14 Best Colleges in Mississippi

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Not only does Mississippi offer some of the nation’s most affordable options for prospective college students, it offers some of the best schools in its entire region.

Average tuition prices at Mississippi’s public and private universities hover around $6,000 and $15,000 respectively, numbers which are way lower than national averages. Furthermore, the increase of tuition is around seven percent, which is one of the lowest rates of increase in the U.S. and lower than the rate of inflation.

In addition to the economic sense of attending school in Mississippi, the state gives its students substantive support, in the way of financial aid and grants, but also through dozens of programs, initiatives, and collectives, each with the goal of getting more students into the college classroom. For example, Rise Up Mississippi will help you find a college, apply, seek out financial and state aid, and thrive once in the classroom.

Top 10 Best Colleges in Mississippi

Rank School Location
1 Millsaps College Jackson, MS
2 Mississippi Valley State University Itta Bena, MS
3 Mississippi State University Mississippi State, MS
4 University of Mississippi University, MS
5 Rust College Holly Springs, MS
6 William Carey University Hattiesburg, MS
7 Tougaloo College Tougaloo, MS
8 University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg, MS
9 Mississippi College Clinton, MS
10 Jackson State University Jackson, MS

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Related: Best Online Education in Mississippi

From state-run college savings plans to organizations such as Rise Up Mississippi, the reasons to earn your degree in Mississippi are manifold.

What are the Best Colleges and Universities in Mississippi?

Best Colleges in Mississippi Badge

Mississippi is a large state with an equally large amount of higher education options to choose among, from one of its many public universities to one of its small, private schools. So whether you’re interested in an intimate, liberal arts education or an elite research-driven institution, you can find a school that will meet your needs and that is among the best in the state. Finding Mississippi’s best colleges and universities required substantive data collection and analysis, but resulted in a definitive list of the state’s best schools. We investigated the academic ranking and reputation of each school, the student retention rate, the cost of attendance, and the early annual salary of its graduates to arrive at a list of Mississippi’s best colleges. Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Millsaps College
    Location

    Jackson, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Millsaps College was founded in 1890 in Jackson, Mississippi by members of the Methodist Church. The college is named for Confederate Major Reuben Webster Millsaps, who worked his way through college to attend Harvard Law School. Today the campus has 110 acres and is just minutes from the international airport and interstate highways 55 20. Millsaps College has earned their rankings in the following organizations: Colleges That Change Lives, The Princeton Review, Kiplingers Personal Finance Magazine, the John Templeton Foundation, The Fiske Guide to Colleges, and Insight Magazine.

    Features

    Millsaps College offers 33 majors for 910 undergraduate students 90% live on campus. Inside the classroom, students have a student-faculty ratio of 9-to-1. Nearly 85% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, student have access to student organizations, volunteer opportunities and leadership development. Students look forward to cheering on their NCAA Division III sports teams. Top majors include:

    Business Biological Biomedical Sciences Psychology Social Sciences

    Notables

    Millsaps College is the first college or university in Mississippi with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. It has also achieved accredidation at the undergraduate and graduate level by the AACSB International (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). Millsaps continues it long-standing local and international partnerships that create internships, co-ops and study abroad opportunities for their students.

  2. Mississippi Valley State University
    Location

    Itta Bena, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) was founded as a vocational college by the Mississippi Legislature in 1946 in Itta Bena, Mississippi. Their primary goal was to provide training for teacher and local vocations for the area. By 1974, the governor grants university status to the institution. The first masters degree was offered in 1976. The Mississippi Valley State University campus has 450 acres.

    Features

    Mississippi Valley State University offers over 30 majors for 1,948 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, students have a student-faculty ratio of 16-to-1. Nearly 62% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, student have access to student organizations, honors programs and unique cultural opportunities in the Mississippi Delta area. Students look forward to cheering on their NCAA Division I sports teams. Top majors include:

    Education Business Public Administration Social Service Professions Homeland Security Related Protective Services

    Notables

    MVSU is the educational jewel of the Mississippi Delta region. The institution attracts diverse students with its innovative programs, development of entrepreneurs and global focus while positively impacting the quality of life of all. Mississippi Valley State University looks to be the catalyst for increasing the impact of the new revitalized Mississippi Delta.

