they have additional applications for merit-based awards. Also explore third-party scholarships related to your interests. For example, students interested in American history may want to apply for the Missouri Mayflower Society’s scholarship.

Finally, if you live in a certain region, are a member of a certain ethnic group or organization, or have some other special circumstance, you may qualify for a specialty scholarship. For example, residents of the Missouri Ozarks may be eligible for some of the dozens of scholarships offered by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. The RISE Scholarship Foundation, Inc., has awards for individuals with learning disabilities. The Midwestern chapter of the Korean American Scholarship Foundation offers scholarships to eligible Korean-American students. Surviving family members of Missouri public service officers killed or disabled in the line of duty are potentially eligible for a Missouri Department of Higher Education Scholarship as well.

Where can I find information on Missouri-specific scholarships and grants?

Prospective students hunting for scholarships and grants should visit the Missouri Scholarships and Loan Foundation and the Missouri Department of Higher Education. Both websites have extensive information on scholarships and opportunities available in Missouri to college-bound individuals. Other organizations, such as College Scholarships, may also have listings on awards available both in Missouri and nationally.

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Finding the Right Online College Options in Missouri

There is no one “best school for everyone”; each individual student has different needs and concerns that impact which online college fits them best. In order to help, we have answered the three top questions our users have about finding the online programs in Missouri that are right for them.

How can I find out which schools in Missouri will apply my transfer credits or work / life experience?

Over 30 colleges and universities in the state of Missouri have banded together in the Committee on Transfer and Articulation (COTA) to streamline the transfer process for students looking to move between member schools. Additionally, most major online schools in Missouri have specific transfer advisors who can help prospective students find out if and how their credits will transfer. For example, University of Missouri – St. Louis has an entire department dedicated to helping students transferring. Students looking into transferring should talk to the advisors at their current schools and at the schools they want to transfer to. Students interested in transferring may also want to see if the Missouri 42-hour general education block, which is a set general education curriculum specifically designed to be transferred between institutions, applies to them.

If I live in Missouri, can I choose to get an online degree from a school in another state?

Missouri residents can choose online programs to earn a degree from schools in nearly any state. The school must be licensed to offer courses in Missouri, but does not need to have a physical campus there. If you are unsure whether the school you are interested in can offer online courses in Missouri, contact the school’s advisors and counselors. Typically out-of-state tuition rates will apply, but Missourians should see if the programs they are interested in are part of the Midwest Student Exchange Program.

Where are the best places to research Missouri schools to find the right online program for me?

The Missouri Department of Higher Education has a school and degree search tool which includes physical, online, and hybrid programs. The Open Education Database (OEDb)’s page about Missouri’s online offerings has information on over 90 online programs in the state. The search tool below is also a great resource; use it to search and sort through the many options available and find the online program that best fits your needs.