Attending an out-of-state college appeals to many students. Some people want to live in a new place. Others look out of state because it also opens up hundreds more options so students can choose a school that matches their future plans. In most states, nonresident undergraduates make up about 30 percent of the student population.
However, the average tuition and fees for the 2022-2023 school year is $17,290 higher at out-of-state schools than at in-state schools. These costs mean that students often need ways to make the cost more affordable. If you plan to attend school outside of your home state, you can potentially save money through the following methods.
Apply for a tuition reciprocity agreement
Tuition reciprocity agreements, or tuition exchange programs, allow students to attend an out-of-state college within their region without paying out-of-state tuition. Eligibility requirements vary from agreement to agreement. Some programs require certain majors or a certain GPA, and spots may be limited, so those wanting to apply need to do so early.
Here’s a rundown of the larger programs offered:
- Academic Common Market: Residents of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia can receive discounts in those states.
- Midwest Student Exchange Program: Students in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wisconsin are charged no more than 150 percent of in-state tuition rates for specific programs within those states and are eligible for a 10 percent rate discount at private institutions.
- New England Regional Student Program: Residents of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont can attend schools in any one of those states at a discount. Students must enroll in an approved major or program not offered by their home state.
- Regional Contract Program: Students in Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina may pay in-state tuition (or reduced tuition at private universities) for professional health degrees.
- Western Undergraduate Exchange: Students in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands will pay no more than 150 percent of a school’s in-state tuition at colleges in one of those states.
To find out if your region offers a tuition reciprocity agreement, use the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) resource page or contact your state’s education agency.
Some higher education institutions have also established agreements with out-of-state counties that allow students enrolled in qualifying programs to get in-state tuition. For example, residents of some counties in Kentucky who are enrolled in specific programs are eligible to receive in-state tuition at the University of Cincinnati. Check with your school’s financial aid office to see what tuition reciprocity agreements are available.
Look into state residency details
If you plan to move permanently to the state where you attend college, you may be able to establish residency to get in-state tuition.
Residency requirements hinge on whether you’re a dependent or independent student. Dependent students generally must have at least one parent who has been a state resident for at least 12 months before the student enrolls in college in that state, though this time requirement varies by state.
Independent students typically must be state residents or have a spouse who is a resident for at least a year before classes begin. These timelines and additional age requirements vary by state.
To to be granted residency status, you may have to prove:
- State involvement: Involvement in the community through community service groups and membership in business or social groups.
- Documents establishing residency intent: A state driver’s license, a state-based voter registration card or federal income tax returns with an in-state address.
You’ll also need to limit your connections to another state. Having a driver’s license, a mortgage, voter registration or even a library card in another state could make it difficult to change residency status.
Ask about institutional scholarships and tuition waivers
Even if you don’t qualify for in-state tuition, you may be able to bring down your out-of-state tuition costs by asking your financial aid office about scholarship and tuition waiver opportunities.
Some schools offer legacy scholarships for out-of-state students whose parents are alumni of the school or reduced tuition rates for academic high achievers. These types of awards are specifically awarded to out-of-state students to alleviate the cost of out-of-state tuition.
For example, the University of Alabama awards automatic merit scholarships to out-of-state freshmen with high GPAs and standardized test scores. Out-of-state freshmen with a GPA of at least 3.0 and a 27 ACT or 1260 SAT score can earn anywhere from $6,000 to $28,000 a year.
Tuition waivers are similar to scholarships — they lower your overall tuition charges — but are typically granted only to students with financial need. For these, you’ll need to work directly with your financial aid office.
Apply for external scholarships
Outside your school’s scholarship opportunities, you can find hundreds of niche scholarships that may align with your experience or interests. Private scholarships likely won’t provide as much funding as institutional scholarships, but stacking multiple scholarships together can bring down your cost significantly.
Using a scholarship search engine can help you find scholarships within your wheelhouse. These search engines allow you to filter results, bookmark opportunities and track application statuses.
Use federal student aid
The U.S. Department of Education distributes federal financial aid based on the information you put on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). After you fill out the FAFSA and are accepted to colleges, you will get a financial aid award letter detailing your total aid package.
