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Colleges in Missouri

Why go to College in Missouri?

The state of Missouri offers a variety of higher education programs with a system of schools that serve approximately 450,000 students. The state has 10 public, four-year colleges and universities spread out among 13 campuses. There are also 25 private colleges, 14 two-year institutions, and 150 private career schools. Students from all over the country are able to attend these institutions by enrolling on-campus and/or online. State initiatives have also been passed to increase the number of students enrolled in higher education classes. For example, Missouri’s Big Goal is to have 60% of the state’s population complete some form of postsecondary education by 2025. Additionally, the 15 to Finish initiative encourages students to take 15 credits per semester, either on campus or through an online school in Missouri, to graduate on time with a two-year or four-year degree.


According to the 2010 U.S. census, Missouri is home to 5,988,927 people, with St. Louis County having the largest population. The counties of Jackson, St. Charles, St. Louis City, and Greene round out the five most populous counties.


Like many states in the Midwest, Missouri has a humid continental climate with cold, snowy winters and hot, wet, and humid summers. Cold arctic air and the Gulf of Mexico serve as moderators for the state’s alternating temperature extremes.

Number of Higher Learning Institutions

The 242 institutions of higher learning in Missouri provide students with a range of educational opportunities, from associate programs to graduate degrees. Additionally, online colleges in Missouri serve as a virtual arm for many of these institutions.

Sporting Events

The state is home to five professional major league sports teams in football, baseball, soccer, and hockey. There are also smaller and minor league teams in women’s soccer, rugby, hockey, and football. Most colleges in the state also have athletics programs representing these sports, including many NCAA Division I programs.


Regardless of a student’s school, they should have access to a wide variety of restaurants, pubs, and clubs. Additionally, individuals in the cities of Saint Louis, Kansas, and Columbia can easily attend top-class museums and concerts.

What Options are Available for Colleges in Missouri?


On-campuses classes are still the most popular form of education. This type of instruction employs multi-sensory teaching techniques where students listen to the instructor, participate in discussions, and interact with peers in real time. While many online colleges in Missouri offer synchronous online programming, where students can obtain a similar experience, many students prefer learning in a classroom because it is easier to remain focused and manage their time efficiently.

Furthermore, being a college student on campus provides you with access to extracurricular activities and living experiences that may not be available to distance learners. While it is typically more expensive to study on campus, due to additional fees, rent, and other expenses, many students believe that this is a worthwhile investment.

Online Programs

Online colleges in Missouri offer students greater affordability and the flexibility to learn at a distance by engaging in coursework that is accessible over the internet. Schools typically use a learning management system, such as Blackboard or Canvas, to deliver coursework either asynchronously (with no set times for classes), synchronously (with established times when students must log on and “attend” class), or through a hybrid format that blends the two styles.

Some traits, such as good time-management skills and being self-motivated, are especially necessary for online learners; students must access classes and materials without being prompted and complete projects by established deadlines. Online programs are particularly well-suited for nontraditional learners who would benefit from less travel, lower tuition rates, and increased flexibility, allowing them to better manage their family, career, and school obligations.

Hybrid Programs

Hybrid programs are online courses that blend face-to-face and web-based learning. Online colleges in Missouri offer hybrid programs that feature between 25% and 85% online coursework, with the remainder of time spent on campus in a face-to-face learning environment. Similar to fully-online programs, the online portions of hybrid courses may be delivered asynchronously or synchronously.

The main appeal of hybrid programming is that it offers the benefits of both online and on-campus programs: increased flexibility and the social and instructional benefits of face-to-face learning. Some programs are more likely to require hybrid learning. For instance, students pursuing a degree that features lab classes may find that, although they can do most of their studying online, they must attend campus for laboratory exercises and research.

Popular Degree Programs in Missouri

Every state in the nation specializes in its own blend of industries to produce the goods and services that are needed at the local, regional, and national level. Students often gravitate toward degrees that help them land jobs within these in-demand fields. The most popular majors in Missouri reflect the top industries and employers in the state, including manufacturing and administrative support services; Missouri is also home to several Fortune 1000 companies.

  • Business management and administration

    A degree in business management and administration teaches students the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a number of administrative and managerial positions in Missouri. Regardless of the industry, organizations need qualified people for roles in accounting, marketing, and human resources; these are all key areas of study covered in this type of program.

