Online Colleges in Missouri

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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.

College grants for Missouri students

The Missouri Department of Education offers the following grant and scholarship programs exclusively to residents:

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

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.

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Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.