Financial Aid Programs

There are many financial assistance programs available to help meet the costs of higher education at Missouri State University-West Plains. The majority of federal and state aid programs are based on financial need. Eligibility for these programs can only be determined after a thorough evaluation of the applicant's family financial status. Students applying for aid should file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the federal government. Apply through the Internet at The Missouri State University-West Plains school code is 031060.

Higher Education Resource center

Three computer workstations are available for the public to use to apply for federal aid, complete scholarship searches and access information about any college in the nation. Missouri State University-West Plains students and individuals from area communities are encouraged to utilize the computers in the Higher Education Resource Center, located in Cass Hall.

Federal need-based programs

Federal work-study:

Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for students while they are in school. Most students earn minimum wage and work 6 to 10 hours per week. Students are paid semi-monthly for the number of hours worked the previous pay period.

Pell grant:

This federal program provides grants, for which no repayment is required, to undergraduate students. The amount of the grant is based on the calculated financial need of the student's family. Students receive one-half of their Pell Grants each semester. The maximum Pell Grant for 2022-2023 is $6,895.

Subsidized Direct Stafford Loan:

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The federal Direct Stafford Loan carries a fixed interest rate not to exceed 8.25 percent. Repayment begins after the student leaves school or drops below half-time enrollment. Annual loan limits are $3,500 for freshmen and $4,500 for sophomores. Eligibility for Stafford Loans is based on demonstrated financial need and academic progress. The loans are subsidized by the federal government. First-time borrowers are required to complete an entrance interview prior to check disbursement. These interviews must be completed by accessing the Internet at The completed "Entrance Interview" form will be submitted electronically to the financial aid office. Loan monies cannot be released to first-time borrowers until 30 calendar days after the beginning of the student's first semester.

Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG):

These federal grants are very limited in number and amount. Like Pell Grants, they need not be repaid. Priority in awarding SEOG Grants is given to undergraduate students who qualify for the Pell Grant and have a low expected family contribution. Students are paid one-half of their SEOG each semester. SEOG Grant requires enrollment in at least 6 credit hours during a semester.

Federal non-need-based programs

Federal direct PLUS loan:

Parents of dependent undergraduate students may apply to borrow money for their children's educational expenses. Federal Direct PLUS Loans are obtained through the federal government and are certified by the University. The loans carry a variable interest rate capped at 9 percent. Interest begins to accrue immediately upon disbursement. The amount of each loan may not exceed the student's cost of education, minus other aid received. Repayment begins 60 days after disbursement of the loan. Contact the financial aid office for more information.

Unsubsidized direct Stafford loan:

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This program is available to students who do not qualify for the maximum Subsidized Direct Stafford Loan based on financial need. Dependent students may receive the unsubsidized direct loan regardless of family income; however, the borrower is responsible for interest that accrues while he or she is in school. Independent students may be eligible for the additional Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan.

To apply for Federal Direct Stafford Loans (subsidized and/or unsubsidized)

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by accessing
  2. To request a loan, complete the Stafford Loan Request Form and submit to the Missouri State University-West Plains office of financial aid (417-255-7243).
  3. Sign the Missouri State University-West Plains Award Letter.
  4. Before the loan is guaranteed, complete the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Entrance Interview at
  5. Complete an E-Sign Federal Direct Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN).

Cohort Default Rate

What is a Cohort Default Rate (CDR)? For schools having 30 or more borrowers entering repayment in a fiscal year, the school’s cohort default rate is the percentage of its student borrowers who enter repayment on Federal Family Education Loans and/or Federal Direct Loans during that fiscal year and who default within the cohort default period.

The official 3-year cohort default rate (CDR) at Missouri State University-West Plains, based on student borrowers who went into repayment in FY2019, is 4.8%. In FY2018 and FY2017 the university's default rates were 18.1% and 21.4%, respectively.

The FY2019 national cohort default rate is 2.3%. The Department released a summary of the FY 2019 official cohort default rates by institution type.

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Learn more about cohort default rates.

Federal aid application process

One of the basic principles of financial aid need analysis is that the responsibility of paying for college rests with the student and the student's parents. In most cases, a student's aid will depend upon the financial strength of the parents, as well as the student's own resources. All federal need-based aid is awarded according to a formula established by the Department of Education. The formula evaluates income, assets, family size and other measures of financial ability. The federal government provides a form, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which may be used to apply for federal and state financial aid. This application is available and can be filed electronically after October 1. In order to be considered for all financial aid programs, the FAFSA should be submitted prior to March 31. To make sure the need analysis results are sent to Missouri State University-West Plains, students must list Missouri State University-West Plains as one of the schools to receive the report. After the application is sent electronically and processed by the federal processor, the student receives an electronic acknowledgement or Student Aid Report (SAR). Read the information carefully and follow all instructions. The financial aid staff will then notify the student of any aid for which he or she may be eligible. Occasionally, the staff may ask for additional materials in order to process an aid application.

