The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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June 27, 2013

Report highlights out-of-state tuition costs at Missouri Southern

JOPLIN, Mo. — When Sydney Marsellis began looking for a college to attend, the athletics program was something on which she was immediately focused, but her dad had another suggestion.

“My dad was telling me, ‘Look at the tuition costs. What if you don’t play (volleyball) all four years?’” Marsellis said.

The Owasso, Okla., native settled on Missouri Southern State University not just because of a volleyball scholarship, but also the tuition rates. Because of her residency in the bordering state, she qualified for in-state tuition rates.

Now a senior communications/public relations major, Marsellis said she was appreciative of the tuition opportunities afforded to out-of-state students, especially when a variety of factors led to her not playing volleyball all four years.

“I’m grateful that I chose Missouri Southern; otherwise I might not be a senior right now,” she said.

The out-of-state tuition costs at the university earned recognition this week when U.S. News & World Report released its “Best College” rankings.

Missouri Southern was named one of the 10 public schools with the cheapest out-of-state tuition.

The data used in the annual rankings were compiled from a survey of more than 1,800 colleges and universities. For the out-of-state tuition rankings, figures did not include costs associated with room and board, books and other items.

According to the report, out-of-state tuition averaged $19,100 for the 2012-13 school year, compared with nearly $8,300 for in-state students.

The least expensive public college for out-of-state students, according to the rankings, was Minot (N.D.) State University. The tuition and fees for out-of-state students for the 2012-13 year were $5,921. Missouri Southern came in at No. 10 on the list with $9,654.

The top 10 also included West Texas A&M University, Bemidji (Minn.) State University and Louisiana State University-Alexandria. Among the 10 schools, the average cost for out-of-state students was about $8,600 — “just a few hundred dollars more than average in-state tuition across the country,” according to the report.

“Any time you can get national recognition, it’s great for the university,” said Darren Fullerton, Missouri Southern’s vice president for student affairs and enrollment management.

“A lot of students may not look at a school that is out of state because of an assumption that tuition will be higher,” he said. “We’ve tried especially to rein in the escalating cost of getting an education. We want students, parents and the community to know that Missouri Southern strives to keep education affordable.”

During the spring 2013 semester, Missouri Southern had 852 out-of-state students out of a total enrollment of 5,052.

Of those 852 students, 310 qualified for the Lion Pride tuition program, which allows students from Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and parts of Illinois to attend the university at an in-state tuition rate.

For the 2013-14 academic year, tuition at Missouri Southern will be $173.20 per credit hour for in-state students and $346.40 for out-of-state ones.

The 30 counties in Illinois that qualify as part of the Lion Pride program include border areas as well as larger metropolitan areas, such as Chicago. Fullerton said those counties were selected in an analysis that looked at not just the geography of the state but also factors such as students’ ACT scores.

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