14000 Highway 82 West
Itta Bena, MS 38941-1400
p. 662-254-9041
w. www.mvsu.edu

Mississippi Valley State University

Mississippi Valley State University Rating: 4.5/5 (61 votes)

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Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) is a historically black university (HBCU) located just outside of rural Itta Bena, Mississippi. The school is a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

According to its mission statement, the university "values and promotes excellence in its central mission of teaching and strives to provide an inviting and supportive learning and living environment.” It is classed as a Baccalaureate College—General by the Carnegie Institute. Its emphasis is on service to the Mississippi Delta region.


The institution, originally a vocational school, was founded in 1950 in hopes of enrolling African American students while easing the escalating pressure of ending the legal segregation of public schools, which was declared unconstitutional just four years later in the historic Supreme Court case Brown v. the Board of Education.

The former Mississippi Vocational College was renamed Mississippi Valley State College in 1964 and the college was granted university status in 1974, when it also received its current name.


The university offers academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level. It is comprised of the following colleges and schools:

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Education
  • College of Professional Studies
  • Honors Program
  • Graduate School

Bachelor’s degrees are offered in a variety of fields within the various academic colleges. Students can pursue bachelor’s degrees in English, public administration, industrial technology, education, mathematics, biology, environmental health, and more.

Master’s degrees are offered in teaching, criminal justice, elementary education, environmental health, and special education.

MVSU also offers students the opportunity to earn a double major, provided they complete at least 30 credit hours in each major field. Areas of concentration are also allowed, provided the student completes 18-21 credit hours of courses in that particular field, as approved by the department in which it is offered.

Most Popular Fields of Study

Unique Programs

The Department of Criminal Justice is one of the university’s largest departments. Approximately 375 students are enrolled in the department’s various programs. Degrees offered include the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and the Master of Science in Criminal Justice.

MVSU also offers the Bachelor of Science in Public Administration through the Department of Social Science. It is the only undergraduate program in public administration in the State of Mississippi.


Mississippi Valley State University has an open undergraduate admissions deadline, but early applications are encouraged. Applications can be submitted online. Applicants must also submit official high school transcripts along with standardized test scores. Students who are still enrolled in high school at the time of application will need to have their official final high school transcripts sent to the Admissions Office after graduation.

Students should have completed high school courses as follows: 4 units of English, 3 units of mathematics, 3 units of history and social studies, 3 units of science, 2 units of electives, and ½ units of computer applications. In general, students must also meet GPA and standardized test scores set by the admissions department.

Transfer students and international students will have varying requirements depending upon their prior educational background.

Students applying to the graduate programs at Mississippi Valley State University should consult the individual department and/or school to which they are applying for all requirements and application deadlines. General graduate school requirements include and a bachelor’s degree and undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or greater as well as GRE, GMAT, or other appropriate standardized test scores. Three letters of recommendation are also required.

Financial Aid

All students who are interested in determining eligibility for financial aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). MVSU sees financial aid as a supplement to a student’s family resources. The financial aid office calculates the cost of a student’s attendance and subtracts the family’s expected contribution to tuition. The remaining amount is considered financial need. MVSU considers income, assets, expenses, family size, and the number of children in calculating a family’s expected contribution.

Types of aid that eligible students may receive include grants, scholarships, loans, and work study. Some types of aid do not require repayment while others, such as loans, must be paid back with interest.

Entering freshmen must have a grade point average of 3.00 to qualify for aid and, based on test scores, can receive a variety of aid packages. Institutional awards include the Diversity Scholarship, which is up to $700 for undergraduate students who are non-African American, who come from out of state, or have taken at least two years away from high school or other college.

Graduate students who have a 3.0 GPA are eligible for assistantships requiring 20 hours of work a week. A Graduate Diversity Scholarship is also available to help cover tuition and fees.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 2739th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Mississippi.