Application validation:

Federal regulations require financial aid administrators to validate information submitted by a randomly selected group of students. Many applicants will be required to submit verification of income and related data through photocopies of their Federal Tax Return Transcript and/or certified statements from agencies such as the Social Security Administration and the Veterans Administration.

Award letter:

In late April or early May, on-time applicants – those who applied no later than March 31 – should receive an award letter from Missouri State University-West Plains stating the types and amounts of assistance that can be offered to the student or receive an email instructing them to access their Financial Aid Award online at . Students must review the award letter and related forms to confirm their acceptance, in whole or in part, of the award(s). Student loans are not automatically packaged on the award letter. If you are interested in a loan, contact the financial aid office.

State financial Aid Programs

A+ Scholarship Program:

A+ eligible students must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours in the fall and spring semesters or six credit hours in summer. A cumulative 2.5 GPA (less any high school dual credit grades) is required. A+ students' grades and hours are monitored at the conclusion of each semester. If eligibility is lost for one semester, it may be regained by removing the deficiency the following semester. Student eligibility expires 48 months after high school graduation, upon receipt of an associate's degree from any institution or upon completion of 105 percent of the student's current program of study. A+ will not pay for dropped or withdrawn classes during the semester. Students who drop or withdraw from a class during the semester may have their A+ award reduced and will be responsible for any resulting balance. Before dropping a class, check with the financial aid office.

Access Missouri Financial Assistance Program:

This state student need-based aid program is designed to provide students with a simplified financial aid process, provide predictable, portable awards and increase access to a student's school of choice. The student's need is determined by the student's expected family contribution (EFC) as calculated through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To be eligible, students must file their FAFSA by April 1 of each year, be enrolled full time, maintain a 2.5 or better cumulative grade point average (GPA), have an EFC of $12,000 or less and not have received your first bachelor's degree, completed the required hours for a bachelor's degree or completed 150 semester credits. Awards vary from $300 to $1,300 a year at a public two-year school.

Not have received an Access Missouri award for a maximum of five semesters at a 2-year school or 10 semesters at any combination of 2-year or 4-year schools, whichever occurs first.*

*If you received Charles Gallagher or Missouri College Guarantee awards in past semesters, those semesters counted in the 10 semester limit, along with any semester in which you receive an Access Missouri award.

Fast Track Incentive Grant

The Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant is a financial aid program that addresses workforce needs by encouraging adults to pursue a certificate, degree, or industry-recognized credential in an area designated as high need. The financial aid program ensures, when combined with other government resources, that tuition and fees are fully covered for eligible students age 25 and older who are seeking a degree, certificate or industry-recognized credential in a high-demand career. Students younger than 25 also may be eligible to receive the grant if they haven’t been enrolled in any educational program within the last two years. Learn more.

Higher Education Academic Scholarship (Bright Flight):

These scholarships are awarded to qualified Missouri residents attending a participating Missouri college or university on a full-time basis. To be eligible, high school graduates must have a composite score on the ACT or SAT in the top 3 percent of all Missouri students taking those tests. The Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) will obtain a student's approved Missouri school choice and the ACT or SAT composite scores from the student's ACT or SAT assessment record. Eligible students will receive an approval letter from MDHE. The scholarship is renewable if the student maintains a 2.5 or better cumulative GPA.

Missouri Returning Heroes Act

In support of our student veterans, the State of Missouri implemented the Missouri Returning Heroes Education Act effective with the 2008 fall semester. According to the act, institutions of higher education receiving any state funds shall limit the tuition charged to combat veterans to $50 per credit hour, as eligibility is determined, for any program leading to an undergraduate certificate or an associate or baccalaureate degree. A "combat veteran" is any person who served in armed combat after Sept. 11, 2001, who was a Missouri resident when first entering the military and who was discharged from military service under honorable conditions.

See our Missouri Returning Heroes Education Act page for more detailed information.

If you would like to apply, please submit a copy of your most recent DD-214 (long form) and the Returning Heroes Education Act Application to the financial aid office in Cass Hall. The financial aid office will determine if you meet the criteria to be considered for reduced tuition.

Other State Programs

Access the Missouri Department of Higher Education website at for information regarding other state programs.