How to Get In-State Tuition at Out-Of-State Colleges

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The items on the checklists of students looking at colleges and universities vary from student to student. Things like school size and location are very often at the top of the list and while many students choose to stay relatively close by, for others, going to college is an opportunity to spread their wings and exert their independence miles away from their home town.


According to Parenting Magazine, 17% of students attend out-of-state colleges. Along with that sense of adventure comes a hefty price tag, as any out-of-state student can tell you.


The price an out-of-state student pays can be 50% higher than that charged to in-state residents.  And if one hopes to become a resident in order to cut their costs, they will be sorely disappointed when they attempt it.


Becoming a bona fide resident of the state where your college is located is a very long and difficult process. Another method that is often more successful and can also bring down the cost of out-of-state tuition is through regional exchange or reciprocity programs.



In-State Tuition at Out-of-State Colleges

These programs allow residents of one state to attend college in another state for close to the same tuition as other in-state students. The four major exchanges are:

1) Western Undergraduate Exchange


2) Southern Regional Education Board Academic Common Market (SREB)


3) Midwest Student Exchange 


4) New England Regional Student Exchange


There are some restrictions on these out-of-state reciprocity programs. And some states ( New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey,  Iowa, and North Carolina)  do not participate in any program.


Not all public schools within each state participate in every program, especially the most popular state flagship universities.


Some schools that do participate may not offer all of the majors and do not make certain programs available to the students in the exchanges.


Some states cap the number of seats available to exchange students, and once that number is reached, all other students are out of luck.


Two of the programs, The New England Regional Student Program and the Academic Common Market only allow exchange students whose approved majors are not offered by the public colleges and universities in their home states.


Students who transfer or change majors risk losing their discounts.


While it may seem like there is an excessive amount of rules governing these programs, once a student qualifies, they can be afforded a rather envious discount on tuition at a school that is very high on their list. So, the benefits definitely outweigh the cons.


The following table lists the exchange programs for each state.


AlabamaAcademic Common Market
AlaskaWestern Undergraduate Exchange
ArizonaWestern Undergraduate Exchange
ArkansasAcademic Common Market
CaliforniaWestern Undergraduate Exchange
ColoradoWestern Undergraduate Exchange
ConnecticutNew England Student Exchange
DelawareAcademic Common Market
FloridaAcademic Common Market
GeorgiaAcademic Common Market
HawaiiWestern Undergraduate Exchange
IdahoWestern Undergraduate Exchange
IllinoisMidwest Student Exchange
IndianaMidwest Student Exchange
KansasMidwest Student Exchange
KentuckyAcademic Common Market
LouisianaAcademic Common Market
MaineNew England Student Exchange
MarylandAcademic Common Market
MassachusettsNew England Student Exchange
MississippiAcademic Common Market
MontanaWestern Undergraduate Exchange
NebraskaMidwest Student Exchange
NevadaWestern Undergraduate Exchange
OklahomaAcademic Common Market
New HampshireNew England Student Exchange
New MexicoWestern Undergraduate Exchange
New JerseyNone
New YorkNone
North CarolinaNone
North DakotaMidwest Student Exchange
OregonWestern Undergraduate Exchange
Rhode IslandNew England Student Exchange
South DakotaWestern Undergraduate Exchange
South CarolinaAcademic Common Market
TennesseeAcademic Common Market
TexasAcademic Common Market
UtahWestern Undergraduate Exchange
VermontNew England Regional Student Program (RSP)
VirginiaAcademic Common Market
WashingtonWestern Undergraduate Exchange
West VirginiaAcademic Common Market
WisconsinMidwest Student Exchange Program
WyomingWestern Undergraduate Exchange


When it seems like tuition is rising every time the wind changes, it’s helpful to know that there can be some ways where students may be able to save some money. Investigating in these regional exchange programs is not only a good idea, it makes good financial sense.


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