Online Schools & Colleges
in Missouri

Finding the Right Online Program in Missouri

By 2020, 66 percent of jobs in Missouri are projected to require a postsecondary degree. In response to that estimate, Missouri’s Big Goal for higher education aims to provide 60 percent of adults in the state with postsecondary degrees by 2025. But stats show that only 27.6 percent of Missouri residents held a bachelor’s degree or higher as of 2016. In order to fulfill the Big Goal promise, non-traditional students who have put college on hold in favor of work, family and other lifestyle commitments are likely considering online colleges, which offer greater learning flexibility than traditional, on-campus programs. But how are you to tell which are truly the best online colleges in Missouri? And what makes them the best? Find answers to these questions, along with answers to other common queries surrounding online colleges, from how to fund your online education in Missouri, details on college transfers and career potential in the state below.

Best Online Colleges in Missouri

2-Year Colleges

Many of the online schools in Missouri have interesting histories, including St. Louis University, which was founded in 1818, making it the first college west of the Mississippi River. Aside from fun facts, there’s a lot for prospective students to consider before choosing which online program they want to commit to. Think about the basic standards high-quality colleges and universities possess—even if you don’t think you have what it takes to attend a Harvard-quality, you’d be surprised. There are many top-caliber, accredited online colleges right here in Missouri. Take a look at the best of the best for student success and more here:

Rank University Title Tuition # of Online Programs Expand Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Description
1 State Fair Community College $3,600 26 22% 20% Yes Yes Yes
2 Crowder College $3,072 21 25% 14% Yes Yes Yes
3 Ozarks Technical Community College $3,564 11 24% 4% Yes Yes Yes
4 North Central Missouri College $3,270 28 37% 30% Yes No Yes
5 Jefferson College $3,504 8 26% 13% Yes Yes Yes
6 Saint Louis Community College $4,080 9 10% 3% Yes Yes Yes
7 Moberly Area Community College $4,230 6 27% 29% Yes Yes Yes
8 Three Rivers College $4,200 37 21% 17% No Yes Yes
9 Missouri State-West Plains $3,570 6 21% 35% No Yes Yes
Rank University Title Tuition # of Online Programs Expand Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Description
1 Cox College $9,600 4 59% 100% 14% Yes No Yes

Cox College in Springfield, Missouri, offers both online and blended degree options and specializes in nursing degrees, radiologic sciences and imaging, medical assisting, and various research-based Master of Science programs. Accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing, the Bachelor of Science in nursing program is the most popular area at Cox, with associate, bachelor's, RN to BSN degrees available for distance learners. Bachelor's degrees may take up to five years to complete. Upon graduation, Cox graduates boast a 96 percent job placement rate.

2 Webster University $26,100 44 47% 65% 93% Yes Yes Yes

Webster University is a nonprofit private university in Webster Groves, Missouri. With over 55 online programs of study, undergraduate courses last eight?16 weeks, and graduate courses are eight?nine weeks in duration. For a more personal learning environment, these asynchronous classes are limited to 24 students per section. Among the available online degrees, bachelor's and master's business programs offer the most areas of specialization to fit your career aspirations best. Webster also takes pride in its ability to offer special services, substantial transfer credit options, and attention for active-duty service members and veterans. Whether you are a full-time or part-time student, domestic or international, Webster's online degrees can be completed 100 percent online. Some degrees include the option for a hybrid format. Most online degrees are completed within one to four years depending on your enrollment status and availability.

3 Maryville University $25,558 7 93% 68% 97% Yes Yes Yes

Maryville University's online programs can be completed 100 percent online, with no on campus obligations. Class sizes are comparatively small, with only about 20 students per section. For maximum flexibility, you can take courses in an asynchronous format starting in either the fall, spring, or summer. Eligible transfer credits can be applied to your degree, pending the approval of the Office of Admissions. This private university offers graduate and undergraduate degrees, as well as certificate programs. Nursing programs, like doctoral degrees in pediatric and family nursing, as well as master's degrees in adult gerontology and psychiatric health, are especially popular among the distance learning community at Maryville. For undergraduate students, a diverse set of business-related bachelor's degrees are available, including business administration, finance, and organizational leadership.

