A-Z Index

News Release

Sept. 22, 2022

With focus on affordability, Northwest Promise covers tuition, fees for qualifying students

Northwest Missouri State University is reinforcing its focus on providing students a more affordable path toward degree completion and easing the burden lower-income families face when trying to pay for college.

Through the University’s Northwest Promise – formerly the American Dream Grant qualified students can receive a helping hand toward achieving their educational goals and desired career paths.

In combination with its low tuition rates and generous financial assistance, the Northwest Promise covers 100 percent of tuition and standard fees for qualifying students who meet the institution’s moderately selective admissions criteria and come from a family with an income of $65,000 or less.

The Northwest Promise, which is renewable for three additional years, is applied in conjunction with federal, state, and institutional grants and scholarships. Students who receive a federal Pell Grant also are eligible, regardless of family income.

“We are proud to offer the Northwest Promise to help minimize the financial barriers that may limit a student from pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Northwest,” Dr. Allison Hoffmann, Northwest’s assistant vice president of admissions and student success, said. “The Northwest Promise program shows our University’s continued commitment to access and affordability in alignment with our focus on delivering high-quality academic programs, profession-based learning and a comprehensive student-centered university experience.” 

Since Northwest launched the American Dream Grant program in 2004, more than 5,000 students have benefited from it. Today, about 500 freshmen meet the criteria to receive the Northwest Promise.

To qualify, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Eligible Missouri residents must have a high school GPA of 2.50 or higher with an ACT score between 18 and 36; eligible Missouri residents with no ACT test score or a score of less than 18 must have a high school GPA of 2.75 or higher. Non-Missouri residents must be eligible for Bearcat Advantage, a Northwest financial assistance program that allows out-of-state students to earn in-state tuition rates.

Northwest Foundation provides opportunity to support Northwest Promise

The University also is partnering with the Northwest Foundation to engage donors who can assist students qualifying for the Northwest Promise.

Through a gift of $15,000 or more to the Dream Team Endowment, donors join the Northwest Scholarship Dream Team, which directly benefits the Northwest Promise. For a limited time, the Northwest Foundation is matching the first 35 gifts to the Dream Team Endowment, up to $15,000 per person – providing a total of $30,000 in support to the Northwest Promise program with each donor’s gift.

“The Dream Team Endowment, which provides funds that directly support the Northwest Promise, is a budget-relieving measure by the Northwest Foundation,” said Mitzi Marchant, executive director of the Northwest Foundation and vice president of university advancement. “The University’s investment in access and affordability is enhanced by the Dream Team Endowment, which allows financial gifts from donors to cover some of the cost of the Northwest Promise program.”

For more information about supporting the Dream Team Endowment, contact the Northwest Foundation at 660.562.1248 or

Northwest focuses on affordability

Northwest consistently ranks among the most affordable higher education institutions in Missouri and in the United States while boasting a net price in the lower one-third of its peers, including for families with incomes between $30,000 and $110,000. The University, in fact, awards nearly $25 million in scholarships and tuition grants annually.

Setting Northwest further apart is its laptop and textbook rental program, which provides a full set of primary textbooks and a fully-loaded laptop to all full-time undergraduate and graduate students at the Maryville and Kansas City campuses. Students benefit by saving an estimated $6,800 during four years at Northwest compared to their peers at other institutions.

A recent affordability analysis conducted by the National College Attainment Network (NCAN) – a nonprofit organization whose mission commits to closing equity gaps in postsecondary attainment for all students – found the number of affordable public postsecondary options is dwindling and affordability gaps are rising. While NCAN reports that only 23 percent of 490 public four-year institutions are considered affordable, it lists Northwest as one of only five four-year schools in Missouri that are affordable, based on its most recent data. In fact, Northwest is listed as affordable in each of the years reviewed by NCAN since 2014-15.

About Northwest

With an enrollment of about 8,500 students, Northwest is a coeducational, primarily residential four-year university that offers a broad range of undergraduate and selected graduate programs on its Maryville campus as well as its Northwest-Kansas City location at the Northland Innovation Center and through Northwest Online.

Founded in 1905, Northwest boasts a freshman retention rate of 80 percent and a graduation rate in the 89th percentile among its peers. Results of a 2019-20 satisfaction survey show Northwest students are more satisfied than students at national peers while 82 percent of all Northwest students report they would repeat their University experience, compared to 75 percent of students surveyed nationally at their respective institutions.

While Northwest places a high emphasis on profession-based learning to help graduates get a jumpstart on their careers in nearly every area of study, the University’s internationally benchmarked student employment program offers opportunities for students to build professional skills and their résumés on campus.

Furthermore, 98 percent of Northwest bachelor’s degree earners and nearly 100 percent of master’s degree earners secure employment or continue their education within six months of graduation, according to the most recent data. 

For more information about Northwest and its performance, visit


Dr. Mark Hornickel
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