Students can receive grants, like the Pell Grant, or qualify for the federal work-study program to reduce out-of-pocket costs.
Paying for out-of-state college using student loans
Out-of-state schools can cost tens of thousands of dollars each year. You may still be on the hook for some of those expenses even after using scholarships, reciprocity agreements and federal aid. If you can’t afford the rest of your tuition out of pocket, student loans can cover any remaining gaps.
Unlike the aid described above, student loans need to be repaid with interest. These loans can come from either the federal government or private lenders. While federal student loans have unique benefits that make them the best first step for borrowers, they have yearly loan limits. These limits are often sufficient for in-state tuition costs, but they may not be enough if you’re attending an out-of-state college. In this case, you may have to supplement with private loans, which rarely have loan limits but may require a co-signer.
Before taking out a student loan, calculate what you’d need to borrow for an out-of-state school versus an in-state one. It may not be worth it to borrow tens of thousands of dollars for an out-of-state school and have that debt follow you for a decade or more if an in-state school saves you money. Before deciding, use a student loan calculator to estimate your total charges.
In-state public schools are usually less expensive than out-of-state options, but funding options are available for out-of-state schools. Explore all your options, and contact each school’s financial aid office to see if it can provide any advice.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, it’s worth considering schools where you don’t qualify for in-state tuition. The price may be higher, but it could be worth paying for the right degree program or college experience. It’s up to you to weigh the cost against the benefits you expect to receive.(Video) How to Pay for College | Crash Course | How to College
Each state sets the rules for how DACA recipients get treated. Some states, like California and New York, offer full access to in-state tuition and financial aid. Others, like Massachusetts, offer some benefits, like in-state tuition, but limited or no aid.A few, including Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, bar all undocumented students from public universities but may allow DACA students.
Depending on your goals, life situation, and the school’s policy, delaying college to establish residency may make sense. You can often establish residency within a year, so taking a year off to move, gain work experience and build up your savings can be a good idea if you’re set on a specific school in a different state.
How To Afford Out-Of-State Tuition | Bankrate? ›
Schools' reasoning for charging higher out-of-state tuition is because non-resident students' come from families who haven't paid tax dollars to the state, and thus to the school. Out-of-state tuition brings in more revenue to the school, which can be used for a variety of purposes.Why would anyone pay out of state tuition? ›
Schools' reasoning for charging higher out-of-state tuition is because non-resident students' come from families who haven't paid tax dollars to the state, and thus to the school. Out-of-state tuition brings in more revenue to the school, which can be used for a variety of purposes.What school has the cheapest out of state tuition? ›
Youngstown State University has the lowest out-of-state tuition rates and provides financial aid to its students. Out-of-state students are treated equally to in-state students.Will I lose in-state tuition if my parents move? ›
If the student's parent(s) move out of state, some states allow the student to retain state residency for a continuous period of enrollment. Other states allow the student to retain state residency for a limited period of time.Who is eligible for NC promise? ›
Who is eligible? There are no eligibility requirements to take advantage of NC Promise. All undergraduate students, including full and part-time new freshmen, returning students, transfer students, and students in online programs, receive the NC Promise tuition rate.What happens if you refuse to pay college tuition? ›
An unpaid tuition bill can also end up in collections. Your school may have its own collection department or it may sell unpaid tuition debt to a collection agency. If collections aren't resolved and the amount owed paid, your school may choose to take legal action.Is it true that in-state college tuition is almost always a cheaper option than out of state colleges? ›
In-state tuition is the rate students pay to attend a public or state college or university in their state of residence. Because public schools receive state funding to help supplement costs and lower the rates learners pay, students who attend in-state institutions often pay much less than out-of-state degree-seekers.Which 3 states have the cheapest tuition and why? ›
Among the states offering the cheapest tuition for in-state students, Florida and Wyoming topped the list with prices under $7,000 a year, based on 2022 data from the College Board.What is the cheapest state to study in USA? ›
- California State University.
- Southeast Missouri State University.
- Arkansas State University.
- The University of Wisconsin.
