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Prospective/Incoming Freshmen

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Regional Campus Students Military Students Transfer Students Online ONLY Students
Cost is one of the most important factors when deciding which college to attend. Southeast Missouri State University strives to remain one of the most affordable institutions in Missouri. Undergraduate students are charged based on their residency, Missouri or nonresident.

Fees can be confusing - we understand! The base cost per credit hour is comprised of "tuition" and the "general fee" as indicated on our Fee Schedule. However, there are unique fees to prospective/incoming students, such as the Admissions Application fee and Orientation fee.

When comparing costs, we suggest you review the base cost per credit hour, housing & meal plan rates, and textbook rental rates to get an overall estimate. Speaking of textbook rental, did you know one major advantage of attending Southeast is our Textbook Rental program. Most undergraduate textbooks can be rented for the semester, at a fraction of the cost!

Nonresident Students:
Southeast offers several residency based programs to make your college experience more affordable. If you (or your parent) are active military or a veteran, then look into Military Residency to receive in-state rates. Or, review our full list of residency options.
Important Things to Remember:
  • Tuition is billed based on the number of credit hours in which you are enrolled. The more classes, the more it costs.

  • Your first bill of each semester will be mailed to your permanent address. Please make sure you share this bill with your parents. After that, bills will be mailed to you locally (Residence Hall or Cape address). We also offer an online Account Summary allowing you to view the entire account history and make online payments. A printable Online Schedule Bill is available once the semester begins.

  • If your bill is not paid on time, you may be cancelled from your course(s). If you are cancelled for non-payment, contact us immediately, to determine if reinstatement is an option.

  • Be sure to check your Southeast email regularly, as official billing correspondence will be sent there.

College is expensive - that is where financial aid comes in. Before trying to obtain aid, it is best to understand the different types. Keep in mind that this is financial aid (aka assistance), but that does not guarantee that you will have enough to cover all expenses. It is your responsibility to apply for aid, review eligibility, and compare aid to costs. In the end, you may be responsible for paying a portion of your education out of pocket.

Types of Financial Aid:

  • Grants (Free Money) - There are both Federal and State funded grants, and every grant has it’s own eligibility requirements. Grants are awarded based on many factors, but the most common are your level of “need” (your EFC) and if you completed your aid application early. The most common grants are the Pell grant (Federal), FSEOG (Federal), and Access Missouri (State) - but there are others you may be awarded.

  • Scholarships (Free Money) - Scholarships are a great way to fund an education, but they usually require a little work on your part. There are three categories of scholarships: Merit, Endowed, and Private. Merit scholarships are awarded based on your performance in high school and require you to apply to Southeast by the appropriate deadlines. Additionally, each year you will be automatically considered for Endowed Scholarships. Through the generosity of our alumni and area businesses, Southeast has over 1,100 endowed scholarships. Private scholarships are not awarded by Southeast, but require you to do some research, find scholarships, and apply (which may require an essay, but it's totally worth it).

  • Student Loans (Borrowed Money) - Unlike grants and scholarships, student loans are not free money and must be repaid with interest. While not ideal, loans can be used to fund your college education if no other options exist. There are different types of loans, each with their own terms, and it is important to review the specifics before borrowing. The decision to borrow should not be taken lightly, and you should only borrow what you absolutely need!

  • Parent Loans (Borrowed Money) - There may be a time where all of your student aid (grants, scholarships, and student loans) does not cover all expenses. If this happens, chances are that your parent would have the option to apply for a Parent PLUS loan in their name. They are responsible for repayment on a parent loan and must be approved through a credit check. We can work with you on this step if that time comes!

Applying for Financial Aid:

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first place to start. This application will determine your level of “need”, and show it in the form of your "EFC" (Expected Family Contribution). Your EFC is used as a reference number and helps tell us what aid you are eligible for, but does not directly mean your family must pay that much money out-of-pocket.

It is very important that you complete the FAFSA as early as possible, and provide accurate information. For most students, until you are 24 years old, you will be required to provide parent information on the FAFSA. Make sure that you are discussing this process with them and that you complete it as a team. Do not expect your parent(s) to complete this for you! As a college student, it is your responsibility to understand and complete these processes, but your parent(s) and Student Financial Services are here to support you. The FAFSA is not mandatory (if you do not need assistance paying), but we highly encourage you to complete it - at least your first year. 

