How to Pay Out of State College TuitionOctober 5, 2022
You found the perfect college. Beautiful campus. Top-of-the-line classrooms and facilities. Amazing professors. The problem? It’s a public university that’s located in a different state than where you live.
The tuition and fees for out-of-state students are significantly higher than those for in-state students. According to The College Board, out-of-state students will pay approximately $10,000 more each year.
Paying out-of-state tuition can be challenging, but there are some options that can make it more affordable. If you’re wondering how to afford out-of-state tuition, here’s what you should know.
How to Afford Out-of-State Tuition: 5 Ways
Public universities are significantly less expensive than private schools, but the lowest rates are reserved for students with residency within the state where the school operates. To qualify as a resident, you typically have to live in the state for at least 12 months.
You can attend public universities in other states, but the schools typically charge you out-of-state tuition rates. If you’re trying to figure out how to afford college out-of-state, here are five ways to manage the cost:
1. Research Tuition Reciprocity Agreements
In some states, there are tuition reciprocity agreements. These agreements allow students from one state to attend a public university in another state while paying the in-state tuition rate.
For example, Minnesota has ongoing reciprocity agreements with Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, and one school in Iowa. With this agreement, students from Minnesota can attend eligible schools in other states and pay in-state rates.
Contact your state education agency to determine if your state participates in a tuition reciprocity agreement.
2. Contact the Financial Aid Office About Special Circumstances
In some states, special circumstances could entitle you to in-state tuition rates. Some states and schools allow children of first responders, teachers, and military service members to qualify for in-state tuition rates, regardless of their residency.
For example, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) said military veterans and dependents with transferred entitlements could get in-state tuition at many public universities.
Contact the college’s financial aid office to find out if you’re eligible for in-school tuition because of special circumstances.
3. Find Out If the School Participates in Exchange Programs
If your selected university participates in a tuition exchange program, you could attend school in another state at a lower rate.
For example, the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) is an exchange of over 160 public colleges and universities. Eligible students can enroll in programs outside of their home states and pay no more than 150% of the school’s resident tuition rate.
For example, let’s say a school charges $10,000 for in-state students and $20,000 for out-of-state students. If the school was part of the WUE, students from other states could attend that school for just $15,000 — a $5,000 savings over the out-of-state tuition rate.
Talk to the financial aid office to see if the college participates in similar programs.
4. Explore Grants and Scholarships
As an out-of-state student, one way to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses is to apply for scholarships and grants.
Some schools offer scholarships and grants designed for out-of-state students to make attending the school more affordable. For example:
- Oklahoma State University: The Oklahoma State University Out-of-State Achievement Scholarship gives eligible students up to $13,000 per year for up to four years. Scholarships are awarded based on GPA and standardized test scores.
- University of Alabama: At the University of Alabama, students with strong records of academic achievement may be eligible for the Out-of-State Competitive Admissions Scholarship. Qualifying students will receive a scholarship of up to $6,000 per year.
- University of Vermont: The University of Vermont’s Presidential Scholarship is awarded to out-of-state first-year students. It gives qualifying students a four-year merit scholarship valued at up to $20,000 per year. It is issued based on academic merit.
Check with the college financial aid office to ensure you’re considered for all scholarship opportunities. You can also search and apply for scholarships and grants offered by non-profit organizations and companies on your own. You can find scholarships and grants through FastWeb and The College Board’s Scholarship Search tool.
5. Shop Around for Student Loans
After exploring other financing options, including tuition reciprocity agreements and gift aid, you may find that you still have to cover some out-of-state costs on your own. If you’re unsure how to afford out-of-state tuition, another option to consider is to take out student loans.
As an undergraduate student, you can take out federal student loans and private ones to pay for the total cost of attendance at your selected college.
To ensure you’re considered for the maximum amount of aid, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible.
Paying Out-of-State Tuition With Student Loans
To pay for out-of-state tuition and other education-related costs, you have the following loan options:
Federal student loans are a good place to start when you need to borrow money for college. They have relatively low, fixed interest rates, and you don’t have to meet credit or income requirements.
As an undergraduate student, you can qualify for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans. If your parents are willing to take out loans, they can use Parent PLUS Loans to borrow money for your education.
After taking out federal loans, you may still need to supplement your financial aid with additional funds. One way to do this is by taking out private student loans.
Private student loans are issued by banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. These lenders set their own eligibility requirements, which usually include a credit check, and offer various repayment terms. Terms and rates vary by lender, so you should compare loan options from multiple lenders to find the best deal.
Now that you know how to afford out-of-state tuition, you can research available loans. With ELFI, you can borrow up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance, and loan terms range from five to 15 years. You can check your eligibility and view potential options by filling out one simple form.
To compare loan options, use the private student loan calculator. It can show you what your payments will be with different interest rates and repayment terms.