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Best Online Colleges in Mississippi

By Liz Heintz | Updated 8/25/2022
2020 Best Online Colleges in Mississippi Badge

The following list highlights the best online colleges in Mississippi based on their alumni salaries and annual tuition rates. With the highest median salary at $82,700, Mississippi State University is ranked #1 and offers programs such as a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, and Bachelor of Science in Psychology for $11,369 each year. The University of Southern Mississippi, the #2-ranked school, offers the largest variety of degrees and is one of three schools on the list with tuition below $10,000 per year.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 Mississippi State University $11,369 $82,700
# 2 #2 University of Southern Mississippi $8,624 $70,300
# 3 #3 Mississippi College $17,550 $65,900
# 4 #4 Belhaven University $12,245 $64,400
# 5 #5 Delta State University $7,501 $62,700
# 6 #6 William Carey University $11,850 $61,500
# 7 #7 Jackson State University $11,346 $60,600
# 8 #8 Mississippi University for Women $7,424 $53,100
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

Online Colleges in Mississippi Ranking Details

For each school, we conducted manual research to provide prospective students with more details about the schools' online programs. Explore online degrees offered and accreditation information below.

#1 Mississippi State University

  • Annual Tuition: $11,369
  • Median Salary: $82,700
  • Locations: Mississippi State
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Located near Starkville, Mississippi State University is the largest campus by enrollment in the state. More than 40 online degree options are available, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, as well as certificate programs. Popular areas of study include history, business administration, psychology, geosciences, agribusiness management, aerospace management, civil engineering, forestry, and computational engineering. MSU uses the Canvas online learning management system to deliver coursework, which enables instructors to interact with students via real-time feedback and multimedia content. Guides and videos help new students get acquainted with the platform. A mobile app is available for Canvas as well.

#2 University of Southern Mississippi

  • Annual Tuition: $8,624
  • Median Salary: $70,300
  • Locations: Hattiesburg
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Known informally as Southern Miss, the University of Southern Mississippi is a public research university with its main campus located in Hattiesburg. The university offers online undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as certificate programs. Among the more than 40 online degrees are bachelor’s programs in child and family sciences, construction management, nursing, philosophy, public health, and sociology. Graduate programs are offered in such disciplines as business administration, human capital development kinesiology, library information science, nursing, sport coaching, and the teaching of languages (French, Spanish, and TESOL). Coursework is fully online and is delivered via the Canvas online learning management system. IT support is provided to distance learners, and testing environments for proctored exams can be arranged locally.

#3 Mississippi College

  • Annual Tuition: $17,550
  • Median Salary: $65,900
  • Locations: Clinton
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Mississippi College is a private Baptist college located in the city of Clinton. Founded in 1826, it is the second-oldest Baptist-affiliated college in the United States and the oldest college in Mississippi. Online graduate, undergraduate, accelerated, and certificate programs are available. More than 30 areas of study are offered, including business administration, health informatics, athletic administration, homeland security, nursing, paralegal studies, and communication. Coursework is delivered via the Moodle online management system. The interactive program allows instructors to post course information, hold class discussions, communicate with students, and give quizzes online. All courses are delivered completely online, providing the flexibility needed for busy students balancing other obligations.

#4 Belhaven University

  • Annual Tuition: $12,245
  • Median Salary: $64,400
  • Locations: Jackson
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Founded in 1883, Belhaven University is one of just 36 universities in the country accredited in each of the major arts — music, theatre, visual art, and dance. The university offers more than 30 online doctoral, master’s, bachelor's, and associate degrees. Popular fields of study include education, biblical and theological studies, business administration, Christian ministry leadership, health administration, applied psychology, and nursing. All classes can be completed entirely online and are taught from a Christian worldview perspective. Coursework is done asynchronously, but assignments are due each week and students must watch video lectures and read required assignments. Graduate programs are designed to be completed in two years and bachelor’s programs in less than four years. Coursework is delivered via the Canvas online learning management system.

#5 Delta State University

  • Annual Tuition: $7,501
  • Median Salary: $62,700
  • Locations: Cleveland
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Founded in 1924, Delta State University is a public university located in Cleveland, Mississippi. It is one of eight publicly funded universities in the state. DSU offers several distance-education programs, defined as programs with more than 50 percent of online courses. These include two bachelor’s programs, one in nursing and one in geospatial analysis and intelligence, and 12 graduate programs in such subjects as nursing practice, elementary education, business administration, geospatial information technology, social justice and criminology, and aviation.

#6 William Carey University

  • Annual Tuition: $11,850
  • Median Salary: $61,500
  • Locations: Hattiesburg
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

William Carey University is a private, Christian, liberal arts college affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and the Mississippi Baptist Convention. The main campus is in Hattiesburg, and a second campus is in the town of Tradition. The institution’s five different schools offer online degree programs in several disciplines. Bachelor’s, master’s, and specialist programs are available in such subjects as business administration, physical education, emotional and behavioral disorders, criminal justice, nursing, music education, and church music. Two doctoral programs and an undergraduate program are available in a hybrid format. Online courses follow the trimester schedule and include weekly readings, active participation, research, and assignments.

