Earning an online degree in Mississippi prepares graduates for a variety of jobs in high-demand fields. With a college degree, professionals benefit from higher salaries and increased competitiveness in the job market. Mississippi students considering an online degree can take advantage of in-state tuition, networking opportunities, and name recognition. This article introduces the best online colleges in Mississippi, including a list of scholarship opportunities to help students afford their degree.
Higher Learning Initiatives in Mississippi
Online Degree Programs at Mississippi Public Universities
The public universities in Mississippi teamed up to create an online education search engine for interested students. This website offers a way to sort through a variety of online bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. programs. The online courses offered by public universities in Mississippi are taught by seasoned professors who are dedicated to giving online students the same caliber of education that offline students receive. Mississippi public universities award hundreds of degrees and certificates, many of which are offered fully or partially online.
Mississippi Virtual Public School
The Mississippi Department of Education works with Connections Education to provide high school students the opportunity to take courses online from the Mississippi Virtual Public School. The Mississippi Virtual Public School is a supplemental online education program that allows students to complete a portion of their coursework online, giving them more flexibility to reach their academic goals. This groundbreaking online high school offers AP classes, electives, and core classes that students can take to stay on track or get ahead academically. All of the classes offered by the Mississippi Virtual Public School are free and taught by certified teachers.
Mississippi e-Learning for Educators
Mississippi e-Learning for Educators is an online professional development project for teachers funded by the U.S. Department of Education Ready to Teach Grant. Members of the Mississippi Department of Education work with public broadcasters in Mississippi to create online professional development courses for state teachers. Many of the professional development courses offered by the project focus on helping teachers learn how to bring technology into the classroom using tools like mobile devices and the internet. Teachers who participate in e-Learning for Educators watch video lectures, participate in online discussions, and complete online activities.
Popular Degree Programs in Mississippi
Students attending online colleges in Mississippi can prepare for careers in fields such as education, business, and healthcare. According to a report from Zippia, several of the fastest-growing careers in Mississippi require a college degree, including careers in marketing, business, and technology. Healthcare and education are among the most popular degrees in Mississippi.
- Healthcare: Many healthcare professions boast high growth in Mississippi, including registered nurses, physical therapists, and medical directors. Completing a degree in nursing prepares graduates to work as registered nurses who earn an average salary of over $57,000.
- Education: According to Business Insider, elementary education represents the most common major in Mississippi. Education majors can take advantage of multiple high-growth job opportunities. For example, the demand for preschool teachers in Mississippi places the position in the top 15 fastest-growing jobs in the state. Earning a bachelor's degree in education qualifies graduates for a state teaching license.
Paying for College in Mississippi
This section explores tuition prices at Mississippi's public universities and community colleges, which offer the least expensive education options for most in-state students. For example, the University of Mississippi charges $8,660 a year in tuition, making it one of the least expensive flagship universities in the country. Online students may also qualify for scholarship opportunities that help pay for college.
Online community colleges in Mississippi offer one of the most affordable routes to a degree, with a tuition rate significantly below the national average. Mississippi's public universities also offer a below-average tuition rate. In addition to tuition, students should consider books, transportation, and other education-related expenses.
Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2017-18
|Public Two Year||Public Four Year|
Source: College Board
Employment Outlook in Mississippi
The Mississippi economy employs more than 1 million workers, and employees in the state earn an average salary of $38,910. The state's 4.8% unemployment rate sits above the national average, but college graduates receive the advantage of a lower unemployment rate than people without a degree. Students enrolled in Mississippi college online classes improve their lifetime earning potential. A Georgetown University study found that, on average, college graduates make $1 million more in lifetime earnings than noncollege graduates. Students attending Mississippi college online graduate programs can increase their earning potential even more.
Accreditation for Colleges in Mississippi
An accredited school meets the highest standards for academic excellence, demonstrating the institution's commitment to best practices in education. The best online colleges in Mississippi hold regional accreditation. Regional accrediting agencies operate in six different areas around the country, evaluating liberal arts and research institutions. In Mississippi, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools confers regional accreditation. In addition to regional accreditation, vocational programs may hold national accreditation from independent agencies.