Student life at Mississippi Valley State University includes opportunities in a diverse range of activities and organizations. There are 8 fraternities and sororities, academic, professional, and honor societies, a university band, two campus ministries, and the Cliché Fashion & Modeling Squad, among others.

MVSU is home to eight different Greek-letter organizations that are part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council. There are also several dozen other student organizations on campus, including Army ROTC, various residence hall councils and clubs, and academic societies. The campus is home to over 1,000 residential students who occupy ten different “living/learning centers.” There are five male halls and five female halls.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


MVSU is a member of the NCAA Division I and the Southwestern Athletic Conference except for the football team, which participates in NCAA Division I-AA. Men’s sports teams are nicknamed the Delta Devils while women’s teams are known as the Devilettes.

Student athletes receive academic support from the university through the recently remodeled Student Athlete Academic Resource Center, which provides Internet access and tutoring.

Famous althetic alumni include the NFL’s Jerry Rice, who played for the Delta Devils from 1981 to 1984 and subsequently earned the nickname “World” because “there wasn’t a football in the world he couldn’t catch.”


Among the university’s many various traditions are freshman orientation, Annual Fall Convocation, the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting, Student Christmas Dinner, and Founder’s Day during an entire week of celebrations for the university’s founders.

Local Community

MVSU is located just outside of Itta Bena, Mississippi. The surrounding environment is largely rural farmland. Itta Bena is located in Leflore County and is roughly 1.4 square miles in land area with a population of approximately 4,000. The majority of residents are of African American descent.

Nearby Greenwood offers a numerous array of entertainment venues, outdoor experiences, cultural attractions, and the historic Fort Pemberton museum.

Information Summary

Ranks 14th in Mississippi and 1295th overall
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Campus Crime Statistics

  Incidents per 100 Students
Aggravated assault N/A N/A
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter N/A N/A
Rape N/A N/A
Robbery 3 0.12
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 10 0.41
Larceny N/A N/A
Vehicle theft N/A N/A
Arrest 7 0.29

Local Crime Statistics

  Incidents per 100 People
Aggravated assault 5 0.24
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter 1 0.05
Forcible Rape N/A N/A
Robbery 1 0.05
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 126 6.13
Larceny 66 3.21
Vehicle theft N/A N/A

Demographics – Main Campus and Surrounding Areas

Reported area around or near Itta Bena, MS 38941-1400
Surrounding communityRemote town (over 35 mi. away from an urban cluster)
Total Population5,652 (4,835 urban / 817 rural)
Households1,564 (2.95 people per house)
Median Household Income$19,450
Families1,140 (3.51 people per family)

Carnegie Foundation Classification

Master's Colleges and Universities (medium programs)
UndergraduateProfessions focus, some graduate coexistence
GraduatePostbaccalaureate with arts & sciences (other dominant fields)
Undergraduate PopulationFull-time four-year, inclusive
EnrollmentVery high undergraduate
Size & SettingSmall four-year, primarily residential

General Characteristics

Title IV EligibilityParticipates in Title IV federal financial aid programs
Highest offeringMaster's degree
Calendar SystemSemester
Years of college work requiredN/A
Variable Tuition
Religious AffiliationN/A
Congressional District2802

Special Learning Opportunities

Distance LearningN/A
ROTC — Army / Navy / Air Force  —   /   / 
Study Abroad
Weekend College
Teacher Certification

Student Tuition Costs and Fees

Ranks 1985th for total cost of attendance
  In District In State Out of State
Effective as of 2014-09-19
FT Undergraduate Tuition $5,916 $5,916 $5,916
FT Undergraduate Required Fees N/A N/A N/A
PT Undergraduate per Credit Hour $247 $247 $247
FT Graduate Tuition $6,660 $6,660 $6,660
FT Graduate Required Fees N/A N/A N/A
PT Graduate per Credit Hour $370 $370 $370
Total Cost of Attendance — On-Campus $18,552 $18,552 $18,552
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus w/out Family $18,552 $18,552 $18,552
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus with Family $11,716 $11,716 $11,716

