Out-of-State Universities: Finding Bargains

Last Updated Sep 12, 2011 10:51 AM EDT

If you want to attend a public university outside your own state, it can be outrageously expensive for the brand name schools.
State universities love outsiders because they can charge them a premium. University of California, Berkeley, for instance, costs outsiders more than $50,000 for tuition and room/board. In contrast, California residents pay $27,825.

Other prestigious flagships, such as the University of Michigan and University of Virginia are also charging outsized tuition to nonresidents, which I wrote about in this post:

10 Most Expensive State Universities for Outsiders

There is, however, a way to avoid tuition premiums at many lesser known public universities. You can search for out-of-state bargains by checking out regional educational compacts. If you live in a state that participates in one of the four regional compacts, you may be able to pay the same price as a resident or pay 150% of the in-state tuition rate at some public universities and community colleges.

4 Regional Educational Compacts

Here are the participating states in the four compacts:

Academic Common Market:

Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Texas, Florida and North Carolina only participate through their graduate programs.

Midwestern Higher Education Compact:

Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

New England Board of Higher Education:

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Western Undergraduate Exchange:

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Bottom Line:

Typically outsiders need to be stellar students to receive scholarships from flagship universities, but many other state universities will give nonresidents, who are smart, but not at the top of the academic heap, a cut in price.

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and she also writes her own college blog at The College Solution.
State university image by Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL.

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