Missouri’s Best Private Colleges & Universities of 2021

Private colleges, unlike large public institutions, can be a great option for students wanting a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Here is our list of the best private colleges in Missouri.

Missouri’s Best Private Colleges & Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Missouri

Tuition costs in Missouri fall below the national average, allowing students access to many affordable options. For example, at Missouri State University, the second largest public school, tuition fees are around $7,000. Students of actor John Goodman’s alma mater can major in fields like religious studies, history, and business, and even have the option of earning an associate degree in arts or a bachelor’s in business at the university’s sister school in China. Missouri also offers more than 40 private schools.

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Tuition and student populations vary greatly among these schools, but students who attend these higher education institutes also have the option to attend classes at other campuses. For example, Saint Louis University, a college with Jesuit roots, has campuses in both St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Additionally, Missouri offers special loan forgiveness programs for nurses and other health professionals, including dentists, psychiatrists, and primary care physicians, who work in designated, high-need areas.

When you aren’t exploring one of its 6,000 caves, chowing down on some barbecue, or taking in a live jazz performance, Missouri can serve as the perfect place to begin a road trip. The Show Me State is bordered by eight other U.S. states, making it ideal for students love travelling and planning weekend getaways. During the week days, students can continue on their road to success by pursuing their degree at one of Missouri’s 72 higher education institutes.

See where Missouri’s many roads can take you while earning your degree at one this state’s top learning institutions.


What are Missouri’s Colleges & Universities?

Missouri’s Best Overall

What is a public college? And what is the difference between a private and public college?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models — one is a private company with private funding; the other is owned by the state and receives both state and federal funding to operate. If you’re weighing the pros and cons of private vs. public college, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a four-year degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a four-year public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually.

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How do we determine Missouri's best private colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer four-year undergraduate degrees. We’ve identified 25 private universities in Missouri, 21 of which satisfy our criteria. The list below of the best private universities in the state satisfies the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a private, non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.
  4. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 40%.

Best Private Colleges & Universities in Missouri

  1. #2

    Saint Louis University

    Saint Louis , MO
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1275/27

    What is Saint Louis University known for?

    Saint Louis University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Philosophy
    • Business
    • Law
    • Biology
    • Education
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. #3

    Westminster College

    Fulton , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1110/22

    What is Westminster College known for?

    Westminster College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Business
    • Education
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  3. #4

    Webster University

    Saint Louis , MO
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    53%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/24

    What is Webster University known for?

    Webster University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • History
    • Law
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. #5

    Stephens College

    Columbia , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/22

    What is Stephens College known for?

    Stephens College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Communications
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    2K

    What is William Woods University known for?

    William Woods University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Engineering
    • Social Work
    REQUEST INFO
  6. #7

    Drury University

    Springfield , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/25

    What is Drury University known for?

    Drury University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Medical
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  7. Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    36%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1190/24

    What is William Jewell College known for?

    William Jewell College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  8. #9

    Evangel University

    Springfield , MO
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Evangel University known for?

    Evangel University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Business
    • History
    • Social Work
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  9. #10

    Rockhurst University

    Kansas City , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1169/24

    What is Rockhurst University known for?

    Rockhurst University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    REQUEST INFO
  10. #11

    Fontbonne University

    Saint Louis , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/20

    What is Fontbonne University known for?

    Fontbonne University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Medical
    • Law
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Religious Studies

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  11. Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1015/22

    What is Central Methodist University known for?

    Central Methodist University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Nursing
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  12. #13

    Lindenwood University

    Saint Charles , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/22

    What is Lindenwood University known for?

    Lindenwood University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  13. Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1027/22

    What is Southwest Baptist University known for?

    Southwest Baptist University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Political Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  14. #15

    College of the Ozarks

    Point Lookout , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Acceptance

    14%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1084/23

    What is College of the Ozarks known for?

    College of the Ozarks’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • History
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  15. #16

    Avila University

    Kansas City , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $21K

    Acceptance

    42%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1082/21

    What is Avila University known for?

    Avila University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Education
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Social Work
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • Biology
    REQUEST INFO
  16. #17

    Maryville University

    Saint Louis , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/22

    What is Maryville University known for?

    Maryville University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    REQUEST INFO
  17. #18

    Cottey College

    Nevada , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/21

    What is Cottey College known for?

    Cottey College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  18. Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1020/21

    What is Hannibal–LaGrange University known for?

    Hannibal–LaGrange University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Education
    • History
    • Religious Studies
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  19. Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    995/20

    What is Culver–Stockton College known for?

    Culver–Stockton College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Law
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  20. #21

    Ranken Technical College

    Saint Louis , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Ranken Technical College known for?

    Ranken Technical College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO

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