"Out-of-State" Colleges Not "Out-of-Reach": Tuition Reciprocity Programs
Tuition at the priciest U.S colleges tops out at a whopping
$41,000 in 2011. And that doesn't include room, board, books,
fees, transportation and other expenses. Families continue
to hunt for creative ways to reduce the financial impact of
college. Often out-of-state universities and colleges might
as well be called "out-of-reach" for many students.
Tuition rates for out-of state students can be three or more
times the cost of a resident student attending the same institution.
For example, Michigan residents pay $12,000 tuition at Michigan
State University, while the out-of-state students sitting
next to them in class pay $29,000 - 2.5 times the resident
rate. At University of Iowa, the difference is even greater.
At $25,000, non-residents of the Hawkeye State pay 3.2 times
the resident tuition rate of $7,800. (Both of these universities
do not offer tuition reciprocity.)
But did you know that residents of Illinois can attend University
of Nebraska-Lincoln, St. Louis University, Ball State University
in Indiana, and many Wisconsin state universities at reduced
or in-state tuition prices? Tuition reciprocity programs make
out-of-state schools more affordable for non-resident students.
Students from other regions of the country also have access
to tuition discounts at schools in their neighboring states.
Like Free Money for College
Tuition reduction programs are like grants or scholarships
- the student does not need to pay back any money received.
It is considered a discount on tuition, independent of any
other financial aid for which a student may qualify. Tuition
reciprocity takes the form of an agreement between states,
counties and schools that allow students to attend out-of-state
higher education institutions for reduced or in-state tuition
rates. Students can often attend public universities, and
sometimes private colleges, in a participating state at no
more than 150% of the in-state tuition cost. Private colleges
may offer a 10% reduction in tuition. Room and board costs,
as well as other fees, are not included in these discounts.
These programs may include 2-year and technical colleges
as well as colleges and universities. Tuition reduction awards
may apply to a variety of degree levels such as Certificate,
Associates, Baccalaureate (Bachelors), Masters, Doctorate,
and Post-Degree Certificate. Often the tuition breaks are
offered for specific, approved majors or programs, so a comprehensive
career assessment prior to making college and academic major
decisions is invaluable.
Finally, institutions may limit the number of students who
are awarded the reduced tuition rates, so it's wise to apply
as early as possible.
There are three types of agreements, regional, individual
states, and county.
Regional (Multiple States)
Institutions belonging to the Midwest
Student Exchange Program (MSEP) offer reduced tuition
rates at public and private colleges and universities
for students living in the states participating in the
program. Illinois students may be surprised to discover
that they can qualify for reduced tuition at 70 participating
institutions in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Kansas,
Missouri, North Dakota, and Nebraska. When viewing the
list of colleges on the MSEP website, be sure to click
on the "View Details" links at the far right of the
webpage to learn about the parameters for participation
in the program at each school.
Other regional organizations which represent institutions
participating in tuition reciprocity agreements include:
The New England Board of Higher Education offers
Student Program (RSP) Tuition Break program.
The states in this program include Connecticut,
Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island
Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) is for
students who are residents of Alaska, Arizona,
California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana,
Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South
Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The
Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) is
designed for graduate students from these states,
while the Professional
Student Exchange Program (PSEP) is intended
for students who enroll in professional education
programs in ten healthcare fields.
Common Market (ACM) offers students in southern
states the opportunity to pursue specialized fields
at institutions outside their home state. The
ACM serves students a large number of states in
the mid-Atlantic, southeast and mid-South region
of the United States. The Regional
Contract Program for Health Professions offers
reduced tuition for students pursuing healthcare
careers in these states.
Individual state agreements are established between
two states or a small group of states. Wisconsin and
Minnesota have an agreement like this, where students
can attend universities, colleges and technical colleges
in the other state at that state's resident tuition
Some institutions establish agreements that allow
students who are residents of certain out-of-state counties
to pay in-state tuition. An example would be the University
of Cincinnati which offers in-state tuition to students
from certain counties in Indiana and Kentucky who are
enrolled in specific programs. University of Louisville
offers the same to students in certain Indiana and Ohio
counties enrolled in approved programs.
Truly a Win For All
Each of the stakeholders in higher
education benefit from tuition reciprocity or reduction programs.
Colleges and universities can attract more students and either
increase their enrollment or stop a decline in enrollment.
With more students, colleges realize increased revenue from
tuition as well as room, board, and other fees, crucial during
these times of state budget deficits and shrinking endowments.
A tuition reciprocity program can also improve the quality
of the academic programs a school already has, instead of
diverting funds to develop additional programs that duplicate
those at other institutions.
Even states themselves benefit by being able to expand the
educational opportunities available to their residents and
keeping their institutions of higher education viable and
Naturally, students and their families benefit most by saving
thousands of dollars on tuition costs. Students' debt loads
for college are significantly reduced, which lightens their
financial liability when they graduate. They also gain access
to a school of their choice that is affordable.
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© Copyright 2011, Career Vision. Article may be reprinted