Are In-State Schools Cheaper?


There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding on whether you should attend college in-state or out-of-state.  The major factors are cost of attendance, your talents and what you bring to the table academically. Some students want to attend their state school because they feel it is cheaper.  Generally speaking, it is. But, attending an in-state school may not necessarily get you the best scholarship offers or tuition discounts.


There are colleges that will give you in-state tuition for your academic merit or talent which may be cheaper than your in-state.  Schools like Indiana State, University of Missouri, Columbia, Texas A & M, University of Arkansas, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Western Michigan, and Ball State are all known for giving in-state tuition to out-of-state students.  I feel you should not attend an out-of-state school unless you are getting some type of monetary return.  You may be worth more money out-of-state attending a public or private institution.


In researching colleges, you should include your state school and out-of-state public or private institutions.  When you get your award letters, you will be able to compare the offers and decide which school is giving you the best deal.  My son, David applied to his state school, University of Illinois, an out-of-state school, University of Arizona and a private out-of-state school, University of Southern California.  USC came up with the most money.  He was given a generous award from his state school, but it did not come close to the offer from USC, enabling him to graduate debt free.


A number of tuition discounts are tied to merit scholarships.  Make sure you check the scholarship page of the college to find institutional scholarships linked to their application deadlines. To determine affordability, use the school’s net-price calculator.  Colleges may lift residency requirements for the following situations:


  • Children of alumni
  • Parents in military
  • Parents who are police or firemen
  • If you live near a bordering state

Remember; wherever you decide to attend, make sure it is the right academic and financial fit.





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