  • Social psychology

    The social psychology major is also popular in the state. Graduates are provided with a keen understanding of human behavior and social interaction. The ability to understand people and understand their behavior leads to success in a wide range of careers, including sales, marketing, and community relations.

What are the Best Online Colleges in Missouri?

The flexibility provided by online colleges in Missouri gives students the ability to juggle work, family, and career obligations, while also saving on tuition. Because tuition costs at public four-year institutions in Missouri sit below the national average, these schools continue to be attractive to prospective students. This section provides learners with a ranking of the best online schools in Missouri. This list was devised using a rigorous methodology and is an excellent resource to help students determine which colleges are best-suited to fit their educational goals.


Maryville University of Saint LouisSaint Louis, MO

Admissions Rate 72%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 71%
Online Enrollment 44%

Located in St. Louis, Maryville University offers four online undergraduate degree programs and 11 online graduate programs. MU is known for its cyber security program, which is available in both bachelor's and master's degree options.

Applicants must have a high school diploma with a GPA of at least 2.5 and must have completed several high school-level prerequisite courses. Transfer students must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.0 and may apply up to 68 previous credits toward their bachelor’s degree at MU.

MU is one of the most popular online colleges in Missouri and charges the same tuition for online and in-person courses. However, distance learners can save money on transportation and housing costs.


Washington University in St LouisSaint Louis, MO

Admissions Rate 17%
Default Rate 3%
Retention Rate 96%
Graduation Rate 93%
Online Enrollment 2%

Washington University in St. Louis is one of the most prestigious online colleges in Missouri. The school offers a variety of distance education programs through the University College platform, which feature small class sizes and a personalized approach to digital learning. WUSL offers both online and hybrid programs, including 16 undergraduate programs, three graduate programs, and three fully online certificate programs. K–12 teachers seeking a master’s degree in biology may enroll in a specialized summer hybrid program.

Applicants must have a high school diploma and six to 12 credits of transferable college-level coursework, with a GPA of at least 2.7.


Webster UniversitySaint Louis, MO

Admissions Rate 56%
Default Rate 8%
Retention Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 62%
Online Enrollment 25%

Located on the west end of St. Louis, Webster University is a private school that offers robust online learning and degree programs for part-time and full-time students. Webster's online programs serve students across the country and around the world. All digital courses meet the same high standards of quality as Webster's on-campus programs. In addition to several undergraduate programs, Webster offers more than 31 accredited graduate degrees completely online.

Webster’s dedication to quality makes it one of the top online schools in Missouri. Applicants must have a high school diploma and an ACT score of least 21. The university welcomes transfer credits from accredited institutions.


Saint Louis UniversitySaint Louis, MO

Admissions Rate 63%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 90%
Graduation Rate 71%
Online Enrollment 6%

Through its School for Professional Studies, Saint Louis University delivers a variety of online degree programs tailored to adults with personal and professional obligations. SLU's focus on educating working professionals, along with the elevated quality of its programs and courses, makes it one of the most popular online colleges in Missouri.

SLU offers nine undergraduate programs, including a degree in aviation management that covers the economic, management, and international business aspects of the aviation industry. SLU offers master’s degree programs in applied analytics and leadership and organizational development.

The university’s online courses follow eight-week terms and offer reduced tuition rates. Further discounted tuition is available to members of the U.S. military and first responders.


Truman State UniversityKirksville, MO

Admissions Rate 79%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 73%
Online Enrollment 8%

Truman State University, a highly respected institution located in Northeast Missouri, offers a variety of online courses that allow busy students the flexibility they need to complete their degrees. While Truman does not offer fully online programs, students can earn their degrees through a combination of online and on-campus classes. These hybrid programs provide both the flexible scheduling of an online program and the in-person learning experience of a traditional program.

Founded in 1867, Truman's hybrid programs maintain the same level of academic rigor as its traditional programs. In 2011, the university began offering fully online graduate certificates.


William Woods UniversityFulton, MO

Admissions Rate 73%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 52%
Online Enrollment 19%

With its eight-week course schedule and accelerated options, William Woods University is one of the most competitive online colleges in Missouri. Its courses encourage networking and collaboration among students, leading to an active and engaging learning experience. William Woods, located in Fulton, is a private, nonprofit university founded in 1870. The university's long history of serving adult learners feeds its commitment to providing quality online education for working professionals.

