When it comes to choosing a college, many students are torn between attending an in-state college and an out-of-state college. After all, attending an in-state college is often much cheaper and is closer to friends and family. Out-of-state colleges, however, let students step outside their comfort zones by living in and exploring a new area. However, there’s one problem with attending college out-of-state: they are expensive. While some students try to use sketchy or time-consuming methods to try and qualify for in-state tuition rates, these are 3 valid ways to attend an out-of-state college for the in-state price:
1. Attend College in a Bordering/Regional State
Perhaps the easiest way to get in-state tuition at an out-of-state college is to attend school in a neighboring or regional state. Although not all colleges will offer this, there are many that will since it attracts more students to their school. This is a great way for students to break out of their comfort zone and attend school in new area without breaking the bank.
2. Pursue a Major NOT OFFERED In-State
Interested in pursuing a major that’s not offered in your state? This may qualify you for in-state tuition at an out-of-state college!
In an effort to make these college majors more financially accessible to students, some states have formed agreements with other states in their geographic region. These agreements state that if a student wants to pursue a major not offered in their home state, they can pursue it in another state at the in-state tuition rate.
However, among others, these are the 2 major conditions that students must follow:
- You must be pursuing a major not offered in your state.
- You must have state residency in one of the states that is a part of the regional agreement. Additionally, the state you will attend college in must also be a member of that regional agreement.
For example, since I live in the South, I would look at schools participating in the Academic Common Market, which is made up of 15 states in my geographic region. If my desired program wasn’t offered in my home state, I would look to one of these 15 states to see if any of their colleges offered it, as well as if I met any additional requirements. If all requirements are met, I could then attend that out-of-state college and receive in-state tuition to pursue my major.
Similar to how the South has the Academic Common Market, the West/Northwest forms the Western Undergraduate Exchange. This program is a little different (as it focuses more on a discounted tuition rate, rather than an in-state tuition rate), but it’s still worth looking into if you live in this area and are wanting to pursue a major not offered in-state.
3. Participate in the National Student Exchange Program
Another great way to attend an out-of-state college for the in-state price is the National Student Exchange Program. However, this one is a bit more unique. You’ll attend an in-state college, but will have the opportunity to transfer out-of-state for up to 2 semesters and 1 summer. The program is only meant to be a temporary relocation, to give students the opportunity to study at a different school and travel in a different area of the United States.
To participate in the National Student Exchange Program, you’ll need to attend a college that’s already part of the National Student Exchange Program. There are dozens of schools across the country that already are, in almost every state! In fact, there are even some schools outside of the United States that participate in the program, which is a unique way to spend your exchange semester!
However, there are some rules regarding the cost of the tuition, depending on the exchange plan you choose to participate in when on the program. If this is something you are interested in reading about further, I recommend reading my in-depth post about what the National Student Exchange Program is and the rules concerning it.
Although some students attempt to use sketchy and underhanded methods to qualify for in-state tuition, these are 3 real methods that students can go to an out-of-state college for the in-state price. Of course, that doesn’t mean that these are the only ways, so it’s important to always keep a sharp eye out for new opportunities and to ask your teachers and guidance counselors if they’ve heard of any additional methods! For more help in figuring out which colleges to apply to, be sure to check out my post on How To Choose Which Colleges To Apply To.