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Attending one of the best online colleges in Mississippi can propel students toward their professional and personal goals. Although Mississippi may not immediately come to mind when considering locations with well-known industries or educational opportunities, the state provides ample academic and professional opportunities.
Mississippi lags behind national averages for holding degrees, so professionals who do possess them face less competition when seeking well-paid positions. Read on to find helpful information about the cost of online colleges in Mississippi, details on how to access financial aid opportunities, a list of Mississippi-specific scholarships, insight on the top industries for work, and other resources to help you earn your degree.
Job Outlook for Students With College Degrees in Mississippi
Mississippi presents exciting opportunities for individuals who attend one of its online colleges. According to 2018 data regarding higher education degree attainment , just 13.1% of all residents complete a bachelor's degree. Compare this to associate degrees (8.7%), master's degrees (5.7%), professional degrees (1.3%), and doctoral degrees (.9%).
These numbers fall far lower than national averages for degree attainment, meaning the state has a great need for college-educated workers. The unemployment rate for the state sits at approximately 1% higher than the national average.
Regarding earning potential, Mississippi's annual mean wage also comes in significantly lower than the national average. According to PayScale , however, the cost of living in the capital city of Jackson is 11% lower than the national average, meaning earnings go further than they would in other parts of the country. Housing, on average, remains 25% less than the national average. These numbers tend to become even more pronounced for individuals living in rural areas or smaller cities, such as Hattiesburg or Laurel.
Unemployment Rate, August 2018
Annual Mean Wage, May 2017
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Cost of Online Colleges in Mississippi
Students attending the best online colleges in Mississippi benefit from in-state tuition rates lower than the national average and a variety of significant state-level funding programs to help further offset costs. Online colleges in Mississippi typically charge the same tuition rates for distance learners as they do for those studying on-campus. Some schools may allow online students to pay in-state tuition rates, regardless of location. These students frequently still pay course fees but can avoid additional costs, such as those associated with using the laboratory, gym, and parking facilities.
When studying on campus, learners must also factor in additional expenses, including textbooks and course materials, housing and utilities, transportation (personal or public), various types of insurance, additional healthcare costs, and food. Distance learners, conversely, often stay with family while studying online or find cheaper housing when not needing to live near the university. They also save on gas and automobile upkeep by not driving to campus multiple times per week. Review the tables below to get a sense of how online colleges in Mississippi stack up against the national average.
Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2018-19
|Public Two-Year||Public Four-Year|
Source: The College Board
In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition in Mississippi
Attending one of the online colleges in Mississippi as a nonresident can cost significantly more than if you lived in the state. Public colleges receive funding from resident tax dollars, so individuals attending a college in their home state benefit from the subsidized cost. Out-of-state learners, conversely, do not receive these offsets. The only exception to this rule exists within distance learning, as some colleges charge the same flat rate of tuition, regardless of location. Degree seekers should check with individual schools to learn about policies in this regard.
Although the difference in studying at one of the online colleges in Mississippi as a nonresident is smaller than in other states, individuals considering this path must fully research funding options (e.g., grants, scholarships, loans, and the potential for loan forgiveness) before committing to any school.
Average Tuition and Fees, 2018-19
|Public Two-Year||Public Four-Year|
Source: The College Board
Financial Aid in Mississippi
According to the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid , the state provides approximately $40 million per academic year in funding to help learners go to college. While the state grant aid for full-time learners sat lower than the national average during the 2015-2016 academic year, other funding options exist to help students gain a degree without taking on crippling student loan debt.
One of the most important steps a student can take involves filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is used by the federal government to award scholarships, grants, work-study funds, and student loans to individuals demonstrating financial need and academic accomplishment. If independent, students should fill these out individually. If still dependent on family, their parents should use current financial information to populate questions.
In addition to receiving funding from the federal government, many colleges and universities use information provided on the FAFSA to award institutional grants, scholarships, and studentships. As demonstrated in the following section, Mississippi also plays home to a variety of independent scholarship options to help make achieving your degree more attainable.
State Grant Aid per Full-Time Equivalent Undergraduate Student, 2016-17
Source: The College Board
Scholarships and Grants for Mississippi College Students
Mississippi offers a wide range of scholarship opportunities, with funding available through the state government, nonprofits, private foundations, corporations, and numerous universities. In addition to those highlighted below, students should research additional funding programs that fit their qualifications and needs.
