Online Colleges in Missouri 2021

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Online programs at the best colleges in Missouri attract undergraduates, graduate students, and working professionals interested in career-aligned certificate programs. Many of these programs accept learners from around the world. However, hybrid degrees require some on-campus instruction, such as labs, seminars, or intensives.

In-state degree-seekers benefit from low tuition at public Missouri online colleges. Like many states, Missouri requires 12 consecutive months of residency to qualify for in-state tuition. Missouri grants out-of-state tuition waivers to active-duty service members and some individuals who pay property taxes in the state.

The best online colleges in Missouri offer a quality education at affordable prices. Our ranking of the top online colleges in Washington considers factors such as tuition costs, student-to-teacher ratios, and graduation rates. Availability of financial support, career counseling services, and job placement support also affect rankings. These factors contribute to the program’s overall accessibility and value.

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Learn More About Missouri Colleges

  • Q. Do online credits cost more or less in Missouri?

    In-state students pay the most affordable tuition rate at the best public colleges in Missouri. Private colleges and universities charge all learners the same tuition.

  • Q. What is the most affordable college in Missouri?

    The University of Central Missouri charges approximately 20% less than other public colleges and universities. Bachelor’s degree-seekers save more if they start their undergraduate education at a local community college.

  • Q. How long do you need to live in Missouri to get in-state tuition?

    New residents must wait one year before they qualify for in-state tuition at public Missouri online colleges. Schools waive this requirement for specific groups.

Why Choose Missouri for Online Higher Education?

Missouri’s target industries include biosciences, advanced manufacturing, and information technology. Each field needs talented workers with a bachelor’s or advanced degree. The state features the fourth most diverse economy in the United States. Career opportunities exist for college students majoring in nearly all subjects.

With the lowest college tuition increases in the United States, Missouri attracts prospective learners nationwide. College graduates who stay in Missouri enjoy a low cost of living, as well as tax benefits.

Common Online Bachelor’s Programs in Missouri

The best colleges in Missouri offer online bachelor’s programs in multiple subjects, such as biology and communication. Each major leads to one or more unique career paths.

Biology majors study life’s processes through in-class instruction and lab work. The major prepares students for careers in numerous industries, such as medicine, education, and research. Graduates can work for one of Missouri’s 47 life science research centers or 2,500 bioscience companies. The state also features the largest per-capita number of plant scientists in the nation.

Business majors study economic history, microeconomics and macroeconomics, and financial services. This training prepares students to enter Missouri’s financial and professional services sector. The state ranks as one of the best for banking and corporate investment. As a growing field, business prepares bachelor’s and MBA graduates for a strong job market.

Students majoring in communication hone skills applicable to nearly every industry. In class, degree-seekers study crisis communication, persuasion theory, and organizational communication. Graduates work in advertising, promotions, and marketing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects occupations for these professionals to grow 6% between 2019-2029.

Missouri attracts advanced manufacturing companies with its low tax rates, affordable electricity, and special enterprise zones. Engineering students prepare for a career in this growing sector with specializations in civil, industrial, or chemical engineering. The most lucrative positions may require a master’s degree.

Fashion and interior design students select from majors such as textile and apparel management and theatre design. Typical coursework includes the science of textiles, softgoods quality evaluation, and digital merchandising. Fashion and interior design alumni explore sales representative and online merchant job openings.

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Cost of Attending an Online College in Missouri

Missouri online colleges save students money in many ways, including charging in-state students the most affordable tuition rate. Some public colleges and universities may waive out-of-state tuition for degree-seekers enrolled entirely online. 

Cost savings extend beyond tuition, as online learners do not pay commuting costs. Students with young children benefit even more, since they do not need expensive childcare services. Other hidden savings include not paying for on-campus housing or a meal plan. 

The following table reveals that in-state students at Missouri public colleges save approximately 50% on tuition compared to out-of-state peers. Out-of-state degree-seekers pay less in tuition at public two- or four-year schools than they would at a private four-year college.

Average Undergraduate Tuition in Missouri
Public Four-Year College Private Four-Year College Public Two-Year College
In-State $8,554 $25,417 $3,358
Out-of-State $19,914 N/A $6,558

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Career and Salary Outlook for Students in Missouri

The best colleges in Missouri offer programs leading to jobs in all of the state’s largest employment sectors. The BLS projects that each of the following careers will add positions from 2018-2028. These jobs also feature a median annual salary exceeding $125,000.

  • Compensation and Benefits Manager

    Companies and organizations of all sizes hire compensation and benefits managers to create and manage employees’ benefits packages. They work with outside vendors, such as brokers, to acquire employee recruitment and retention benefits. Other typical job responsibilities include researching competitors’ benefits packages and advising senior managers on how to react.

  • Sales Managers

    Sales managers promote their company’s goods and services by hiring and training employees and reviewing the latest sales statistics. The job sometimes entails addressing customers’ concerns and complaints. The job involves collaborating with and reporting to other managers. Professionals in this role possess a college degree and extensive sales experience.