William Woods offers a tuition promise: No student's tuition will increase as long as they remain continuously enrolled. Bachelor’s degrees in paralegal studies and business administration, along with seven master’s degrees, are available completely online.


University of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbia, MO

Admissions Rate 78%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 87%
Graduation Rate 69%
Online Enrollment 7%

Mizzou offers more than 100 online degree and certificate programs. Located in Columbia, the university provides more than 1,000 individual online courses that meet the same levels of rigor and quality as on-campus courses. Many of Mizzou's online courses are self-paced, allowing students to complete coursework at their convenience. Typically, students have eight weeks to six months to meet the requirements of self-paced courses.

Mizzou is dedicated to helping U.S. military members pursue degrees; scholarships and aid are available from numerous programs and grants. Mizzou's veterans center ensures military personnel find success in their studies.


Missouri University of Science and TechnologyRolla, MO

Admissions Rate 88%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 87%
Graduation Rate 65%
Online Enrollment 7%

Established in Rolla in 1870, Missouri S&T serves more than 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Its comprehensive distance education program makes it one of the top online schools in Missouri. Students choose from fully online certificate programs, master’s degrees, and PhD programs. Several non-degree options allow students to take courses online without enrolling in a specific department.

Missouri S&T offers deferred tuition for students working for companies that provide tuition reimbursement. The university will defer payments until four weeks after the term's final grades have been posted, making Missouri S&T an affordable option for working professionals.


Stephens CollegeColumbia, MO

Admissions Rate 68%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 55%
Online Enrollment 18%

Dedicated to the needs of lifelong learners, Stephens College in Columbia provides flexibility for working professionals pursuing degrees full-time or part-time. The school offers a fully online bachelor’s degree in health information administration and several part-time programs in a variety of disciplines, ideal for professionals who want to advance their careers or begin new ones. Although Stephens is a women’s college, its online and graduate programs are all co-ed.

Founded in 1833, Stephens is a respected private liberal arts institution. Online and continuing education students pay lower tuition rates than on-campus students. Most students qualify for scholarships and other financial aid opportunities.


William Jewell CollegeLiberty, MO

Admissions Rate 49% Default Rate 5% Retention Rate 82% Graduation Rate 62%

As one of the premier online schools in Missouri, William Jewell College in Liberty offers distance education courses in areas including nursing, art, business, chemistry, and psychology. Jewell's online courses allow on-campus students to complete general education and major requirements according to their own schedules.

Students applying to Jewell must have a high school GPA of 3.0 and at least a 22 ACT score or 1100 SAT score. Transfer students must be in good standing with their previous college or university. Jewell offers generous aid packages, and nearly every student receives one or more scholarships. In 2015, Jewell awarded more than $20 million in grants and scholarships.


Park UniversityParkville, MO

Admissions Rate 40%
Default Rate 10%
Retention Rate 59%
Graduation Rate 43%
Online Enrollment 53%

With more than 30 online bachelor’s degrees and graduate programs, Park University is regularly listed among the best online schools in Missouri. Park offers completely online degree programs in niche areas, such as military history, social psychology, and healthcare management. Comprehensive master’s degree programs are available in areas such as public administration, educational leadership, and the leadership of international healthcare organizations.

Park students benefit from affordable, per-credit tuition rates, with discounts available for active military members and veterans. An array scholarship opportunities are available for freshmen, student-athletes, members of military families, women and minorities, and students who demonstrate financial need.


Fontbonne UniversitySaint Louis, MO

Admissions Rate 97%
Default Rate 10%
Retention Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 54%
Online Enrollment 15%

Fontbonne University, a private Christian school in St. Louis, offers online programs and courses designed specifically for working professionals. These programs provide flexibility so students with personal and professional obligations can pursue their degree according to their schedule. Founded in 1923, Fontbonne is a co-ed liberal arts school with about 3,100 undergraduate and graduate students.

One of the most highly regarded online colleges in Missouri, Fontbonne offers interactive online courses that engage students with active settings and small class sizes. Online students receive resources and support from faculty members, who interact with students individually. Classes take place either asynchronously or during the evening.