Student Tuition Cost History and Trends

Prior year cost comparison
  In District In State Out of State
Published Tuition & Fees $5,307 $5,703 $5,307 $5,703 $5,307 $5,703
  Cost (regardless of residency)
Effective as of 2014-09-19
Books & Supplies $1,400(N/C)
On-Campus – Room & Board $6,200 $6,510
On-Campus – Other Expenses $4,400(N/C)
Off-Campus w/out Family – Room & Board $6,200 $6,510
Off-Campus w/out Family – Other Expenses $4,400(N/C)
Off-Campus with Family – Room & Board $4,400(N/C)

Admission Details

Effective as of 2014-09-19
Application Fee RequiredN/A
Undergraduate Application FeeN/A
Graduate Application FeeN/A
First Professional Application FeeN/A
Applicants 6,229 (2,524 male / 3,705 female)
Admitted 1,415 (519 male / 896 female)
Admission rate 23%
First-time Enrollment 493 (230 male / 263 female)
FT Enrollment 459 (214 male / 245 female)
PT Enrollment 34 (16 male / 18 female)
Total Enrollment2,203

Admission Criteria

 = Required,   = Recommended,   = Neither required nor recommended
Open Admissions
Secondary School GPA / Rank / Record  /  N/A / 
College Prep. Completion
Formal competency demoN/A
Admission test scores
Other testsN/A

Admission Credits Accepted

Dual Credit
Life Experience
Advanced Placement (AP)

Athletics - Association Memberships

Sports / Athletic Conference Memberships NCAA
NCAA Football Conference Southwestern Athletic Conference
NCAA Basketball Conference Southwestern Athletic Conference
NCAA Baseball Conference Southwestern Athletic Conference
NCAA Track & Field Conference Southwestern Athletic Conference

ACT Test Admission

1324th for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting ACT results 100%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 13 / 19
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 15 / 18
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 15 / 19

Student Services

Remedial Services
Academic / Career Counseling
PT Cost-defraying Employment
Career Placement
On-Campus Day Care
Library Facility

Student Living

First-time Room / Board Required
Dorm Capacity805
Meals per Week21
Room Fee$3,749
Board Fee$3,087

Student Completion / Graduation Demographics

Total 412 6 20 17 455
Accounting 5 1 6
Bioinformatics 4 1 5
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 27 1 2 30
Business Administration and Management, General 63 1 6 3 73
Chemistry, General
Computer and Information Sciences, General 7 2 9
Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration 15 15
Criminal Justice/Safety Studies 26 2 28
Elementary Education and Teaching 5 5
English Language and Literature, General 3 2 5
English/Language Arts Teacher Education
Environmental Health 13 13
History, General 8 8
Human Services, General 25 1 26
Industrial Technology/Technician 14 1 15
Kindergarten/Preschool Education and Teaching 32 1 33
Mathematics Teacher Education 1 1
Mathematics, General 5 5
Music Teacher Education 1 1
Music, General 6 6
Office Management and Supervision 4 4
Physical Education Teaching and Coaching 48 2 5 4 59
Political Science and Government, General
Public Administration 6 6
Public Relations/Image Management 17 17
Rhetoric and Composition 10 10
Social Science Teacher Education
Social Work 45 1 1 2 49
Sociology 2 2
Special Education and Teaching, General 2 2
Teacher Education and Professional Development, Specific Subject Areas, Other 1 1
Teacher Education, Multiple Levels 16 1 1 18
Visual and Performing Arts, General 2 1 3

Faculty Compensation / Salaries

Ranks 3096th for the average full-time faculty salary.
Effective as of 2014-09-20
Tenure system N/A
Average FT Salary $53,312 ($55,801 male / $48,348 female)
Number of FT Faculty 126 (65 male / 61 female)
Number of PT Faculty 148
FT Faculty Ratio 0.9 : 1
Total Benefits $3,468,752

Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.

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