  • Financial Managers

    Financial managers analyze reports, make recommendations to upper management, and mentor new hires. Other responsibilities involve forecasting financial trends. Accountants and financial analysts with at least five years of experience can become a financial manager. Additional qualifications may include an MBA or similar graduate degree.

  • Computer and Information Systems Managers

    Chief information officers, IT directors, and chief technology officers ensure computer systems’ security and functionality. They accomplish this goal by supervising hardware installation, evaluating their employer’s changing technology needs, and monitoring staff. Professionals attain a management-level position by earning a graduate degree in computer science or a similar field.

  • Marketing Managers

    Marketing managers develop and implement the marketing and advertising campaigns people see on television, print, and online. Day-to-day tasks include planning promotional campaigns, collaborating with outside advertising and marketing agencies, and understanding clients’ needs through one-on-one meetings. Other responsibilities involve running focus groups to gauge consumer interest.

Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Compensation and Benefits Managers $136,920 2.4%
Sales Managers $135,360 5.1%
Financial Managers $135,120 16.0%
Computer and Information Systems Managers $132,180 11.3%
Marketing Managers $125,560 8.1%

Source: BLS, ProjectionsCentral

Missouri Scholarships and Grants

Although Missouri online colleges charge affordable tuition rates, some students struggle to pay without incurring debt. Fortunately, the internet allows prospective and current degree-seekers to research and apply for scholarship opportunities easily. The awards below provide financial aid to Missouri residents or students earning an online degree.

  • Advanced Placement Incentive Grant

    Who Can Apply: Missouri high school students qualify for the award by earning a three or higher on at least two STEM Advanced Placement exams. Interested learners should apply by June 1.
    Amount: $500


  • Bright Flight Program

    Who Can Apply: The Missouri state government awards funding to graduating high school seniors planning to enroll at an in-state institution. Application requirements include a 30 ACT score or 1560 SAT score.
    Amount: Up to $3,000


  • Community Foundation of the Ozarks Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: CFOZARKS curates more than 400 scholarship opportunities. Application requirements and deadlines vary by scholarship. Some awards ask students to submit a high school counselor or teacher recommendation.
    Amount: Varies


  • Iowa Student Loan Midwest Senior Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: ISL accepts applications from high school seniors living throughout the Midwest. Interested students apply before April 30. ISL chooses scholarship recipients through a lottery, and the award does not renew.
    Amount: $1,000


  • LA Tutors 123 Innovation in Education Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: LA Tutors 123 awards this scholarship each month to an undergraduate with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Other application requirements include an essay detailing an applicant-designed innovation project.
    Amount: $500


Portrait of Tessa Cooper

Tessa Cooper

Tessa Cooper is a freelance writer and editor who regularly contributes to international and regional publications focused on education and lifestyle topics. She earned a bachelor’s in public relations from Missouri State University and is passionate about helping learners avoid high student loan debt while pursuing their dream major. Tessa loves writing about travel and food topics and is always planning her next meal or vacation.

See articles by Tessa

Best Online Colleges in Missouri 2021

  1. Southeast Missouri State University

    Cape Girardeau, MO



    Based in Cape Girardeau, SEMO provides multiple online degrees. The school offers online undergraduate and graduate degrees, certificates, and specialist degrees. Virtual learners must pay extra online and webinar fees. However, 70% of enrollees qualify for scholarships, and 45% receive aid through loans.

    Learners gain real-world experience with help from SEMO's career services team. Online students can stay connected to campus life by joining one of the school's 180 social, recreational, and special interest student organizations.

    SEMO does not require ACT or SAT scores. Undergraduate applicants earn acceptance with at least a 2.75 cumulative high school GPA. Southeast Missouri State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  2. Missouri Southern State University

    Joplin, MO



    Students can choose from nine different online degrees at MSSU. Located in Joplin and founded in 1937, this established school educates approximately 5,000 learners annually.

    First-year applicants under age 21 need at least a 2.25 high school GPA and an ACT composite score of 21 or higher. They must also have graduated in the top 50% of their class. First-year applicants over age 21 do not need to submit ACT or SAT scores.

    MSSU offers multiple scholarships for incoming first-year students, and high school graduates may use A+ funds at this school. Learners may also apply for departmental scholarships based on their major and transfer scholarships if applicable. Currently, 48% of students attending the school benefit from loan aid.

    Like many reputable colleges in Missouri, MSSU encourages all students to get involved in a registered student organization or create one of their own. Missouri Southern State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  3. Missouri Baptist University

    Saint Louis, MO



    Based in St. Louis, MBU offers 15 online undergraduate degrees and 13 online graduate degrees. Learners can pursue degrees in various areas, including marketing, sport management, psychology, fitness management, and Christian ministry. The school offers accelerated online programs for learners who wish to enter the workforce quickly.

