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.

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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?

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 “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.

Find out more about our ranking methodology here.

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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. #1

    Washington University in St. Louis

    #67 institution's historical influence
    #20 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    16%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1520/34

    Saint Louis, MO

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    What is Washington University in St. Louis known for?

    Washington University in St. Louis’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Law
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

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  2. #2

    Saint Louis University

    #343 institution's historical influence
    #714 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $45K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1275/27

    Saint Louis, MO

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    What is Saint Louis University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

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  3. #3

    Westminster College

    #1952 institution's historical influence
    #471 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1110/22

    Fulton, MO

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    What is Westminster College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Webster University

    #1080 institution's historical influence
    #814 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    53%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/24

    Saint Louis, MO

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    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
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    Stephens College

    #2036 institution's historical influence
    #763 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/22

    Columbia, MO

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    What is Stephens College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    William Woods University

    #3323 institution's historical influence
    #1166 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    2K

    Fulton, MO

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    What is William Woods University known for?

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

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

    Drury University

    #3312 institution's historical influence
    #1457 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/25

    Springfield, MO

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    What is Drury University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    William Jewell College

    #2046 institution's historical influence
    #1125 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    36%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1190/24

    Liberty, MO

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    What is William Jewell College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    Evangel University

    #2818 institution's historical influence
    #1339 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    2K

    Springfield, MO

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    What is Evangel University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

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  10. #10

    Rockhurst University

    #2323 institution's historical influence
    #403 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1169/24

    Kansas City, MO

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    What is Rockhurst University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #11

    Fontbonne University

    #4934 institution's historical influence
    #866 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/20

    Saint Louis, MO

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    What is Fontbonne University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #12

    Central Methodist University

    #2915 institution's historical influence
    #992 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1015/22

    Fayette, MO

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    What is Central Methodist University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  13. #13

    Lindenwood University

    #2385 institution's historical influence
    #1325 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/22

    Saint Charles, MO

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    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

  14. #14

    Southwest Baptist University

    #3602 institution's historical influence
    #673 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1027/22

    Bolivar, MO

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    What is Southwest Baptist University known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  15. #15

    College of the Ozarks

    #5148 institution's historical influence
    #60 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Acceptance

    14%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1084/23

    Point Lookout, MO

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    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
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #16

    Avila University

    #6908 institution's historical influence
    #831 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $21K

    Acceptance

    42%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1082/21

    Kansas City, MO

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    What is Avila University known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • Education
    • History
    • Social Work
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #17

    Maryville University

    #3455 institution's historical influence
    #991 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/22

    Saint Louis, MO

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    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
  18. #18

    Cottey College

    #5459 institution's historical influence
    #505 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/21

    Nevada, MO

    View profile

    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
  19. #19

    Hannibal–LaGrange University

    #13202 institution's historical influence
    #1206 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1020/21

    Hannibal, MO

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    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
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  20. #20

    Culver–Stockton College

    #6870 institution's historical influence
    #414 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    995/20

    Canton, MO

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    What is Culver–Stockton College known for?

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

    • Law
    • Business
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #21

    Ranken Technical College

    #8072 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    2K

    Saint Louis, MO

    View profile

    What is Ranken Technical College known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

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