Hannibal-LaGrange UniversityHannibal, MO

Admissions Rate 59%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 52%
Graduation Rate 48%
Online Enrollment 25%

Founded in 1858, Hannibal-LaGrange University is a private, liberal arts institution located in Hannibal, Missouri. The university offers accelerated master’s degree programs and several bachelor’s degree programs entirely online, giving students freedom and flexibility to complete course requirements according to their schedules. Majors and concentrations available fully online include education, business management, and nursing. Many on-campus HLGU students also incorporate online classes into their studies.

Students enrolled in HLGU's business management degree completion program can receive their bachelor’s degree in 18 months without ever stepping foot on campus. Students take one class at a time, and each class lasts five weeks.


Drury UniversitySpringfield, MO

Admissions Rate 84%
Default Rate 16%
Retention Rate 84%
Graduation Rate 56%
Online Enrollment 12%

Drury University in Springfield is often listed as one of the top online colleges in Missouri due to its broad range of associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs offered entirely online. One such program is the bachelor’s degree in organizational communication and development, which covers the effects of psychology, conflict resolution, marketing, and ethics on businesses and organizations.

Transfer students applying to a bachelor's program must have completed no more than 30 credits, and those applying to an associate program must have no more than 18 credits. Applicants must submit high school transcripts or GED scores. Drury has an acceptance rate of 81% and currently enrolls about 5,500 students.


City Vision UniversityKansas City, MO

Graduation Rate 50% Online Enrollment 100%

City Vision's approach to higher learning distinguishes it from other online schools in Missouri. Based in Kansas City, the nonprofit private university's distance education programs train students for a variety of careers while helping them complete degrees quickly and affordably.

City Vision offers five undergraduate degrees, including two associate and three bachelor’s programs. Students may study business administration, Christian ministry and leadership, nonprofit management, urban missions, or addiction studies. Addiction studies students are prepared for careers as addiction counselors, who help people struggling with alcohol and drug-related problems. City Vision offers low tuition rates and was recently ranked as the 16th most affordable Christian college in the country.


Lindenwood UniversitySaint Charles, MO

Admissions Rate 55%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 66%
Graduation Rate 49%
Online Enrollment 5%

Internationally recognized as a top-tier institution, Lindenwood is known for its flexible, convenient, affordable programs. Lindenwood offers more than 30 programs online, including bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and certificates, all of which are ideal for working professionals with busy schedules. Online programs focused on education include concentrations in educational technology, gifted and talented education, and early interventions for children with autism.

Lindenwood is located in St. Charles, Missouri, a community just outside St. Louis. The university serves more than 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students, both online and on campus. Applicants must submit high school and/or college transcripts.


University of Missouri-Kansas CityKansas City, MO

Admissions Rate 63%
Default Rate 10%
Retention Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 50%
Online Enrollment 6%

University of Missouri-Kansas City offers an array of online degree programs that can be completed without any on-campus classes. Among UMKC's entirely online offerings are a bachelor’s of liberal arts degree, master’s degrees in dental hygiene education and nursing, and PhD programs in nursing, nursing practice, and school district leadership.

UMKC admits recent high school graduates based on their high school class rank and their ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students must have credits from an accredited institution and a minimum 2.0 GPA. However, those with a lower GPA may submit a petition for admission. UMKC charges per-credit tuition, and part-time students residing outside Missouri may apply for an out-of-state tuition waiver.


Central Christian College of the BibleMoberly, MO

Admissions Rate 35%
Default Rate 10%
Retention Rate 65%
Graduation Rate 36%
Online Enrollment 13%

Located in Moberly, CCCB offers online bachelor’s degrees in religious studies and biblical studies. CCCB is a private institution founded in 1957 and is often regarded as one of the best Christian-based, online colleges in Missouri. Students may also earn an associate of biblical studies and certificates in the Bible and ministry. CCCB's eight-week online classes require 15 to 20 study hours each week. Online students access video and audio lectures through an online learning platform.

All online students pay the same per-credit tuition rate, regardless of whether they live in Missouri. CCCB awards numerous scholarships to help students fund their studies.


