Project Stay offers:

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I join Project Stay?

Project Stay is a program designed for you – to help you adjust to life in college, complete your degree, and then transition on to graduate school or your career field. There are many reasons why students decide to be a part of our program, but here are two of the best:

  • Project Stay students remain in school and graduate at a higher rate than eligible students who do not join the program.
  • We have fun! Project Stay is a great way to meet other students, participate in cultural trips, and get involved on campus.


Do I have to pay to be in Project Stay?

No. There is never a cost to join Project Stay and all of our services and activities are provided free of charge for students in the program. Project Stay covers all costs associated with workshops, cultural events, graduate school visits, etc. When traveling, Project Stay covers the cost of transportation and meals.


What is required of students who join Project Stay?

Students in Project Stay are required to meet with their assigned Project Stay advisor twice per semester. In addition, students must attend two Project Stay activities of their choice in order to remain active in the program. Project Stay offers a number of activities (about 1 per week) at a variety of times to meet the needs of students.


How do I apply for Project Stay?

Applications may be accessed through our website at . Please note that applications cannot be submitted online – they must be submitted to our office in Hearnes Hall 308.

Applications may also be mailed to our office at:
3950 E. Newman Road
Joplin, MO 64801
ATTN: Project Stay

Applications may be faxed to us at (417) 625-9831. In addition to the completed application, students must also provide a copy of the most recent year’s tax returns for both themselves and their parents (parental tax forms only needed if you are a dependent student).


Why do you need my tax returns?

Project Stay is federally funded through the US Department of Education and is required to report income status on all students in the program. In addition, 2/3 of the students served by the Project Stay program must qualify based on low-income status; therefore income must be verified for all applicants.


What is a first-generation college student?

A student, neither of whose natural or adoptive parents received a baccalaureate degree; a student who prior to the age of 18 lived with and received support from only one parent who did not receive a baccalaureate degree; an individual who prior to the age of 18 did not regularly reside with or receive support from a natural or adoptive parent.


How is low-income status determined?

Low-income guidelines are established each year by the Bureau of the Census. An individual is considered low-income if their family’s taxable income did not exceed 150% of the poverty level amount in the calendar year preceding application and acceptance into the Project Stay program. Low-income status is also dependent on the number of members in the household. Current year low-income levels can be accessed at


Do I qualify as a disabled student?

In order to qualify for Project Stay based on disability status, a student must have documentation on file with the Student Disability Services Coordinator at MSSU. The Project Stay office will verify disability status during the application/interview process and will only do so with written permission from the student.


What is priority enrollment?

Freshman and sophomore Project Stay students have the opportunity to enroll early for classes each semester. To be eligible for Priority Enrollment, students must have fewer than 60 hours at the end of the current semester. Priority Enrollment typically takes place the Friday prior to the established date for seniors to begin enrolling for the next semester.


What is Grant Aid?

TRIO programs such as Project Stay are able to offer financial assistance to students who are classified as freshman or sophomores (fewer than 60 college credit hours completed). Grant Aid awards are offered in the spring and summer semesters only, are competitive, and are dependent upon students meeting both the legal eligibility requirements and requirements set by the Project Stay office. Grant Aid award amounts vary depending on the number of eligible students as well as the amount of funds available in the Project Stay budget.

Eligibility (legal requirements):

  • Active participant in Project Stay
  • Eligible to receive a Pell Grant (verified through the Financial Aid office)
  • Fewer than 60 hour at the completed of the semester during which the application is due

Requirements (set by Project Stay office):

  • Be fully admitted to the Project Stay program by week 6 of the semester in order to be eligible for Grant Aid the following semester
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5
  • Attend both required meetings with assigned Project Stay advisor within the set timeframe.
  • Earn a minimum of 4 Project Stay points (points are earned for attendance at specified Project Stay events).


Why am I on a waiting list for Project Stay?

The Project Stay program is funded to serve 170 students per academic year. Once the program has reached capacity, students who apply will be put on a waiting list for entrance into the program. In addition, Project Stay must maintain certain ratios of students who meet the first-generation, low-income, and disability guidelines which may also require a student to be placed on the waiting list.


Why was I denied admission to Project Stay?

Applicants to Project Stay may be denied admission for a number of reasons, including:

  • The applicant does not meet the federal guidelines
  • The applicant has a history of poor class attendance
  • The applicant has a history of poor classwork completion
  • The applicant is not degree seeking
  • The applicant has previously completed a bachelor’s degree
  • The applicant’s enrollment and withdrawal history does not suggest the student can graduate within six years of entry into the program
  • The applicant’s cumulative GPA is below 2.2


If I have already completed a bachelor’s degree can I join Project Stay?

No. Once a student has completed a bachelor’s degree they are no longer eligible to participate in Project Stay. This is a guideline from the US Department of Education put in place for all TRIO programs.