In-State vs. Out-of-State

Seth Marsh, CUED-IN Seth Marsh, CUED-IN May 02, 2016

Your decision about whether you want to go to school in-state or out-of-state has more pressing consequences than whether or not you want to be able to go home for dinner. It is, in fact, a very important factor in your college decision.

Here’s the deal, the main difference between in-state and out-of-state schools is the cost of tuition. If you go to a public school in your state of residency you are very likely to pay significantly less for tuition. For example, at Ball State University in Indiana in-state students pay $7,698 while out-of-state students pay $23,472 (2016-17 rates) – that’s a pretty big difference. In order to qualify for in-state tuition rates you have to prove residency in that state (gaining residency varies widely from state to state).

Why is there such a huge discrepancy? Public schools are funded predominantly by the state in which they are located meaning that residents’ tax dollars help pay for the college. So really, it’s only fair that in-state students get a better rate.

If you have your heart set on a private school then it doesn’t really matter whether you stay in your state or not. The tuition will be the same and generally higher than public school rates.

If you have your heart set on a public school in a different state, check with the admissions office to see if they have any financial aid programs that specifically target out-of-state students.

In the meantime, check out the following programs for out-of-state tuition breaks (if you’re in participating states, you can get discounts or in-state rates). There are programs for New England, the Midwest, the South, and the West.