As the cost of college continues to rise, more and more students are opting to attend public universities as a way to save money. But what happens when you want to attend a public university in a different state?
Before you write off schools in another state as being too expensive, the first thing to understand is the difference between sticker price and net price. A college’s sticker price is the published tuition price before any sort of financial aid (scholarships, grants, loans, etc.) is factored in. A college’s net price is what you actually pay after financial aid.
But, how do you estimate your potential net price before you start applying to schools and receiving your financial aid packages? The federal government now requires all colleges and universities that offer federal student aid to have an online net price calculator to help you and your family predict the cost of your degree. Net price calculators are not guaranteed estimators of costs but can help you understand what you might pay as an out-of-state student.
It is very rare that students pay a college’s sticker price, so don’t let the posted full cost of attendance deter you from applying to public institutions outside of your home state! Here are some ways to offset college costs as an out-of-state student:
Regional College Discount Programs
A great way to offset the cost of college as an out-of-state student is to participate in regional college discount programs. Many states have programs that allow you to attend school in a different state without paying out-of-state tuition. These programs are known as “Regional Reciprocity Agreements.” Some larger programs to consider include:
- New England Tuition Break Program
- Midwest Student Exchange
- Southern Regional Board of Education Common Market
- Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)
For regional discount programs, you will need to attend an out-of-state school within the region where you currently live. You can check these sites above for more information and learn how to sign up.
If you are looking to venture outside of your region for school, many universities offer scholarship programs for out-of-state students based on your high school grades or other factors. Schools you are interested in should have this information available on their websites.
The MyColleges tool in the Encourage app will help you keep track of schools you’re interested in and what opportunities they provide for scholarships and more.