- Mississippi's Public Universities, Mississippi Public Universities, Accessed May 2017, http://www.mississippi.edu/universities/
- Mississippi's Statewide Articulation Agreement between MS Community Colleges and Public Universities, Mississippi Public Universities, Accessed May 2017, http://www.mississippi.edu/oasa/articulation_agreement.asp
- Our History, Mississippi University for Women, Accessed May 2017, http://www.muw.edu/about-muw/our-history
- About Southern Miss, The University of Southern Mississippi, Accessed May 2017, https://www.usm.edu/about/about-southern-miss
- Academics, The University of Mississippi, Accessed May 2017, http://olemiss.edu/academics/
- University History, Mississippi State University, Accessed May 2017, https://www.msstate.edu/about/history/
- About Delta State, Delta State University, Accessed May 2017, http://www.deltastate.edu/about-dsu/
- The University, Mississippi Valley State University, Accessed May 2017, https://www.mvsu.edu/university
- Information for Prospective Students, Jackson State University, Accessed May 2017, http://www.jsums.edu/main-for-prospective-students/
- At a Glance, Mississippi College, Accessed May 2017, http://www.mc.edu/about/glance
- About William Carey, Willian Carey University, Accessed May 2017, http://www.wmcarey.edu/about-william-carey
- At a Glance, Alcorn State University, Accessed May 2017, http://www.alcorn.edu/discover-alcorn/at-a-glance/index.aspx
- News and Updates, MS Institutions of Higher Learning, Accessed May 2017, http://riseupms.com/state-aid/news-and-updates/
- Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.
Students heading to college right out of high school and those returning to the classroom after time in the workforce may find Mississippi colleges and universities that can meet their needs. The state is home to a network of public and private schools offering on-campus programs, online degrees and night and weekend classes. Whether you want a school with a powerhouse sports team or a small learning environment, you're likely to find what you seek in Mississippi.
Unlike some other states, Mississippi doesn't have a single large university system. Instead, it is home to eight public universities. These may have a flagship campus as well as satellite locations elsewhere in the state. There are also 15 community colleges conferring two-year degrees and offering technical training. Thanks to a statewide articulation agreement, credits earned through an A.A. program at a Mississippi community college are easily transferred to any of the public universities.
Beyond the public schools, there are private liberal arts institutions as well as several seminaries and theological institutes. Some offer online Mississippi degrees in addition to their on-campus programs.
Best 4-Year Colleges in Mississippi
After analyzing factors more than a dozen factors such as price, financial aid and graduation rates, these are the public and private schools in Mississippi that came out on top.
Bigger isn't always better, and the best college in Mississippi is one of the smallest institutions on this list. With an enrollment of about 2,700 in 2015, Mississippi University for Women gets high marks for cost, program availability and its retention rate. It is one of the best online colleges for Mississippi with 63 percent of its students enrolled in distance education in 2015.
Known simply as The W, the school ranks first for the price of its tuition and fees. It also ranks first for the relatively low amount of debt its students have upon graduation. What's more, the university has the second-best retention rate of surveyed Mississippi schools.
Don't let the university's name fool you. Although chartered as the nation's first state-supported women's college in 1884, The W now admits both men and women. Mississippi University for Women is one of the state's eight public universities.
Often called Southern Miss, The University of Southern Mississippi stands out for the vast number of degree programs it offers. The school ranks first for both the total number of programs available as well as the number offered via distance education. Those interested in earning an online bachelor's degree in Mississippi will find 40 options here. Plus, the university has online graduate degree programs and certificates in addition to hybrid programs which combine on-campus classes and online learning.
The University of Southern Mississippi was founded in 1910 as a teacher's college. It now serves nearly 15,000 students at its flagship campus in Hattiesburg, Gulf Park campus in Long Beach and at five different teaching and research sites statewide. The school is known for its commitment to the arts and hosts 300 arts events each year.
