4 Ways to Cut the Cost of an Out-of State University

Last Updated Jul 30, 2010 10:16 AM EDT

Plenty of students are interested in attending a state university in a different part of the country, but they are Indiana University campusdiscouraged by the prices.

State universities charge higher tuition for students from elsewhere, but there are ways to shrink tuition costs at these distant universities.

Here are four tips on cutting college costs as an outsider:

1. Look for tuition price breaks.
Some state flagship universities will cut their tuition for top out-of-state students, who enjoy superior test scores and grade point averages. Flagships that belong in this category include:

  • Indiana University
    Ohio State University
  • Penn State University
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Arkansas
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Missouri
  • University of Oklahoma
  • University of South Carolina
  • University of Vermont
2. Cast a wider net.
Most out-of-state students aren't going to secure a price cut from a prestigious school like the University of Michigan. There are lots of schools, however, that will extend a price cut to all comers. Some of the state universities slashing out-of-state prices are located in areas with a declining population of college-age residents. A new US News article mentions some of these state universities.

3. Explore state residency requirements.
It's can be tough establishing residency in another state when attending college, but it's not impossible. At some schools, such as Washburn University (KS), Northern Michigan University and Southern Illinois University, students can apply for in-state tuition after attending the school for six months. FinAid.org maintains a list of state residency requirements.

4. Check out regional reciprocity compacts.
Look for out-of-state schools that observe a reciprocity agreement with institutions in your state. Thanks to one of these agreements, you may pay the same price as a resident or capture a significant discount. Not all state universities, however, are in these compacts. For instance, out here on the West coast, UCLA, UC-Berkeley, the University of Washington and the University of Oregon don't participate.

Here are the four regional compacts:

Western Undergraduate Exchange WUE states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Academic Common Market. Member states: 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 Member states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

New England Board of Higher Education. The 82 public colleges and universities in the following six states participate in the tuition discount program: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also write a college blog for CBSMoneyWatch.com.

State residency image by pobrecito33. CC 2.0.