Beyond the FAFSA, you should apply for Endowed Scholarships through Southeast!

Visit Applying for Aid for more details on application availability and specific aid deadlines!

Verification Process:

After you submit the FAFSA, your application may get selected for a review process called “Verification”. This federally regulated process requires that we (Student Financial Services) ask you to provide various tax paperwork and worksheets. You will be notified by paper mail if you are selected, and all requested items will be listed. After you submit all requested items, within two weeks we will look over it and hopefully clear your file through verification. However, if you did not submit the correct paperwork or provided conflicting information, we may have to ask for more. Make sure you review the instructions for reviewing what is requested. 

We know that this process can get a little personal - just remember we are on your team, but have to follow federal regulations. Until you complete verification, you are not eligible to receive any Federal or State based aid (including loans). If you are notified that your file was selected for review, please return all items promptly!

While there is not a specific deadline for this process, we recommend completing verification by May 1st of the previous academic year to avoid any delays in aid. For further information on verification, check out our verification page.

Awarding Financial Aid:

As a prospective or incoming college student, knowing that you have funding available is a key component to making a final decision on attending college. In order to help you out, we try to send accurate award information as early as possible! Estimated awards for incoming freshmen will be issued beginning mid-December, and continue on a weekly basis. Please note additional aid may be added after you receive your original award letter, if additional funding becomes available. 

Based on your EFC and other factors, we build your "financial aid package" (the combination of all aid you are eligible for). Once this is complete, we notify you of this "package" through your "award letter". Award letters are actually electronic and accessed through your portal, but you will receive an email to your Southeast email when it is ready. For your first year only, we will mail a paper 'courtesy notice' to you in addition to the email - so get in the habit of checking your Southeast email.

If you are in verification, you may receive an "Estimated Award Letter". All amounts on this estimate are subject to change based on verification, and you are not eligible for any federal/state funding until you officially complete verification.

Accepting Financial Aid:
When you view your online award letter, there are a number of tabs you must work through. Each tab should be reviewed in order (left to right) and thoroughly read. The tabs that are gray will unlock after you complete all requirements on the previous tabs.

While some grants may show "Accepted", until you officially agree to the 'Terms and Conditions' we cannot issue the aid. Agreeing to the 'Terms and Conditions' does not mean you are accepting loans, which is actually done on the 'Accept Award Offer' tab later.

We recommend agreeing to the 'Terms and Conditions' and accepting any free money as soon as your award is available, so you do not miss out. You do not have to make a decision on the loans initially, and can always go in and accept them later, if they are absolutely needed. If you accidentally make a mistake, or wish to change the amounts you accepted (increase or decrease), that can be done! Do not simply accept everything (especially loans) because you think you have to. It is probably best to review your bill (fall bills come out in summer) to see what is absolutely needed.


So far, you have probably used estimated billing information and compared that to your financial aid award. Bills are usually issued approximately 3-4 weeks before they are due, and due dates can always be found on our Student Financial Calendar. However, until you officially enroll in classes (usually at First STEP Orientation), you will not have a full bill with all charges and accepted aid.

We will send your first bill in the mail, to your permanent address. After that, all bills will be mailed to your residence hall or local address. If you’re lucky enough to have someone else willing to pay your bill, you can add a Billing Address and have it sent to them instead. WARNING: Do not assume your bill will be paid if you send it to someone else. As a college student, you are ultimately responsible and must follow-up - we would hate for you to face consequences (like having classes cancelled) for an unpaid balance!

Note: Paper bills will always show the full amount owed for the semester. If you are on a payment plan, you can see your payment amount by reviewing your account online!

In some instances, when time does not permit mailing a paper bill, we may send an ebill, which is an email notification that your account has changed and to review your billing online. If you get one of these, a paper bill is not going to the billing address, and you will need to inform your payer.