  3. Mississippi State University
    Location

    Mississippi State, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Mississippi State University was founded in 1880 in Starkville, Mississippi, as the result of the 1862 Morrill Act as a national land-grant entity and an Agricultural and Mechanical College. Today, it is classified as an R2: Doctoral Universities institution by the Carnegie foundation with campuses in Starkville, Meridian, Biloxi, and Vicksburg, Mississippi. The university has over 4,200 acres and is 125 miles northeast of Jackson and 23 miles west of Columbus. It is served by U.S. and state highways 82,12 and 25, along with feeder air service through the Golden Triangle Regional Airport 14 miles to the east.

    Features

    Mississippi State University offers over 100 majors for 17,421 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, students have a student-faculty ratio of 19-to-1. Nearly 40% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, student have access to over 300 student organizations including 30 Greek Life chapters. Athletes participate in NCAA Division I Southeastern Conference. Top majors include:

    Business Engineering Parks, Recreation, Leisure, Fitness Studies Education Psychology

    Notables

    A Few things to know about Mississippi State it has a highly renked Veterinary Medicine program. If you want to listen to Mississippi State University Bulldog sporting events, you can listen in on XM satellite radio. Students are not confined to the dining hall many downtown restaurants accept MoneyMate as payment.

  4. University of Mississippi
    Location

    University, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) was founded in 1844 Oxford, Mississippi, by the Mississippi Legislation. Ole Miss was the first institution in the South to admit female students (1882) and the first to hire a female faculty member (1885) Today, Ole Miss is the largest Mississippi university with a 3902-acre, R1 doctoral degree-granting university with 15 academic divisions.

    Features

    University of Mississippi offers over 100 majors for 18,785 undergraduate students. All freshmen must live on campus. Inside the classroom, students have a student-faculty ratio of 18-to-1. Nearly 44% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, student have access to a large number of Greek life chapters and hundreds of student organizations. Athletic teams in the NCAA Division I Southeastern Conference. Top majors include:

    Education Accounting Marketing/Marketing Management Psychology

    Notables

    Ole Miss is home to the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. The goal of the institute is to build more inclusive communities that solve local challenges. Inside more than 20 research departments, Ole Miss has been solving challenges. The university holds more than 40 patents on inventions including: a fire ant trap, an algal herbicide, novel drug-delivery systems, a thermoacoustic refrigeration device, and immune system stimulators.

  5. Rust College
    Location

    Holly Springs, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Rust College is a historically Black, co-educational, senior liberal arts college founded in 1866 in Holly Springs, Mississippi, by the Freedmans Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The college was originally named Shaw, but it was changed to avoid confusion with another Shaw institution. So, today, Rust University is named after Richard, S. Rust of Cincinnati, Ohio, who was a secretary in the Freedmans Aid Society. The main campus has 126 acres.

    Features

    Rust offers over 20 majors for 856 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, students have a student-faculty ratio of 18-to-1. Outside the classroom, student have access to over 25 student organizations. Rust participates in NCAA Division III athletic events. Top majors include:

    Biology/Biological Sciences Kindergarten/Preschool Education Teaching Business Administration Management Social Work

    Notables

    Rust College is the oldest of the 11 historically black colleges and universities associated with The United Methodist Church, the second oldest private college in Mississippi.

  6. William Carey University
    Location

    Hattiesburg, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    William Carey University was founded in 1892 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi by W. I. Thames. Today it is affiliated with the Southern Baptist and Mississippi Baptist Conventions. The main campus has 140 acres and a second campus is in the Tradition community near Gulfport, Mississippi and Biloxi, Mississippi. The university is named William Carey after the eighteenth century English cobbler-linguist, missionary to India, and the Father of Modern Missions. The school changed to university status in 2006.

    Features

    William Carey University offers 2,487 undergraduate students educational degrees. Inside the classroom, students have a student-faculty ratio of 15-to-1. Nearly 71% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, student have access to over 30 student organizations and watch NAIA athletic conference sports. Top majors include:

    Nursing Psychology Education Teaching Biology/Biological Sciences Business

    Notables

    William Carey University U.S. News World Reports 2017 Americas Best Colleges ranks William Carey University as No. 2 Best Value among regional universities in the South for the second consecutive year. In 2015, William Carey University was ranked No. 1 Best Value among regional universities in the South.

