How To Afford Out-Of-State Tuition | Bankrate (2023)

Attending an out-of-state college appeals to many students. Some people want to live in a new place. Others look out of state because it also opens up hundreds more options so students can choose a school that matches their future plans. In most states, nonresident undergraduates make up about 30 percent of the student population.

However, the average tuition and fees for the 2022-2023 school year is $17,290 higher at out-of-state schools than at in-state schools. These costs mean that students often need ways to make the cost more affordable. If you plan to attend school outside of your home state, you can potentially save money through the following methods.

Apply for a tuition reciprocity agreement

Tuition reciprocity agreements, or tuition exchange programs, allow students to attend an out-of-state college within their region without paying out-of-state tuition. Eligibility requirements vary from agreement to agreement. Some programs require certain majors or a certain GPA, and spots may be limited, so those wanting to apply need to do so early.

Here’s a rundown of the larger programs offered:

  • Academic Common Market: Residents of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia can receive discounts in those states.
  • Midwest Student Exchange Program: Students in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wisconsin are charged no more than 150 percent of in-state tuition rates for specific programs within those states and are eligible for a 10 percent rate discount at private institutions.
  • New England Regional Student Program: Residents of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont can attend schools in any one of those states at a discount. Students must enroll in an approved major or program not offered by their home state.
  • Regional Contract Program: Students in Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina may pay in-state tuition (or reduced tuition at private universities) for professional health degrees.
  • Western Undergraduate Exchange: Students in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands will pay no more than 150 percent of a school’s in-state tuition at colleges in one of those states.

To find out if your region offers a tuition reciprocity agreement, use the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) resource page or contact your state’s education agency.

Some higher education institutions have also established agreements with out-of-state counties that allow students enrolled in qualifying programs to get in-state tuition. For example, residents of some counties in Kentucky who are enrolled in specific programs are eligible to receive in-state tuition at the University of Cincinnati. Check with your school’s financial aid office to see what tuition reciprocity agreements are available.

Look into state residency details

If you plan to move permanently to the state where you attend college, you may be able to establish residency to get in-state tuition.

Residency requirements hinge on whether you’re a dependent or independent student. Dependent students generally must have at least one parent who has been a state resident for at least 12 months before the student enrolls in college in that state, though this time requirement varies by state.

Independent students typically must be state residents or have a spouse who is a resident for at least a year before classes begin. These timelines and additional age requirements vary by state.

To to be granted residency status, you may have to prove:

  • State involvement: Involvement in the community through community service groups and membership in business or social groups.
  • Documents establishing residency intent: A state driver’s license, a state-based voter registration card or federal income tax returns with an in-state address.

You’ll also need to limit your connections to another state. Having a driver’s license, a mortgage, voter registration or even a library card in another state could make it difficult to change residency status.

Ask about institutional scholarships and tuition waivers

Even if you don’t qualify for in-state tuition, you may be able to bring down your out-of-state tuition costs by asking your financial aid office about scholarship and tuition waiver opportunities.

Some schools offer legacy scholarships for out-of-state students whose parents are alumni of the school or reduced tuition rates for academic high achievers. These types of awards are specifically awarded to out-of-state students to alleviate the cost of out-of-state tuition.

For example, the University of Alabama awards automatic merit scholarships to out-of-state freshmen with high GPAs and standardized test scores. Out-of-state freshmen with a GPA of at least 3.0 and a 27 ACT or 1260 SAT score can earn anywhere from $6,000 to $28,000 a year.

Tuition waivers are similar to scholarships — they lower your overall tuition charges — but are typically granted only to students with financial need. For these, you’ll need to work directly with your financial aid office.

Apply for external scholarships

Outside your school’s scholarship opportunities, you can find hundreds of niche scholarships that may align with your experience or interests. Private scholarships likely won’t provide as much funding as institutional scholarships, but stacking multiple scholarships together can bring down your cost significantly.

Using a scholarship search engine can help you find scholarships within your wheelhouse. These search engines allow you to filter results, bookmark opportunities and track application statuses.

Use federal student aid

The U.S. Department of Education distributes federal financial aid based on the information you put on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). After you fill out the FAFSA and are accepted to colleges, you will get a financial aid award letter detailing your total aid package.

Students can receive grants, like the Pell Grant, or qualify for the federal work-study program to reduce out-of-pocket costs.

