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Scholarships and Financial Aid

Explore SBU's Financial Aid Options

Attending college is an investment in your future, and SBU partners with you to make it as affordable as possible to come to SBU and achieve your goals. More than 99% of SBU students receive financial aid! Your admissions counselor will work with you to maximize your financial aid options at SBU.

NOTE: The financial aid information below is applicable to undergraduate students at the SBU Bolivar campus. View financial aid information for graduate students and other campuses.

of Bolivar undergraduate students receive financial aid

Types of Financial Aid



Work Study

Student Loans

Net Price Calculator

Be sure to check out the SBU Estimator, our cost calculator tool, which will help you get a better idea of which scholarships and financial opportunities may be available to you.

Elizabeth Dykes
"I think the biggest lesson I learned at SBU is how much the Lord provides. I see how He directed my steps to go to SBU and provided financially for me to go there. He revealed His faithfulness again when I had a job offer before my last semester at SBU."
Elizabeth Dykes '15
Software Developer at O'Reilly Auto Parts

Types of Scholarships

SBU offers a variety of scholarships to reward your achievement and make an SBU education financially possible for you.

Scholarships are available in the following categories:

Academic Scholarships

SBU wants to reward you for your academic achievements! Academic scholarships are available for both freshmen and transfer students.

Once you have been admitted to SBU, your admissions counselor will let you know of your academic scholarship eligibility. You will receive one academic scholarship that can be renewed annually while you are a full-time undergraduate student on the SBU-Bolivar campus.

Reminder: You can use the SBU Estimator tool to see which scholarships you may receive!

Freshman Academic Scholarships

Every freshman student admitted to SBU will receive a merit-based academic scholarship based on GPA, as well as ACT/SAT/CLT scores. Select top-performing students also will be selected for academic-competitive scholarships.

The academic award amounts listed below are for new students for the Fall 2024 class. Returning student scholarships are renewed based on their amount from a student's first year at SBU.

Academic-Competitive Scholarships

High school seniors who have a 3.5 GPA or above, and a qualifying ACT score, will be invited to participate in Scholars Day to earn one of the academic-competitive scholarships. Incoming transfer students with a 3.75 college GPA or above will also be invited.

Scholars Day participants may choose to come compete on either Saturday, January 27 or Saturday, April 6. If you have questions about Scholars Day or want to know if you qualify, please contact your admissions counselor at (417) 328-1810.

  • J. R. Maupin Founders Award - Full-tuition (two awards offered annually)
  • Dutile Scholars Award - $500-$2,500 (awarded to each Scholars Day participant not selected for the J.R. Maupin Founders Award)

Merit-Based Scholarships

Unlimited amounts of each of these renewable scholarships are given annually and are awarded based on your high school GPA. SBU is test optional for merit scholarship awards, but ACT/SAT/CLT scores can be used to improve a student's merit level. Contact your admissions counselor for details. (Each award includes a $3,500 Residency Grant for students living on campus)

  • Presidential Distinguished Scholar Award — $14,500 (+ Scholars Day eligible)
    High school seniors with a GPA of 4.0 and above.
  • Provost's Scholar Award $13,500 (+ Scholars Day eligible)
    High school seniors with a GPA between 3.80-3.99.
  • Dean's Scholar Award — $12,500
    High school seniors with a GPA between 3.30-3.79.
  • Bearcat Scholar Award — $9,000-$10,000
    High school seniors with a GPA of 3.29 and below.

Transfer Student Academic Scholarships

As a transfer student, you will receive an annual academic scholarship based off of your transferring college GPA. (Each award includes a $3,500 Residency Grant for students living on campus)

  • Presidential Transfer Award — $11,000
    To be eligible for this scholarship, transfer students must have a minimum college GPA of 3.75.
  • Provost's Transfer Award — $10,000
    To be eligible for this scholarship, transfer students must have a college GPA between 3.00-3.74.
  • Dean's Transfer Award — $9,000
    To be eligible for this scholarship, transfer students must have a college GPA between 2.50-2.99.
  • Bearcat Transfer Award — $7,000
    To be eligible for this grant, transfer students must have a college GPA between 2.0-2.49.

Scholarship Opportunity through Dual Credit

As a high school student, you may be eligible for additional scholarship money if you complete six or more hours of college dual credit through Southwest Baptist University. Learn more about dual credit at SBU and the scholarship eligibility requirements.

Performance Scholarships

SBU offers a number of scholarships designed to both reward and develop your unique talents.

Fine Arts Scholarships — Art, Music, Speech & Debate

Interested in one of the fine arts areas? Performance-based scholarships are available and are given on a competitive basis. Contact your admissions counselor for details regarding application and audition processes.