- Brigham Young University.
- Brooklyn College.
- The University of Louisiana at Monroe.
- Southwest Minnesota State University.
|Rank||School Name||Net Price|
|1||California State University–Dominquez Hills Carson, CA||$1,640|
|2||University of Texas–Pan American Edinburg, TX||$2,500|
|3||California State University–Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA||$2,735|
|4||CUNY Leman College Bronx, New York||$2,327|
Which parent best qualifies me for in-state tuition? ›
The parent should be the student's source of financial support, but does not necessarily need to have claimed the student as a dependent on their income tax returns. If the student receives substantial financial support from out of state, the student's state residency status may be questioned.Does living in a dorm count as residency? ›
In this case, your dorm or apartment that you are renting out while in college is considered your 'current address'. It's an address where you currently reside on a temporary basis but will have to move out of at some time, whether that some time is after one, two, three or four years.Can I be a resident of two states? ›
Legally, you can have multiple residences in multiple states, but only one domicile. You must be physically in the same state as your domicile most of the year, and able to prove the domicile is your principal residence, “true home” or “place you return to.”How can I go to college for free in NC? ›
The NC Tuition Free Plan covers the cost of your tuition after federal and/or state aid is applied; Live on campus and participate fully in the WWC work program; Be enrolled full time; Maintain consecutive enrollment.What is the NC tuition grant program? ›
The Tuition Grant Program provides free tuition for in-state students graduating from the High School Program. Those graduates who are accepted into and enroll in college full time at a constituent UNC System institution can attend college at UNCSA or any other UNC System institution tuition-free.What NC community colleges are offering free tuition? ›
Durham Tech will cover the full cost of tuition for 2021 and 2022 NC high school graduates classified as North Carolina residents by the Residency Determination Service (RDS) who enroll for the Fall 2022 semester.How do middle class families pay for college? ›
Students and families who do not qualify for Federal Pell Grants and Institutional need-based aid have several different options including scholarships, Federal Work Study, Federal loans for students, Federal loans for parents, private educational loans, and family savings and out-of-pocket payments, including payment ...How much income is too much for FAFSA? ›
There are no income limits to apply. Many state and private colleges use the FAFSA to determine your financial aid eligibility, and you must submit a FAFSA every year to receive federal financial aid.What is the maximum income to qualify for FAFSA? ›
There is no income cut-off to qualify for federal student aid. Many factors—such as the size of your family and your year in school—are taken into account.Is it better to go to less expensive college? ›
1. You can avoid high debt. If you pick an affordable college, you're less likely to be burdened with high debt. Borrowing less now will leave you with more money for other things you might want to do eventually, like buy a home, take the vacation of a lifetime or start a family.
Are colleges becoming cheaper? ›
In fact, the average net tuition and fees paid by in-state students at public four-year colleges is on track to be at the lowest point in 16 years, when adjusted for inflation, according to the report. For 2021-2022, it's estimated to be $2,640 this year, down from an inflation-adjusted high of $3,720 in 2012-13.Why is in-state tuition so much cheaper? ›
Public colleges and universities are subsidized by tax dollars from the state. Students who live in that state are therefore given a reduced tuition compared with that of a student from another state. This is known as in-state tuition.What is the best out of state college? ›
- The University of Texas at Austin.
- University of North Texas.
- Texas A&M University.
- University of Houston.
- Kennesaw State University.
- Georgia State University.
- University of Georgia.
- Florida State University.
Coming in as the cheapest state to live in in the United States is Mississippi with a cost of living index score of 83.3. It also has the lowest average housing costs in the nation at 33.7% below the national average.What is the most expensive state to go to college in? ›
- Apply to generous schools. ...
- Don't commit early to a college. ...
- Look for scholarships before and during college. ...
- Improve your financial aid eligibility. ...
- Learn how to evaluate aid packages. ...
- Get college credit on the cheap. ...