#7 Jackson State University

  • Annual Tuition: $11,346
  • Median Salary: $60,600
  • Locations: Jackson
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Jackson State University is a public, historically black university in Jackson. It is one of the largest HBCUs in the United States and the fourth-largest university in Mississippi. Five online bachelor’s degrees and ten online master’s degrees are available at JSU. Popular subjects include childcare and family education, criminal justice, history, teaching, early childhood education, reading, and sport science. The institution also offers an online education specialist degree with three different concentrations: school counseling, psychometry, and education. Coursework is fully online and is delivered via the Canvas online learning management system. Off-campus test proctoring can be arranged in a location convenient for the student, or exams can be taken at home using the Remote Proctor Now (RPNow) online proctoring service.

#8 Mississippi University for Women

  • Annual Tuition: $7,424
  • Median Salary: $53,100
  • Locations: Columbus
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Mississippi University for Women — established in 1884 and formerly a state college for women — is a coeducational public university located in Columbus. Four fully online master’s programs are offered at MUW in the fields of teaching, business administration, education, and public health. The university’s 2+2 program allows students who already have a two-year degree to complete their bachelor’s degree online. There are 13 degree completion programs available; the Bachelor of Business Administration and Bachelor of Applied Science in Business Administration are each offered with five different concentrations, and undergraduate completion degrees are available in nursing and public health education. Several online minors are also offered. Student support services include online tutoring, a writing center, disability and career services, online databases, and counseling and career services.

Overview of Community Colleges in Mississippi

There are 15 community colleges throughout Mississippi serving over 97,400 students annually in cities such as Clarksdale, Meridian, Jackson, Oxford, and Biloxi. These colleges deliver over 250 programs of study so students can earn job-readiness certificates, associate degrees, and general education credits toward a bachelor's degree. Programs include business, health care, criminal justice, computer technology, and mechanics. Mississippi's community colleges conferred 19,912 awards in 2021. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accredits these schools.

Online Community Colleges

Community colleges in Mississippi participate in the Mississippi Virtual Community College (MSVCC). There are over 1500 courses in various majors, including the humanities, liberal arts, and STEM. Courses are available asynchronously – you can participate according to your schedule – and synchronously – courses are scheduled at set times. They are delivered via Canvas, a learning management system (LMS) that provides a secure platform for student engagement. The benefits of online community colleges include affordability, convenience, and accessibility.

Community colleges in Mississippi offer diverse associate degree and certificate programs. These programs prepare students for the job market and four-year bachelor's degrees. We've identified popular programs in which Mississippi students enroll.

Program Certificate Associate Degree
Administrative Office
Business Management
Computer Information Systems
Criminal Justice
Early Childhood Education
Health Care Assistant
Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration
Hotel and Restaurant Management
Medical Billing and Coding
Physical Therapy Assistant
Practical Nursing
Precision Manufacturing and Machining
Registered Nurse
Software Engineering

Cost of Online Community Colleges in Mississippi

In-state tuition at Mississippi's community colleges averages $3,280, which is in line with the $3,400 national average. Out-of-state tuition is also affordable at $5,800, significantly less than the $8,210 national average. Online students in Mississippi generally pay the same tuition as on-campus students based on residency. You'll need to factor in the costs for books and school supplies as an additional expense.

Annual tuition at the schools on our ranking list of the Best Online Community Colleges in Mississippi ranges from about $2,500 to $5,000.

Financial Aid

Almost 40% of undergraduate students in Mississippi receive federal student loans, with approximately 20% of students at two-year colleges receiving $4,668 in student loans. You can begin the financial aid process by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You may be eligible for Pell grants or scholarships that don't require repayment, a federal work-study program, or a low–interest federal student loan with flexible repayment options. After you enter the workforce, you may also be eligible for one of several student loan debt relief options the current administration is exploring.

Almost 40% of undergraduate students in Mississippi receive federal student loans, with approximately 20% of students at two-year colleges receiving $4,668 in student loans.

If you are a military service member, veteran, or a qualified family member, you may be eligible to use GI Bill education benefits to help pay for college. There are several programs available through the Bill. A Veterans' Administration (VA) representative can also provide information about choosing a school and career counseling to help you maximize your benefits.

There are also several ways the state of Mississippi helps students pay for college and alleviate the burden of student loan debt.

Higher Ed Legislative Plan (HELP) Provides qualified students with up to four years of tuition assistance. You must take the National ACT and score 20 or better to qualify. Amounts vary by need.
Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG) Provides tuition assistance to students who do not already benefit from financial need-based aid. You must have a GPA of 2.5 or better and score 15 or higher on the National ACT to be eligible. There are $500 and $1000 awards available.
Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant (MESG) Provides financial support for high-achieving high school students interested in attending college. You must have a 3.5 GPA or higher and enroll in college full time. The maximum award amount is $2,500 per academic year.
Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers & Firemen Scholarship (LAW) Available to dependent children and spouses of Mississippi state law enforcement officers, and full-time or volunteer firefighters who have suffered fatal or permanently disabling injuries in the line of duty. You must have a 2.5 GPA or higher and enroll in college full-time. Amounts vary by need.
Nissan Scholarship (NISS) Each scholarship pays full tuition and fees and a book allowance. You must have a minimum 2.5 GPA score 20 or higher on the National ACT or 940 or higher on the SAT.

