Known as the “show me state,” Missouri is showing that it’s a state fully dedicated to higher education.
Through new initiatives and assessments designed to evaluate schools, and numerous grant and scholarship programs that help keep them affordable, Missouri is working hard to improve higher education programs and make them accessible to all residents.
Overview of Higher Education in Missouri
Missouri is home to 101 degree-granting institutions, according to a 2018-2019 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Of these, 28 are public schools, 54 are non-profit private schools, and 19 are for-profit private schools.
The average cost of tuition and fees at a 4-year public institution is $8554 for Missouri residents and $19,914 for non-residents, according to the NCES. Both totals are thousands of dollars below the national average.
Students from the Midwest may get an even better deal, though, thanks to Missouri’s partnership with the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP). MSEP gives Missouri residents the opportunity to enroll at public schools in any of the 9 participating states for no more than 150% of the in-state tuition rate.
Since 2012, the state of Missouri has linked funds for their public colleges to performance measures. Rather than focusing on enrollment numbers, schools are assessed and funded based on factors such as quality of learning and degree completion.
The state’s goal – titled “Missouri’s Big Goal for Higher Education” – is for 60% of the adult population to have a certificate or degree by 2025, and they’re making progress. In 2019 the state was at 53.7%.
About Online Colleges in Missouri
A 2018 study by the NCES reported that 16.5% of undergraduate students in Missouri were enrolled in fully online degree programs. Another 20.2% were participating in a hybrid of online and on-campus classes. Those numbers continue to rise as more schools improve their online course offerings.
Today, nearly all of Missouri’s colleges and universities offer online degree programs and courses.
One of Missouri’s most well-known universities, University of Missouri (Mizzou), offers more than 230 online programs from 4 world-class universities. The college’s online bachelor’s and nursing program have earned recognition from US News and World Reports.
The state is also home to a nonprofit, online-only university called Western Governors University (WGU Missouri). The school offers more than 60 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in high-demand career fields like business, IT, education and healthcare. , WGU keeps tuition low by charging a flat rate tuition for six-month terms, rather than by credit hour.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Missouri
Missouri has excellent financial aid resources to help residents afford higher education. The first step to accessing these funds is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Funds awarded through the FAFSA are given out on a first come, first served basis, so it’s important that you apply right away. The application becomes available each year on October 1st.
To complete the FAFSA, you will have to answer questions about income, assets, taxes and other finances for both you and your parents (unless you’re considered “independent”). This information will be used to calculate how much and what type of financial aid you are eligible for.
The ideal type of financial aid is a grant or scholarship, which you do not have to repay.
The Missouri Department of Education offers the following grant and scholarship programs exclusively to residents:
- A+ Scholarship Program – Based on GPA, ACT and math scores; Requires student to perform unpaid tutoring or mentoring; Covers full tuition
- Access Missouri Program – Must have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $12000 or less; Award amount varies
- Advanced Placement Incentive Grant – Must score a 3 or higher on at least two math and/or science AP exams; $500
- Bright Flight Program – Must have an ACT or SAT score in the top 3% of the state, or the top 4th or 5th percentiles; $1000-3000
- Kids’ Chance Program – For children of workers who were seriously injured or died in a work-related accident compensated by workers’ compensation; Covers full tuition
- Minority and Underrepresented Environmental Literacy Program – For minority students pursuing a degree in the environmental field; Award amount varies
- Public Service Officer Survivor Grant – For public safety officers permanently and totally disabled in the line of duty, or their spouse or child; Award amount is roughly the cost of 12 credit hours
- Wartime Veteran’s Survivors Grant – For the spouse or child of a veteran whose death or injuries were a result of combat action; Award amount calculated based on formula
The programs above are funded by the state, but there are also plenty of private scholarships available to Missourians. Here are just a few:
|Scholarship Name||Details||Scholarship amount|
|Missouri Mayflower Society Scholarship||Essay contest for high school seniors
|(1) $500, (1) $1000, (1) $1500|
|The Kris Paper Legacy Scholarship||For a female students pursuing a degree in a technology related field; Must have a GPA of 3.2 or higher; Financial need and community service will be taken into consideration||Minimum of $1500|
|Tortoise Entrepreneurs Scholarship||Open to residents or students in Kansas or Missouri; Must have a GPA of 3.3 or higher||(1) $3000, (1) $2000, (1) $1000|
|Greater St. Louis Mothers of Twins Club Scholarships||For multiple-birth students (twins, triplets, etc); Judged on academic achievement, leadership and citizenship, and financial need, as well as essay and recommendations; Open to residents in specific Missouri and Southern Illinois counties||(2) $1000|
|Nolan Moore Memorial Education Foundation Scholarship||For students pursuing a career in printing technology/management; Open to residents of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri||$500-2500, multiple awards|
More opportunities like these can be found using scholarship search sites such as Fastweb.com.
Also, be sure to check with the financial aid office at the college(s) you’re interested in. They may be able to tell you about programs exclusive to the school.
List of Online Colleges in Missouri
|Online Colleges in Missouri||Location||Annual Tuition||Accreditation||Application Fee|
|Southeast Missouri State University||Cape Girardeau, Missouri||$6,990||Regional||$30|
|Columbia College||Columbia, Missouri||$20,936||Regional||$35|
|University of Missouri||Columbia, Missouri||$9,518||Regional||$55|
|Central Methodist University – College of Liberal Arts and Sciences||Fayette, Missouri||$23,010||Regional||$0|
|University of Missouri – Kansas City||Kansas City, Missouri||$7,846||Regional||$35|
|Park University||Parkville, Missouri||$12,130||Regional||$35|
|Maryville University||Saint Louis, Missouri||$27,958||Regional||$0|
|Saint Louis University||Saint Louis, Missouri||$40,726||Regional||$0|
|University of Missouri – Saint Louis||Saint Louis, Missouri||$9,394||Regional||$35|
|Webster University||Saint Louis, Missouri||$26,300||Regional||$35|
|Drury University||Springfield, Missouri||$25,905||Regional||$0|
|University of Central Missouri||Warrensburg, Missouri||$7,322||Regional||$30|
With evolving policies and goals, and generous financial aid opportunities, it’s apparent that Missouri prioritizes higher education. The state is working hard to make sure all residents have access to a quality postsecondary education.