- Missouri Higher Education Institutions, Missouri Department of Higher Education, May 2017, http://dhe.mo.gov/public-and-independent-colleges.php
- Committee on Transfer and Articulations, Missouri Department of Higher Education, Accessed May 2017, http://dhe.mo.gov/cota/
- Southeast Launching New Tuition Rates for Online Degree Programs, Southeast Missouri State University, December 15, 2015, http://news.semo.edu/southeast-launching-new-tuition-rates-for-online-degree-programs/
- About Mizzou, University of Missouri, Accessed May 2017, http://missouri.edu/about/
- About Northwest, Northwest Missouri State University, Accessed May 2017, http://www.nwmissouri.edu/aboutus/about.htm
- About MWSU, Missouri Western State University, Accessed May 2017, https://www.missouriwestern.edu/about/
- The History of Truman State University, Truman State University, Accessed May 2017, http://www.truman.edu/about/history/
- History of the University, Missouri State University, Accessed May 2017, http://www.missouristate.edu/about/history.htm
- About MSSU, Missouri State Southern University, Accessed May 2017, http://www.mssu.edu/about.php
- About, Columbia College, Accessed May 2017, https://www.ccis.edu/#about
- UMSL Online, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Accessed May 2017, http://online.umsl.edu/programs/index.html
- Fast Facts, University of Central Missouri, Accessed May 2017, https://www.ucmo.edu/about/facts/
- Financial Aid for College, Missouri Department of Higher Education, Accessed May 2017, https://www.mo.gov/education/financial-aid-for-college/
- 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.
There is no shortage of higher education options in Missouri. According to the Missouri Department of Higher Education, there are nearly 230 institutions of higher learning in the state. These include public universities and colleges, independent colleges, theological institutions and private career schools.
Of these, the state's 13 public universities may be among the best known. They include stand-alone institutions as well as members of the Missouri State University system and the University of Missouri system. There are also fourteen public colleges which offer two-year degrees and technical training. Students who choose to start their education at one of these colleges often find they are easily able to transfer credits to a four-year school thanks to articulation agreements between institutions.
Plus, many two-year and four-year schools in Missouri offer the opportunity to study online. Those looking for online Missouri degrees will find some of the best online colleges for Missouri are well-known institutions with long, storied reputations.
Best 4-Year Colleges in Missouri
The following four-year schools are the best in Missouri based upon factors that include cost, degree offerings and student services.
Southeast Missouri State University has its main campus in Cape Girardeau and operates regional campuses and delivery sites in Kennett, Malden, Sikeston and Poplar Bluff. It is an affordable school that is also one of the best online colleges for Missouri.
Founded in 1873, SEMO ranks tenth for the overall number of academic programs it offers. It ranks ninth for the number of programs offered online. More than 45 percent of students were enrolled in distance education classes in 2015, the fifth-highest distance education enrollment percentage in the state. Southeast Missouri State University may be a popular option for online learners, in part, because tuition rates for distance education are the same for both resident and non-resident students.
As for the price, SEMO has the fifth most-affordable tuition and fees in the state. It also ranks second for the low price of its books and supplies.
Known as Mizzou, the Columbia campus is the flagship location of the University of Missouri system. It was founded in 1839 as the first public university west of the Mississippi River. In 2015, the school enrolled more than 35,000 students representing every state in the nation as well as 120 countries.
The more than 300 programs offered by Mizzou rank the school second out of 40 Missouri schools for its academic options. It is one of only six public universities in the nation which have a law school, medical school and veterinary medicine college on the same campus. Those who want to earn an online bachelor's degree in Missouri will find many options among the school's distance education choices.
The University of Missouri-Columbia ranks 11th for its affordable tuition and fees. Its retention rate is the ninth best in the state, and it comes in the number six spot for its graduation rate.
Northwest Missouri State University has instituted policies which make it one of the most affordable schools in the state. Every full-time student receives a laptop, and textbooks can be rented at a price equal to $6 per credit hour. As a result, Northwest ranks first for the low cost of its books and supplies.
Meanwhile, it is fourth in Missouri for the sticker price of its tuition and fees. When it comes to the net price for low-income students, Northwest Missouri State University gets the number one spot. The university is also notable for the financial aid it offers: It ranks third in Missouri for the institutional grant aid it awards as a percentage of its tuition and fees.
Nearly 7,000 students were enrolled at Northwest Missouri State University in 2015. Of the school's many programs, elementary education and teaching was the most popular degree awarded in that year.
Based in St. Joseph, Missouri Western State University offers affordable degrees and a flexible learning environment.
Even before enrolling in the school full-time, students can earn credit through AP and dual-enrollment courses. Adult learners may be eligible for credit for life experiences, and those who need to study around a job can take night, weekend or online classes. Plus, students of all ages and walks of life can make use of remedial support, academic counseling and career placement services.
MWSU was founded in 1915 as a junior college. It has offered four-year degrees since 1969 and now provides a range of academic options ranging from certificates to master's degree programs. Students will find these programs are affordable as well. Missouri Western State University has the third-best tuition rate and fees in the state. Its average net price ranks fourth best in Missouri.
Truman State University has a rich history that began in 1867 when the institution opened as the North Missouri Normal School and Commercial College. It has since undergone many transformations and expansions to become the highly selective school it is today. In 1996, its name was changed to honor Harry S. Truman, the only U.S. president to hail from Missouri.
However, Truman State University has more to offer students than simply a historic campus and compelling legacy. Truman is home to numerous undergraduate, graduate and pre-professional studies programs. While many popular programs, including registered nursing and business administration, are available, kinesiology and exercise science was the most-awarded degree in 2015.