    MBU provides a career-based curriculum that leads to real-world expertise. Like learners at most Missouri colleges, undergraduate enrollees need 120 credits to graduate. Courses run asynchronously, so learners may watch pre-recorded lectures and complete coursework at their convenience within a set deadline.

    On its website, MBU claims to offer some of the region's lowest tuition rates. Approximately 30% of students attending the school receive student loans. Missouri Baptist University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  4. Northwest Missouri State University

    Maryville, MO



    Located in a small town close to the Missouri-Iowa border, Northwest offers nine online undergraduate degrees. These programs require 120 credits, and learners may transfer up to 90 credits from another school. Students can earn a degree in various areas, including public relations, financial management, and criminology.

    As of May 2021, Northwest charges $299 per credit for undergraduate online courses. Additionally, 57% of students attending the school use loans to pay for their education.

    Each year, Northwest welcomes 7,000 students from 42 states and 30 countries. Additionally, 100% of tenured and tenure-track faculty possess the highest degree in their fields. When students graduate, they may join an alumni network of more than 70,000 graduates.

    Northwest Missouri State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  5. Missouri State University-Springfield

    Springfield, MO



    Located near downtown Springfield, MSU features multiple online options. As of May 2021, the school offers 19 fully online undergraduate degrees in areas such as business, nursing, and religious studies. Learners can choose from one of 14 minors to enhance their credentials. Prospective master's and doctoral students can also explore various online programs at MSU.

    Most courses run asynchronously, allowing enrollees to watch pre-recorded lectures at their convenience. MSU provides helpful resources for virtual learners, including online research and writing assistance and one-on-one tutoring for most subjects. According to the school's website, MSU accepts more transfer credits than any other public college or university in Missouri. Upon graduation, degree-holders may join MaroonNation, the alumni network group.

    Missouri State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  6. Missouri Western State University

    Saint Joseph, MO



    Located near Kansas City, MWSU offers more than 300 online courses. Students can also complete a fully online undergraduate or graduate degree in subjects like cybersecurity or criminal justice. Currently, 41% of enrollees receive financial aid through loans.

    Online learners can access technical support for computer issues and difficulties using the online learning platform, Canva. MWSU also offers academic support for math and writing. Learners may attend optional supplemental instruction classes for especially challenging subjects. Online enrollees can access campus resources like the counseling center and food pantry.

    MWSU was founded in 1915 and educates students from across the United States and 30 countries, allowing enrollees to benefit from diverse perspectives in course discussions. Missouri Western State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  7. William Woods University

    Fulton, MO



    Students can earn a fully online bachelor's degree or graduate degree from WWU. This Fulton-based university also allows enrollees to transfer credits to apply toward five specific online programs.

    Like many Missouri colleges, WWU enrolls students who receive either scholarships or loans to help fund their degree. In fact, 58% of WWU students use loans to pay for their education. Both incoming first-year and transfer students may qualify for additional scholarships through the school.

    WWU accepts first-year applicants with at least a 2.5 GPA paired with at least a 19 on the ACT or a 980 on the SAT. Most courses follow a 13-to-1 student-to-professor ratio.

    WWU offers five start dates during the year. William Woods University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  8. University of Central Missouri

    Warrensburg, MO



    Located in Warrensburg, UCM offers both fully online programs and hybrid options. As of May 2021, UCM charges $258 per credit for undergraduate online students and $379 for online graduate students.

    Applicants need at least a 2.0 high school GPA and at least a 21 on the ACT or SAT equivalent. Applicants with at least a 2.75 minimum GPA do not need to submit test scores, and they automatically receive a $1,000 scholarship for the school. UCM reports that 51% of enrollees use loans to fund their education.

    According to the school, 95% of graduates find employment or continue their education within six months. The University of Central Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  9. Webster University

    Saint Louis, MO



    Based in St. Louis, Webster provides online learning options for various majors, including media studies, nursing, and management. According to the university, graduates experience a 98% comprehensive job-placement rate.

    Additionally, 96% of first-year students receive financial aid, and 54% of all enrollees use loans to pay for their education. Most courses feature a 9-to-1 student-to-professor ratio. Online enrollees can schedule virtual advising appointments at their convenience.

    Webster welcomes both incoming first-year and transfer students. In fact, transfer students make up 50% of the student body. Typically, applicants with at least a 3.0 high school GPA and a minimum ACT composite score of 21 or an SAT score of 1000 earn admittance. As of June 2021, online tuition costs $780 per credit.

    Webster University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  10. Culver-Stockton College

    Canton, MO



    C-SC offers six online degrees, putting this school among the top Missouri colleges for virtual learning. Applicants need at least a 2.0 high school GPA with at least an 18 ACT score or a 940 SAT score. As of May 2021, this school charges $395 per credit for online courses.

    Each eight-week online course typically features a 14-to-1 student-to-professor ratio. C-SC educates about 1,000 learners annually. Online students who want to meet their peers and maximize their college experience can join one of 50 student interest groups. Graduates can stay connected to other alumni by attending annual networking events.

    Culver-Stockton College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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