- Get a student job during college.
|#1||CUNY City College New York, NY|
|#3||Weber State University Ogden, UT|
|#4||University of South Dakota Vermillion, SD|
|#5||Southern Arkansas University Magnolia, AR|
|#6||Northeastern State University Tahlequah, OK|
I think they can be explained in four main ways: bureaucratic bloat, the athletic emphasis on campus, massively expensive and unnecessary luxury perks the university creates to attract paying students, and lastly, the loss of public subsidization of higher education.What is the lowest GPA to get into a 4 year college? ›
Typically, colleges will not accept a GPA below 2.0 to a four-year program, but there are options for students with a GPA lower than this to succeed in being accepted.What is the easiest highly ranked college to get into? ›
|The Evergreen State College||Olympia||98%|
|National Louis University||Chicago||98%|
What is the best value college without financial aid? ›
Our analysis found Brigham Young University - Provo to be the best school for overall value for the money with no aid in the United States in this year's ranking. BYU is a private not-for-profit institution located in Provo, Utah. The school has a large population, and it awarded 7,007 bachelor's degrees in 2018-2019.How do most parents pay for college? ›
Most families pay for college using some combination of savings, income and financial aid. Financial aid is money you receive to help cover college costs. Some financial aid, like grants and scholarships, doesn't need to be repaid.Does FAFSA make parents pay for college? ›
No. If you're a dependent (or in some cases an independent), you must provide parental information to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. However, providing that information on the FAFSA form does not obligate your parent(s) to pay for your education.Can I use someone else's address for college? ›
Much like public school enrollment fraud, it is also likely fraud to list a relative's address as your own prior address in order to obtain in-state tuition. Not only is this a crime, but your university may choose to revoke your enrollment.Can your boyfriend live in a dorm with you? ›
A handful of colleges do offer designated couples housing, usually for students who are legally married. Beyond that, if a couple lives in a standard gender-neutral dorm room, the relationship is their business (though resident assistants are usually pretty prepared for dealing with breakups and room reassignments).What if my parents move out of state while I'm in college? ›
If the parents move to a different state, the student's residency may not change. If the parents are divorced and live in different states, the student may qualify for residency in both states, depending on where the financial support comes from.Can you live in a dorm all 4 years? ›
At many colleges and universities, you will need to live in the residence halls for your first year or two of college. A few schools require campus residency for all four years. Even if your school allows students to live off campus, consider the pros and cons of living on campus before making a final decision.What is the easiest state to establish residency in? ›
You can choose any state to be your domicile state, but there are three states that are “domicile friendly,” making them popular choices for location independent workers: Texas, Florida, and South Dakota.Can I be a resident of one state and my wife another? ›
To Each His Own Residency
Many taxpayers are surprised to learn California even allows separate residency status for spouses. But in fact, there is no such thing as “marital” residency. Residency status always belongs to an individual, whether married or not.
As of 2023, eight states — Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming — do not levy a state income tax. A ninth state, New Hampshire, does not tax earned income, but it does impose a 4% tax on dividends and interest. This is set to expire in 2027.
Who qualifies for NC promise? ›
Who is eligible? There are no eligibility requirements to take advantage of NC Promise. All undergraduate students, including full and part-time new freshmen, returning students, transfer students, and students in online programs, receive the NC Promise tuition rate.What age is college free in North Carolina? ›
Senior Citizens (65+ years of age) Tuition Free Audit
Senior citizens who wish to take courses must apply through the Office of Admissions.
Finland provides free college for Finnish and EU citizens. International students taking English-language programs pay tuition. However, Finland offers a major perk for those seeking a graduate degree. The country's universities do not charge tuition for doctoral programs, regardless of nationality.How much is Pell Grant in NC? ›
Estimate your Pell Grant award amount with our Pell Grant calculator. Pell Grant awards range from a minimum of $320/$319 per semester ($639 per year) to $3,173/$3,172 per semester ($6,345 per year).How do I get a Pell Grant in NC? ›
Apply for a Pell Grant
You must complete your FAFSA to qualify for a Pell Grant. You have to fill out the FAFSA form every year you are in school to stay eligible. Your school can then apply your Pell Grant funds to your school costs, pay you directly, or combine these methods.
