Southeast Announces Will To Do Award to Expand College Affordability Across State


Southeast Missouri State University has announced the new Will To Do Award, a scholarship to make higher education more affordable and accessible throughout the state.

The Will To Do Award is a need-based scholarship to fill the gap in eligible Pell students’ unmet tuition and general fees beginning in fall 2020. The new scholarship, University officials say, underscores Southeast’s commitment to providing financial support to students who need it most while also boosting efforts to support Missouri’s college completion goals.

Will To Do Award recipients will pay $0 in tuition and general fees to attend Southeast.

Eligible Pell Grant students who are Missouri residents with a minimum 2.75 high school grade point average and who will be enrolled full time as beginning freshmen in fall 2020 are eligible for the scholarship. The award is automatic; no scholarship application is necessary. Students must only have a FAFSA on file by March 1, 2020, and verification and special circumstances must be completed by July 31, 2020.

As a component of Southeast’s Copper Dome Scholarship program announced last year, the Will To Do Award will be stackable with other Southeast scholarship offerings. The award also is renewable provided students meet deadline and eligibility requirements, maintain a minimum 2.75 cumulative grade point average and annually complete 24 Southeast credit hours.

“There is a growing achievement gap on colleges campuses and right here in Missouri. We recognize the urgency in assisting our most financially at-risk students and are allocating our resources to better provide access to higher education in this area,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University. “We are delighted to provide this foundation for students as they start their college careers to give them the sound footing needed to succeed while hopefully reducing their financial stress.”

At Southeast, 39% of first-time college students qualify for a Federal Pell Grant. Of those, 70% are first generation college students.

While the Federal Pell Grant provides $6,195 annually for higher education, it is not sufficient to cover a student’s total college expenses, Vargas said. “That’s where the Will To Do Award comes in – it’s a mechanism to bridge that divide.

“Paying for college can be a challenge,” he continued. “At Southeast, we believe in the value of getting a high-quality education without the high cost.”

Southeast Student Government President Matthew Rolwing

The Will To Do Award is expected to expand access to higher education throughout Missouri. University officials say they believe the award will go a long way towards the state of Missouri’s goal of increasing the proportion of working-age adults with high-quality, affordable postsecondary credentials to 60 percent by 2025.

Prospective students interested in beginning their journey at Southeast, and learning more about the Will to Do Award should visit Admissions information and resources are available at, and may apply online at For more information about Southeast, visit, or plan a visit at