Best Public Colleges in Missouri 2022

Public colleges and universities account for almost 75 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. The best public colleges in Missouri provide broad access to reputable degree programs, affordable tuition, and sprawling educational communities.

Best Public Colleges in Missouri 2022

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.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

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 the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, 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 bachelor’s 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. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

Missouri's Best Public Colleges Badge
Download Badge

This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 13 public universities in Missouri. To be included in our list of the best public colleges in Missouri, shcools must receive direct funding from the state, be fully accredited, and offer a broad range of bachelor’s degress.

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

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! 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 in their fields of study.

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

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

Back to Top

Best Public Colleges in Missouri 2022

  1. #1

    University of Missouri

    Columbia , MO
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1230/26

    What is University of Missouri known for?

    University of Missouri’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Communications
    • Earth Sciences
    • Literature
    • Education
    • History
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1325/29

    What is Missouri University of Science and Technology known for?

    Missouri University of Science and Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Economics
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    63%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    What is University of Missouri–Kansas City known for?

    University of Missouri–Kansas City’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Economics
    • Medical
    • Law
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Truman State University

    Kirksville , MO
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1250/27

    What is Truman State University known for?

    Truman State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Sociology
    • Communications
    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Education
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1119/22

    What is Northwest Missouri State University known for?

    Northwest Missouri State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Economics
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    Missouri State University

    Springfield , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    17K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1140/24

    What is Missouri State University known for?

    Missouri State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Anthropology
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Economics
    • Psychology
    • Religious Studies
    • Earth Sciences
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #7

    University of Central Missouri

    Warrensburg , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    9K

    What is University of Central Missouri known for?

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

    • Business
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Literature
    • History
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/24

    What is University of Missouri–St. Louis known for?

    University of Missouri–St. Louis’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Anthropology
    • Sociology
    • Social Work
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    Southeast Missouri State University

    Cape Girardeau , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    9K

    What is Southeast Missouri State University known for?

    Southeast Missouri State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Communications
    • Chemistry
    • Social Work
    • Literature
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Nursing
    • Physics
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    Missouri Western State University

    Saint Joseph , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Missouri Western State University known for?

    Missouri Western State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Philosophy
    • Economics
    • Business
    • Social Work
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    990/21

    What is Missouri Southern State University known for?

    Missouri Southern State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Chemistry
    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Business
    • History
    • Law
    • Nursing
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  12. #12

    Lincoln University

    Jefferson City , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    26%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Lincoln University known for?

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

    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Biology
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #13

    Harris–Stowe State University

    Saint Louis , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    12%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Harris–Stowe State University known for?

    Harris–Stowe State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • History
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

Back to Top

Missouri’s Best Public College in Your Area of Interest

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. University of Missouri
  2. Missouri University of Science and Technology
  3. Southeast Missouri State University
  4. Truman State University
  5. University of Missouri–Kansas City
  6. Missouri State University
  7. University of Missouri–St. Louis
  8. Northwest Missouri State University
  9. University of Central Missouri

Resources for College-Bound Students