Frequently Asked Questions: Online Colleges in Missouri

Does Missouri have good online colleges and universities?

Yes. Missouri’s online colleges and universities are generally well-regarded by outlets like U.S. News & World Report. At the bachelor’s degree level, University of Missouri’s online program ranks No. 26 in the country, and University of Missouri–St. Louis’s program ranks No. 47. At the graduate level, University of Missouri offers strong online master’s degree programs in various fields, while Missouri University of Science & Technology ranks in the top 10 nationally for Online Master’s in Engineering. Missouri also has solid options at the community college level: St. Louis Community College stands out for its extensive list of online and mostly online degree programs.

Do online college credits in Missouri cost more than in-person classes?

The answer to this question depends on which college you attend. Some colleges offer discounted rates for online courses regardless of where you live, while others charge an additional fee for online courses to help cover the cost of software licenses, technical support, etc. Most online degree programs in Missouri charge in-state students slightly less than out-of-state students; for instance, at University of Missouri online, in-state students pay $321 per credit while out-of-state students pay $411 per credit. The same is true at the community college level: In-state students pay slightly less than out-of-state students.

Why should you choose Missouri for online higher education?

Missouri has diverse, affordable online degree options, some of which are highly ranked. If you’re interested in any of the online bachelor’s or master’s degree programs offered by University of Missouri, that could be a solid, reasonably priced option. St. Louis Community College could be an excellent choice at the online associate degree level.

The Cost of Online College in Missouri

How much does an online degree in Missouri cost?

The cost of an online degree in Missouri depends on which institution you attend as well as the type of degree you choose to pursue. For example, undergraduate programs are usually more affordable than graduate degrees. Also, you may find yourself paying more for your degree if you major in a STEM field rather than the humanities.

Regardless of the cost per credit, you should also consider that you may be able to save a lot of money on indirect expenses, such as transportation and housing, by earning your college degree online.

To give you a sense of exactly how much you should expect to pay for your online education, we’ve listed the current rates for earning an online bachelor’s degree in Missouri below:

  • Most affordable online college in Missouri: Missouri State University, $257 per credit
  • Most expensive online college in Missouri: Maryville University of St. Louis, $500 per credit

Average College Tuition Cost

Source: Education Data Initiative

How long do you have to live in Missouri to get in-state tuition rates?

Missouri requires you to live in the state for at least 12 consecutive months prior to declaring residency. To qualify for in-state tuition, you must prove that you came to the state for a reason other than education and intend to remain in the state for the foreseeable future. This usually entails working full-time in the state for one calendar year before enrolling in college and seeking in-state tuition.

Who qualifies for reduced tuition costs in Missouri?

Missouri offers several ways to reduce your tuition costs. One is through participation in the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP), which caps tuition for out-of-state Midwest students at 150% of in-state tuition at public universities in participating Midwestern states. This can save you thousands, if not tens of thousands, on your degree.

The state also sponsors Access Missouri, a program that provides financial assistance to Missouri residents with unmet financial need who attend approved colleges and universities in the state and have an expected family contribution of $12,000 or less. Eligibility for the grant is determined based on FAFSA application data, so it’s important to file early and accurately. The FAFSA will also show if you are eligible for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and other financial aid awards.

College Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grant Programs in Missouri

In addition to the MSEP tuition reciprocity agreements and the Access Missouri program, there are a number of other programs available that can help you cover the cost of college. Some of these programs are also based on financial need, while others are awarded based on factors such as demographics or academic merit. We’ve reviewed a few of the most prominent financial aid options for you below:

Bright Flight Program

Created by the Missouri Legislature, this program provides merit-based funding to high-achieving Missouri students who will attend college in the state. The program awards up to $3,000 per student per year.

Who’s eligible? Missouri high school seniors who will attend an approved postsecondary institution in Missouri and have a composite score on the ACT or SAT that’s either in the top 3% of all Missouri students taking those tests, or the top fourth or fifth percentiles of all Missouri students taking those tests.

Contact information: [email protected] | 800-473-6757, option 4

Learn more

A+ Scholarship Program

The A+ Scholarship Program provides scholarship funds to eligible graduates of A+ designated high schools who attend either a participating public community college or vocational/technical school, or certain private two-year vocational/technical schools.