Missouri State University-SpringfieldSpringfield, MO

Admissions Rate 86%
Default Rate 8%
Retention Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 52%
Online Enrollment 6%

With its 10 online bachelor’s degree programs and two certificate programs, Missouri State is one of the most widely respected online colleges in Missouri. One of Missouri State's most notable programs is the BS in professional writing, which prepares students for careers related to business, law, education, healthcare, and government. Online students have access to comprehensive support services, including career counseling, financial aid assistance, and technical support.

All online students pay the same per-credit tuition rate, regardless of residency. Incoming freshmen must have a high school GPA of at least 2.0 and must have taken several prerequisite classes. Applicants are evaluated based on their high school class rank and ACT or SAT scores.


University of Central MissouriWarrensburg, MO

Admissions Rate 79%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 71%
Graduation Rate 52%
Online Enrollment 8%

UCM offers entirely online undergraduate, graduate, and education specialist programs. UCM's distance education programs cover a wide variety of subjects, including aviation safety, industrial management, occupational education, library science, and crisis and disaster management. All online students pay the same tuition and fees, even if they live outside the state, making UCM one of the most affordable online schools in Missouri.

Incoming freshmen must submit ACT or SAT scores and high school transcripts. Transfer students must submit all college transcripts. UCM’s main campus is located in Warrensburg. The university offers professional development courses through ed2go, Dale Carnegie, and PBS Teacherline.


Southeast Missouri State UniversityCape Girardeau, MO

Admissions Rate 84%
Default Rate 12%
Retention Rate 73%
Graduation Rate 48%
Online Enrollment 11%

Meeting to the needs of all types of nontraditional students, Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau offers a variety of online bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, certificates, and specialist degrees. The variety and quality of these programs make SEMO one of the top online colleges in Missouri.

Individuals who are older than 21, those who are married, military veterans, and those supporting a minor child must submit high school transcripts or GED scores for admission to an online program.

SEMO provides resources for military veterans, including housing scholarships, tuition assistance, and other forms of financial aid. All current and former military members pay in-state tuition rates, regardless of state residency.


Culver-Stockton CollegeCanton, MO

Admissions Rate 56%
Default Rate 12%
Retention Rate 68%
Graduation Rate 52%
Online Enrollment 5%

Known as one of the best online schools in Missouri, C-SC offers six bachelor’s degree programs and two master’s of business administration programs. Each program is delivered entirely online in an accelerated eight-week format. A popular online option is the BS in sports management, which prepares students for careers in youth, intercollegiate, and professional athletics.

Online C-SC students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Additionally, C-SC accepts monthly payments to help alleviate the stress of paying for college. C-SC is located in Canton, Missouri, and enrolls more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students, both on campus and online.


Northwest Missouri State UniversityMaryville, MO

Admissions Rate 75%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 71%
Graduation Rate 49%
Online Enrollment 5%

Northwest offers online bachelor’s degrees in business management and marketing, in addition to eight master’s degree programs. Northwest also offers online certificate programs in geographic information science and instructional technology.

Thanks to articulation agreements with various community colleges throughout the Midwest, Northwest is among the most popular online schools in Missouri. These agreements allow community college graduates to easily transfer into Northwest to continue their education.

Applicants must have an ACT score of 21 or higher and a 2.0 high school GPA. Transfer students who have completed at least 24 credits must have a minimum 2.0 college GPA.


Columbia CollegeColumbia, MO

Default Rate 12% Retention Rate 49% Graduation Rate 46% Online Enrollment 57%

Columbia College, founded in 1851 and located in Columbia, Missouri, offers several comprehensive online degree programs, including bachelor’s degrees in marketing, criminal justice, nursing, and psychology. CC also offers fully online associate, master’s, and certificate programs. CC's online programs operate on a “six sessions” model; students complete six eight-week sessions throughout the academic year.

All distance learners pay the same per-credit tuition rate, regardless of whether they reside in Missouri. CC is dedicated to serving the needs of active and retired military members. The college's virtual veteran services department assists students with issues related to GI Bill benefits.


Missouri Baptist UniversitySaint Louis, MO

Admissions Rate 57%
Default Rate 8%
Retention Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 38%
Online Enrollment 6%

A private liberal arts school located in St. Louis, MBU is one of the top online colleges in Missouri. The university offers top-tier accelerated online programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and approaches all subjects from a Christian perspective. Among its most popular degrees is the MS in corporate security leadership, which prepares students for careers as loss prevention specialists, chief security officers, and business continuity consultants.

