Out-of-state students benefit from in-state tuition scholarship

Amye Buckley

When an out-of-state student arrives on Missouri Southern’s campus, there are several options to help them make their stays more affordable.

Catherine Ramoly, freshman criminal justice major, is an out-of-state student from northwest Arkansas. Ramoly is taking advantage of her options through the freshman non-resident scholarship, but she said the out-of-state costs did not sway her.

“It was not a deciding factor,” Ramoly said. “Once I decided it was like, ‘How in the world am I going to pay for this?'”

Incoming freshmen and transfer students living in 23 Arkansas counties, 36 Kansas counties and 37 counties in Oklahoma may be eligible for a non-resident scholarship, eliminating the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition, but it is a scholarship program and not a waiver.

“It’s pretty cut and dried,” said Linda Steele, scholarship coordinator.

To qualify for the program, freshmen must live within the service area, be a full-time student, have an ACT of 21 or above or equivalent and maintain a 2.5 grade point average. For transfer students, the requirements are similar. They must have completed 24 credit hours or more with a 2.5 GPA, attend 12 or more credit hours per semester and live within the service area. Steele said what many students do not realize about the scholarship is once a student in the program exceeds 16 credit hours in a semester, the rate per credit hour returns to the out-of-state pricing.

Derek Skaggs, director of enrollment services, pointed out that out-of-state students take advantage of the online classes, which are at the in-state rate plus distance learning fee regardless of the student’s location.

For qualifying students who come to Missouri Southern from Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska or North Dakota, a scholarship through the Midwest Student Exchange Program will reduce their tuition by half. More than 70 majors are recognized by the program, but Skaggs said not many students take advantage of it. With Illinois slated to join during the next academic year, Skaggs expects more students interested in the program.

“There are no limits to the number of [out-of-state] scholarships we give out,” Skaggs said.

Ramoly was able to combine her non-resident scholarship with an institutional scholarship, but for her to make the combination she must live in the residence halls.

“Really my decision to come here was because of the [criminal justice] program,” she said. “I really think it is better than anything we had in Arkansas. I started looking at some other schools out-of-state, but this one was close so I can go home when I want to.”

Ramoly said she is making roots in Joplin and will probably remain in the area.

“I’m probably gonna end up somewhere in Missouri,” Ramoly said.

Steele says there are roughly 300 students in the scholarship programs.

“It really helps the non-resident students,” Steele said. “It really does since they’re not paying out of state fees.” But Steele reminds students that both programs are on a scholarship basis.

“There is criteria to get it and criteria to keep it,” she said.