Paying for out-of-state college using student loans

Out-of-state schools can cost tens of thousands of dollars each year. You may still be on the hook for some of those expenses even after using scholarships, reciprocity agreements and federal aid. If you can’t afford the rest of your tuition out of pocket, student loans can cover any remaining gaps.

Unlike the aid described above, student loans need to be repaid with interest. These loans can come from either the federal government or private lenders. While federal student loans have unique benefits that make them the best first step for borrowers, they have yearly loan limits. These limits are often sufficient for in-state tuition costs, but they may not be enough if you’re attending an out-of-state college. In this case, you may have to supplement with private loans, which rarely have loan limits but may require a co-signer.

Before taking out a student loan, calculate what you’d need to borrow for an out-of-state school versus an in-state one. It may not be worth it to borrow tens of thousands of dollars for an out-of-state school and have that debt follow you for a decade or more if an in-state school saves you money. Before deciding, use a student loan calculator to estimate your total charges.

Bottom line

In-state public schools are usually less expensive than out-of-state options, but funding options are available for out-of-state schools. Explore all your options, and contact each school’s financial aid office to see if it can provide any advice.

Frequently asked questions

  • Yes, it’s worth considering schools where you don’t qualify for in-state tuition. The price may be higher, but it could be worth paying for the right degree program or college experience. It’s up to you to weigh the cost against the benefits you expect to receive.

  • Each state sets the rules for how DACA recipients get treated. Some states, like California and New York, offer full access to in-state tuition and financial aid. Others, like Massachusetts, offer some benefits, like in-state tuition, but limited or no aid.A few, including Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, bar all undocumented students from public universities but may allow DACA students.

  • Depending on your goals, life situation, and the school’s policy, delaying college to establish residency may make sense. You can often establish residency within a year, so taking a year off to move, gain work experience and build up your savings can be a good idea if you’re set on a specific school in a different state.


How To Afford Out-Of-State Tuition | Bankrate? ›

Schools' reasoning for charging higher out-of-state tuition is because non-resident students' come from families who haven't paid tax dollars to the state, and thus to the school. Out-of-state tuition brings in more revenue to the school, which can be used for a variety of purposes.

Why would anyone pay out of state tuition? ›

Schools' reasoning for charging higher out-of-state tuition is because non-resident students' come from families who haven't paid tax dollars to the state, and thus to the school. Out-of-state tuition brings in more revenue to the school, which can be used for a variety of purposes.

Can fafsa be used for out of state tuition? ›

By filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the various funds offered from that application can be applied to either in-state schools or out-of-state schools.

What school has the cheapest out of state tuition? ›

Youngstown State University has the lowest out-of-state tuition rates and provides financial aid to its students. Out-of-state students are treated equally to in-state students.

Will I lose in-state tuition if my parents move? ›

If the student's parent(s) move out of state, some states allow the student to retain state residency for a continuous period of enrollment. Other states allow the student to retain state residency for a limited period of time.

What happens if you refuse to pay college tuition? ›

An unpaid tuition bill can also end up in collections. Your school may have its own collection department or it may sell unpaid tuition debt to a collection agency. If collections aren't resolved and the amount owed paid, your school may choose to take legal action.

Is it true that in-state college tuition is almost always a cheaper option than out of state colleges? ›

In-state tuition is the rate students pay to attend a public or state college or university in their state of residence. Because public schools receive state funding to help supplement costs and lower the rates learners pay, students who attend in-state institutions often pay much less than out-of-state degree-seekers.

How do I get financial aid for out of state college? ›

State aid is usually offered to residents who are planning on attending an in-state institution, but out-of-state students may be eligible for some state-based financial aid. Typically, filling out the FAFSA is all you need to do to apply, but certain states and scholarships may require extra paperwork.

What is the maximum FAFSA grant? ›

The maximum amount of money you can get from a Pell Grant is: $6,495 (2021-22). The amount granted depends on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), cost of attendance, your status as a full-time or part-time student, and your plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.

Can FAFSA cover your full tuition? ›

The financial aid awarded based on the FAFSA can be used to pay for the college's full cost of attendance, which includes tuition and fees. While it is possible for student financial aid to cover full tuition, in practice it will fall short.

Which 3 states have the cheapest tuition and why? ›

Among the states offering the cheapest tuition for in-state students, Florida and Wyoming topped the list with prices under $7,000 a year, based on 2022 data from the College Board.

