Accredited Degree Programs, Scholarships and Resources for Top Schools
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 2020
Initiatives in Missouri help prepare adult learners for college and make tuition more affordable. The Coordinating Board for Higher Education set a goal for 60% of working-age residents to hold a college degree by 2025. The board also works to make Missouri one of the 10 most affordable states to earn a college degree.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition and fees at public four-year schools in Missouri cost an average of $8,387, which is less than the national average of $9,037. However, most students still need assistance paying for college. This guide explores scholarships and grants for learners attending online schools and colleges in Missouri.
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How Much More Do College Grads in Missouri Make?
According to a 2016 MDHEWD report, the Missouri Department of Economic Development projected that 92% of the state's highest-paying jobs would require at least a bachelor's degree by 2020. The same report states that more than 50% of Missourians held a college degree in 2016.
Professionals with higher levels of education tend to earn higher salaries. Additionally, college graduates often hold jobs with health insurance and retirement benefits. The table below illustrates the correlation between educational attainment and earning potential.
Annual Full Time Wage and Salary by Educational Attainment in the U.S.
|Less Than a High School Diploma||High School Diploma||Associate Degree||Bachelor's Degree||Master's Degree||Doctoral Degree|
Paying for Online College in Missouri: Tuition and Financial Aid
Both in-state and out-of-state learners at Missouri schools pay average tuition rates that are lower than the national average. Nonetheless, most Missouri students need assistance to minimize their college debt.
The following tables compare the average tuition costs for Missouri students to the national averages. Factors that impact tuition rates include the learner's residency status and whether they attend a public or private school.
|Type of School||In-State Tuition||Out-of-State Tuition||National Average|
|Public||$7,924||$20,061||$9,037 (In-State); $25,657 (Out-of-State)|
Cost Considerations for Online Students in Missouri
Tuition and expenses typically comprise the largest percentage of the total cost of college. However, students should consider additional costs when budgeting for college. Below are some cost considerations for students at online schools and colleges in Missouri.
Undergraduates must often pay an activity fee to support on-campus programs, clubs, and activities. Online students may not pay this fee.
Many schools charge an information technology fee to cover costs related to internet, email services, and computer labs.
Students sometimes pay an instructional fee, which typically covers costs such as adding to the library's catalog and upgrading equipment.
Online Course Fee
Online learners often pay a per-course or per-semester fee that covers costs associated with distance learning, such as technical support.
Students may pay an administrative fee to take self-paced or asynchronous courses.
Qualifying for In-State Tuition in Missouri
To prove residency, Missouri students must submit documents in accordance with the state's regulations. Learners who do not meet residency requirements must pay out-of-state tuition rates and cannot receive financial aid from the state government.
To qualify for in-state tuition rates, students must generally have resided in Missouri for 12 consecutive months prior to the first day of the semester. Learners can also show proof of living in Missouri to work full time. Acceptable documentation includes income tax statements and pay stubs. Military students may receive exceptions.
Paying for College in Missouri: Scholarships and Financial Aid
To help fund their education, students attending online schools and colleges in Missouri can apply for scholarships from private organizations, their school, and the state. Scholarships and grants are ideal forms of funding, since they do not require repayment. Below are some funding programs available to Missouri students.
Scholarships for Missouri College Students
Who Can Apply: The Community Foundation of the Ozarks provides scholarships to high school seniors and current college students. Requirements for scholarships vary, with some awards only available to students in the Missouri Ozarks region.
Who Can Apply: Each year, two students receive this scholarship. Applicants must be aged 17-29, must reside in the Greater St. Louis region, and must attend a community or technical college full or part time. Learners who took a nontraditional pathway to college receive preference.
Who Can Apply: This scholarship program honors Glenn L. Moller, Jr., who died in Vietnam. The award supports learners who have overcome challenging backgrounds. Applicants must be attending a two- or four-year school and must demonstrate financial need.
Who Can Apply: This regional scholarship supports four learners per year who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement. Applicants must submit an essay, high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and letters of recommendation.
Who Can Apply: Candidates for this award must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at a religious college in St. Joseph, Missouri. Applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA.
Grants for Missouri College Students
Who Can Apply: High school seniors who meet the eligibility requirements for Access Missouri and the A+ Scholarship can receive this grant. Applicants must earn two qualifying scores on Advanced Placement exams in math and/or science.
Who Can Apply: This grant supports family members of firefighters or police officers who died in the line of duty. Applicants must submit a letter of request and a letter of recommendation from the chief of police or fire chief.
Who Can Apply: Missouri residents who are at least 25 years old pursuing their first bachelor's degree can apply for this grant. Applicants must meet income eligibility requirements and must submit a Fast Track application.
Amount: Up to $500
Who Can Apply: This state-funded scholarship supports students whose ACT or SAT score was in the top 3% for their high school. Applicants must attend college full time.
Amount: $1,000 to $3,000
Who Can Apply: Academically accomplished students from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds can apply for this award. Applicants must be Missouri residents, have a minimum 3.0 high school GPA or 2.5 college GPA, and be studying an approved subject area.
The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in Missouri
Online schools and colleges in Missouri can receive accreditation through a voluntary evaluation process. An independent agency reviews and evaluates the school to ensure its curricula and outcomes meet academic standards. Attending an accredited school ensures that employers will recognize your degree, and it is often required to qualify for federal and state financial aid programs.
Students who attend a college without regional accreditation cannot receive federal loans or grants. The following sections explore various types of accreditation and provide information about how to identify an institution's accreditation status.
Regional and National AccreditationSix agencies award regional accreditation to U.S. institutions. The Higher Learning Commission provides regional accreditation for Missouri schools. Vocational and technical colleges often earn national accreditation. Regional accreditation is more prestigious than national accreditation, and credits earned from nationally accredited schools do not typically transfer to regionally accredited institutions.
Subject-specific accrediting agencies evaluate programs and departments within specific fields. For example, the American Psychological Association accredits psychology programs, and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council accredits education programs.
Subject-specific accreditation demonstrates that a program meets accepted standards for the industry. Professionals in some fields need a degree from an accredited program to qualify for licensure.
How to Know if Your School or Program is AccreditedAccredited colleges and universities generally feature accreditation information on their website. Learners can confirm a school's accreditation status by searching databases from the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education. The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development also provides information about the accreditation status of schools in the state.
Online College and Adult Education in Missouri
Several Missouri state initiatives help improve access to higher education, especially for working-age adults. Students can take advantage of state initiatives that support working adults and online learners. The following sections include information about resources for adult learners attending online schools and colleges in Missouri.
By the Numbers: Adult Education in Missouri
Adult Education Programs for Missouri Students
Online College Resources for Missouri Students
Learners attending online schools and colleges in Missouri can access free local and national resources. The resources below can help students find financial aid, transfer college credits, and plan their careers.