The “Deep South” state of Mississippi is deeply invested in education.
Mississippi has a wide array of colleges and universities to choose from, with degree programs offered in both traditional and online formats.
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Students are supported by a number of state-sponsored financial aid programs, proving Mississippi is committed to making higher education attainable for all its residents.
Overview of Higher Education in Mississippi
Mississippi has 36 degree-granting institutions to choose from, according to a 2018-2019 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
Of the 36, 23 are public schools, 9 are non-profit private schools, and 4 are for-profit private schools. The NCES reports that the average cost for residents to attend one of the state’s 4-year colleges is $8,340, while non-residents will pay closer to $19,942. Both are well below the national average.
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Mississippi is a member of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), a 16-state collaboration focused on sharing resources and initiatives to improve higher education. Through this organization, residents are able to pursue degrees at participating states while paying in-state tuition rates.
About Online Colleges in Mississippi
Online learning can be a convenient and flexible way to earn a degree while still maintaining a career, family, or other obligations. Data from the NCES in 2018 showed that 13.7% of undergraduate students in Mississippi were enrolled exclusively in online college courses. Another 27.6% were participating in a hybrid of online and on-campus courses.
Today nearly all of Mississippi’s institutions offer some online learning opportunities. The University of Mississippi (“Ole Miss”) offers 10 master’s programs and a doctorate online, while Mississippi State’s online selection includes a wide variety of certificates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees.
The state’s oldest college, Mississippi College, offers an impressive array of online bachelor’s degree programs – Business Administration, Communication, Paralegal Studies, Homeland Security, and Loss Prevention – as well as several certificates and graduate degree programs.
Private schools throughout the state also offer a variety of online degree options. Blue Mountain, for example, offers bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Psychology as well as a master’s in Business Administration, all in an online format.
Belhaven University was recognized by US News and World Report for having some of the nation’s best online degree programs. The school offers three associate’s degrees, 10 bachelor’s degrees and a variety of certificate and graduate degree programs, all fully online.
Community Colleges across the state are also on board when it comes to virtual education! Fifteen schools have banded together to form the Mississippi Virtual Community College (MSVCC). Through MSVCC, a student can enroll at his or her local college and receive advisement, counseling, financial aid, learning resources and earn credit through that school, but can complete courses available at other participating schools online. MSVCC supports approximately 60,000 online enrollments each year.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Mississippi
In Mississippi, in order to access federal, state, and private financial aid, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Since funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, be sure to apply right away. The application is available each year starting on October 1st. To complete the FAFSA, you must provide income, assets, taxes, and other financial information for you and your parents (unless you’re considered “independent”). This information will be used to determine how much and what kinds of financial aid are offered to you.
The ideal types of financial aid are grants and scholarships, which do not have to be repaid. The state of Mississippi provides millions of dollars in aid each year to help residents pursue higher education. The following programs are offered to support residents:
- Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG) – Must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher and score at least a 15 on the ACT; Must not be eligible for full Pell Grant; $500 per year for freshmen and sophomores, $1000 per year for juniors and seniors
- Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant (MESG) –Must have a GPA of 3.5 or higher and score at least 29 on the ACT / 1350 on the SAT; Up to $2500 per year
- Higher Education Legislative Plan for Needy Students (HELP) – Must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher and score at least a 20 on the ACT; Must complete HELP Core Curriculum; Must meet income limitations; Covers full tuition and fees
- Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers & Firemen Scholarship – For dependent children and spouses of a law enforcement officer or fire-fighter who died or become permanently disabled while on duty; Covers full tuition and fees
- Nissan Scholarship – Must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher and score at least a 20 on the ACT / 940 on the SAT; Must demonstrate leadership abilities through participation in extracurricular activities; Essay required; Covers full tuition and fees
The state also offers forgivable loans for teachers and nurses and some related fields. To receive this type of loan, a student must sign a contract agreeing to work for a certain period of time in a certain area. Once they complete the obligation, the student loans will be forgiven.
There are also privately funded scholarships available to Mississippians. Here are a few:
|Scholarship Name||Scholarship amount|
|Kids’ Chance of Mississippi Scholarship||Varies|
|Korean American Scholarship Foundation – Southwestern Regional Chapter||$500-5000|
|Society Plastic Engineers Scholarship||Varies|
|Southern Automotive Women’s Forum Scholarship||Varies depending on number of applicant (generally $1000-5000)|
|Tupelo Elvis Fan Club Scholarship||$5000 (1), $3000 (1), $2000 (1)|
You can find more scholarship opportunities by visiting search sites such as Fastweb.com, where you can enter basic demographic information and be matched with dozens of scholarships.
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Finally, be sure to check with the financial aid office at the college(s) you’re considering. Most schools offer their own aid programs, and can help you determine what you may qualify for and how to apply.
List of Online Colleges in Mississippi
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Belhaven University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Delta State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Mississippi College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Mississippi State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Southern Mississippi is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
William Carey University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
If you’ve been thinking about attending a college or university in Mississippi, you’re in luck! The state’s top schools offer online learning opportunities at all degree levels, and there are numerous financial aid programs to help make your dream a reality.