Mississippi is home to 62 accredited colleges and universities. As of 2015, over 18,000 students were enrolled in private colleges in Mississippi and over 153,000 students were enrolled in public colleges. But rising college costs are a major concern for Mississippi and many other states nationwide, leaving students considering low-cost online college options to save money on room and board, meal plans and other on-campus student fees. So how do Mississippi schools stack up in terms of online education? Should can students in Mississippi count on in-state schools to provide the most high-quality, affordable education? We answer these questions and help students identify the best online colleges available in Mississippi below.
This guide can help you choose the best online degree program in Mississippi for your needs and goals. The following sections include information about tuition rates, accreditation, and the benefits of earning a degree. This guide also explores scholarships and grants that are available to students attending online schools and colleges in Mississippi.
Top 9 Online Schools and Colleges in Mississippi 4-Year Colleges
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Best Online Colleges in Mississippi 2020
Many online schools and colleges in Mississippi offer personalized course schedules, flexible class times, and affordable tuition rates. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, average tuition costs at both private and public institutions in Mississippi are below the national average.
Located in Starkville, Mississippi State University features extensive, fully online degree offerings. At both the graduate and undergraduate levels, MSU offers distance learners unique degrees that focus on the hard sciences and agriculture. You can earn a Bachelor of Science degree in broadcast and operational meteorology. Many different master's degrees are available in areas such as agribusiness management, forestry, aerospace engineering, applied meteorology, and environmental geosciences. You can even earn a doctorate entirely online, including degrees in electrical, computer, civil, or aerospace engineering. Both in-state and out-of-state distance learners pay the same tuition and fees. Up to 62 semester hours from a two-year institution or community college can be accepted toward your online degree at MSU.
The University of Mississippi is a public research institution located in Oxford. Ole Miss offers graduate degrees online, with degrees in the schools of applied science, business, and education. In addition to the traditional MBA, Ole Miss also features a unique Master of Education in Counselor Education with and emphasis in Play Therapy degree. Graduates of this program obtain the Registered Play Therapist credential and complete coursework in approximately one year. All online students learn using the Blackboard system and have access to academic advisors, an IT helpdesk, and online library access. Ole Miss has an online attendance policy that requires students to participate in their courses actively. Both in-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition costs.
The University of Southern Mississippi is a public research institution located in Hattiesburg. Offering both undergraduate and graduate programs, the online program at USM boasts a robust offering of education degrees at both levels. As an undergraduate, you can earn a bachelor's degree in elementary education. This is a teaching assistant program that prepares students for jobs such as K-five elementary teacher, curriculum specialist, behavior intervention specialist, and community education coordinator. For graduate students, you can earn master's and doctoral degrees in education and specialize in education administration. USM graduates go on to be principals, superintendents, and program directors at schools and colleges. The vast majority of degree offerings at USM can be completed entirely online. All online students, regardless of residency or location, pay the same tuition costs and fees.
Located in Clinton, Mississippi College is a Baptist-affiliated Christian institution and the largest college in the state. Among the certificate, graduate, and undergraduate online programs available, MC's business administration programs stand out. Both bachelor's and master's degrees are available in business administration. If you are interested in finishing your degree quickly, MC offers an accelerated MBA online. In this 10-course program, you will earn 30 total credit hours with each class spanning the length of eight weeks. Business administration majors at MC learn about faith-based, ethical decision making from the same professors who teach the on-campus courses. Undergraduates may transfer up to 24 credits toward their online degrees. Transfer credit eligibility depends on the major and is considered on a case-by-case basis. At MC, both in-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition costs and fees.
William Carey University is a private nonprofit, Christian liberal arts institution, whose main campus in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The schools of education, natural and behavioral science, nursing, and music and ministry studies all offer 100 percent online degrees. Hybrid options are also available through the schools of education and nursing. William Carey specializes in multiple concentrations in the education field, with programs in physical education, music education, educational leadership, and instructional leadership. Depending on the degree, you can earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees online. For undergraduates, up to 64 academic credit hours earned in a community or junior college may be applied toward a William Carey degree.
