Why This Matters


    According to College Navigator, Missouri has 13 publicly funded schools, 44 private non-profit schools, and eight private for-profit schools.


    While tuition varies widely across the state’s public and private colleges, Missouri students paid $9,240 on average for tuition during the 2020-21 school year.


    In the 2019-20 school year, the average undergraduate student received $14,940 in grants, scholarships, and student loans.

Our Research

To help Missourians find the college that fits their academic goals and budget, we’ve compiled a list of the top colleges and universities in the state. Our list reflects the diversity of options in the state and features schools ranging in size from small liberal arts colleges, midsized universities, and multi-campus research universities.

Every college on our list is accredited. A degree from an accredited school is generally required by employers seeking job candidates with certain levels of education. It’s also a requirement for pursuing postgraduate degrees. The main regional accrediting body in Missouri is the Higher Learning Commission, which holds schools accountable to high academic standards.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 74 hours to write this article
  • 156 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 399 education programs we compared

The Top 39 Colleges in Missouri

Best Colleges In Missouri
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What You Should Know About Graduating From College in Missouri

When choosing where to complete your undergraduate degree, it’s important to consider whether the state has job opportunities to fit your degree field. The most dominant industry in Missouri is trade, transportation, and utilities, which accounts for over 525,000 workers in the state. Other top industries in the state include education and health services, government, goods-producing services, and professional and business services.

Within these industries, there are over 100 careers that require bachelor’s degrees and are expected to grow over the next few years. The demand for information security analysts and software developers is projected to grow by about 40% by 2026. Similarly, the demand for biological technicians, computer hardware engineers, and actuaries is projected to increase by 25-30%.

Missouri has many large corporations and non-profit organizations, providing diverse career opportunities for college graduates. Toddzone.com and Viasystems Group, Inc. are the largest employers in the state, each with approximately 15,000 employees. Other top employers include Express Scripts Holding Company, Cox Medical Center South, and Hallmark Cards, Inc.

What’s Next?

Many Missouri students rely on financial aid to pay for their undergraduate degree. This resources list can help you identify the options available to you and research information on application deadlines, award amounts, and eligibility requirements.

  • Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development (MDHEWD). This organization provides informational resources and services to students, families, and professionals who are interested in helping students obtain college degrees. It administers several scholarships and grants for Missouri residents pursuing in-state education.
  • Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA application helps the U.S. Department of Education assess a student’s eligibility for need-based financial aid, including scholarships, grants, and student loans. To determine whether you’re eligible to submit a FAFSA application, click here. To apply online, follow this link.
  • CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop is backed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and helps Missourians find financial aid programs that are available to them. Through this website, visitors can get an overview of the grants, scholarships, and loans that are offered based on their location and degree level, as well as access important information regarding application deadlines and eligibility criteria.