Policy emphasizes high school recruitment

When graduating high school seniors choose a college to attend, whether it is two-year or four-year, a number of factors are going to come into play.

Missouri Southern is confronting one of the factors—cost—head on by allowing incoming students to stack institutional scholarships up to the cost of their direct institutional cost, or their student bill (minus costs like parking tickets).

“It allows us to attract some of the higher performing academic students that we might have been previously losing to other schools,” said Financial Aid Director Becca Diskin. “We wanted to remain competitive.”

The change comes on the heels of the increased area for in-state tuition, which went into effect in 2013. The two combined have already caused an upward trend when it comes to attracting incoming students.

“This year already we have seen a much higher take-rate for our Presidential and Excellence scholarships, as well as our A+ scholarships,” said Diskin.

The increased acceptance of those three scholarships has been the biggest factor, according to Diskin, due to students stacking their A+ Scholarships with institutional scholarships, such as the Excellence or Presidential, which they were not able to do before. The cap of 100 A+ Scholarships per year has also been removed, allowing more students to take advantage of the award.

“It was the most dramatic difference with this year’s freshman class,” said Diskin.

While current students will not be able to use an A+ Scholarship that previously went unused, they can stack other scholarships, including scholarships from the Foundation or other University scholarships they might be eligible for.

“The policy wasn’t grandfathered in for current students—it was a drive to increase incoming freshmen,” said Diskin. “The original intent was to increase our appeal to prospective students.”

When it comes to determining how well the plan has worked, the University is looking at a four-year plan to measure the success.

“I was a very strong proponent of the change,” said Diskin. “The financial aid office has definitely seen a need for allowing a wider scope in allowing our scholarships to attract the students we want to be here.”