Each community college may also offer private scholarships. For example, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) has almost 200 scholarships to help pay for college. MGCCC also has a Professional Judgment option available for students who have completed a FAFSA and are experiencing an unforeseen financial hardship. A judgment may be made to adjust the amount of aid you receive. Check with your school's financial aid office to find out what they may offer.

Check out our Guide to Financial Aid for Online Students to learn more about reducing the cost of college with financial aid.

Careers for Mississippi Community College Graduates

A community college education in Mississippi can help prepare you for several careers. For example, you can earn a certificate in a trade to become a machinist or technician who works on environmental, medical, or industrial equipment, or you can prepare for a career in health care, finance, or law by earning an associate degree in one of many high-paying fields. Many of these jobs are in demand where job growth is higher than average.

In-demand Jobs

The Mississippi Department of Employment Security anticipates high job growth in the following occupations through 2028 that may be attainable through a community college program:

Occupation Projected Growth
Home Health Aides 27.2%
Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers 26.3%
Physical Therapist Assistants 22.6%
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians 21.1%
Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers 20.9%
Medical Assistants 16.3%
Phlebotomists 15.7%
Insurance Claims and Policy Processing Clerks 15.7%
Paralegals and Legal Assistants 15.5%
Web Developer 14.7%
Nursing Assistants 12.9%
Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers 12.6%
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians 12.5%
Audio and Video Equipment Technicians 12.5%
Registered Nurses 11.9%
Medical Secretaries 11.6%
Childcare Workers 10.4%
Geological and Petroleum Technicians 10%
Financial Clerks 10%
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses 9.4%

Salary Outlook

According to the latest information provided by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020, Mississippi's median household income was $46,511, which was 28% less than the $64,994 national average. The per capita income in Mississippi – each individual's income – was $25,444. Salary projections are only available through 2023, when economists anticipate personal income to grow by 4.0%.

Employment Outlook

Mississippi's unemployment rate in May 2022 was 4.0%, slightly higher than 3.6% nationally. However, it has been gradually declining since the highs during the early months of the pandemic. Union and Rankin Counties had the lowest rates at 2.5% and 2.6%, respectively. Jefferson County had the highest at 13.8%.

Economists project 4.9% employment growth in Mississippi through 2028 for all occupations.

Economic Outlook

Economists project relatively slow growth in Mississippi through 2025 compared to the U.S. average. For example, Mississippi's gross domestic product – the monetary value of all goods and services produced in a specific area – is projected at 1.3% from 2021 through 2025 compared to 2.4% for the U.S. This accounts for Mississippi's low employment growth forecast.

Cost of Living

Cost of living measures how far your paycheck will go each month towards living expenses such as housing, food, and utilities, though it can be subjective. Mississippi's cost of living index is considerably lower at 81.1 than the 100 U.S. national average. The cost of living index for housing is even lower at 55.6 though it's higher for health expenses at 101.4.

The consumer price index (CPI) for the Southern U.S. – the average change of how much consumers pay for goods and services over time – rose 9.8% from 2021 to 2022. This is slightly higher than the 9.1% U.S. average CPI increase due to the high inflation the country is experiencing as of 2022. 

Top Industries

According to the most recently published data, some of the fastest growing industries through 2028 include:

Social Assistance 29.8%
Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation 25%
Administrative and Support Services 24.8%
Administrative and Waste Services 24%
Data Processing, Hosting, and Related Services 18.4%
Other Information Services 18.2%
Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction 14.1%
Nursing and Residential Care Facilities 13.6%
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services 11.6%
Construction 11.4%

Top Areas

Quality of life and affordability are imperative to choosing a place to live and work. There are several cities in Mississippi to consider living in based on a diverse economy, the availability of affordable housing, ease of transportation, access to quality education, and sustainability.

FAQs About Online Community Colleges in Mississippi

How Many Online Community Colleges Are in Mississippi?

There are 15 online community colleges in Mississippi that support over 97,000 annually.

How Many Graduate Each Year From Community Colleges in Mississippi?

There were 16,229 graduates in the 2020-21 school year who earned over 19,000 awards.

Is Community College Free in Mississippi?

While community colleges are actively working to create legislation providing free tuition, it has yet to pass. However, programs are available to help offset costs at schools, such as Northeast Mississippi Community College's Tuition Guarantee Program, which helps cover up to $250 in remaining expenses once any state and federal financial aid is applied.

Should I Go To Community College in Mississippi?

You should go to community college in Mississippi if you want to get a trade or vocational certificate, a two-year degree, or earn transfer credits for a bachelor's degree. Several financial aid options help make it affordable.

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