The Mississippi University for Women is coeducational public university in Columbus. Established in 1884, men were allowed admission to the school beginning in 1982. MUW boasts a robust offering of undergraduate business administration degrees in addition to two master's degrees, and three certificate programs. As an undergraduate, you can earn a Bachelor of Science in business administration in general business, healthcare management, management, and management information systems, among other concentrations. Graduates from the MUW business administration programs find fulfilling careers in sales and marketing, hotels and restaurants, small-business management, and production management. Most bachelor's degrees at MUW require approximately 124 credit hours and take up to four years to complete. The MBA requires 36 credit hours and up to two-three years to finish graduate requirements.
Jackson State University is a public historically black institution founded in 1877. Both undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as specialist programs in education, can be earned online. All bachelor's degree concentrations, education, criminal justice, healthcare administration, interdisciplinary studies, and emergency management require 122-124 credits to graduate. For full-time students, you can expect to spend up to 4 years completing these degrees. Master of science degrees, in addition to two master of arts and an MBA program, require about 30-35 credits 2-3 years to complete. Education specialist programs require a master's degree for admission and about 2-3 years to complete, including the writing of a master's thesis. Online courses at Jackson State can be entirely online or blended and include access to the same resources as on-campus students. For undergraduate students, up to 93 semester hours from an accredited four-year institution can be transferred toward your degree.
Belhaven University is a private Christian liberal arts institution located in Jackson, Mississippi. Online majors in business and Biblical studies are among the strongest programs at Belhaven. From the certificate associate level through doctoral degrees, you can find a business- or religion-based major to fit your academic needs and career goals. MBAs in finance, health administration, sports administration, and human resources can be completed 100 percent online. This training prepares students for careers in corporate finance, investments, and banking. Belhaven graduates also move on to be insurance and real estate agents, brokers, and financial planners. Degrees in religion and ministry can be completed in as few as 18 months and prepare you to be leaders in faith-based organizations, private schools, and churches.
Delta State University offers graduate degrees and continuing education courses entirely online. Delta State's online degree offerings include some traditional options, such as social justice, elementary education, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice program. Some notable standout options include a master's degrees in commercial aviation and geospatial information technologies. Alternatively, you can also earn online a post-baccalaureate certificate in international blues music scholarship. Master's degrees at Delta State take about two years to complete, while the Doctor of Nursing Practice can take up to four and a half years. The doctoral degree requires in-person clinical training which cannot be completed online. Some course credit may be transferred from other colleges or universities, depending on your program.
Top 10 Online Schools and Colleges in Mississippi 2-Year Colleges
How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I’m Looking for in Mississippi?
Many colleges in Mississippi offer online degree programs. Prospective students should thoroughly research options before choosing a program. Learners can find information about Mississippi institutions through the state Department of Education website. You can also click the link below for details about Mississippi schools.
How Much More Do College Grads in Mississippi Make?
According to data from PayScale, professionals in Mississippi earn an average annual salary of $50,000. However, higher levels of educational attainment typically lead to higher earning potential. Professionals with more advanced degrees tend to earn more than individuals in the same field with less education.
The table below shows the annual median salaries for professionals according to education level. As the data shows, U.S. professionals with less than a high school diploma earn about $66,000 per year less than doctoral degree-holders.
Paying for Online College in Mississippi: Tuition and Financial Aid
Both in-state and out-of-state learners in Mississippi pay average tuition costs below the national average. Learners at private schools in the state pay an average of about $13,000 per year less than the national average. However, most students at online schools and colleges in Mississippi still need assistance paying for their education.
Cost Considerations for Online Students in Mississippi
The figures above only include tuition and fees, without factoring in additional expenses. Prospective online students should budget for additional costs, such as those listed below.
Technology Fees: Some distance programs require on-time or annual technology fees, which typically cover support services for online learners.
Online Costs: Some schools charge distance learners a flat online-learning fee, which students provide with their first tuition payment.
Textbook Fees: Online students must typically pay for physical or digital textbooks and learning tools. Learners should budget for learning resources each semester.
Program Tuition: Not all online degree programs cost the same amount. Colleges may charge higher tuition rates for more popular online programs
Required Travel: Online students may need to travel for internships, required residencies, or on-site exams. Students should budget for transportation and lodging costs.
