Getting an Academic Bargain Across State Lines

If you want to attend a public university outside your state, the price tag can often be outrageously high.

It’s easy to understand why.

States are usually only interested in holding down the costs for their own residents. You might, however, be able to capture a higher-ed bargain if your state maintains a reciprocal agreement with its neighbors. States commonly have reciprocity agreements with public colleges and universities in other states.

Thanks to these compacts, an out-of-state student may be able to pay the same tuition as a resident or pocket a significant discount.

Why would states cut the price for outsiders? One motivation is money.

If reciprocal agreements are in place, a state might not have to worry about offering its own students, for instance, a school of architecture, optometry or forestry. Instead of spending the money on these majors, a state can reach a deal with a neighboring state.

That’s exactly the sort of agreement that the states of Kansas and Missouri reached years ago. The University of Missouri has a dentistry school, but the University of Kansas doesn’t. KU, however, has a School of Architecture, but Mizzou doesn’t. Consequently, Missouri architecture students can pay in-state tuition at KU and Kansas dentistry student enjoy a cut-rate price at Mizzou.There are countless examples around the country of these piggy back arrangement.

Many schools, however, don’t advertise these arrangement so you must ask. Large groups of states have also entered into regional reciprocity agreements. Keep in mind that not all public schools participate in these compacts.

Here are the regional compacts:

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. There are 78 public colleges and universities in the six states in this compact and they all participate in the tuition discount program. The states are: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

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

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

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8 Responses to Getting an Academic Bargain Across State Lines

  1. Victor November 1, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    We living in New Jersey, are there any reciprocal arrangements which we may take advantage of? Thanks

    • Lynn November 2, 2010 at 10:42 pm #

      That’s a good question. I don’t see New Jersey in the four regional reciprocal pacts. I would contact your state’s education department and ask the question. Another idea is to contact one of the Rutger’s campuses and ask.

      Lynn O’Shaughnessy

  2. Schedule October 29, 2010 at 4:57 pm #

    You you should edit the post subject Getting an Academic Bargain Across State Lines | The College Solution Blog by Lynn O'Shaughnessy to something more generic for your subject you write. I loved the the writing even sononetheless.

  3. Cathy January 20, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

    I had the same question as Annie…I thought that WI only had reciprocal arrangements with MN and MI. However, your list shows many I didn’t know: Midwestern Higher Education Compact Member states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

    I thought for sure when I was at a college fair that most of these weren’t mentioned. In fact, I thought I was told that IL didn’t reciprocate (the state schools). Without contacting all these Universities do you think that if I just call UW-Milwaukee, that they would know all this information? Thanks

  4. Lynn June 21, 2009 at 11:10 am #

    Hi Arielle,

    Yes, these reciprocal agreements are a great deal. You should know, however, that not all grad schools will participate in a particular state. I’d suggest contacting schools you are interested in and also visiting the website of the Academic Common Market. Here is the link: http://www.sreb.org/programs/acm/acmindex.aspx

    Best,

    Lynn O’Shaughnessy
    Author of The College Solution

  5. Arielle June 21, 2009 at 8:14 am #

    So if I reside in Delaware, I can go to school (Grad School) in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia or West Virginia, and pay in state tuition??? If so, PLEASE CONTACT ME (ArielleM06@aol.com) I need to know. This would be sooooooooo helpful..

  6. Erika March 29, 2009 at 10:49 pm #

    Never even heard of this helpful blog site before, but while researching some financial questions of mine regarding school it provided a great deal of information. Thank you for your help.

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