Southern Miss is one of the state's public universities and houses one of the oldest Honors Colleges in the nation.
Ole Miss is one of the most recognizable schools in Mississippi. Chartered in 1844, it was the only public institution of higher learning in the state for 23 years. Even though there are other options now, The University of Mississippi remains a popular choice and enrolled more than 23,000 students in 2015.
UM does a good job of keeping those students and helping them graduate on-time too. The school ranks fourth for its retention rate; its graduation rate is the second best in the state. It also comes in second for the number of academic programs it offers. Overall, there are 16 schools and colleges within the university.
While Ole Miss has its main campus in Oxford, the university maintains five other campus and center locations. The University of Mississippi is home to several research centers including the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and the Croft Institute for International Studies.
Mississippi State University is another top public university. Founded in 1878, the school got its start by providing training in agriculture, horticulture and the mechanical arts. Today, it contains eight academic colleges that support more than 175 programs. It ties with The University of Mississippi for having the second-greatest number of academic programs available.
The university awards bachelor's, master and doctoral degrees. Of its many programs, Mississippi State University awarded the most degrees in the area of kinesiology and exercise science in 2015.
MSU ranks eighth in the state for its tuition and fees, and it has a robust financial aid program. The university ranks third in Mississippi for the amount of institutional grant aid it awards as a percentage of its tuition and fees. The school also has the third best graduation rate of the institutions surveyed.
Delta State University offers a mix of rigorous academics and quirky traditions. Its mascot is the Okra and a favorite annual event is Pig Pickin' which is part pep rally, part cooking competition. The school also prides itself on its many festivals as well as its commitment to the arts. The Delta Music Institute provides students with two world-class recording studios.
Academically, DSU offers more than 40 majors. The school is the only four-year university in the state to offer both a bachelor's and master's degree in commercial aviation. It may also be one of the best online colleges for Mississippi. It ranks second in the state for the number of students enrolled in distance education classes.
As a regional university, Delta State keeps its tuition affordable. It ranks third in the state for tuition and fees and second for the cost of its books and supplies.
At the heart of the Mississippi Delta is Mississippi Valley State University. Located in Itta Bena, the public university first opened in 1950. It now includes colleges of arts and sciences, professional studies and education as well as a graduate school.
One prime feature of MVSU is its affordable tuition. The school ranks second in the state and in the top 5 percent in the nation for the low sticker price of its tuition and fees. Once financial aid is factored in, the institution has the lowest average net price of surveyed Mississippi schools.
Since the university doesn't have an online studies division, this is not the place to earn an online bachelor's degree in Mississippi. However, Mississippi Valley State University does offer other options that make it a good choice for adult learners who need flexible learning options. There are night and weekend classes available as well as the opportunity to earn credit for some life experiences.
Jackson State University was founded in 1877 to educate African-American residents from Mississippi and neighboring states. Since then, it has grown to welcome a diverse student body from across the region. In 1979, the university was designated as the Urban University for the State of Mississippi.
Students attending JSU have access to more than 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees. Altogether, the school offers the fourth-greatest number of academic programs in the state. It ranks fifth for the number of distance education programs available.
In terms of sticker price, the university ranks fifth for the cost of its tuition and fees, making it an affordable choice. What's more, the data show that it is generous with its financial aid, ranking first for the institutional grants it awards as a percentage of its tuition and fees. First-time freshman and first-time graduate students may be eligible for an out-of-state fee waiver to further reduce costs.
Founded in 1826, Mississippi College claims to be the oldest institution of higher learning in the state. Originally formed as the Hampstead Academy, it is also the second-oldest college in the nation that is affiliated with the Baptist Church. With a campus in Clinton, the school offers an education in the liberal arts and sciences.
Mississippi College ranks fifth in the state for the number of academic programs it offers. Its more than 5,000 students are enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and law degree programs. It also has a selection of online degree programs that places the school fourth for the number of courses of study which are available via distance education.
