Southeast Missouri State University

Southeast Missouri State University Student Enrollment Information

Located in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Southeast Missouri State University is a 4-year, public school that offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs. Read about the pros and cons of the school, plus ranking, tuition and admission information.

Should You Attend Southeast Missouri State University?

Southeast Missouri State University (SMSU) is located in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on the Mississippi river. The state university awards undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. Weigh the facts below to find out if Southeast Missouri State University is the school for you.


  • Accepts dual credit and advanced placement credit
  • Offers remedial services, academic/career counseling services, employment services, placement services and day care for the children of students
  • Acceptance rate is 33.2 percentage points higher than the national average
  • Student debt following graduation is $1,460 lower than the national average


  • Student-faculty ratio is 21:1, which is higher than the national average of 15:1 for comparable schools
  • Graduation rate is 17 percentage points lower than the national average
  • Total cost (including tuition and living expenses) is $884 higher than the national average for 4-year, public schools

Ranking & School Analysis

Southeast Missouri State University is a public school serving nearly 12,000 students. In 2014, U.S. News and World Report ranked Southeast Missouri State University #86 for regional universities in the Midwest and #30 of the list of Top Public Schools.

If you are applying to SMSU, you can relax a little knowing the school admitted 97% of applicants in 2012, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This statistic is well above the national average acceptance rate of 63.8%. However, the 4-year graduation rate for students seeking a bachelor's degree was 23% in 2010. This is 17 percentage points below the national average of 40%.

The College Board reported that debt following graduation was $25,200, which is less than the national average of $26,660 in 2011. Additionally, the student cohort default rate was 9.7% in 2009, which is less than the average of 13.4%.

Southeast Missouri State University offers you over 200 areas of study from which to choose. From accounting to theatre, you are likely to find the area of study you are seeking. There are also pre-law, pre-dental and pre-pharmacy programs. SMSU's student to teacher ratio is 21:1, which is well above the national average of 15:1.

Admissions and Financial Aid at Southeast Missouri State University

For regular admission to SMSU, the school considers your ACT or SAT scores, high school GPA, class rank and high school curriculum. You must submit an Application for Admission and Merit-Involvement Scholarships together with a non-refundable fee. Necessary forms are downloadable from the university's website. Acceptance does not necessarily guarantee admission to specific courses or programs, which might have individual prerequisites. Incoming freshman are required to attend a 1-day orientation program called FirstSTEP.

When applying for admission you should also fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This downloadable form is available online and is used to determine if you qualify for aid. Federal aid is available in the way of loans, work-study programs and grants. Private and sponsored scholarships with specific criteria are also available. State and university scholarships include Southeast Family Achievement Awards, Governor's Scholarships, President's PLUS Scholarships and Foundation Leadership Awards. Others include Southeast A+ Scholarships, Missouri Aid Program, Missouri Saving for Tuition (MOST) School Program, Environmental Education Scholarship Program and Access Missouri Financial Assistance Program. Financial relief is also available in the form of tax incentives and the university's textbook rental program.

Application & Tuition Info
Regular School Application Deadline (2013-2014)July 1st*
Financial Aid Priority Application Due (2013-2014)March 1st*
Application Fee (2011-2012)$30*
Acceptance Rate (2011-2012)97%*
All Tuition & Living Expenses (2011-2012)$ 18,744 for residents
$23,979 for non-residents***
Average First-Year Financial Aid Package (2011-2012)$8,185*
Percentage of Students with Need Met10%*
Average Student Debt at Graduation$25,200*
Student Loan Default Rate (2009)9.7%***

Life at Southeast Missouri State University

Located on the Mississippi river, SMSU offers you a variety of activities around town. The Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts, which takes up the university's entire second campus in downtown Cape Girardeau, is the only complex in the state to house theatre, dance, music and art under one roof. With over 120 restaurants and 85 retailers in town, you can shop, eat and explore.

Southeast Missouri State University offers over 150 clubs and student organizations. Whether you have a special interest, excel at academics or want to discover something new; there is sure to be a club for you. If you enjoy the outdoors, the outdoor resource center provides ways for you to experience the environment around you.

SMSU also offers you the opportunity to play on its NCCA Division I sports teams. If you're seeking the Greek Life experience, there are 18 national fraternities and sororities affiliated with the school.

Student Life Info
Campus SettingSmall city*
Student Population (2012)10,413 undergraduate, 1,188 graduate students***
Male-to-Female Student Ratio (2012)43% to 57%***
% of Full-Time Students (2012) 78%***
% of In-State Students (2011) 79%***
% of International Students (2011)4%***
Retention Rate (2011-2012)74%*
Campus Housing AvailableYes***
% of Students Living On Campus30%*
Number of Libraries1**
Extracurricular Activities More than 150 student clubs**

Article sources: *College Board, **Southeast Missouri State University, ***NCES College Navigator, ****US News and World Report.

School Contact Information

  • Address: MS 3550, One University Plaza, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
  • Phone Number: (573) 651-2590