PSU to keep tuition flat, expand Gorilla Advantage program

Staff Reports / news@morningsun.net

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Pittsburg State University received approval this week to both keep undergraduate tuition flat for the 2021-22 school year and to significantly expand the “Gorilla Advantage” program, which enables non-Kansas undergraduate students to pay the equivalent of in-state tuition.

“We’re continuing to do all we can to ensure everyone in our region and beyond has an opportunity to earn a college degree,” PSU President Steve Scott said in a press release, “which is particularly important right now.”

The Gorilla Advantage program will now be available to undergraduates from a majority of U.S. states. The 31 states now included are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

It’s especially good news for students who come to PSU from out of state for a variety of nationally unique programs, said Howard Smith, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. 

“Pitt State is one of the only places in the nation you can earn a four-year automotive technology degree, a four-year plastics engineering technology degree in coordination with our polymer chemistry program, and a four-year architectural manufacturing management degree, among others,” Smith said.

The Gorilla Advantage program is open to any undergraduate student from the 31 eligible states, however, and is not limited to certain majors.

In its early years, the Gorilla Advantage program applied to undergraduates from strategically selected counties in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, before growing to include all undergraduates in those states along with Texas and Tennessee. 

“Pitt State draws more students from out of state than most regional public universities,” Smith said. “We chose to add these states for many factors, including our current student draw, geographic distance, alumni concentrations, and the presence of key industries who want our graduates.” 

The only states that are still not on the Gorilla Advantage list are in the extreme northwest and northeast portions of the U.S. Tuition for graduate programs is not impacted and will remain at current levels, including their current Gorilla Advantage and Gorilla Edge rates.

Full-time in-state undergraduate tuition will remain at $2,918 per semester. PSU already has flat-rate tuition, meaning full-time students may enroll in additional credit hours without paying additional tuition.

“As we make our way out of the pandemic, it’s especially important to not raise tuition so that earning that degree is a viable option,” Scott said. “Businesses, industries, municipalities, schools, and agencies depend on a qualified workforce with college degrees, and over a lifetime, a college graduate will earn around $1 million more than a non-graduate, so it’s imperative that we remove the barriers."