Accreditation benefits students by increasing the value of their degree. For example, an accredited degree meets the qualifications for more professional certifications and licenses, which may be required to practice in certain professions. Credits earned from accredited colleges are also more likely transfer to other schools, which particularly benefits students transferring from a two-year college to a four-year institution. Students attending accredited schools also qualify for federal financial aid.
Accredited online programs must meet the same requirements as on-campus programs. Online colleges in Mississippi may also hold programmatic accreditation for certain departments. Many programs that offer professional degrees, including a Mississippi college online MBA, social work degree, and teaching degree, earn programmatic accreditation to demonstrate their quality.
Scholarships for Mississippi Online College Students
Many college students rely on scholarships to pay for their degree. In Mississippi, several private organizations offer scholarships to online students, which may provide thousands of dollars toward a college degree. Applicants may need to meet academic or financial need qualifications, and some scholarships only award funds to students pursuing specific majors.
Who Can Apply: Community college students transferring to Ole Miss with a minimum 2.5 GPA qualify for this scholarship. Applicants must be Mississippi residents who attended an in-state community college.
Who Can Apply: High school graduates from Hinds, Madison, and Rankin county qualify if they attend a Mississippi college. Applicants should have a minimum B average in high school and a household income below $60,000.
Amount: Up to $16,000
Who Can Apply: Offered by the Farm Bureau of Mississippi, the scholarship funds students pursuing a degree in an agricultural-related major. Applicants must be members of the bureau attending a Mississippi two-year or four-year school.
Who Can Apply: Mississippi high school seniors qualify for the scholarship. Applicants submit an essay based on a provided list of topics.
Who Can Apply: Offered by the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), Mississippi members can apply for this four-year scholarship in their senior year of high school.
Who Can Apply: AQHA members who took leadership roles in the youth organization or the state affiliate qualify for this scholarship. Applicants must have at least three years of membership history.
Who Can Apply: Nursing students qualify for more than a dozen scholarships offered by the foundation. Nursing students attending online colleges in Mississippi can apply for these awards.
Who Can Apply: High school graduates from West Tallahatchie qualify if they hold a minimum 2.8 GPA and meet the Pell Grant eligibility guidelines.
Amount: Up to $1,000
Who Can Apply: Band students from DeSoto County qualify for this scholarship. Recipients receive an invitation to perform at the Southaven Wind Symphony spring concert.
Who Can Apply: DeSoto County residents with a minimum 3.0 GPA qualify for this scholarship. The committee prefers graduates from Lake Cormorant High School.
Resources for Students in Mississippi
- Southern Regional Education Board: Mississippi participates in the SREB, which promotes college affordability and offers resources for colleges and universities in 16 southern states. Through the academic common market, Mississippi residents can pay in-state tuition at out-of-state institutions in SREB. The site also offers information on the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, which allows students to attend out-of-state schools online.
- Mississippi Public Universities: The site provides information on public universities in Mississippi, including enrollment information and the tuition and fees at each institution. It also offers profiles and data on the schools, such as graduation rates, and information on online college courses in Mississippi.
- SREB Mississippi: The SREB state page for Mississippi offers resources such as college affordability profiles, enrollment and graduation data, and SREB programs available to college students in Mississippi.
- Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning: The site provides information on Mississippi's public universities, including admissions data and graduation statistics. Run by the state's Board of Trustees, the site also offers information on nursing education in Mississippi, higher education budgets, and links to financial aid resources.
- Mississippi Office of State Financial Aid: College students can apply for financial aid through the site. The state provides $40 million for college students annually through the HELP program, MTAG, and MESG, which students can learn more about at the website. The site includes a financial aid form to qualify for grants.
Online Schools in Mississippi
- Graduation Rate: 49%
- Average Net Price: $19,434
Blue Mountain College
Blue Mountain, MS
- Graduation Rate: 43%
- Average Net Price: $10,002
Jackson State University
- Graduation Rate: 45%
- Average Net Price: $17,574
- Graduation Rate: 62%
- Average Net Price: $16,427
Mississippi State University
Mississippi State, MS
- Graduation Rate: 58%
- Average Net Price: $16,680
Mississippi University for Women
- Graduation Rate: 39%
- Average Net Price: $10,535
- Graduation Rate: 51%
- Average Net Price: $15,240
University of Southern Mississippi
- Graduation Rate: 50%
- Average Net Price: $13,449
William Carey University
- Graduation Rate: 58%
- Average Net Price: $16,127