It is also an affordable institution that can boast of a stellar graduation rate. The school ranks tenth for its tuition and fees and fourth in the state for its average net price. Its graduation rate is the second best of the Missouri schools surveyed.
The flagship campus for Missouri State University is located in Springfield. More than 22,000 students are enrolled in the school's many undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The university ranks fourth in the state for the number of academic programs it offers. It is also a good place to earn an online bachelor's degree in Missouri. MSU has ten fully online undergraduate degrees and is first in the state for the number of programs available via distance education.
As for cost, Missouri State University-Springfield ranks eighth for the affordable cost its tuition and fees. Paying back student loans doesn't seem to be a problem for many graduates either. The university ranks eighth in the state for the three-year debt repayment rate of its alumni.
The Springfield campus was founded in 1905 and adopted the Missouri State University name 100 years later in 2005.
Located in Joplin near Historic Route 66, Missouri Southern State University has been educating students since 1937. It is a regional institution offering more than 200 academic programs. With ten undergraduate degree options available via distance education, Missouri Southern State University can be a good place to earn an online bachelor's degree in Missouri.
MSSU ranks second out of 40 Missouri schools when it comes to its affordable tuition and fees. It ranks third for its average net price for all students. What's more, the school's Lion Pride Tuition Discount program allows residents of nine nearby states to pay in-state tuition rates at the university.
Students will find a flexible learning environment at Missouri Southern State University. There are night, weekend and online classes available. Plus, remedial support, academic counseling and career placement services are offered. Credit may be earned for some life experiences.
Columbia College operates at 35 locations nationwide, but the school has its roots in Missouri. It was founded in Columbia in 1851 as Christian Female College. The institution transitioned to a four-year, co-educational college in 1970.
Today, Columbia College is a top choice for military members and operates on 15 military bases nationwide. It has also earned a reputation as one of the best online colleges for Missouri and beyond. The college ranks third in the state for the number of distance education programs it offers, and nearly two-thirds of its students enrolled in online classes in 2015.
The school is also affordable. It ranks sixth in Missouri for the low cost of its tuition and fees. Columbia College is also generous with financial aid. It ranks first for the amount of institutional grant aid it awards as a percentage of its tuition and fees.
Founded in 1963, the University of Missouri-St. Louis has grown to be the largest public research university on the eastern side of the state. Nearly 17,000 students were enrolled in 2015, and the school offers degrees in virtually all the state's most popular majors. However, business was the most popular field of study for 2015 graduates.
Students who wish to earn an online bachelor's degree in Missouri will find several options at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. There are also online graduate degrees and several programs are available through a hybrid format combining online and on-campus coursework.
UMSL ranks high for the affordable education it offers. The school is first in the state for its low average net price. It is second for the average net price for low-income students as well as for the institutional grant aid it awards as a percentage of its tuition and fees.
A flexible learning environment and affordable degrees helped propel the University of Central Missouri to the number ten spot on this list of best colleges in Missouri. The university offers online degree programs, night and weekend classes and remedial support, all of which make its academic course more accessible.
UCM ranks ninth for the affordable sticker price of its tuition and fees. Tuition payment plans are also available to make the cost more manageable. Graduates have access to career placement services as well. The university notes that according to a recent survey, 92 percent of graduates were employed within six month of earning their degree.
The University of Central Missouri was founded in 1871 and has its campus in Warrensburg. More than 14,000 students were enrolled in 2015. While the school offers a comprehensive catalog of degree programs, registered nursing was the most-popular degree awarded during that year.
Most Popular Degree Programs in Missouri
Missouri students have access to hundreds of majors and minors, but these are their top choices.
In-Demand Careers in Missouri
Many degrees are popular because they lead to in-demand careers. Here's a look at some of the occupations expected to see the most growth in coming years.
|Career Title||Projected Job Growth||Total Employment||Annual Salary|
|Occupational Therapy Assistants||41.1%||970||$56,800|
|Physical Therapist Assistants||37.8%||1,920||$50,840|
|Operations Research Analysts||33.1%||990||$73,020|
|Biochemists and Biophysicists||29.1%||-||$88,880|
|Interpreters and Translators||27.8%||920||$58,360|
|Home Health Aides||27%||10,800||$22,440|
|Personal Care Aides||26.8%||42,140||$20,810|
|Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary||25.7%||1,170||$74,300|
|Law Teachers, Postsecondary||25.6%||150||$105,900|
|Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary||25.1%||300||$66,290|
|Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic||25.1%||4,570||$36,920|
|Forensic Science Technicians||24.8%||300||$51,590|
|Insulation Workers, Mechanical||24.8%||310||$56,870|
|Cartographers and Photogrammetrists||23.5%||170||$66,310|
|Mathematical Science Teachers, Postsecondary||23.5%||760||$77,120|
|Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary||22.5%||5,910||$160,800|
|Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians||22.5%||1,080||$50,220|
|Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers||22.3%||330||$60,230|
|Computer Systems Analysts||22.1%||11,330||$90,000|
|Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists||22%||2,100||$59,760|
Financial Aid and Scholarships in Missouri
To make college more affordable and accessible, the state of Missouri maintains a number of financial aid programs. These include the A+ Scholarship, Access Missouri Program and Bright Flight Program among others. While some financial aid is merit-based, other awards are made to low-income students or those who fit a specific demographic.
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 cumulative 3.0 GPA over a consecutive four-year or eight-semester span. Official transcripts must be mailed in after each semester.
Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.6 GPA.
March 15 (Priority)
- University of Missouri System
- Missouri State University System
- Missouri Department of Higher Education
- Missouri Community College Association
- Independent Colleges and Universities of Missouri
- Missouri Connections