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Mississippi Online Colleges & Universities: Top Schools for 2018

Updated on: 01/04/2018
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Whether or not you are a Mississippi resident, online colleges and universities in Mississippi have a variety of degrees, certificates and courses to offer. Mississippi’s robust community college system gives students dozens of opportunities, as do its public and private colleges. Here prospective students can learn the basics about attending online schools in Mississippi and explore resources for the scholarships and grants Mississippi has to offer. Find the best and most affordable online programs in Mississippi using our meticulous rankings and ratings, that focuses on only top-quality, accredited program information for college-bound students.

Best List: 2018’s Most Affordable Online Colleges in Mississippi

With so many online schools and programs to choose from, it is important for individuals to know how their options compare. For that reason, we have ranked the best accredited online colleges in Mississippi for our users. These rankings are based on rigorous research into the cost, student-to-faculty ratios, affordability, number and variety of available programs, and many other metrics. Keep reading to see the best and most affordable online colleges in Mississippi..

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Methodology
  • 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 University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg, MS 100.00 $6,980 29 76% 17:145%no yes yes
2 Mississippi College Clinton, MS 99.82 $14,670 14 98% 15:153%no yes yes
3 Mississippi State University Mississippi State, MS 99.56 $7,140 10 74% 19:161%yes yes yes
4 Jackson State University Jackson, MS 98.98 $6,602 14 54% 18:139%no yes yes
5 Belhaven University Jackson, MS 98.74 $20,780 17 96% 11:137%yes yes yes
6 Mississippi University for Women Columbus, MS 98.54 $5,540 8 78% 14:139%no yes yes
7 University of Mississippi University, MS 98.02 $6,996 13 61% 18:159%no yes yes
8 William Carey University Hattiesburg, MS 96.77 $10,500 3 75% 13:162%no yes yes
9 Delta State University Cleveland, MS 96.56 $6,012 9 62% 14:136%no yes 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 East Mississippi Community College Scooba, MS 100.00 $2,200 67 66% 13:1N/Ayes yes yes
2 Mississippi Delta Community College Moorhead, MS 97.07 $2,490 67 54% 18:1N/Ano yes yes
3 Holmes Community College Goodman, MS 96.43 $2,000 69 38% 18:1N/Ano yes yes
4 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Perkinston, MS 93.90 $2,300 21 43% 21:1N/Ayes yes yes
5 Northwest Mississippi Community College Senatobia, MS 93.53 $2,550 18 28% 25:1N/Ayes yes yes
6 Itawamba Community College Fulton, MS 93.25 $2,300 5 50% 19:1N/Ayes yes yes
7 Pearl River Community College Poplarville, MS 92.56 $2,650 4 41% 17:1N/Ano yes yes
8 Southwest Mississippi Community College Summit, MS 92.15 $2,300 3 43% 22:1N/Ano yes yes
9 Meridian Community College Meridian, MS 92.13 $2,100 12 33% 18:1N/Ano yes yes

Mississippi’s Online College Numbers on the Rise

The trend towards online education is growing across the nation and Mississippi schools’ online offerings are expanding as a result. The National Center for Education Statistics reported there were over 16,000 Mississippi students enrolled in exclusively online programs at either undergraduate or graduate level in fall 2012. Mississippi colleges have responded to this need with a multitude of opportunities and programs such as the Mississippi Virtual Community College, which allows students to take online courses at any one of 15 participating Mississippi community colleges regardless of which campus they are enrolled at. The University of Mississippi even has a librarian dedicated specifically to distance-learning students. One place to begin exploring online college options is the Open Education Database’s listing on nearly three dozen accredited online schools in Mississippi.

Paying for College: Mississippi’s Tuition Rates and Financial Aid Resources

At Mississippi’s schools, and at most schools around the nation, tuition comes in two forms: in-state and out-of-state. For the 2015-2016 school year, the average in-state tuition across Mississippi’s public colleges was less than half of the average out-of-state tuition. In order to qualify for in-state tuition, applicants must be legal residents of the state of Mississippi. Residency can be difficult to establish in Mississippi and is unfortunately weighted against the majority of college-bound students: individuals cannot begin to establish residency in Mississippi until they are 21 years of age or older.

In-state tuition: $7,175

Out-of-state tuition: $18,516

Source: U.S. Department of Education, 2017

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Do I pay in-state or out-of-state tuition if I attend an online college in Mississippi?

Whether a student pays in-state or out-of-state tuition for a Mississippi school, even if their classes are taken online, depends on where they live. If a student is a resident of Mississippi, then they will pay in-state tuition. If they live outside of Mississippi, then they will not be eligible for in-state tuition. Establishing residency in Mississippi for the purpose of paying a lower tuition is difficult: in order to qualify as a resident, an individual must live in Mississippi for over one year after their 21st birthday prior to applying for school. Prospective students interested in applying for in-state tuition can see more specifics at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Office of the Registrar.

However, there are some breaks for out-of-state students. Mississippi is a member of the Southern Regional Education Board’s Academic Common Market, along with Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. If someone in a member state wants to attend a program that is not offered in their home state, they may be able to attend a school with their program in another ACM member state for reduced tuition.

Quick summary on tuition:
  • 1. Tuition at Mississippi schools is significantly lower for residents of Mississippi.

  • 2. The Academic Common Market enables students to attend programs in neighboring states for less than the out-of-state cost.

Explore Online Degree Programs in Mississippi

Where can I go for Mississippi financial aid information, and how can I apply for tuition help?