Qualifying for In-State Tuition in Mississippi
In-state learners typically pay discounted tuition rates. Some schools charge all online learners in-state tuition rates, regardless of residency status. Each institution sets unique residency requirements, so students should contact their school’s financial aid office for specific information.
Online learners may also qualify for in-state tuition rates through reciprocity agreements. Mississippi and 14 other states participate in the Academic Common Market from the Southern Regional Education Board. Through this program, learners in qualifying states may receive in-state tuition at Mississippi institutions. Students can contact their college to learn about its participation in reciprocity agreements.
Paying for College in Mississippi: Scholarships and Financial Aid
Scholarships and grants can help students in online schools and colleges in Mississippi fund their education. Unlike student loans, scholarships and grants do not require repayment. The state and federal government, as well as independent organizations, offer financial aid to qualifying students. Below are some financial aid opportunities for Mississippi students.
Scholarships for Mississippi College Students
Key Thinker Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Applicants for this scholarship must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and must attend an accredited school. Applicants should be U.S. citizens or
Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts Scholarship
Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports Mississippi students at two-year and four-year colleges. The committee uses a point system to select recipients. Students
enrolled in a natural resources program can earn all 20 points.
Who Can Apply: This organization supports learners dedicated to solving problems. Each applicant must showcase a project that makes a difference in others’ lives.
Students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.
Who Can Apply: Mississippi residents with a minimum 2.5 high school GPA can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must demonstrate leadership ability and financial
need, and they must submit an essay.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
Who Can Apply: The federal government partners with higher education institutions to award this grant. Unlike the Pell Grant, this grant is awarded on a first-come,
first-serve basis. Applicants can reapply annually.
Agencies award accreditation for institutions and for specific programs. Students should ensure each prospective school holds proper accreditation. The sections below provide information about various types of accreditation for online schools and colleges in Mississippi.
National accrediting agencies generally evaluate vocational and technical schools. The CHEA online directory includes both regional and national accrediting agencies.
Subject-specific accreditation demonstrates the educational quality of an individual program. These accrediting agencies typically comprise experts in the field. Professionals in some industries must hold a degree from an accredited program to qualify for licensure. Students can search for programmatic accrediting organizations through the CHEA directory and the ED database.
How to Know if Your School or Program is Accredited
Attending an accredited institution is crucial to ensuring that you will qualify for financial aid and that employers will recognize your degree. Learners should ensure that their chosen school holds accreditation before applying.
Most institutions feature their accreditation status on their official website. Learners can find the accreditation status of any institution using the ED database or the CHEA directory.
Online College and Adult Education in Mississippi
Many online schools and colleges in Mississippi provide high-quality academic programs with no residency requirements. These options can make earning a degree feasible for students with personal and professional obligations. Below are statistics and resources for adult learners in the state.
By the Numbers: Adult Education in Mississippi
The number of distance education students in Mississippi steadily increased from 2012 to 2015.
About 86% of fully online students in Mississippi lived in the state in 2015.
Mississippi boasted nearly 15,000 exclusively online students in 2015, almost 1,000 more than in the previous year.
Complete 2 Compete: This program supports Mississippi residents who have earned college credit but have not completed
a degree. Public universities, community colleges, and a medical center participate in this initiative.
Mississippi students can access a variety of online resources to learn about education options in the state. The resources below can help learners research institutions, financial aid opportunities, and degree requirements.
Mississippi Department of Education: This government resource includes financial aid information, lists of
Mississippi universities, and links to resources for new and continuing students.
Get2College: Part of the Woodward Hines Education Foundation, this organization offers free counseling for
prospective college students. Learners can receive help completing the FAFSA form. Students can also attend virtual workshops and webinars.
Rise Up Mississippi: This website provides information about state financial aid, college applications, and career
planning. The site also offers resources for transfer students and learners who are returning to college.
Mississippi Office for Student Financial Aid: This office assists Mississippi college students. Through
the website, learners can consult with counselors and administrators as they complete the Mississippi aid application.
Federal Student Aid: The federal government provides information about various types of federal aid. Through this website, students can apply for federal loans, scholarships, and grants.
Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.
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