Rivalry: PSU

-Enrollment: 7,127

-Tuition: $2,161

(for 10+ credit hours)

-Year founded: 1903

The first thing Ron Womble points out is Pittsburg State University’s college of technology.

“That’s one of the things that kids come here from some distance for,” Womble said.

As director of public relations at PSU, Womble should know.

“The other issues for PSU that kids are looking for are the campus environment, the atmosphere here, the relationship PSU has with the community,” Womble said. “We get tremendous support from the community.

“As far as programs, It’s a long list of programs and every student has different needs.”

Pittsburg’s pre-med programs are really popular and draw a lot of students, Womble said, but the college of technology still takes the cake.

“Most people know the college of technology simply because it probably is unique in terms of the variety of programs that we include in the college of technology,” he said.

Despite the billboards, Womble said PSU isn’t just focusing on targeting southwest Missouri. He pointed out the Gorilla Advantage counties in Missouri, including Barton, Jasper, Newton and McDonald, where students receive in-state tuition if they meet one of four requirements.

“Our largest group of students comes not from southwest Missouri but actually Johnson County, Kan.,” Womble said. “Crawford County, Kan., certainly Jasper and Newton Counties also serve us quite a few students.”

Womble leaves the rivalry to the teams when encouraging students to attend Pitt State.

“It’s one of those things we try not to make it a battle between them and us,” he said. “We want to highlight the things about PSU we think are really special and I think first of all with any student we say think about your academic programs and what it is you want to do with your life and can you be successful here,” he said. “Secondly, this is going to be a place that you are going to feel wanted, you’ll feel welcome that you will fit into the campus culture, it’s our nature.”

Southeast Kansas is a pretty friendly place, Womble said, and he thinks the campus culture and the culture of the community all help in terms of recruiting students.

“We believe in comparison with other campuses it’s very safe,” he said. “In addition to that we think we offer a good value. When we compare the cost of attendance here versus the cost of attendance at other institutions we consider peers we’re very competitive.

“We’re at or below those costs in terms of fees.”