Going to another state to attend college is a dream for many students. There a many benefits to attending a college out-of state including independence, new friends, and different weather. In addition, depending on where the student currently lives, going to a different state to attend colleges could provide more career and academic opportunities. Unfortunately, many students and their families think it is financially impossible to attend college out-of-state. Luckily, there are options that can make attending an out-of-state institution affordable.
Common Misconception #1: It costs more to attend an out-of-state institution.
While it is true that tuition at state schools is more expensive for out-of-state students, private institutions charge the same amount for in-state and out-of-state students. Typically all students at private institutions are eligible for the same type of institutional financial aid. While financial aid varies by institution, it could cost less to attend a private institution than attending a public institution as an in-state student. This is why it will be very important to learn about the financial aid options at the colleges you are considering before making a commitment.
Common Misconception #2: It’s impossible financially to attend a public institution as an out-of-state student.
Public institutions do not always offer much financial aid to out-of-state students, if any. However, there are a few ways to get tuition at a public institution for less than their published out-of-state posted tuition rates.
- Attend a state school in an “academic common market.” Some states have come together to offer lower tuition rates for out-of-state students. If you live in one of the states covered by the organization, you could pay a lower price to attend an out-of-state institution. Each organization has specific requirements and can only take a certain amount of students, so students are encouraged to research the possibilities early. There are four academic common markets available for students to consider:
- Midwestern Higher Education Compact. Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
- New England Board of Higher Education. Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
- Southern Regional Education Board. Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
- Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
- Seek waivers. Some colleges have scholarships and tuition waivers to persuade top-performing out-of-state students to attend their institutions. In addition, some institutions provide waivers or scholarships to students who live in a neighboring state or students whose parents attended the institution. Students should check with the state colleges you are considering to see if they have any specific scholarships or waivers for you as an out-of-state student.
- Military members and their dependents can attend state schools at the in-state tuition cost. Previously only some states offered in-state tuition to military members and their families. However, in 2014, H.R. 3230 was signed into law giving military members, veterans, and their dependents in-state status at public institutions throughout the United States.
If going out-of-state is a dream for you, don’t automatically dismiss it because of cost. There are options that you should investigate to see if attending an out-of-state college is doable for you and your family. By doing your research, you could find that going out-of-state could be a great option for you academically, socially, and financially.