Free Online Learning Options for Missouri K-12 Students

Young student learning through a virtual classroom
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Many states offer free online public school options to in-state resident students. In Missouri, unfortunately, there are currently no year-round free online public schools. However, no-cost options are available through government-funded charter schools and for students in special situations.

Below is a list of no-cost options available to Missouri students from kindergarten to high school. In order to qualify for the list, schools must meet the following qualifications: classes must be available completely online, schools must offer services to state residents, and the schools must be funded by the government. These virtual education options include charter schools, statewide public programs, and private programs that receive government funding.

Missouri Virtual Instruction Program

The Missouri Virtual Instruction Program (MoVIP) was established in 2007 and offers online courses to Missouri K-12 students. MoVIP is a tuition program offering courses to public, private, and homeschooled students.

Students enroll in MoVIP for a variety of reasons:

  • MoVIP offers advanced courses, including foreign language courses, that are not available in most local school districts.
  • Taking MoVIP courses allows students to solve scheduling problems and even graduate early.
  • MoVIP allows students who cannot attend their local schools for medical or other reasons to take courses and earn education credits.

Online education offers students flexibility. MoVIP courses are self-paced so that students can move through them at a faster or slower pace, depending on their individual learning needs. MoVIP offers about 250 different courses, including foreign language and Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

Each semester’s tuition costs $3,600. Parents are responsible for paying tuition unless the accredited local school district opts to cover the cost. If your local school district is unaccredited, it is required to cover the cost of tuition. There are currently six unaccredited school districts in Missouri. In cases where students are unable to attend their local school due to a long-term (six weeks or longer) medical condition, the state will cover the MoVIP tuition.

Missouri Online Summer Institute

The Missouri Online Summer Institute is a fully accredited program run by the Grandview R-II School District that provides a full range of virtual courses to engage students and promote academic success through multimedia features, virtual labs, embedded educational games, and other dynamic content. The program offers:

  • More than 100 core and elective courses
  • Both original credit and recovery credit courses
  • 1.0 credit year-long courses and 0.5 credit semester-based courses
  • Missouri-certified teachers for all courses
  • New career readiness (CTE) courses
  • AP courses

The Missouri Online Summer Institute is open to all Missouri resident students in grades 7-12. Students are responsible for providing their own computers and internet access.

Online Charter Schools and Online Public Schools

Many states, including Missouri, offer tuition-free online education for resident students under a certain age (often 21). Most virtual schools are charter schools that receive government funding and are run by private organizations. Online charter schools are subject to fewer restrictions than traditional schools. However, they are reviewed regularly to make sure that they meet state standards.

A few states choose to fund “seats” for students in private online schools. The number of available seats is usually limited and students are asked to apply through their public school guidance counselor.

Choosing a Missouri Online Public School

When choosing an online public school, look for an established program that is regionally accredited and has a track record of success. Be wary of new schools that are disorganized, unaccredited, or have been the subject of public scrutiny.

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Littlefield, Jamie. "Free Online Learning Options for Missouri K-12 Students." ThoughtCo, Jul. 30, 2021, Littlefield, Jamie. (2021, July 30). Free Online Learning Options for Missouri K-12 Students. Retrieved from Littlefield, Jamie. "Free Online Learning Options for Missouri K-12 Students." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 22, 2023).