MSU again named Mississippi’s top ‘Best Value College’

Tulips and students on the Drill Field
Mississippi State is being recognized as the state’s top “Best Value College” in 2020 for giving students the best return on their educational investment, according to an annual study by New York-based financial technology company SmartAsset. (Photo by Megan Bean)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State is hailed as the state’s leading university, and a recent study proves this statement continues to ring true. MSU is being recognized as the state’s top “Best Value College” in 2020 for giving students the best return on their educational investment.

In its annual Best Value Colleges study, New York-based financial technology company SmartAsset determined that MSU graduates earn higher average starting salaries than their peers from other state colleges and universities.

According to the study, MSU graduates receive an average starting salary of $51,100, $2,600 higher than the next highest university in the rankings. The average starting salary for all Mississippi higher education graduates is $44,557.

Along with average starting salary, SmartAsset examined cost of tuition, student living costs, student retention rate, and average scholarships and grants awarded. The different categories were weighted to determine each institution’s College Education Value Index. MSU’s Education Value Index was 40.32, nearly two points higher than the University of Mississippi, the second school in the ranking. Mississippi College is third.

A Carnegie Foundation R1-Very High Research Activity doctoral university, Mississippi State is ranked among the National Science Foundation’s top 100 research institutions. MSU’s research expenditures totaled nearly $244 million in FY 2018, accounting for more than half of the total in research and development expenditures reported by all Mississippi institutions. This research activity is playing an ever-increasing role in Mississippi’s overall economic development efforts.

MSU is a recognized leader in a number of academic disciplines and offers access and opportunity to students from every area of the Magnolia State, all 50 states and 86 countries throughout the world. The 142-year-old land-grant university strategically extends its resources and expertise throughout the state for the benefit of Mississippi’s citizens, offering access for adult learners through its Meridian campus, Extension Service and distance learning programs.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at