What Colleges Have Great Deals for Out-of-State Students?

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From reciprocity initiatives to regional exchange programs, there are several different ways an out-of-state student might be eligible for in-state tuition rates at public universities. We'll profile six schools in particular which offer in-state tuition to out-of-state students. This is by no means a comprehensive list— for one, it’s limited to flagship universities in order to match schools with similar levels of leadership and prestige. If you’re a student considering going to an out-of-state public university, think of this list as a start to your search. Keep in mind that you might have to do a bit more digging depending on your state of residency, your academic background, the programs you’re interested in, and more.

Schools That Offer In-State Tuition to Out-of-State Students


University of Maine

Thanks to the Flagship Match Scholarship Program at the University of Maine, out-of-state students from selected states will pay the tuition rate of their home state’s flagship university (an estimated $14,070). These students technically won’t be paying UMaine’s in-state tuition rate ($8,790), but they will still be paying a lot less than the school’s out-of-state tuition rate ($28,590), cutting their tuition fees in half. To qualify, students must have a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher and an SAT score of 1120 or higher (ACT of 22 or higher).


University of Minnesota

Because of a reciprocity agreement between the University of Minnesota and the states of Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota, nonresident students from these states will be charged the resident tuition rate. Eligible students should apply prior to the term in which they plan to register through the higher education office in their home state.  


West Virginia University

West Virginia University has a tuition reciprocity agreement with the state of Ohio, allowing Ohio residents to receive in-state tuition rates. To qualify, students must be admitted to both the university and one of the approved majors. They must also complete at least 12 credit hours per semester and maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher to remain eligible for the program.


University of Missouri

Aside from reciprocity agreements, scholarships are another way in which an out-of-state student might be offered in-state tuition rates at public universities. The University of Missouri has several scholarships that offer a full waiver of nonresident tuition ($15,838) to qualifying students. The Black & Gold Scholarship, for example, waives nonresident tuition for out-of-state students whose parent graduated from the University of Missouri. To be eligible, students must have an ACT score of 27 or higher (SAT of 1260 or higher). The Mark Twain Nonresident Scholarship also offers a full waiver of out-of-state tuition to students who have an ACT score of 30 or higher (SAT of 1360 or higher). Another scholarship is the Diversity Award, which waives full nonresident tuition to students belonging to an underrepresented racial or ethnic minority group. What’s even better is that none of these scholarships require a separate application—students will be automatically considered after their admittance to the school.


University of Georgia

One of the scholarships offered by the University of Georgia is the Presidential Waiver. “Awarded in conjunction with other academic scholarships," [Presidential Waivers are] “given to 75-100 new non-resident students annually [and] waives either one-half or all of the difference between Georgia resident and non-resident tuition and fees.” Considering the fact that non resident students pay nearly triple the tuition rate that Georgia residents pay ($30,404 as opposed to $11,830), prospective students should check to see if they are eligible for any scholarships at UGA.


University of Connecticut

This last example is somewhat unique. The University of Connecticut has a reciprocal tuition agreement with the University of Rhode Island and the University of Maine. This means that children of faculty and staff at these latter two institutions are eligible for in-state tuition rates at UConn. Likewise, students whose parents are eligible employees at UConn will receive in-state tuition rates at URI and UMaine.

Schools That Have Eliminated Out-of-State Tuition

So far we’ve examined six schools that, through different policies, reciprocity agreements, and scholarship programs, offer in-state tuition rates to qualifying out-of-state students. There are also schools that have eliminated out-of-state surcharges altogether, charging all students the same in-state tuition rate regardless of their resident status. Northern Illinois University, for example, has recently eliminated out-of-state tuition rates in an effort to draw more students nationwide. And it’s not the only one. Jeff Amy from The State reports, “Some universities in rural areas with declining populations—including Mississippi’s Alcorn State, Delta State, and Mississippi Valley State—now charge all students the in-state rate, abolishing out-of-state surcharges.”

State and Regional Programs


As you search for more ways of receiving in-state tuition, try seeing if your state has a reciprocity agreement with one or more other states, allowing you to attend public universities at participating states at in-state tuition rates. For example, the Minnesota-Wisconsin reciprocity agreement allows Wisconsin residents to attend public universities in Minnesota and pay in-state tuition. Ohio also has tuition reciprocity agreements with Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and West Virginia, allowing Ohio residents to attend participating out-of-state institutions without paying nonresident tuition and fees. Similarly, the New Mexico-Colorado tuition reciprocity agreement enables students from either state to receive in-state tuition rates in both states.

Finally, there are numerous regional programs that, while they may not offer in-state tuition, give steep discounts to qualifying out-of-state students. Through the Western Undergraduate Exchange, for example, out-of-state students will pay no more than 150 percent of in-state tuition at participating schools. Similarly, the New England Regional Student Program allows New England residents to enroll at out-of-state New England public universities at a discount (the average tuition break is $8,033). Each program has its own list of eligibility requirements, exceptions, and benefits, so be sure to check them out thoroughly.

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