What is the best out of state college? ›

10 Best Public Universities for Out-of-State Students
  • The University of Texas at Austin.
  • University of North Texas.
  • Texas A&M University.
  • University of Houston.
  • Kennesaw State University.
  • Georgia State University.
  • University of Georgia.
  • Florida State University.
Sep 1, 2022

What is the cheapest state to study in USA? ›

Here is a list of some of the cheap universities in the USA:
  • California State University.
  • Southeast Missouri State University.
  • Arkansas State University.
  • The University of Wisconsin.
  • Brigham Young University.
  • Brooklyn College.
  • The University of Louisiana at Monroe.
  • Southwest Minnesota State University.

Which parent best qualifies me for in-state tuition? ›

The parent should be the student's source of financial support, but does not necessarily need to have claimed the student as a dependent on their income tax returns. If the student receives substantial financial support from out of state, the student's state residency status may be questioned.

Does living in a dorm count as residency? ›

In this case, your dorm or apartment that you are renting out while in college is considered your 'current address'. It's an address where you currently reside on a temporary basis but will have to move out of at some time, whether that some time is after one, two, three or four years.

Can I be a resident of two states? ›

Legally, you can have multiple residences in multiple states, but only one domicile. You must be physically in the same state as your domicile most of the year, and able to prove the domicile is your principal residence, “true home” or “place you return to.”

How do middle class families pay for college? ›

Students and families who do not qualify for Federal Pell Grants and Institutional need-based aid have several different options including scholarships, Federal Work Study, Federal loans for students, Federal loans for parents, private educational loans, and family savings and out-of-pocket payments, including payment ...

How do most parents pay for college? ›

Most families pay for college using some combination of savings, income and financial aid. Financial aid is money you receive to help cover college costs. Some financial aid, like grants and scholarships, doesn't need to be repaid.

Can you get financial aid if your parents make 100k? ›

There is no explicit income cutoff on eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant. Eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant is based on the expected family contribution (EFC), not income.

Is it better to go to less expensive college? ›

1. You can avoid high debt. If you pick an affordable college, you're less likely to be burdened with high debt. Borrowing less now will leave you with more money for other things you might want to do eventually, like buy a home, take the vacation of a lifetime or start a family.

Why is in-state tuition so much cheaper? ›

Public colleges and universities are subsidized by tax dollars from the state. Students who live in that state are therefore given a reduced tuition compared with that of a student from another state. This is known as in-state tuition.

Are colleges becoming cheaper? ›

In fact, the average net tuition and fees paid by in-state students at public four-year colleges is on track to be at the lowest point in 16 years, when adjusted for inflation, according to the report. For 2021-2022, it's estimated to be $2,640 this year, down from an inflation-adjusted high of $3,720 in 2012-13.

Can you get denied financial aid for college? ›

If you're wondering: can you be denied a federal student loan, the answer is yes. Even if you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), approval is not always guaranteed. If you've applied for federal student loans and have been denied, it's important to understand the reason for denial.

What is money to help pay for college called? ›

Financial aid is money to help pay for college or career school.

Is state aid different from FAFSA? ›

For students, the major difference between federal and state financial aid is that the federal government offers a standardized set of awards and has an equally standardized application procedure for getting them.

How much is lifetime Pell Grant? ›

The amount of Federal Pell Grant funds you may receive over your lifetime is limited by federal law to be the equivalent of six years of Pell Grant funding. Since the amount of a scheduled Pell Grant award you can receive each award year is equal to 100%, the six-year equivalent is 600%.

Why am I not eligible for Pell Grant anymore? ›

Lifetime limits for federal Pell Grant eligibility

Finally, there are lifetime limits for college students who receive the Pell Grant award. You can't receive Pell Grant money for more than 12 terms. So, basically, you're no longer eligible for the Pell Grant after you've been an undergrad student for six years.

What is the income limit for the FAFSA 2023? ›

To qualify for a zero EFC on the 2023-2024 FAFSA, a family with dependent students can't make more than $29,000 annually.

What is the most financial aid will pay? ›

This table shows the maximum and average amounts for various types of federal student aid for undergraduate students for 2020-2021.
Average and maximum financial aid.
Type of AidAverage AmountMaximum Amount
Total Federal Grants$4,980$10,345
5 more rows

What happens if my FAFSA doesn't cover tuition? ›

Request Additional Federal Student Loans

If you've exhausted other options and still need additional funds to help you pay for school, contact your school's financial aid office to find out if you're eligible for additional federal student loans.