  7. Tougaloo College
    Location

    Tougaloo, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Tougaloo College a private, coeducational, historically black four-year liberal arts founded in 1869 near Jackson, Mississippi by American Missionary Association of New York. The campus is located on the on the remains of the John Boddie Plantation. The main campus has 100 acres. Tougaloo ranks among the top twenty-five U.S. institutions whose graduates earn their Ph.D. degrees in the science and engineering disciplines. The Washington Monthly and the Educate to Career College Rankings lists Tougaloo as one of the Best Bang for the Buck colleges in the nation.

    Features

    Tougaloo College offers 29 majors for 863 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, students have a student-faculty ratio of 13-to-1. Nearly 70% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, student have access to over 25 student organizations. The college participates in NAIA sports. Top majors include:

    Sociology Biology/Biological Sciences Economics Chemistry

    Notables

    Tougaloo College is one of the oldest historically black colleges and universities in the United States. Its origins can be traced to the Amistad. Amistad was a slave ship that turned into a famous court case. The results of that court case freed Africans who were accused of mutiny after killing part of the captor crew. The result of this court case win started the American Missionary Association who started Tougaloo College and five other sister organizations.

  8. University of Southern Mississippi
    Location

    Hattiesburg, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Southern Mississippi is a dual campus institution founded in 1910 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi by the Mississippi state legislature. The University of Southern Mississippi has 1-square-mile campus of historic oak trees, brick walkways and green spaces in Hattiesburg and a 52-acre beachfront Spanish Mission-style property in Gulf Park. Hattiesburg is located about 90 minutes from New Orleans, Jackson, Mobile and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

    Features

    The University of Southern Mississippi offers 90 majors for 11,840 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, students have a student-faculty ratio of 17-to-1. Nearly44% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, student have access to over 200 student organizations in addition to 26 different Greek Life chapters. University of Southern Mississippi plays NCAA Division I sports. Top majors include:

    Elementary Education Teaching Nursing Psychology Business Biology/Biological Sciences

    Notables

    First-year University of Southern Mississippi students live in the Freshman Quad a housing area next to the football stadium. The university offers plenty to do on campus and students can study abroad to more than 20 countries. The university has a nationally recognized program in the arts, polymer science, business and history as well as nursing, education and accounting.

  9. Mississippi College
    Location

    Clinton, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Mississippi College is a private, co-educational, Christian university founded in 1826 by Mississippi Baptist Convention. Today, the campus has 140 acres in Clinton, Mississippi. The College remains the oldest institution of higher learning in the Magnolia State and the 2nd oldest Baptist-affiliated college in the United States. Mississippi College also made history in December 1831 as the first college in the nation to grant a degree to a woman. Gold medallions were presented to the first group of female graduates.

    Features

    Mississippi College offers 83 majors for 3,145 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, students have a student-faculty ratio of 15-to-1. Nearly 58% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, student have access to over 50 student organizations. The college participates in NCAAII athletics. Top majors include:

    Nurse Kinesiology Exercise Science Biomedical Sciences Business Elementary Education Teaching

    Notables

    Mississippi College has many wonderful traditions. During welcome week, they feature a kick-off concert in the historical town of Clinton. Another tradition is the festival of lights that rings in the Christmas holidays. You will always here the Choctaw cheer-off leading to homecoming. So many more traditions worth exploring in person.

  10. Jackson State University
    Location

    Jackson, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Jackson State University is a historically Black college and university founded in 1877 by the American Baptist Home Mission Society. Today, Jackson State is the 4th largest HBCU in the nation with a campus is in Jackson, Mississippi on 250 acres. The university is a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and classified by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a research university with high research activity.

    Features

    Jackson State University offers over 50 majors for 7,475 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, students have a student-faculty ratio of 18-to-1. Nearly 40% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, student have access to over 50 student organizations. Sports teams participate in NCAA Division I conferences. Top majors include:

    Education Business Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies Homeland Security Related Protective Services Public Administration Social Service Professions

    Notables

    If you know anything about this university, you must know about the Sonic Boom of the South. This school is the Summa Cum Laude of Bands! Jackson State University is the #1 top halftime show of 2016. They are so well known, that their program was added to the Smithsonian.