Athletic Scholarships

SBU is a proud participant in 18 NCAA Division II sports. Teams are able to award athletic performance scholarships in amounts beginning at $500/year and are given by coach discretion based on your performance.

NCAA Division II Varsity Opportunities

Men's Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Soccer, Tennis and Track (Indoor and Outdoor)

Women's Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track (Indoor and Outdoor) and Volleyball

Church-Related Ministry Scholarships

As a Christian university, it is SBU's privilege to award scholarships to students entering the ministry and to partner with churches who want to assist their students in pursuing Christian higher education.

Let your admissions counselor know if you think you qualify for these awards.

Church-Related Vocation Scholarship

Receive $2,000 per year if you are pursuing an academic degree in Biblical Studies, Christian Ministry, Church Music, or Intercultural Studies.

Church Matching Scholarship

SBU will match dollar-for-dollar up to $500 annually whatever amount your church contributes toward your education. Let your admissions counselor know if your church wishes to participate in this scholarship opportunity.

Dependent of Church Minister Scholarship

Receive $1,000 per year if you are a dependent of a full-time church-related vocational professional.

Dependent of Missionary Scholarship

Receive $1,000 per year if you are a dependent of someone currently serving full-time on the mission field for the International Mission Board (IMB), North American Mission Board (NAMB) or another approved missions organization.

SBU Sibling Scholarship

If you have a brother or sister attending SBU at the same time as you, you will both be eligible for a sibling scholarship of $500/year each. Ask your admissions counselor for details.


Submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to determine your eligibility for state and federal grants, which are financial awards that do not have to be paid back. 

Federal Pell Grant

The Federal Pell Grant is a free federal grant for eligible undergraduate students with financial need. Grants are awarded in various amounts up to $7,395 per year.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) is a free federal grant for undergraduate students with exceptional financial need. SBU award amounts range from $200-$1,000 per year.

State Grant Programs

State program grants are administered by the state of Missouri for eligible undergraduate students from Missouri with financial need. The Access Missouri Financial Assistance Program award amounts range from $1,500-$2,540 per year based upon available state funding.

Work Study Program

The Federal College Work Study Program is for part-time, on-campus job positions for students with financial needs. You can potentially earn up to a maximum of $1,950 for the school year through your work study job. You will receive a paycheck every other week. Work study eligibility is based on your FAFSA results.

Student Loans

Loan eligibility is determined based on your submitted FAFSA. After SBU receives your FAFSA, you will receive a personalized financial aid award letter which will include loan documents for any loans for which you qualify. 

You can find detailed information about repayment of federal loans, including borrower's rights and responsibilities, by visiting

Types of Student Loans

Federal Loans

  • Federal Direct Student Loans loan is deferred while student is in school, six-month grace period before repayment begins
    • Subsidized Loan government pays the interest while you're in school
    • Unsubsidized Loan you are responsible for interest accruing while you are in school
  • Federal Grad Plus Loan available to graduate students
  • Federal Parent Plus Loan parents may apply for this loan in any amount up to cost of attendance; if parent plus loan is denied, student will receive additional unsubsidized direct loan eligibility

Parent Plus Loan Online Application

Private Loans

You may seek out supplemental loan(s) from alternative sources up to the cost of attendance minus financial aid.

Important information about private loans:

  • These are non-federal loans and do not have the same terms and conditions as federal loans.
  • Private loans cannot be combined (consolidated) with federal loans when you enter repayment.
  • A private loan may not offer flexible repayment plans and may have a higher interest rate than federal loans.
  • Public service loan forgiveness is not available for private loans.
  • Private loans may require a co-signer.

Considerations when choosing a lender:

  • Compare interest rates.
  • Consider whether accruing interest is added to the principal amount while enrolled in school.
  • Check to see if the loan requires any upfront or back-end fees.
  • Find out if the loan requires payments to be made while enrolled in school.
  • Consider co-signer requirements and conditions of the loan.
  • Local banks and credit unions may offer competitive interest rates on private loans.

List of alternative loan lenders

You are free to choose any lender and loan product you feel best suits your needs. You are not required to select a lender from our list; however, we have provided a list of lenders for comparison.

Private Loan Comparison


At SBU, you can receive one-on-one personal guidance throughout the financial aid process.

If you are a new, incoming student please contact your admissions counselor with questions or concerns regarding financial aid. Current SBU students may call the Office of Financial Aid at (417) 328-1822.

Financial Information for Other Students

The information presented on this page relates to cost and financial aid for undergraduate students on the Bolivar campus. If you are a graduate student or attending another SBU campus, please use the link below to find the correct information for you.

Branch Campus Costs and Financial Aid

Graduate Studies Costs and Financial Aid

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