Schools Where You’ll Pay Less as an Out-of-State Student

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Price-conscious students considering where to apply to colleges usually perceive their in-state public university as the most affordable option. That makes sense: during the last academic year, the average student at a private university paid $27,290 for tuition, fees, room and board, after grants and financial aid. The average net price for an in-state public school was $14,880. Even though private schools routinely offer discounts on college tuition - on average, nearly 50% off of the list price - they are more expensive.


So you may wonder: what about going to a public university out of state? Out of state pricing averages $37,430 per year before factoring in any financial aid - lower than the sticker price for private schools, but certainly not bargain basement. And even with a typical public school financial aid award, out-of-state students can expect to pay, on average, nearly the same as they would at a private institution.


Here’s a well-kept college affordability secret: If you want to leave your home state, but pay less than in-state tuition, you’ve got options.


Edmit’s data team has scoured the internet for automatic merit scholarships, where state schools give big awards to out-of-state students - often enough to bring you down to in-state tuition levels. While they require certain SAT/ACT scores, you don’t need perfect stats for all of them. These don’t require extra essays or special applications (they’re automatically applied!). And, maybe best of all, where you live does not limit your ability to get a great deal.


How we did it: to match schools that are similar in student experience, we looked at the flagship public universities in every state. Many offer merit money - but only 28 of them offered automatic scholarships. We’ve recorded every single scenario and requirement - whether ACT, SAT, GPA, state of residency - and compared the scholarship amounts to the most recent out-of-state pricing the college has released. For this list, we only include those scholarships that are available for students from any state, and which require no additional application (though take note: some may have earlier application deadlines you need to meet in order to get the money!). We then compared the cost after the scholarship was applied to the in-state tuition & fees to identify the winners.


Note: this list covers merit money for students from any state - but many schools also have tuition reciprocity or matching agreements which mean that students from nearby states may be eligible for reduced or in-state tuition. More on those in a future post!


[PS - Edmit takes all of these merit scholarships, and all of the others we found, into account when calculating the price we think you’ll pay for a given college. Sign up here!]


Here are the public school merit scholarships where you can pay less than in-state tuition as an out-of-state student:


University of Mississippi - Academic Excellence Scholarship
In-State Tuition & Fees: $8,650
Out-of-State Tuition & Fees: $24,604
GPA minimum: 3.0
SAT minimum: 1450
ACT minimum: 33
Scholarship amount: Full tuition
Ole Miss has a range of automatic scholarships for non-residents, starting at $1500, all the way up to nearly $25k - which will cover out-of-state tuition. Several tiers would get you below $10k/year.


University of Alaska Fairbanks - Nanook Gold
In-State Tuition & Fees: $7,978
Out-of-State Tuition & Fees: $24,808
GPA minimum: 4.0
SAT minimum: 1410
ACT minimum: 30
Scholarship amount: Full tuition
Alaska also has scholarships for students with lower stats.


University of ArizonaNon-Resident Arizona Distinction Award
In-State Tuition & Fees: $12,600
Out-of-State Tuition & Fees: $36,600
GPA minimum: 4.0
SAT minimum: 1420
ACT minimum: 32
Scholarship amount: Up to $35,000 (You pay: $1,600)
Arizona’s non-resident awards are plentiful. There’s money available if your GPA is higher than 2.75 (with test scores) or 3.25 (if you have no or low test scores).


University of Nevada-RenoPresidential Scholarship
In-State Tuition & Fees: $3,882
Out-of-State Tuition & Fees: $11,118
GPA minimum: 3.5
SAT minimum: 1420
ACT minimum: 31
Scholarship amount: $8,000 per year (You pay: $3,118)

Nevada’s out of state tuition is low by any standard, and merit scholarships make it an even better deal.


University of New MexicoAmigo
In-State Tuition & Fees: $7,322

Out-of-State Tuition & Fees: $22,586
GPA minimum: 3.5
SAT minimum: 1130
ACT minimum: 23
Scholarship amount: $15,845 (You pay: $6,741)
Amigo Scholarships include a small stipend and require no scholarship application. Students with a lower GPA (3.0 and above) can qualify with a 26 ACT or 1230 SAT.


Miami University-OxfordMerit Scholarship
In-State Tuition & Fees: $15,378
Out-of-State Tuition & Fees: $34,895
GPA minimum: 3.5
SAT minimum: 1450
ACT minimum: 33
Scholarship amount: $18,000-$36,000 (You pay: $0-$16,895)
Miami gives a range, but out of state students can expect at least half off and up to full tuition with an ACT of 33, an SAT of 1450, and a GPA of 3.50+.


West Virginia UniversityScholarship of Distinction
In-State Tuition & Fees: $8,856
Out-of-State Tuition & Fees: $24,960
GPA minimum: 3.6
SAT minimum: 1390
ACT minimum: 31
Scholarship amount: $15,000 (You pay: $9,960)

WVU reports that 68% of incoming freshmen earn scholarships - there are many levels, but you can get up to $15,000 per year as an out of state student.


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