Regional Tuition Reciprocity Programs
This type of program offers out-of-state students a reduced tuition rate that can amount to thousands in savings each year. Here are a few to check out:
Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP): Participating public colleges charge no more than 150% of the in-state rate; private colleges offer a ten percent discount. MSEP covers nine states: Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE): Students in the 15 states of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education can apply for a reduced rate (150 percent of resident tuition) at participating two- and four-year colleges through WUE. Member states are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
DC Tuition Assistant Grant Program (DCTAG): Residents of Washington, DC, can go just about anywhere in the country through DCTAG. The program offers tuition discounts at all public universities nationwide, at all public and private HBCUs nationwide, and at all private universities in the DC area. Discounts are higher for public universities (up to $10,000 per year) versus private universities (up to $2,500 per year); there’s even a discount for two-year schools (up to $2,500 per year).
If your ideal major isn’t offered in your home state, check out these programs that can get you the education you want at a lower cost:
Academic Common Market: If you live in one of the 16 states of the Southern Regional Education Board, you can pursue your hard-to-find academic passion out of state and still pay in-state tuition. Participating states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia. Special note: Florida, North Carolina, and Texas participate at the graduate level only.
Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP): The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education helps students find the advanced programs they need in medical fields such as dentistry, optometry, veterinary medicine, and occupational therapy. Students in PSEP pay reduced tuition—usually the in-state rate at public universities or the reduced standard tuition at private universities. Participating states are: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
New England Regional Student Program (RSP Tuition Break): This program of the New England Board of Higher Education encompasses more than 700 undergraduate and graduate degree programs at New England’s 82 public colleges and universities. Through RSP Tuition Break you will pay no more than 175 percent of the in-state tuition rate. The six participating states are: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Be the Early Bird
Many of these programs require a special application, apart from your application to the university itself, and the deadlines can come pretty early—so this is one to-do item you can’t procrastinate about! The programs above aren’t the only ones that exist. Schedule a meeting with your high school counselor to learn more about reciprocity programs specific to your state.