How much money does FAFSA give per semester? ›

Undergraduates can receive up to $16,000 toward their degree. This is $4,000 per year or $2,000 per semester. Graduate students can receive up to $8,000 to continue their education. For a two-year master's degree, this is $4,000 per year or $2,000 per semester.

What state has the cheapest everything? ›

Coming in as the cheapest state to live in in the United States is Mississippi with a cost of living index score of 83.3. It also has the lowest average housing costs in the nation at 33.7% below the national average.

What is the most expensive state to go to college in? ›


What is the cheapest 4 year University in USA? ›

Top 100 - Most Affordable Mid-size to Large Colleges and Universities in 2023
RankSchool NameNet Price
1California State University–Dominquez Hills Carson, CA$1,640
2University of Texas–Pan American Edinburg, TX$2,500
3California State University–Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA$2,735
4CUNY Leman College Bronx, New York$2,327
6 more rows

What is the #1 best college town in America? ›

Austin, TX

What is the #1 college in America public? ›

University of California - Los Angeles

#1 Top Public Universities in America.

Is it worth it to go to college out of state? ›

Is Going Out of State Worth It? Attending an out-of-state college makes sense for students seeking specialized programs or for those with access to scholarships or tuition reciprocity programs. Graduate students may also prefer an out-of-state school with a strong reputation in their field.

What is the cheapest bachelor degree in USA? ›

The 10 Cheapest Bachelor's Degrees in the United States of 2021
#1CUNY City College New York, NY
#3Weber State University Ogden, UT
#4University of South Dakota Vermillion, SD
#5Southern Arkansas University Magnolia, AR
#6Northeastern State University Tahlequah, OK
5 more rows

How can I lower my college cost in America? ›

1. Improve Your Chances of an Affordable College Cost
  1. Apply to generous schools. ...
  2. Don't commit early to a college. ...
  3. Look for scholarships before and during college. ...
  4. Improve your financial aid eligibility. ...
  5. Learn how to evaluate aid packages. ...
  6. Get college credit on the cheap. ...
  7. Get a student job during college.

Is it cheaper to study in state or out of state? ›

If a student from another state wants to attend that same school, he or she pays more tuition — the out-of-state rate. The difference in cost varies by the state and even varies by schools within the state. The cost for out-of-state tuition can be more than double or triple what in-state students pay.

Can I use someone else's address for college? ›

Much like public school enrollment fraud, it is also likely fraud to list a relative's address as your own prior address in order to obtain in-state tuition. Not only is this a crime, but your university may choose to revoke your enrollment.

Does FAFSA make parents pay for college? ›

No. If you're a dependent (or in some cases an independent), you must provide parental information to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. However, providing that information on the FAFSA form does not obligate your parent(s) to pay for your education.

Can your boyfriend live in a dorm with you? ›

A handful of colleges do offer designated couples housing, usually for students who are legally married. Beyond that, if a couple lives in a standard gender-neutral dorm room, the relationship is their business (though resident assistants are usually pretty prepared for dealing with breakups and room reassignments).

What if my parents move out of state while I'm in college? ›

If the parents move to a different state, the student's residency may not change. If the parents are divorced and live in different states, the student may qualify for residency in both states, depending on where the financial support comes from.

Can you live in a dorm all 4 years? ›

At many colleges and universities, you will need to live in the residence halls for your first year or two of college. A few schools require campus residency for all four years. Even if your school allows students to live off campus, consider the pros and cons of living on campus before making a final decision.

What is the easiest state to establish residency in? ›

You can choose any state to be your domicile state, but there are three states that are “domicile friendly,” making them popular choices for location independent workers: Texas, Florida, and South Dakota.

Can I be a resident of one state and my wife another? ›

To Each His Own Residency

Many taxpayers are surprised to learn California even allows separate residency status for spouses. But in fact, there is no such thing as “marital” residency. Residency status always belongs to an individual, whether married or not.

What states have no income tax? ›

As of 2023, eight states — Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming — do not levy a state income tax. A ninth state, New Hampshire, does not tax earned income, but it does impose a 4% tax on dividends and interest. This is set to expire in 2027.

