4 Tips for Getting In-State Tuition At An Out-of-State School

As we always say at our college planning workshops, don’t get “sticker shock”! Sometimes higher-priced colleges can actually be more affordable than schools with a lower sticker price. Why? Because many elite colleges have a lot more money to give away in the form of financial aid.

Photo Credit: College via photopin (license)

But the fact remains, costs can be substantially higher for students who want to attend a university outside of their home state. Luckily, there are some loopholes that those in the know can use to potentially go to an out-of-state college at in-state costs.

Here are 4 tips to keep in mind as you look at out-of-state schools (Source):

Tip #1: Look At Colleges In Neighboring States & Ask Them for Reduced Tuition

Why this may not always work, some colleges do offer lower tuition for students from neighboring states, or students who live within a certain distance from the state border. Since in-state tuition can sometimes be 1/3 the cost of out-of-state, it’s certainly worth a few phone calls!

Tip #2: Look Into Regional Exchange Programs

These financial aid programs are agreements between several neighboring states, where students from adjacent states can get in-state tuition at schools within the region. Be sure to research these carefully, as they can be restricted to certain academic programs and majors, and deadlines, eligible majors, and other requirements may vary with each program.

Tip #3: Establish Residency In the State

This can be a tricky and expensive option, and if it appears you’re moving just to get in-state tuition, this won’t really fly with the colleges. Most states will require that you have been an in-state resident for at least 12 months (sometimes more) prior to enrollment. Also, if the student is a dependent, the custodial parent must also reside in that state.

Be sure to understand all of the steps to establishing residency, and document everything! This helpful website provides links to residency requirements for each state: http://www.finaid.org/otheraid/stateresidency.phtml

Tip #4: Work For a College, Government, or State

If you or your parents happen to work for the state, or as faculty or staff at a college, or if they are veterans or members of the military, law enforcement, or firefighters, you may be eligible for special tuition waivers. These exceptions depend on the state you live in, so you will need to do some research to see what you qualify for, but again, it can definitely be worth it if you are in this position.

While each of these tips will require some legwork, the cost savings can be well-worth it if you qualify.

For more ways to strategically plan and pay for college tuition, be sure to attend one of our FREE local college planning workshops!


Leave a Reply