4 University of Missouri $8,286 19 75% 71% 64% No Yes Yes

The University of Missouri, or Mizzou, is a public research university in Columbia and is the largest school in the state. They offer 149 online programs, from bachelor's and master's degrees to post-graduate certificates and doctorates. Mizzou's online nursing programs shine through as one of their most diverse and popular degree programs. You can earn certificates in adult-geriatric care, master's degrees in neonatal care and family nursing, or doctorates with specialties in pediatrics, gerontology, family practice, and women's health. Taught by the same professors who teach the on campus classes, most of these degrees are completed online and offer a quality Mizzou education for distance learners. Some doctoral programs require clinical residencies. For convenience, these rotations are scheduled at a facility close to your location. Residents and nonresidents pay the same tuition rates per online course credit. Most programs require a personal interview before admission.

5 University of Central Missouri $6,446 21 75% 55% 66% Yes Yes Yes

The University of Central Missouri is a public state institution located in Warrensburg. At UCM, the same professors who teach on campus courses also teach online courses, so you know you are getting the best instruction the university has to offer. Both undergraduate and graduate degrees are available and can be completed entirely online. UCM's online program features strong education programs, with degrees in occupational education, educational technology, elementary education/curriculum and instruction, and general teaching. The school also offers an education specialist program for distance learners who already have a master's degree. Focusing on technology in the classroom, this program teaches you the skills to take your presentation and pedagogical methods to the next level. This specialist program results in an EdS degree, the highest degree awarded by UCM. Transfer credits may be counted toward your degree at the discretion of the Office of Admissions.

6 Missouri University of Science and Technology $8,286 16 79% 67% 82% No Yes Yes

Missouri University of Science and Technology is known for its engineering, business, and management programs. You can take advantage of their fully online majors, such as aerospace engineering, business administration, and chemical engineering from anywhere you wish to log in. Offering graduate degrees, graduate certificates, and continuing education courses, most online students begin their education in the certificate program and earn credit toward a master's or doctoral degree. Most classes are synchronous and feature live collaboration software and streaming video lectures, which allow for easy participation with your professors and classmates while simulating a more traditional in-class experience. Depending on the degree, most students take one?two classes a semester and complete their degrees in three?four years. Some graduate degrees may take up to six years to finish.

7 Missouri State University $6,150 49 84% 57% 54% No Yes Yes

Located in Springfield, Missouri State University is a public institution that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in both online and hybrid formats. This online program is notable, in part, for its diverse degree options among education- and business-driven majors. With several master's degrees in education, and available specialties in elementary education, literacy, and educational technology, and bachelor's degrees in business, finance, and communication studies, Missouri State offers diverse training to prepare you for the modern job market.

8 Lindenwood University $15,672 6 55% 51% 96% Yes Yes Yes

Lindenwood University is a private liberal arts institution located in Saint Charles, Missouri. Established in 1827, this school now offers 31 online degrees and more than 100 online courses each semester. Standout degrees available online at Lindenwood include undergraduate and graduate programs in digital and web design, game design, social media and digital content strategy, and digital photography. This arts and design-heavy online program is designed to provide modern skills for growing technology-driven fields in today's competitive job market. Through the Canvas system, you will have access to your professors, writing and tutorial services, and 24/7 technical support when you log in from any location.

9 Columbia College $7,887 28 - 40% 27% Yes Yes Yes

Columbia College is a nonprofit liberal arts and science college established in 1851. Online courses are accelerated and last eight weeks long, with six starting times each calendar year. Courses are asynchronous and help working adults and professionals complete associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees. From business and marketing to criminal justice and education, each of the nine major concentrations offers multiple specializations from which you choose your degree path. Distance learners also have access to Columbia's academic counseling and careers services, as well as a dedicated office to help military personnel navigate their degrees and military benefits.

10 Park University $11,730 30 85% 27% 49% Yes Yes Yes

At Park University, you can earn numerous certificates and degrees entirely online or in a hybrid format. Courses at this nonprofit, liberal arts school are asynchronous, allowing you to work at your own pace over accelerated 8-week terms. With more than 80 career-focused online programs, Park specializes in information and computer science degrees, with associate or bachelor's programs in computer science, information systems, homeland security, computer information systems, and computer networking. To help fund your education, Park offers distance learners internal merit-based scholarships as well as some federal work-study, with on and off campus positions for eligible students.