  11. Belhaven University
    Location

    Jackson, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Belhaven University was founded in 1883 in Jackson, Mississippi. Today, it serves students at the main 42-acre Jackson campus, online and at graduate and adult degree locations in Jackson, Memphis, Houston, Chattanooga, and Atlanta. All campus buildings have been constructed or have been dramatically renovated within the last two decades. This makes Belhaven University one of Americas 100 Best College Buys.

    Features

    Belhaven University offers 70 majors for 2,751 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, students have a student-faculty ratio of 12-to-1. Nearly 85% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, student have access to over 35 student organizations. The Universitys 15 athletic teams compete in the NCAA Division III. Top majors include:

    Business Social Sciences Visual and Performing Arts Parks, Recreation, Leisure, Fitness Studies Health Professions

    Notables

    Belhaven University has received national recognition for its academic programs and affordability. Furthermore, Belhaven is one of just 36 schools in the U.S. to be nationally accredited in all four of the arts: dance, music, theatre, and visual art. The Belhaven science curriculum is one of only two Christian universities recognized by the White House STEM Initiative.

  12. Alcorn State University
    Location

    Alcorn State, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Alcorn State University is a historically black comprehensive land-grant institution located northwest of Lorman, Mississippi in rural Claiborne County. The main campus has 1,756 acres. It is seven miles west of Lorman, 80 miles south of the capital city of Jackson, 45 miles south of Vicksburg, and 40 miles north of Natchez.

    Features

    Alcorn State University offers over 40 majors for 2,911 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, students have a student-faculty ratio of 17-to-1. Nearly 52% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, student have access to over 30 student organizations. Alcorn State University is part of the NCAA I athletic conference. Top majors include:

    Biological Biomedical Sciences Liberal Arts Sciences Business Homeland Security Related Protective Services Public Administration Social Service Professions

    Notables

    The institution was founded in 1871 with the reconstruction-era legislature attempting to provide higher education for freedmen after the Civil War. Today, Alcorn is the oldest public historically black land-grant institution in the United States and the second-oldest state-supported institution of higher learning in Mississippi.

  13. Mississippi University for Women
    Location

    Columbus, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Mississippi University for Women (The W) was founded in 1884 because of activists Sallie Reneau, Olivia Valentine Hastings, and Annie Coleman Peyton. It was founded to provide vocational and degrees to women. It made educational history as the first state-supported college for women in America. Since 1982, men have been admitted. However, the name has not changed. The main campus is in Columbus, Mississippi on 114 acres.

    Features

    Mississippi University for Women offers 50 majors for 2 470undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, students have a student-faculty ratio of 14-to-1. Nearly 60% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, student have access to over 75 student organizations. Top majors include:

    Nurse Business Public Health Education and Promotion Health and Physical Education/Fitness Speech-Language Pathology/Pathologist

    Notables

    MUW still provides a high-quality liberal arts education with a distinct emphasis on professional development and leadership opportunities for women. You can see this in how they develop and update their curriculum. For example: In spring 2013, MUW began offering its first doctoral program, a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP).

  14. Delta State University
    Location

    Cleveland, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Delta State University (DSU) is a regional public university founded in 1924 in Cleveland, Mississippi. Today, the campus has 339 acres in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Delta offers a mix of traditional and online classes to give students the best schedule to fit their current situation.

    Features

    Delta State University offers over 40 majors for 3,004 undergraduate students. Inside the classroom, students have a student-faculty ratio of 13-to-1. Nearly 58% of the classes have less than 20 students. Outside the classroom, student have access to over 100 student organizations. The university participates in NCAA Division II sports teams. Top majors include:

    Education Family Studies and Consumer Sciences Nursing Biology Business

    Notables

    Delta State University was founded as an all-white school in the deep south. It took until 1967 for the school to end racial segregation at DSU. This was 12 years after the US Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), and three years after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Shirley Antoinette Washington was the first African-American student to enroll at DSU that year.

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