Even though we send a paper bill, if you make changes to your schedule, financial aid, or add other charges, your bill may change. If you believe the paper statement isn't correct, don't panic. For the most updated information, we suggest you review your Account Summary online.

Check out our Student Financial Calendar to see upcoming due dates!

Review Billing Online:
We offer two tools for reviewing your billing information online. The Account Summary gives a full account history of all charges/payments during your time at Southeast, and allows online payment. Additionally, we have an Online Schedule Bill, which gives you a summary view (in the form of a billing statement), however this is only available once the semester begins.


There are two types of balances that you may see on your bill. The first is a balance due to Southeast (shown as a positive number). The second is a “credit balance” (shown as a negative number). If it is a balance owed to Southeast, make sure you pay it on time!

credit balance means that you have more money being paid to your student account than what your charges are. This could be due to accepting more financial aid than what is needed to pay your bill, that you have overpaid your account, or that charges were removed after your bill was paid (i.e. if you dropped a class or returned an item to the bookstore).

Payment Information:

Paying your bill on time is important. Southeast offers a variety of payment options, so find the option that best suits you! Can’t pay your account in full by the due date? Don’t worry, we have an Installment Payment Plan (IPP). If your confirmed financial aid is greater than your account balance, no payment will be required. Nearly all forms of payment are accepted, and you can even pay online through the Account Summary. Just make sure to pay your bill on time, or you may be charged late fees or cancelled from your class(es).

Dropping Classes:

There may come a time when you believe that it is in your best interest to drop a course. This is not a decision to take lightly, as there are many factors to consider. In most instances, dropping a class or changing your schedule is permitted through the end of the first Friday of the semester (fall & spring) without much impact. However, if you are a full time student dropping below 12 hours, there could be more significant changes to your financial aid. After the first week, your hours/classes are considered “frozen” and making changes may impact your financial aid and/or your bill.

Depending on when you drop a course, a fee adjustment may or may not be applied to your Southeast account. Every class has a scheduled refund period, and dropping a course may create a credit balance owed to the student (a refund) or a balance owed to Southeast if charges remain. Specific refund periods can be found on our Student Financial Calendar.

Additionally, if you drop all of your classes (withdrawal from Southeast) and have received any Title IV funding (i.e. Pell, Federal Student Loans, etc.), you must go through the Return to Title IV process. Make sure to talk to us before dropping all classes!

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP):
In order to continue receiving Federal & State Financial Aid, students must continue to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). At Southeast, SAP is reviewed after each semester (fall, spring, and summer) and has 3 primary requirements - GPA, PACE, & total attempted hours.

Dropping classes can impact your SAP status and could cause you to lose financial aid eligibility. Please make sure and familiarize yourself with the SAP policy early so that you do not accidentally disqualify yourself. If you are considering dropping a course during the semester, just contact us to discuss any impact.


You will receive a refund check when an overpayment has been made to your account. This is called a "credit balance" and will show as a negative number on your bill or Account Summary. Refunds are processed beginning the second week of the semester, and continue weekly. Refund checks will be mailed to your permanent address or you can sign up for direct deposit using the Southeast portal. Check out Refund of Credit Balance for more information on this process.

Refunds if Loans were borrowed:
Remember, your credit balance may be a result of excess loan funds, that will need to be paid back. Borrow only what you need! If this is the case, you can always return the refund check (or directly deposited funds) and cancel a portion of the loans you borrowed (highly recommended).

Refunds as a result of dropped classes:
A credit balance can also be a result of dropping a class during its scheduled refund period. If you drop a class after the scheduled refund period, you will still be responsible for the cost of that course. Additionally, before dropping a class, make sure you know the SAP policy as a drop may affect your financial aid eligibility.

If you drop all of your classes (withdrawal from Southeast) and have received any Title IV funding (i.e. Pell, Federal Student Loans, etc.), credit balances will not be refunded immediately as you must go through the Return to Title IV process.


Phone: 573.651.2253
Fax: 573.651.5006

Hours: 8am-5pm M-F,
(9am-5pm Wed)

Cashiers Office Hours: 1pm-4pm M,W,F

Student Financial Services
Academic Hall Room 019
One University Plaza, MS 3740
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701
Meet the Staff