This $2,800 state scholarship is awarded for two semesters during your initial year of college enrollment. If you are awarded a HOPE Scholarship, your award will be included in your award notification after your final high school transcript has been received by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.What is the NC Promise Grant? ›
Through NC Promise, the state has significantly reduced student tuition cost to $500 per semester at four UNC System institutions: Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and Western Carolina University.What colleges are on the NC promise? ›
NC Promise reduced student costs at four UNC system campuses: Western Carolina University, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Elizabeth City State University, and Fayetteville State University.What is the NC promise community colleges? ›
This program allows eligible NC high school students to enroll in college classes at North Carolina community colleges and universities through their high school. Students who successfully complete college courses earn college credit they can take with them after graduation.Why do you have to pay higher tuition rates in out of state universities if this above is true? ›
Since out-of-state residents have not paid any state taxes, their tax dollars have not contributed to any money going toward those schools. So they are charged higher tuition rates.
Is UCLA worth it for out of state? ›
Without a doubt. UCLA is an exceptional school in a great location with spectacular resources, high quality academic programs, a student body of high-achieving peers and an excellent international reputation. Compared with private schools and out of state school tuition at other state schools, it's a solid deal.Can I go to UCLA for free? ›
Most families pay less than the full price, and 45 percent of our undergraduate students pay no tuition at all. We offer an array of housing options and meal plans — as well as financial aid for housing — so that you have flexibility as to how much you pay.
|UCLA Residence Halls||Off-Campus Apartments|
|Total – California Residents||$38,517||$39,563|
|Nonresident Supplemental Tuition||$32,574||$32,574|
|Total – Nonresidents||$71,091||$72,137|
A tuition freeze or cap occurs when a state government sets limits on the amount that public colleges are allowed to raise listed tuition (i.e. “sticker price”) from year to year.Do colleges make more money from out-of-state students? ›
Public colleges and universities receive funding from state taxes, which is why they usually offer tuition discounts for state residents, while out-of-state students pay a higher rate. The majority of college students choose an in-state school, but in some cases, choosing an out-of-state school is a better move.Do colleges look more favorably on applicants who can pay full tuition? ›
The answer to this question is that it depends on the college. There are some “need blind” schools that do not weigh ability to pay in the college decision. In general, many colleges do look more favorably on full pay students.What is the best GPA to get into UCLA? ›
|GPA and test scores of middle 25%-75% students|
|High School GPA||4.18 - 4.32|
|ACT Composite Score||29 - 32|
|ACT English Language Arts||30 - 35|
|SAT Evidence Based Reading & Writing||670 - 760|
UCLA ranks among the colleges with the largest difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition. It also means that if you are a California resident, you save $22,878 on UCLA's price for four years.What is the average GPA to attend UCLA? ›
Average GPA: 3.9
This makes UCLA Extremely Competitive for GPAs. (Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA. With a GPA of 3.9, UCLA requires you to be at the top of your class. You'll need nearly straight A's in all your classes to compete with other applicants.
Must complete an online “UCLA Scholarship Application” available through MyUCLA. Must submit a FAFSA or Dream Act application by the March 2 priority deadline EVERY YEAR to be considered for need-based scholarships. Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress in order to continue to receive scholarships.
Can I get into UCLA without straight A's? ›
You will require approximately straight As in all of your classes to meet the UCLA GPA requirement, as the average unweighted GPA of UCLA-approved students is 3.9.What is the easiest program to get into at UCLA? ›
|1.||African American Studies||55%|
At University of California-Los Angeles, living off-campus is more affordable than living on-campus. The average cost living on-campus is 0 and the the average cost for living off-campus housing 5284. Learn more about living off campus vs.Is it harder to get into UCLA out-of-state? ›
UCLA's Out-of-State Acceptance Rate is 16%. Though this number may seem exceedingly small, that is primarily due to the massive amount of applications this university receives in any given year.Is a 3.7 GPA good for UCLA? ›
UC has a specific way to calculate the grade point average (GPA) it requires for admission. California applicants must earn at least a 3.0 GPA and nonresidents must earn a minimum 3.4 GPA in all A-G or college-preparatory courses to meet this requirement.