Like many high school students, I had a lot of stuff that I wanted to accomplish in college: study abroad, make new friends, earn an internship, etc. However, the one thing that I really wanted to do was attend an out-of-state school so that I could live in a new area that had new things to do and see. However, there was only one problem with that wish: out-of-state schools are expensive. While this may not be an issue for some people, I’m trying to get out of school with as little debt as possible, so my chances of being able to afford an out-of-state school were little-to-none.
As I began exploring my college options, there were several out-of-state schools that caught my eye, and I began looking for methods that would allow me to get in-state tuition at those out-of-state schools. But as I tried to find some, I was disappointed when there was little information of actual use. In fact, most of these articles “methods” were sketchy or time-consuming. I wanted techniques that would actually work.
However, as I continued through my college search and into my first year of college, I have found several different ways that may allow students can go to an out-of-state school for the in-state price:
1. Attend College in a Bordering/Regional State
Many colleges will in-state or regional tuition (which is very closer to in-state tuition) to the students of neighboring or regional states because of their close proximity. This is a great way for students to break out of their comfort zone and attend school in new area without breaking the bank; even better, it can open up many more opportunities and colleges to students who take advantage of it.
I applied to several colleges that used this concept, and I have many friends that took advantage of it. While only some colleges in a nearby state might offer it, it is a great opportunity to look into, especially since tuition price might be similar to what you would have paid at home, all while getting some new experiences!
2. Pursue a Major NOT OFFERED In-State
Another great way to get in-state tuition is to pursue a major not offered in-state.
The reasoning behind this method is that many states in the United States form agreements with other states in their geographic region to allow an out-of-state student to be given an in-state tuition price, as long as the student is pursuing a major not offered in his/her home state; additionally, the student must live in a state that is part of their 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 fifteen states in my geographic region. If my desired program wasn’t offered in my home state, I would look to one of these fifteen states to see if any of their colleges offered it, as well as if I met any additional requirements. If I met any and all requirements, I would be able to go to that school and receive in-state tuition to pursue my major.
If I remember correctly, I believe other states form regional agreements like this, so it’s definitely something to check into if you’re interested!
3. Participate in the National Student Exchange Program
The National Student Exchange Program (NSE) is a great way to attend college in almost any state for the in-state price. However, there is only one catch: you can only do it for up to a year-and-a-half, which is the equivalent of two semesters and a summer. This is because NSE is meant to be a temporary relocation so that you have the opportunity to study and travel in a different part of the United States; it’s not meant to be permanent.
Additionally, only certain colleges participate in the program, so if this is something you want to do, you may want to factor this into your college decision. However, there are some rules regarding the cost of the tuition, as well, depending on the “plan” you choose when doing the program. If this is something you are interested in reading about further, I recommend you read my in-depth post about what the NSE program is and the rules concerning it.
These are some of the methods that I’ve seen in which a student 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 ways to do this, as well! Additionally, if you need any help figuring out which colleges to apply to, be sure to check out my post on How To Choose Which Colleges To Apply To.
Have you heard of any other ways to attend college out-of-state for the in-state price? Let me know in the comments down below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.