Rivalry: MSSU

Brennan Stebbins

-Enrollment: 5,264


$135 per credit hour

-Year founded: 1937

Southern has quality programs, plain and simple, according to Rod Surber, director of University Relations and Marketing.

Surber says it goes beyond that, though.

“Our graduates – 95 percent of them are employed or continue to pursue education after they graduate from Missouri Southern,” he said. “The success of students who graduate obviously is important, and as far as the campus itself we have several exciting things on the horizon.”

Those exciting things include the Beimdiek Student Recreation Center under construction, the remodeling of the Billingsly Student Center and a health sciences building due to open in 2010.

“It’s going to be much more convenient,” Surber said. “The rec center is going to have tremendous offerings for students. Obviously with the health sciences building, those kinds of programs are in great demand and when we get the new building up and running it’s going to be a great opportunity for students to work in that facility. I know the health care industry is interested in getting more students from about any institution and certainly we’ll be able to offer a great education in that area.”

Other specialties at Southern include the criminal justice program and teacher education, according to Surber.

“A huge percentage of students who teach in the region come from MSSU,” he said.

Like PSU, Southern also offers in-state tuition to selected counties in Kansas and Oklahoma.

“Our recruiting staff in the admissions office regularly visits southeastern Kansas schools and college fairs,” Surber said. “We have the lowest tuition rate in the state.”

Why else should you choose MSSU instead of PSU? Look at the city of Joplin. Shopping, restaurants and job opportunities are more available here than in Pittsburg, Surber said.

“The location of MSSU offers students all the amenities Joplin has to offer,” he said. “Shopping, restaurants, the retail sector and so forth is a great attraction, but it also offers students opportunities for part-time jobs. In smaller communities in outlying areas of Missouri or Kansas, if you don’t have a lot of business in town it’s tough to find part-time jobs.”

Joplin is a great place to be and a safe environment, he said.

“I believe everything we have to offer here at MSSU are great programs,” Surber said. “Great programs, great faculty members, great staff. When students get here I think they will come to appreciate that even more.”