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Timothy Peck
6 College Lists

The 10 Cheapest Colleges in Missouri

What’s Covered:

 

Rising college costs have been top of mind for students across the country, but have recently come to the forefront in Missouri. In 2021, the governor signed a bill removing a cap that limited how much Missouri public schools could raise tuition. According to the Jefferson City News Tribune, Missouri’s median income is $30,000 a year and 92% of that income is needed to attend one of the state’s four-year institutions of higher education full time. Luckily, there are some steps Missourians can take to help control increasing college costs.

 

Tips for Saving Money on College

 

There are numerous steps that college-bound students can take to make higher education more affordable.

 

Summer and Winter Courses

 

One of the best ways to save on college expenses is to minimize the amount of time spent in college. Taking summer or winter classes is a proven method to help you stay on target to graduate on time—less than half of college students graduate in four years—which can help you avoid adding extra (and expensive) years to your time at college. It’s common for summer and winter courses to be less costly than classes offered during traditional semesters, adding even more value. 

 

AP Exams 

 

There’s no need for many students to wait until college to begin earning college credit. AP classes allow high schoolers to get a jump on filling their general education requirements as most colleges will award credit to students who score a 3 or higher on their AP exams. Not only do AP exams give you a headstart on college and make it easier to graduate in four years, but they are also a fraction of the cost of taking a college course. 

 

Community College 

 

Attending community college isn’t how many students envision their ideal college experience, but it does provide an excellent way to lower college costs. Community colleges are significantly less expensive than their four-year counterparts and financial aid is available. According to the Association of American Community Colleges, the average annual tuition and fees at community colleges in the 2021-2022 academic year were $3,800, compared to $10,740 at four-year, public, in-state colleges.

 

The 10 Cheapest Colleges in Missouri

 

1. Missouri Southern State University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $14,173/$21,137

Location: Joplin, MO

Acceptance Rate: 98%

Undergrad Enrollment: 5,800

 

The cheapest Missouri college, Missouri Southern State University (MSSU), is located in Joplin, the fourth-largest city in the state and a hub for educational, cultural, entertainment, and recreational activities. Themed semesters are a unique attribute of an MSSU education. Since 1997, MSSU’s themed semesters focus on a particular country or continent and are intended to bring the world to the school’s campus and internationalize the student body without relying on studying abroad. Students who wish to study abroad will find an abundance of opportunities, as MSSU has bilateral agreements with universities around the world.

 

Learn more about Missouri Southern State University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

2. Harris-Stowe State University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $15,175/$19,807

Location: Saint Louis, MO

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,700

 

Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU) is one of two historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) found in Missouri and traces its origins back to 1857. Students of color make up 87% of HSSU’s student body and 23 countries are represented within the student population. Despite HSSU’s affordable tuition, the university manages to keep a low 8:1 faculty-to-student ratio and small classes—80% of classes have less than 20 students in them. And the HSSU Hornets know how to have a good time; the website Niche ranks HSSU as the 78th best party school (out of 1,525 schools) in the county. 

 

Learn more about Harris-Stowe State University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

3. Missouri State University-Springfield

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $17,222/$25,892

Location: Springfield, MO

Acceptance Rate: 87%

Undergrad Enrollment: 20,100

 

Along with being one of the cheapest colleges in Missouri, Missouri State University-Springfield also has the distinction of being the state’s second-largest university. Helping to keep MSU-Springfield affordable are a variety of scholarships that are automatically awarded to students with high GPAs and/or standardized test scores. The university also offers out-of-state waivers to qualifying students with high GPAs and standardized test scores. 

 

Learn more about Missouri State University-Springfield and what it takes to get accepted.

 

4. Truman State University | TSU

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $17,484/$24,844

Location: Kirksville, MO

Acceptance Rate: 72%

Undergrad Enrollment: 5,500

 

Truman State University delivers a student-first culture and close-knit campus community while keeping costs down. Nearly all TSU students (97%) earn scholarships and half of its graduates finish with no student loan debt. It’s not just an affordable education students find at TSU, it’s also excellent outcomes—100% of students meet the state’s exit standards by the time they graduate. Helping TSU students make a difference after graduation is the school’s participation with the Peace Corps; it’s one of only a few dozen universities nationwide to have a Peace Corps Prep partnership and one of the top universities in the nation for producing Peace Corps volunteers.

 

Learn more about Truman State University and what it takes to get accepted.