11 Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary $7,020 6 99% 44% 41% Yes Yes No
12 Southeast Missouri State University $5,979 11 83% 55% 77% No Yes Yes
13 Northwest Missouri State University $4,335 7 74% 51% 90% No Yes Yes
14 Missouri Southern State University $5,311 7 94% 39% 69% Yes Yes Yes
15 Fontbonne University $24,250 11 90% 48% 96% Yes Yes Yes
16 University of Missouri-St Louis $10,065 10 71% 46% 85% No Yes Yes
17 William Woods University $22,230 7 70% 53% 100% Yes Yes Yes
18 Evangel University $20,874 4 75% 48% 88% Yes Yes Yes
19 Missouri Baptist University $23,720 16 51% 44% 98% Yes Yes Yes
20 Drury University $24,750 14 70% 64% 83% No Yes Yes
21 Saint Louis University $40,100 6 65% 72% 91% No Yes Yes
22 Southwest Baptist University $21,600 6 90% 48% 82% No Yes Yes
23 Hannibal-LaGrange University $20,610 8 62% 38% 86% Yes Yes Yes
24 Calvary University $10,500 3 98% 43% 61% Yes No Yes
25 Culver-Stockton College $24,990 6 58% 42% 94% No Yes Yes
26 Logan University $6,600 3 - - - No Yes Yes
27 Stephens College $29,554 3 61% 50% 100% No No Yes
28 City Vision University $7,000 5 - - 100% Yes No No

How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I’m Looking for in Missouri?

Whether you’re interested in becoming a helicopter pilot, business manager or nurse, online colleges and universities in Missouri have many interesting degree program options, some of which can be completed fully online. A quick online search will uncover a listing of online programs on each university’s website, such as this list from Mizzou Online.

As you sort through directories, try to find your niche: Columbia College offers 35 online programs, most of which are in business administration, but with a variety of focus options including healthcare, sports management, marketing and international business. St. Louis University offers a more diverse variety of online degrees, including organizational leadership and technology, security and strategic development, and aviation management.

Which Online Schools in Missouri Will Accept My Transfer Credits or Work/Life Experience?

Most online schools in Missouri accept transfer credits. In fact, about 45 percent of students at Missouri State University transfer from community colleges and other four-year universities.

The University of Missouri also encourages transfer students to enroll by providing scholarships and awards to help transfer students fund their education. The Missouri Community College Scholar Award provides $2,000 per year for a Missouri resident transfer student who has earned an associate degree from an accredited Missouri community college. The Missouri Community College Scholarship offers $1,000 for Missouri resident transfer students who have an associate degree or 45 credits from an accredited Missouri community college.

Many online colleges in Missouri, including Webster University, participate in the Missouri Reverse Transfer Program, which allows students to earn their associate degrees while working on their bachelor’s.

Students interested in receiving credit for prior work or life experience should speak with their prospective schools’ admissions offices about whether this is an option.

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How Much More Do College Grads in Missouri Make?

If you’re questioning whether earning your online degree is worth it, take a look at the salary potential for jobs that require a college education in Missouri. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, on average, careers that require a bachelor’s-level education and doctoral-level education are some of the best-paying in the state. Take a look at the average earnings for careers with each of the following minimum degree requirements in Missouri below:

No Formal
High School
$32,030 $41,369 $54,360 $71,859 $69,353 $112,586

The average annual income in Missouri is $54,373, but many workers don’t make that much, because many adults in Missouri do not hold a degree higher than a high school diploma.

College Education & Career Trends in Missouri

In Missouri, the manufacturing and construction sectors are projected to continue losing jobs, while biomedical engineers, home health aides and biochemists can expect an increase in open positions, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. Careers in these fields likely require a college education, and as jobs become more specialized, the need for workers with advanced degrees, including bachelor’s-level degrees, is on the rise.

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The Impact of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in Missouri

Accreditation indicates that a school has met or exceeded higher education standards overseen by a national, regional or subject-specific education committee. For online college students in Missouri, choosing an accredited school over a non-accredited program means you won’t be sacrificing quality for flexibility in learning. Many online colleges and universities in Missouri are fully accredited.

Regional and National Accreditation

While accreditation varies by school, and colleges are not restricted in the number of accreditations they hold, most Missouri universities are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Which also provides a searchable database of schools, including online colleges in Missouri.

Subject-Specific Accreditation

In addition to general accreditation, individual programs may also receive program-specific accreditation. Most nursing programs at online schools in Missouri are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, which is part of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Mizzou’s bachelor’s in business administration is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Paying for Online College in Missouri: Tuition & Financial Aid

Although the cost of tuition is rising, many of Missouri’s fast-growing, high-paying industries require college degrees. Tuition and fees at online schools in Missouri are set by each institution and are reported to the Missouri Department of Higher Education. In Missouri, if a public institution increases tuition and fees too much, the institution must either remit 5 percent of its state funding or request a waiver from the Commission of Higher Education. This rule aims to prevent costs from rising too much between consecutive years.

by each institution and are reported to the Missouri Department of Higher Education. In Missouri, if a public institution increases tuition and fees too much, the institution must either remit 5 percent of its state funding or request a waiver from the Commission of Higher Education. This rule aims to prevent costs from rising too much between consecutive years.