Who Can Apply: Students who have resided in Mississippi for at least one year, can demonstrate need and income limitations, and possess a GPA of 2.5 or higher can apply for this scholarship.
Amount: Full tuition and course fees at any public institution in the state
Who Can Apply: Eligibility exists for legal residents of Mississippi with high school GPAs of 2.5 or higher, a score of 15 or higher on the ACT, and demonstrate financial need.
Amount: $500/year for freshman and sophomores; $1,000/year for juniors and seniors
Who Can Apply: Mississippi residents planning on attending an approved Mississippi institution on a full-time basis who hold a 3.5 GPA or higher and scored a 29 or higher on the ACT may apply.
Amount: $2,500 per year
Who Can Apply: This scholarship remains open to Mississippi residents showing both financial need and community involvement who hold a 3.5 GPA and earned a minimum score of 20 on the ACT.
Amount: Full tuition, fees, and a textbook allowance
Who Can Apply: Eligibility exists for children and spouses of any Mississippi-based officer or firefighter who suffered fatal or permanent injuries in the line of duty. They must also enroll full-time and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5.
Amount: Full tuition, fees, and housing
Who Can Apply: Graduates of Lake Cormorant High School who identify as Christians and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 may apply. They must have lived in DeSoto County for at least 12 months at the time of application.
Amount: $1,000 per year
Who Can Apply: Open to students living in Hinds, Madison, or Rankin counties who earn an ACT score of 18 or higher, students must also maintain a high school GPA of 3.0 and have an annual household income of $60,000 or less to qualify.
Amount: $4,000 per year
Who Can Apply: Women accepted to Southern Mississippi University who enroll on a full-time basis, show financial need, and possess a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher qualify for this scholarship.
Who Can Apply: Eligibility remains open to students enrolled at the University of Southern Mississippi with GPAs of 3.0 or higher, demonstrated financial need, and a history of leadership and community involvement.
Amount: Up to $5,000
Who Can Apply: Mississippi residents who show interest in agriculture and demonstrate financial need may apply. Students can attend any college or university in the state.
Best Majors for Online Students in Mississippi
Work in Mississippi still leans toward rural careers, with the three biggest industries including farming, oil and gas extraction, and automobile production. Within cities, candidates can use traditional degrees such as education, nursing, law, and business in a variety of professional settings. Individuals hoping to work in agriculture often relocate in the Mississippi Delta, while those who want to pursue automobile manufacturing tend to live near the Nissan plant in Canton.
Oil and gas extraction headquarters tend to center themselves in coastal areas in the southern part of the state, with those working on barges shipping out into the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to the majors discussed in this section, prospective degree seekers should engage in research on established and up-and-coming industries in Mississippi to see how their interests align with the state's needs.
Agriculture Systems ManagementWith a focus on the administrative side of farming, this degree teaches learners about food processing, machinery upkeep, water management, finance, optimization of crops and land, legal and ethical considerations, marketing, and accounting. Graduates move into roles as agriculture and farm managers.
Petroleum EngineeringAfter completing a bachelor's degree, graduates of these programs proceed to positions where they design new methods of extracting oil and gas. Professionals also use their knowledge of oilfield equipment operation and maintenance to keep rigs running smoothly.
Automotive TechnologyRegardless of whether students hope to work in front-end design, engine testing, or project management, automotive technology programs help them learn about skills needed for design and manufacturing, vehicle performance software, and how state and federal laws govern production.
Resources for Online College Students in Mississippi
Rise Up! Mississippi : This statewide organization serves middle school and high school students alongside current college learners. Some of the services include assist in applying for college, details about general financial aid, and help with career planning, in addition to details regarding going back to school and transferring.
Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid : This comprehensive website walks students and their families through each step of the financial aid process, with special emphasis placed on helping them fill out the FAFSA and meet all deadlines. Learners can also find details on forgivable loans and other repayment plans.
Mississippi Institutions of Higher Education : This association, which pulls together all of the public colleges and universities in the state, provides information on academic and student affairs to update the public on Mississippi's modern educational landscape.
Mississippi Grad Jobs : With more than 60% of all Mississippi-educated individuals staying in the state to work, Mississippi Grad Jobs helps connect them to Mississippi employers seeking qualified and educated candidates. Students can find jobs based on their majors and query specific job titles.
Complete 2 Compete : This Mississippi-based program helps individuals with some college credits figure out the number of courses needed to graduate, as well as how to can lessen the time needed in school before gaining a degree.
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