Mississippi has multiple resources for students researching financial aid. Two places to start are RiseUp Mississippi and the Mississippi government’s page on financial aid. In order to be considered for state-based financial aid, prospective students must be Mississippi state residents and must submit both a Mississippi-specific application through the RiseUp Mississippi website and a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA should be submitted by the end of June and the two main Mississippi financial aid programs, the Higher Education Legislative Plan for Needy Students (HELP) and the Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG), are due at the end of March and middle of September respectively.

Mississippi offers multiple financial aid awards and loan forgiveness programs to Mississippi residents attending Mississippi schools. The two major awards, as previously mentioned, are the Higher Education Legislative Plan for Needy Students (HELP) and the Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG). Mississippi residents should also see if they are eligible for the Community College Tuition Guarantee Program, which assures tuition coverage for four semesters at specific community colleges.

  • Required enrollment status

    Full-time

  • Financial need

    Must not be eligible for the full federal Pell Grant as determined by the FAFSA but still demonstrate financial need

  • Maximum award

    Varies; $500 to full tuition coverage

  • Renewable

    Yes, as long as certain eligibility requirements are met

  • GPA

    2.5 high school GPA for new applicants and 2.5 college GPA for renewals

  • Limits

    Cannot be used to earn a second certificate or degree

Scholarships & Grants for College in Mississippi

Students applying to schools in Mississippi can be eligible for scholarships offered by the state of Mississippi itself, the colleges they have been admitted to and third-party organizations. Some scholarships may be need-based but many are merit-based or a combination of the two. Other awards might be dependent on the applicant’s county of residence or special status such as race, disability or gender.

How can I narrow down the grants and scholarships I am eligible for?

Prospective students should look at three main places to find scholarship and aid money. The first scholarship provider is the government, both federal and Mississippi state. Submitting a FAFSA and the Mississippi-specific aid applications will determine how much aid you need and match you with financial aid programs.

The second place is colleges and universities. For example, the University of Mississippi, also known as Ole Miss, has dozens of scholarships available for new and returning students alike. Check if the schools you’re interested in will consider individuals for scholarships as part of the admission application or if there are additional scholarship-specific applications.

Finally, some scholarship search engines such as FastWeb and Scholarships.com let users create profiles and match them with scholarships from third-parties (that is, someone other than the government or a school) that fit their needs. Although they might not match you with every scholarship that you may want to apply for, they will give you personalized results that eliminate the scholarships that do not apply to you.

Where can I find scholarships and grants reserved specifically for Mississippi students?

RiseUp Mississippi and the Mississippi government website both have directories of scholarships and aid awards available to Mississippi residents. Additionally, RiseUp Mississippi includes guides and resources for using scholarship search engines. The Get2College Woodward Hines Education Foundation has resources and lists of scholarships for residents of metropolitan Jacksonville, northern Mississippi and Mississippi as a whole.

National third party scholarships may also have funds earmarked for certain states, such as the Horatio Alger Association’s State Scholarships. This means that each state is guaranteed a certain number of awards for its residents. Universities typically have their own scholarships as well.

Explore Online Degree Programs in Mississippi

Search & Compare Mississippi’s Online College Options

Mississippi has a variety of options for students interested in pursuing online degree and certificate programs. However, more options can mean more decisions. Below are the top questions our users have about narrowing their choices and finding the right online colleges in Mississippi.

Are there any schools that will apply my transfer credits or work experience for credit in Mississippi?

Transferring credits is frequently done on a case-by-case basis, but luckily for students looking to transfer there are multiple resources that can help. The main tool is the Mississippi Articulation and Transfer Tool (MATT). Through the MATT, students can build their own transfer guide to get an idea of how their credits will transfer to a Mississippi college. The MATT also gives students information on different types of transfers, such as from a two-year community college to public four-year college.

Two-year colleges in Mississippi use a Uniform Course Numbering System, meaning that students can typically transfer from one two-year community college in Mississippi to another without losing any credits. For students transferring from a community college to a state college in Mississippi, usually approximately one half of the credit hours for a bachelor’s degree are transferable. However, students should contact counselors at the school they are transferring to for specifics; these resources help to provide a general idea but are not guarantees.

If I live in Mississippi, do I have to choose an online school based in Mississippi?

Although enrolling in a Mississippi school while living in Mississippi usually means a lower in-state tuition, Mississippians can attend an online school anywhere, even if it isn’t in their home state. Prospective students should make sure that the institution they choose is allowed to operate in Mississippi by checking with the school itself.

If prospective students want to attend a program that is not available in the state of Mississippi, they may be able to attend the program at a cost lower than the standard out-of-state tuition at a school participating in the Academic Common Market. The states participating in the Academic Common Market are Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

How can I find out which of Mississippi’s online schools is the best option for me?

In addition to the information and rankings we’ve provided, prospective students can explore other resources to help determine which Mississippi online program is right for them. The Open Education Database’s page on Mississippi contains information and links to over 30 of Mississippi’s online schools. The University of Southern Mississippi’s Online at Southern Miss blog is full of stories about the experiences of students in its online programs. Ole Miss has resources to help students determine if online courses are right for them.

If you have trouble picking between schools, Mississippi has programs that allow students to study at multiple online colleges simultaneously; rather than being locked into the courses available at their chosen school, individuals may have the opportunity to take courses from other schools as well. The Mississippi Virtual Community College enables students enrolled at any of the 15 participating community colleges to take online courses from another participating school. The Academic Common Market Electronic Campus Program, re-launching in 2018, gives students access to online courses and programs across the southern states.