Tuition costs for online schools in Missouri range from $250 per credit-hour (2017-2018) at Central Methodist University to $710 per credit hour (2017-2018) at Webster University.

Take a look at average tuition costs in the state below:

In-State Tuition, Public Colleges & Universities: $8,178

Change from 2015 $113

National Average:$8,778

In-State Tuition, Private Colleges & Universities: $22,416

Change from 2015 $952

National Average:$27,951

These figures do not include any fees or costs associated with earning a degree outside of base tuition (like room and board). Cost-per-credit may be the same for in-state and out-of-state online students in Missouri. Schools determine online education pricing individually. Some examples are listed below:

  • Flat Online Tuition: WGU Missouri charges a flat tuition rate every six months. No matter how many courses you take, tuition is the same, offering an incentive to earn your degree faster.

  • Online Cost Per Credit, Single-Rate: At Park University, all online students are charged a per-credit fee, no matter if they are in-state or out-of-state.

  • Same Rate, Online & On-Campus: The University of Missouri charges students the same rate for online classes as on-campus classes, and in-state and out-of-state tuition rates apply for residents and non-residents equally online and on-campus.

  • Varying Tuition Rates: Some programs charge less for the first few years of courses, then slowly increase the per-credit cost for courses. Missouri State University follows this pattern.

Missouri is also a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), which makes it easier for students living in one state to take part in online programs in other states. Missouri participates with 11 other states in SARA’s Midwestern Higher Education Compact, through which students living in participating states can benefit from tuition breaks and a simplified transfer process.

Continue reading to answer more frequently asked questions about paying for online colleges in Missouri:

What Are Missouri’s Requirements to Qualify for In-State University Tuition?

Prospective out-of-state students are considered temporary residents of the state by online schools in Missouri, according to the policy established by the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education. To obtain full residency, students must provide proof of full-time employment for the 12 months preceding their education, plus lease agreement or proof of home purchase, income tax forms, a Missouri driver’s license or voter registration, and vehicle registration.

Most importantly: Online students in Missouri always check to see if their online degree program receives in-state tuition rates.

Are Online Credits More Affordable in Missouri Than Other Places?

The cost per credit at online schools in Missouri is in line with average tuition costs, according to the College Board. Check out the following comparison, detailing two of Missouri’s online cost-per-credit rates with other schools in nearby states for undergrads in 2018-2019:

Most importantly: Students should always conduct their own research to ensure that they understand the complete cost of attending an online college in Missouri.

How Can I Get Help Paying for Online College in Missouri?

Students at online colleges in Missouri benefit from state financial aid, along with aid from individual colleges. The Missouri Department of Higher Education provides a variety of grant and scholarship options to students, including children of veterans killed during wartime or because of wartime injuries or illnesses.

Online schools in Missouri also award financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships, and loans, based on a students’ Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). About 89 percent of students at St. Louis University receive financial aid from the university and its endowments. Of the $331 million available in aid in 2017, $165 million was awarded to students as either scholarships or grants.

Columbia College awarded $4 million in scholarships in 2017, according to the school’s website. Online tuition at Columbia is $375 per credit hour, with discounts for military service members. Columbia College’s scholarship finder offers an easy way to look for scholarships and grants.

Mizzou offers some financial aid, including scholarships specifically for online students. Mizzou Online provides tuition aid for various groups of distance learners, including community college graduates, veterans, and military service members and their dependents. The Mizzou Online Community College Award is for graduates of community colleges in Missouri, offering a 10% tuition award. In-state transfer students at the University of Missouri also have access to specific scholarships.

At Missouri State, more than 78% of students receive some form of financial aid. Transfer students from community colleges in the United States can receive either institutional or donor-funded scholarships.

The online financial aid guide for Marysville University offers general information and links to a wide variety of scholarship and grant information.

Online Education & Adult Education in Missouri

While traditional students enter college in the autumn after high school graduation, many must instead transfer from the classroom to the workforce because of family and financial commitments. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the same Missouri residents who would benefit from seeking a postsecondary degree. This is where adult education programs can help non-traditional students get back on track and prepare for college success.

Missouri’s adult education programs can be useful for:

The U.S. Department of Education’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act observed 65 percent of Missouri’s adult learners, of whom more than half were female and between the ages of 25 and 44, gained measurable skills by completing their programs.

22.11 percent of the total adult population of the state of Missouri does not currently possess a high school diploma.
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