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.


Alabama Academic Common Market
Alaska Western Undergraduate Exchange
Arizona Western Undergraduate Exchange
Arkansas Academic Common Market
California Western Undergraduate Exchange
Colorado Western Undergraduate Exchange
Connecticut New England Student Exchange
Delaware Academic Common Market
Florida Academic Common Market
Georgia Academic Common Market
Hawaii Western Undergraduate Exchange
Idaho Western Undergraduate Exchange
Illinois Midwest Student Exchange
Indiana Midwest Student Exchange
Iowa None
Kansas Midwest Student Exchange
Kentucky Academic Common Market
Louisiana Academic Common Market
Maine New England Student Exchange
Maryland Academic Common Market
Massachusetts New England Student Exchange
Mississippi Academic Common Market
Montana Western Undergraduate Exchange
Nebraska Midwest Student Exchange
Nevada Western Undergraduate Exchange
Oklahoma Academic Common Market
New Hampshire New England Student Exchange
New Mexico Western Undergraduate Exchange
New Jersey None
New York None
North Carolina None
North Dakota Midwest Student Exchange
Ohio None
Oregon Western Undergraduate Exchange
Pennsylvania None
Rhode Island New England Student Exchange
South Dakota Western Undergraduate Exchange
South Carolina Academic Common Market
Tennessee Academic Common Market
Texas Academic Common Market
Utah Western Undergraduate Exchange
Vermont New England Regional Student Program (RSP)
Virginia Academic Common Market
Washington Western Undergraduate Exchange
West Virginia Academic Common Market
Wisconsin Midwest Student Exchange Program
Wyoming Western 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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