Who’s eligible? Graduates of an A+ Missouri high school who maintain an average GPA of at least 2.5, perform at least 50 hours of unpaid tutoring or mentoring, and have an attendance record of at least 95% for grades 9-12.

Contact information: [email protected] | 800-473-6757, option 4

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Minority and Underrepresented Environmental Literacy Program

This scholarship program assists academically talented minority students who are pursuing or will pursue a degree in a field related to the environment, such as engineering, biology, geology, etc., with the intention of entering a career in one of these fields.

Who’s eligible? Minority and underrepresented Missouri resident students with a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 and/or minimum college GPA of 2.5 who are majoring in one of the following fields: environmental engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, agricultural engineering, biology, geology, wildlife management, natural resource planning, natural resources or a closely related field, environmental chemistry, or environmental law enforcement.

Contact information: [email protected] | 800-473-6757, option 4

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Purdy Emerging Leaders Scholarship

Sponsored by the Missouri Scholarship and Loan Foundation, this scholarship provides funding to emerging leaders who are outstanding students and who require additional resources for higher education. Award amounts range from $2,000 to $5,000.

Who’s eligible? Missouri residents who are sophomores, juniors, or seniors at a Missouri college or university, are enrolled full-time, maintain an average cumulative GPA of at least 2.5, and demonstrate financial need.

Contact information: [email protected] | 636-733-3712

Learn more

5 Fastest Growing Careers in Missouri

If you’re still in the process of assessing your college options, you may also be undecided on your major. When selecting a major, one of the most important factors to consider is your future employability. Thinking about which industries and careers are growing the fastest in Missouri can make it easier to find a job once you graduate, and being in demand should also help you earn a higher salary.

By consulting the U.S. Department of Labor’s Long-Term Occupational Projections 2018–2028, we’ve determined that the following five careers have some of the highest projected growth rates in Missouri:

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts monitor and manage an organization’s computer networks and systems. Specifically, they keep an organization’s data safe. As cybersecurity and information security become increasingly important in our digital world, these security analysts are in high demand. They are also well-compensated, making an average annual salary of $95,010 in Missouri.

Nurse Practitioners

NPs are advanced practice registered nurses who specialize in diagnosing and treating patients with an emphasis on preventative care and health education. They are quickly becoming many Americans’ preferred primary care professionals. NPs tend to be well-compensated; in Missouri they earn an average salary of $103,490 per year.

Respiratory Therapists

Respiratory therapists are experts in the field of breathing assistance and monitoring. They assist doctors and other health professionals with patient treatment for diseases and conditions that impact breathing, such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema, and cystic fibrosis, to name a few. In Missouri, these professionals earn an average annual salary of $59,900.

  • Growth: 28.7%
  • Degree options: Associate in Respiratory Care, Bachelor of Health Science in Respiratory Care

Software Developers (Applications)

As governments, companies, and individuals become ever more reliant on web-based technologies, it’s no surprise that the skills of software developers, especially app developers, are in high demand. Salaries in this field tend to be quite high, with software developers earning an average salary of $100,290 per year in Missouri.

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

Missouri, like most states in the U.S., is experiencing a mental health and addiction epidemic. With a growing, aging population comes an increased need to provide more professional support around substance use disorder, behavioral issues, and mental health. In Missouri, counselors in this field earn an average salary of $43,270 per year.

  • Growth: 21.8%
  • Degree options: Bachelor’s in Clinical/Medical Social Work, Bachelor’s in Psychology, Bachelor’s in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling, Master’s in Clinical/Medical Social Work, Master’s in Clinical Psychology, Master’s in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling

Our Research

We looked at all types of colleges in Missouri to come up with our curated list of the best online colleges. Our research included everything from small private colleges to large public universities, and we reviewed the tuition costs, graduation credit requirements, and coursework delivery method (in-person vs. online).

We limited our review to accredited higher learning institutions to ensure they meet high quality standards. The majority of the Missouri colleges on our list are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Working in a 19-state area in the north central region, the HLC is committed to holding its accredited institutions to high standards for the continuing improvement of higher education.

  • 69 hours to write this article
  • 107 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 127 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Colleges in Missouri

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