5. Lincoln University (Missouri)

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $17,492/$24,482

Location: Jefferson City, MO

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Undergrad Enrollment: 2,300

 

Lincoln University is the second HBCU that calls Missouri home and one of the oldest HBCUs in the country—the school was founded by soldiers from the 62nd United States Colored Infantry and the 65th Colored Infantry as the Civil War drew to a close in 1865. Today, the school is integrated and welcomes students from all backgrounds and ethnicities—in fact, the current student body is 40% white. Lincoln University offers flat-rate tuition, which allows students to take 18 credit hours of courses for the price of 15.

 

Learn more about Lincoln University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

6. University of Central Missouri

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $17,502/$24,630

Location: Warrensburg, MO

Acceptance Rate: 64%

Undergrad Enrollment: 9,300

 

The University of Central Missouri (UCM) is one of the oldest (founded in 1871) and cheapest colleges in Missouri. An impressive 94% of UCM graduates receive financial aid, and UCM offers a handful of automatic scholarships for both in-state and out-of-state students based on GPA and standardized test scores. In addition to providing affordable education, UCM is proud of its student outcomes—97% of graduates launch their careers or enter graduate school within six months of graduation. The university bolsters a 100,000+ alumni network to help give grads a career boost.

 

Learn more about the University of Central Missouri and what it takes to get accepted.

 

7. Southeast Missouri State University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $17,544/$23,716

Location: Cape Girardeau, MO

Acceptance Rate: 93%

Undergrad Enrollment: 10,000

 

Academics and outcomes are at the forefront of a Southeast Missouri State University (SMSU) experience. SMSU offers more than 129 undergraduate majors, from accounting to writing, and provides students with the skills to succeed in the real world. Scholarships help ensure an SMSU is affordable and attainable by all—70% of SMSU students are eligible for the school’s scholarship program and the university awards more than $20 million in scholarships annually. Within six months of graduation, 98% of SMSU graduates are employed or furthering their education.

 

Learn more about Southeast Missouri State University and what it takes to get accepted.


8. Northwest Missouri State University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $17,770/$23,728

Location: Maryville, MO

Acceptance Rate: 80%

Undergrad Enrollment: 5,600

 

Northwest Missouri State University (Northwest) delivers one of the cheapest tuitions in the state and has taken additional steps to help keep college affordable. Every Northwest student is provided with a laptop to use throughout the school year and the university offers a textbook rental program through which students can save thousands of dollars on textbooks. Athletics are an important part of many students’ Northwest experience—the website Niche ranks the university 33rd on its list of 1,356 schools for the best athletics in the country. 

 

Learn more about Northwest Missouri State University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

9. Missouri Western State University

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $18,905/$25,330

Location: Saint Joseph, MO

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Undergrad Enrollment: 5,400

 

Missouri Western State University (MWSU) is known for delivering high-quality and affordable education to students, with 92% of first-time full-time freshmen receiving grant or scholarship assistance. MWSU’s Griffon Guarantee scholarship is awarded to students with 3.0 high school GPAs and features bonuses based on SAT/ACT scores and Missouri A+ certification. The dollars awarded through the Griffon Guarantee scholarship grow as a student progresses through college provided the recipient remains in good standing and attends full-time. 

 

Learn more about Missouri Western State University and what it takes to get accepted.

 

10. University of Missouri–Kansas City | UMKC

 

Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $21,893/$36,934

Location: Kansas City, MO

Acceptance Rate: 63%

Undergrad Enrollment: 11,300

 

There’s a lot for students to like about the University of Missouri–Kansas City, which ranks 351st for in-state students (479th for out-of-state students) on the website Payscale’s list of best value colleges. More than 40% of UMKC alumni live and work in Kansas City, which should come as no surprise, once you learn that Kansas City ranks third in the nation in adjusted pay for recent college graduates. Research and creative projects are an important aspect of an undergraduate experience at UMKC and the school provides programs that help fund them, such as the Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity (SUROP) and Students Engaged in the Arts and Research (SEARCH) grants.  

 

Learn more about the University of Missouri–Kansas City and what it takes to get accepted.

 

How Much Will You Pay for College?

 

Net price provides an accurate picture of what a student can expect to pay for college—it’s a calculation that accounts for factors such as financial aid and scholarship dollars received. Almost every college provides a net price calculator and while you can use each school’s individual calculators, our free Financial Aid Calculator lets you estimate the cost of schools across Missouri and the country in just minutes.


Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.