The college is notable for its retention and graduation rates. Mississippi College ranks fifth in the state for both metrics. Night and weekend courses are available for adult learners, and MC also provides remedial support, academic advising and career placement services.
William Carey University is another top Christian institution in Mississippi. The school is now named for William Carey, the founder of the modern Baptist missions, although it started as the Pearl River Boarding School in 1892. Today, it operates on two campuses: a main campus in Hattiesburg and a new Tradition Campus in Biloxi.
Although not the cheapest school on this list, William Carey University does seem to do a good job of helping its graduates avoid student debt. It notes 90 percent of its students receive some form of financial aid. Perhaps as a result, the university ranks third in the state for the relatively low median debt carried by graduates.
Once enrolled, students at William Carey University come back year after year. The school has the best retention rate in the state. It also ranks fourth for graduating its students on time.
As the oldest historically black land-grant school in the nation, Alcorn State University can trace its roots to 1871. It is also the second-oldest state-supported institution of higher learning in Mississippi.
Alcorn State University gets high marks today for offering an affordable education. The school ranks fourth in the state for the sticker price of its tuition and fees. It also ranks second for the amount of institutional grant aid it awards as a percentage of its tuition and fees.
Alcorn confers a number of degrees from the associate to master's level. It also has some specialist programs. Biology was the most popular field of study among 2015 graduates. The university's main campus is in Claiborne County while classes are also offered in Natchez and Vicksburg. Nearly half of all students in 2015 took at least one class via distance education.
Most Popular Degree Programs in Mississippi
While some degrees are only available at a limited number of schools, the following popular programs are available at many of the top colleges in Mississippi.
In-Demand Careers in Minnesota
Graduates are hoping for more than a degree; they want a job as well. For that reason, students may want to consider studying in a field that could prepare them for one of these in-demand occupations.
|Career Title||Projected Job Growth||Total Employment||Annual Salary|
|Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels||46.5%||850||$102,930|
|Occupational Therapy Assistants||44.6%||280||$54,940|
|Hazardous Materials Removal Workers||40.2%||80||$33,540|
|Metal-Refining Furnace Operators and Tenders||37.5%||80||-|
|Extruding and Forming Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Synthetic and Glass Fibers||36.2%||340||$40,930|
|Home Health Aides||33%||4,470||$21,200|
|Physical Therapist Assistants||32.7%||920||$47,650|
|Derrick Operators, Oil and Gas||32.6%||-||$51,620|
|Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers||32.5%||170||$42,730|
|Physical Therapist Aides||30.8%||380||$22,030|
|Operations Research Analysts||30.1%||220||$76,890|
|Rotary Drill Operators, Oil and Gas||28.9%||320||$80,780|
|Industrial Machinery Mechanics||28.9%||4,320||$47,800|
|Service Unit Operators, Oil, Gas, and Mining||26.9%||340||$46,080|
|Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic||26.9%||700||$43,710|
|Dental Laboratory Technicians||26.4%||210||$31,430|
|Law Teachers, Postsecondary||25.7%||110||$135,430|
|Personal Care Aides||24.6%||10,630||$19,880|
|Sailors and Marine Oilers||24.6%||190||$35,880|
|Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Except Emergency Medical Technicians||24.4%||150||$23,860|
|Interpreters and Translators||23.4%||130||$39,590|
|Pump Operators, Except Wellhead Pumpers||23.2%||50||$35,480|
Financial Aid and Scholarships in Minnesota
In addition to loans and grants available through the federal government, Mississippi students may be eligible for financial aid through the state. The state of Mississippi maintains several programs such as the Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant, Mississippi Resident Tuition Assistance Grant and the Higher Education Legislative Plan for Needy Students Grant.
November 15 (Early Action admissions deadline)
Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.25 GPA and full-time status.
Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.6 GPA.
- Mississippi Public Universities
- Mississippi Community College Board
- Mississippi Articulation and Transfer Tool
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