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Exploring the Vast Opportunities of Mississippi Colleges

Nestled in the heart of the Deep South is the Gulf Coast state of Mississippi. Although the Magnolia State has a tiny share of the blue-green Gulf of Mexico water to call its own, the state nonetheless is considered a Gulf Coast state. High school students pondering the “college question” may want to give Mississippi colleges a close look as the state is at the center of a region known for warm, humid summers and very temperate and comfortable winters. With plenty of beaches and space for outdoor enthusiasts, a Mississippi college may be just the place for you.

There are a grand total of 41 Mississippi colleges for prospective students to choose from and they run the gamut of publicly funded four year institutions, to private colleges and community colleges. Below is a general breakdown of the 41 universities and colleges located within Mississippi:

  • 26 Public Institutions: 9 Four Year Public Institutions and 17 Two Year Public Institutions
  • 15 Private Institutions: 11 Four Year Private Institutions and 4 Two Year Private Institutions

Although Mississippi has the fewest colleges and universities to offer among its neighbors on the Gulf Coast, there are several states outside of the region that offer even fewer educational options to prospective students. While the 41 Mississippi colleges are less than half those of neighboring Louisiana (85), and are dwarfed by the 198 of Texas and 166 of Florida; the following states have fewer higher learning institutions than Mississippi:

  • Alaska (8)
  • Delaware (10)
  • Washington D.C. (17)
  • Hawaii (21)
  • Idaho (14)
  • Maine (33)
  • Montana (24)
  • Nebraska (38)
  • Nevada (15)
  • New Hampshire (25)
  • North Dakota (21)
  • Rhode Island (14)
  • South Dakota (26)
  • Utah (24)
  • Vermont (27)
  • West Virginia (37)
  • Wyoming (9)

Just as most other states do, Mississippi offers students a variety of higher learning institutions to choose from when seeking a degree. A general breakdown of the state’s universities and colleges is provided below:

  • The state of Mississippi runs a set of publicly funded four year and two year institutions. There are 8 four year institutions and 15 two year institutions.
  • The 8 four year public institutions are located on 11 campuses spread throughout the state
  • The 15 two year public institutions are all community or junior colleges and are spread across 27 campus locations throughout the state.
  • There are 4 privately funded, liberal arts colleges in Mississippi
  • There are 10 other privately funded Mississippi colleges
  • Of those 10 institutions, four are religious seminaries

Mississippi is unique among its neighbors in that the colleges and universities located in the state are spread throughout a large number of cities within the state. While many of the state’s largest cities are home to more than one institution, there is no one city with a clear advantage over the rest when it comes to the number of universities and colleges located within its boundaries. The five biggest cities in the state are listed below:

  • Jackson
  • Gulfport
  • Hattiesburg
  • Biloxi
  • Southaven

Jackson is the largest city and capital of the state of Mississippi. The city’s population is roughly 173,000, but when the metro area is taken into account the population number is closer to 660,000. The Jackson metropolitan area is home to more campus locations than any other city in the state. Oddly enough however the capital city is not home to many of the state’s largest public institutions. One large public school calls the city home, with the other three based in Starkville, Hattiesburg, and Oxford. In total, nine colleges or universities call the city home including three private schools and two of the state’s four seminaries.

Gulfport is the second largest city in the state of Mississippi, and together with the fourth largest city of Biloxi, makes up the larger Gulfport-Biloxi metropolitan area. Despite its status as the second largest city in the state, Gulfport itself trails the capital city in terms of colleges and universities. Only two colleges call the city home, and both campus locations are satellite campuses whose main locations are located in Hattiesburg and Perkinston. One of the campuses is affiliated with a private school and the other is a community college campus. Biloxi for its part is home to just one satellite campus affiliated with the state’s largest community college.

Hattiesburg is the state’s third largest city with an estimated population of 52,000. Two of the largest Mississippi colleges call Hattiesburg home. The main campus of one of the state’s largest public schools is located in the city as well as the main campus of one of the larger private institutions.

Mississippi’s fifth largest city of Southaven is located far from the other big cities of the state on the boarder of Tennessee. The city is actually considered a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee; making it part of a much larger metropolitan area than any other city in Mississippi. Two institutions call Southaven home, one of them being a satellite campus for one of the state’s largest public institutions while the other is the main campus for a community college.

Many of the state’s largest campus locations are found in cities not among the most populated in the state. Among those cities with important campus locations are cities such as:

  • Oxford
  • Columbus
  • Starkville
  • Lorman

Mississippi colleges have more to offer to students than many people would believe. Many of the states campus locations are located in the southern portion of the state near the Gulf Coast and the cities of Jackson, Hattiesburg, Gulfport, and Biloxi. In these cities students will find all the amenities of big city life with the affordable living providing by smaller cities. In addition to being good places to live, these cities have plenty of attractions for students ranging from the casinos and entertainment of the Gulfport-Biloxi region to the sandy beaches of the Gulf Coast. A Mississippi college may be the school you’ve always been looking for!