Why do you have to pay higher tuition rates in out of state universities if this above is true? ›

Since out-of-state residents have not paid any state taxes, their tax dollars have not contributed to any money going toward those schools. So they are charged higher tuition rates.

Is UCLA worth it for out of state? ›

Without a doubt. UCLA is an exceptional school in a great location with spectacular resources, high quality academic programs, a student body of high-achieving peers and an excellent international reputation. Compared with private schools and out of state school tuition at other state schools, it's a solid deal.

Can I go to UCLA for free? ›

Undergraduate Tuition

Most families pay less than the full price, and 45 percent of our undergraduate students pay no tuition at all. We offer an array of housing options and meal plans — as well as financial aid for housing — so that you have flexibility as to how much you pay.

How much does it cost to go to UCLA for 4 years out of state? ›

2023–2024 Estimated Undergraduate Student Budget
UCLA Residence HallsOff-Campus Apartments
Health Insurance*$2,958$2,958
Total – California Residents$38,517$39,563
Nonresident Supplemental Tuition$32,574$32,574
Total – Nonresidents$71,091$72,137
5 more rows
Mar 18, 2023

What is capping college tuition? ›

A tuition freeze or cap occurs when a state government sets limits on the amount that public colleges are allowed to raise listed tuition (i.e. “sticker price”) from year to year.

Do colleges look more favorably on applicants who can pay full tuition? ›

The answer to this question is that it depends on the college. There are some “need blind” schools that do not weigh ability to pay in the college decision. In general, many colleges do look more favorably on full pay students.

What is the best GPA to get into UCLA? ›

GPA and test scores of middle 25%-75% students
High School GPA4.18 - 4.32
ACT Composite Score29 - 32
ACT English Language Arts30 - 35
SAT Evidence Based Reading & Writing670 - 760
2 more rows

Is UCLA cheaper if you live in California? ›

UCLA ranks among the colleges with the largest difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition. It also means that if you are a California resident, you save $22,878 on UCLA's price for four years.

What is the average GPA to attend UCLA? ›

Average GPA: 3.9

This makes UCLA Extremely Competitive for GPAs. (Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA. With a GPA of 3.9, UCLA requires you to be at the top of your class. You'll need nearly straight A's in all your classes to compete with other applicants.

How do I get a full ride to UCLA? ›

Must complete an online “UCLA Scholarship Application” available through MyUCLA. Must submit a FAFSA or Dream Act application by the March 2 priority deadline EVERY YEAR to be considered for need-based scholarships. Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress in order to continue to receive scholarships.

Can I get into UCLA without straight A's? ›

You will require approximately straight As in all of your classes to meet the UCLA GPA requirement, as the average unweighted GPA of UCLA-approved students is 3.9.

What is the easiest program to get into at UCLA? ›

10 Easiest Majors to Transfer into UCLA
1.African American Studies55%
2.Asian Humanities63%
3.Gender Studies59%
4.Pre-European Studies67%
6 more rows
Jan 19, 2017

Is it cheaper to live on or off campus at UCLA? ›

At University of California-Los Angeles, living off-campus is more affordable than living on-campus. The average cost living on-campus is 0 and the the average cost for living off-campus housing 5284. Learn more about living off campus vs.

Is it harder to get into UCLA out-of-state? ›

UCLA's Out-of-State Acceptance Rate is 16%. Though this number may seem exceedingly small, that is primarily due to the massive amount of applications this university receives in any given year.

Is a 3.7 GPA good for UCLA? ›

UC has a specific way to calculate the grade point average (GPA) it requires for admission. California applicants must earn at least a 3.0 GPA and nonresidents must earn a minimum 3.4 GPA in all A-G or college-preparatory courses to meet this requirement.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Clemencia Bogisich Ret

Last Updated: 01/21/2024

Views: 6382

Rating: 5 / 5 (80 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Clemencia Bogisich Ret

Birthday: 2001-07-17

Address: Suite 794 53887 Geri Spring, West Cristentown, KY 54855

Phone: +5934435460663

Job: Central Hospitality Director

Hobby: Yoga, Electronics, Rafting, Lockpicking, Inline skating, Puzzles, scrapbook

Introduction: My name is Clemencia Bogisich Ret, I am a super, outstanding, graceful, friendly, vast, comfortable, agreeable person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.