MBU is known for its affordable online tuition. Online students pay the same per-credit rate, regardless of state residency. MBU has a generous transfer policy and accepts credits from most accredited colleges and universities nationwide.

What are the Best Online Community Colleges in Missouri?

Two-year and community colleges are committed to open access, giving students from all backgrounds the opportunity to earn a postsecondary credential, such as an associate degree. They also provide many students with a less expensive way to complete the first two years of a four-year degree; this can often be done online. Tuition at two-year institutions tends to be significantly less expensive than it is at four-year schools.

This section gives students a ranking of the best online community colleges in Missouri. It was devised by accounting for a range of variables, from tuition to retention rate, and can help students determine which online schools in Missouri meet their academic and financial needs.


North Central Missouri CollegeTrenton, MO

Default Rate 20% Retention Rate 54% Graduation Rate 37% Online Enrollment 23%

Located in Trenton, NCMC operates extended campuses in Maryville, Bethany, and North Belt Center. The school also maintains a 100-acre agricultural campus one mile from Trenton. NCMC provides a variety of applied associate degrees and transfer programs. Its fully online degrees include behavioral health support, nursing, criminal justice, early childhood education, and accounting. Students in the business and technology programs can choose a concentration in either management or technology. A general associate of arts is also available.

Applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores. If these scores are more than two years old, students should take the NCMC Compass placement test. Nursing students may pay additional fees due to nursing and lab requirements. The nursing program receives accreditation from the Missouri State Board of Nursing.


State Fair Community CollegeSedalia, MO

Default Rate 24% Retention Rate 63% Graduation Rate 22% Online Enrollment 21%

Considered one of the best online community colleges in Missouri, SFCC educates 2,100 students through its 260 online classes. Only two programs are available entirely online: the associate of arts and the associate of applied science in business management. The school also offers several hybrid programs in medical studies, including diagnostic medical sonography and health information technology. Both programs require clinical participation. Students enrolled in the medical assistant program must complete clinicals at Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare in Clinton.

SFCC also offers healthcare specialist degrees for aspiring nurse aides and pharmacy technicians. Courses last for eight, 12, or 16 weeks, depending on the specific class and semester. Established in 1968, SFCC operates a main campus in Sedalia. The school also maintains six other locations, including Whiteman Air Force Base in Knob Noster. SFCC offers all general education courses online.


Ozarks Technical Community CollegeSpringfield, MO

Default Rate 21% Retention Rate 60% Graduation Rate 24% Online Enrollment 18%

Founded in 1990, OTC focuses on workforce development for military service members and civilians. As the third-largest online community college in Missouri, OTC offers more than a dozen distance learning programs. Students may choose from degrees in business, health information technology, and criminal justice. The online AA in teaching requires one on-location course requirement. OTC also offers three hybrid degrees: dental assisting, hearing instrument science, and biological clinical science.

Online students can receive assistance from the student success team, instructional assistance staff, computer lab, and IDEA lab. Every online course at OTC requires proctoring. Proctoring must take place at one of the five OTC campuses, unless students live more than 30 miles away. Distance learners may also complete proctored exams through ProctorU or an approved location.


St Charles Community CollegeCottleville, MO

Default Rate 14% Retention Rate 63% Graduation Rate 19% Online Enrollment 6%

With 88% of the student body employed, SCC focuses on accessible programs for working students. One in five high school graduates in St. Charles County attend the college, and the school offers a free tuition program for graduates from A+ high schools.

SCC offers two fully online degrees: business administration and liberal arts. Students may also enroll in a hybrid program such as health information management, communication, or geography. These programs feature at least 75% online courses. The school requires proctoring for certain classes. SCC uses the Canvas online learning platform.


Saint Louis Community CollegeSaint Louis, MO

Default Rate 12% Retention Rate 53% Graduation Rate 10% Online Enrollment 9%

STLCC is known for its Center for Workforce Innovation, a 32,000-square-foot facility that provides technical training in aerospace manufacturing, industrial maintenance, and automated controls. Headquartered in St. Louis, the school operates six campuses and learning centers throughout the state, making it the second largest online community college in Missouri.

