Missouri's higher education environment is well known for its rich diversity and breadth of available programs - from small, one-year, private career schools with a specialized focus to large, tier one research institutions with the emphasis on cutting edge research advancements, and everything between. Missouri is home to a wide array of higher education possibilities for Missouri residents and students around the world. There are many different types of colleges and universities located in every region of Missouri.

  • Public - Postsecondary schools mainly supported by public funds that offer associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees, and graduate degrees. However, many of these schools also offer shorter programs that may vary in length and level.
  • Independent - Postsecondary schools mainly supported by private funds. Also known as "private not for profit schools," many offer degrees and a variety of programs that vary in length and level.
  • Private career/proprietary - Privately owned and controlled schools as well as out-of-state institutions offering courses and programs in Missouri. Also known as "private career schools" or "private for-profit schools," many offer certificates, diplomas, or degrees and generally prepare students for direct entry into a specific occupation or profession.

School Choice and College Fit

With so many choices of schools and programs, finding the right college or other postsecondary institution for you may be challenging. Characteristics to consider include:

  • Location
  • Majors and programs
  • Services for first-generation or needy students
  • Size
  • Total cost and net price


Feeling overwhelmed about applying to college? To help get started, check out the MDHE's College Fit Worksheet where you can record information about the schools you may be interested in applying to. Additionally, the National Association for College Admissions Counseling provides four easy steps to help you manage the college research and application process:

          Step 1. Preparing

          Step 2. Researching

          Step 3. Applying

          Step 4. Deciding


Missouri public colleges and universities have different admission guidelines that range from highly selective to open enrollment.

Once you've narrowed your college choices, use the MDHE's Student Admissions Application Worksheet to help you prepare for the online admissions process.



Missouri public colleges and universities have a range of costs. The MDHE collects and publishes comprehensive tuition and fee schedules annually from Missouri public institutions.

Residency Requirements

The Code of State Regulations (CSR) sets the standards for determining the residency status of students, including the determination of student fee charges and student eligibility for financial aid administered by the Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

Researching Schools in Missouri and in the U.S.

Find the right Missouri school or program for you within the MDHE's College and Degree Search tool. Whether you want to attend school in a specific region of Missouri, need to complete a program within a short period of time, or have other criteria in mind, visit this search tool today.

To research postsecondary institutions outside of Missouri, try the search engine College Navigator. This school search tool is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and allows students and parents to search over 7,000 U.S. higher education institutions.