Online Colleges in Missouri
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 125 degree-granting institutions, according to a 2015-2016 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Of these, 27 are public schools, 54 are non-profit private schools, and 44 are for-profit private schools.
The average cost of tuition and fees at a 4-year public institution is $8630 for Missouri residents and $20,090 for non-residents, according to Collegeboard.org’s 2016-2017 report. 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 10 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. Between 2008 and 2011, the percentage of adults with a two- or four-year degree rose by 1.5%, making Missouri the 6th in the nation in degree growth.
About Online Colleges in Missouri
A 2012 study by the NCES reported that 12.2% of undergraduate students in Missouri were enrolled in fully online degree programs. Another 15% 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 100 online degree and certificate programs, and more than 1000 online courses. 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 50 accredited undergraduate and graduate degree programs in high-demand career fields, and charges a flat rate tuition for six-month terms.
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
- Marguerite Ross Barnett Program – For students who are employed at least 20 hours per week while attending school part-time; Award amount is roughly the cost of 6-9 credit hours
- 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||Judged on demonstrated entrepreneurial success/accomplishments, academic record, extracurricular activity and anticipated future potential; Open to residents or students in Kansas or Missouri||(1) $3000, (1) $2000, (1) $1000|
|Greater St. Louis Mothers of Twins Club Scholarship||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.