STLCC provides fully online degrees in criminal justice, accounting, general transfer, and human services. Students may also pursue a hybrid degree with half of their courses administered online. Options include cybersecurity, legal studies for the paralegal, and teaching. STLCC offers both accelerated eight-week courses and standard 16-week courses. Some courses require proctored exams, which students can take at the campus assessment center, another college, or an approved location. Residents of California and Massachusetts cannot enroll in online courses at STLCC.


Metropolitan Community College-Kansas CityKansas City, MO

Default Rate 18% Retention Rate 43% Graduation Rate 18% Online Enrollment 10%

Established in 1915, MCC is the oldest public higher education institution in Kansas City. The school delivers an associate of arts degree fully online. Online courses are available for other programs, allowing students to create a blended or hybrid degree. Students may take 1-4 online classes during each 16-week semester. Most courses are asynchronous, but some use scheduled livestreams.

Approximately 40% of MCC's student body are students of color. The college's Institute for Workforce Innovation trained 7,000 students between 2013 and 2016. MCC serves more than 100 companies, including General Motors and Honeywell. Residents of Massachusetts and California cannot enroll in online courses at MCC.

How We Ranked the Schools

To determine the best programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online master’s in management information systems programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.

Education Trends in Missouri

The amount of spending on higher education in Missouri is lower than the national average. Altogether, 34.5% of the state’s residents over the age of 25 have postsecondary credentials. 18.5% of individuals have a baccalaureate degree, while 11.2% have a graduate degree, and 8.1% have an associate degree.

  Missouri United States
Source: SHEEO and U.S. Census
Postsecondary Education Spending per Full-Time Student $6,102 $6,954
Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education 5.1% 5.8%
Percentage of adults over 25 with associate degree 7.4% 8.1%
Percentage of adults over 25 with bachelor’s degree 16.9% 18.5%
Percentage of adults over 25 with graduate degree or higher 10.2% 11.2%

Paying for College in Missouri

According to the College Board, the cost of postsecondary education in the U.S. for the 2016-17 school year increased relative to the year before; finding ways to earn a good education at an affordable price continues to be a challenge. This section provides information about the options available to help pay for college and avoid graduating with a crippling amount of debt.

Tuition Prices

The table below provides the average costs of tuition at two- and four-year institutions in Missouri. Fortunately, tuition at the state’s colleges remains below the national average. Note that these tuition numbers do not reflect the cost of additional expenses such as books, transportation, rent, and additional fees.

Financial Aid

A college education is an investment in one’s future, but many students and their families require assistance in paying for tuition. Every state offers students financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, and loans. Financial aid can be need-based or merit-based.

  • Scholarships are merit-based and do not have to be repaid. They may be provided by the state, the college (i.e., institutional scholarships), or by private organizations or businesses.
  • Grants are need-based and do not have to be repaid. These mitigate the cost of education and often take into account a student’s ability to afford tuition.
  • Loans must be repaid and can be issued by the federal government or by a private institution such as Sallie Mae.

It is in a student’s best interest to first seek out forms of financial aid that do not need to be repaid in order to mitigate their debt burden. Before they can apply for financial aid, students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines their eligibility for assistance.

Cost for Online Programs in Missouri

Once students have secured financial aid by filling out the FAFSA, the funds they receive may be used to pay tuition at online colleges in Missouri. While the tuition rates may be similar for on-campus and online schools in Missouri, distance learning tends to be less expensive. On-campus programs typically require students to pay additional fees, rent, transportation, child care, and other expenses. Alternatively, students studying from a distance do not incur all of these expenses; enrolling at an online college in Missouri can lead to significant savings.

Cost of Living by Region

The location of a college greatly impacts the cost of rent and other living expenses that a student pays. Larger metropolitan areas in Missouri, such as Kansas City and St. Louis, cost more than towns located in rural areas. A student’s cost of living, therefore, greatly impacts the overall cost of their education. If a student is using financial aid to pay for their college education, these expenses greatly impact how much debt they incur and can even impact their career choices. The table below describes some of the different options for on-campus students in Missouri.

Scholarships for Missouri College Students

Community Foundation of the Ozarks Scholarship Program

$5,000; graduating high school seniors and students already in college are eligible. Some scholarships require residency in the Ozarks, while others have different requirements.

