Slashing Out-of-State Tuition Costs

No doubt most teenagers who attend state universities never look beyond their borders. If you’re a kid living in Los Angeles, the cost of going to UCLA or Berkeley is going to be cheaper than attending another flagship like the University of Texas or the University of Michigan. What keeps plenty of kids from wandering too far from home is the high out-of-state tuition at many public universities.

At the University of Michigan, for instance, the tuition for in-state kids is $11,037, but for teenagers coming from any of the other 49 states it’s $33,069. And that doesn’t include room and board! But curiously enough the price tag at these flagship schools can be dirt cheap for some lucky applicants. While flagship universities aren’t inclined to talk about it, some of them are luring smart out-of-state students to their campuses by offering great financial aid packages.

In some cases these schools are awarding top students the same price break that they extend to their local kids. I’m mentioning this phenomenon because recently I’ve heard about two students who were surprised to receive great deals from the University of Texas. One girl who lives in Cambridge, MA, wanted to flee the Ivy League scene so she applied to the University of Texas, Austin. She and her parents were shocked when the acceptance letter included an offer of in-state tuition. Texas students pay $8,532 for tuition versus $27,760 for everybody else. Indiana University is actually publicizing it’s eagerness to reward out-of-state students with cash. I wrote a previous blog about Indiana’s practices which I’ve got in my archives. You can imagine that taxpayers in states like Indiana and Texas wouldn’t be too happy to know that their tax dollars are going to underwrite the education of kids on the East Coast and elsewhere. So why would these public flagships do this? Here’s a possible answer. Attracting students with top SAT and grades — regardless of where they are from — can help a school inch its way up on the U.S. News & World Report rankings. It’s no wonder that schools typically keep this cynical practice under wraps. Learn dozens of ways to shrink the cost of college by reading The College Solution.

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