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NIADA/Manheim Regional Scholarships

$3,500; this scholarship is meant for students with outstanding academic ability who plan on attending a university in Missouri.

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Tortoise Young Entrepreneurs Scholarship Program

$3,000; students must have a minimum 3.3 GPA and an ACT score of 24 or an SAT score of 1680. Open to residents/non-residents planning to enroll in a baccalaureate program in either Kansas or Missouri.

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Minority and Underrepresented Environmental Literacy Program

$3,045; scholarship open to minority and underrepresented Missouri residents planning to study areas such as mechanical engineering, biology, wildlife management, or geology. Must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in high school.

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Wartime Veterans’ Survivors’ Grants

$2,000 per semester towards tuition and room and board at the University of Missouri and $500 for books; available to children and spouses of veterans who died or were injured in combat.

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University of Missouri Excellence Award

$2,000; Missouri residents who are in the top 25% of their high school may apply.

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Nolan Moore Memorial Education Foundation Scholarship

$500-$2,500 per year; college freshmen or seniors are eligible based on academic and non-academic achievements.

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Presbyterian Student Opportunity Scholarship

Up to $2,500; 80 need-based scholarships are available for full-time sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are attending college. Applicants must belong to the Presbyterian Church.

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Alumnae Panhellenic Association of Great Kansas City

Up to $1,500; female NPC Greek sorority members who are college seniors or graduate students attending college in Missouri with a minimum GPA of 3.2 may apply.

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Missouri Mayflower Society Scholarship

$1,500; high school seniors who are academic achievers, U.S. citizens, and plan to attend college in the fall are eligible. Applicants must write an essay about the Mayflower Pilgrims.

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Can all Scholarships be Used for Online Programs?

Most scholarships may be used for either on-campus or online programs. Still, it is important for students to contact the specific scholarship sponsor before applying to ensure that they meet all of the requirements. There may be instances where a scholarship’s additional requirements preclude its use for distance learning programs.

Employment Outlook in Missouri

The rate of employment in Missouri remains steady with a low unemployment rate of 4%. Additionally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean income in Missouri is $44,620. Missouri’s top industries include trade, transportation, and utilities; education and health services; and professional and business services. A number of Fortune 1000 companies are also headquartered within the state. Students interested in attending school or finding work in the state can expect a robust economy and job market for educated and skilled workers.

  Missouri United States
Source: BLS and BLS
Unemployment Rate, May 2017 4.0% 4.3%
Annual Mean Wage, May 2016 $44,620 $49,630

Top Employers and Industries in Missouri

Top Industries in Missouri

Top Employers in Missouri

  • Office and Administrative Support Occupations: 448,350 employees
  • Transportation and Material-Moving Occupations: 281,780 employees
  • Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations: 264,430 employees

Accreditation for Colleges in Missouri

When students are deciding which college to attend, a school’s accreditation should be a key factor in their decision-making process. Accreditation by a regional or national accrediting agency ensures that a school or a program meet established standards and provides a quality education; these standards are awarded to both on-campus and online schools in Missouri. Accreditation processes are rigorous and last an extended period of time. Employers tend to strongly prefer degrees that have been earned from accredited schools.

There are two kinds of accreditation: regional and national. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious and popular form of accreditation. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools is one of the six regional accrediting bodies in the U.S. Its higher learning commission accredits schools in Missouri.

There are three main agencies in the United States that offer national accreditation: the Distance Education and Training Council, Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, and Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. These agencies typically award accreditation to two-year colleges and trade schools.

Resources for Students in Missouri

  • Mapping Your Future: The effective managing of finances is an integral part of a successful college experience. Mapping Your Future is a nonprofit organization that provides college students and their families with online advice and counseling on how to manage their money. It is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Higher Education.
  • Missouri Scholarship and Loan Foundation: This nonprofit organization provides students with resources and services to help them prepare for, enter, and complete college in Missouri. It is particularly focused on low-income individuals.
  • Missouri Connections: Free to all students in Missouri, this site provides high school students with comprehensive online college and career planning. It is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
  • Military.com: Students who are in the military can go to this site to learn about the GI Bill and other benefits. Veterans can use this resource to find information that is specific to schools in Missouri.
  • Jobs.mo.gov: This is a state repository of information with portals for those seeking employment and for employers seeking talent. It is free for job seekers.
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