In-State Versus Out-of-State Students

Some institutions have different costs for in-state and out-of-state students. Does this mean that prospective students should choose an in-state school over an out-of-state school just to save some money? Maybe—but then again, maybe not. Perhaps the out-of-state school is much better suited to your needs and goals. If so, it's worth every penny and more of the added expense. Don't decide too hastily whether a college or university in your home state is the right school. In fact, there are several types of aid that may make an out-of-state school affordable after all.

Scholarships for Out-of-State Students

An institution may offer scholarships to out-of-state students that could even out the increased cost of tuition. Also, you or your student might even be able to piece together enough “free money” of your own to make attendance at an out-of-state school within the realm of affordability.

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Out-of-State Tuition Waivers

Some states use tuition waivers as a way of attracting students to certain schools. Basically, all state universities are part of a state-run higher education system. One big-name university is usually the most popular and best known—it is the so-called “flagship” college in the state. Another college that is part of that same state-run system might have just as many opportunities and programs, but because it doesn't have the same prestige, it is hard for the school to draw as many students.

This is where the waivers come in. The less-popular university may decide to waive extra tuition and other added fees for out-of-state students who meet the qualifications for the honors program. As an out-of-state student, you would pay the same lower rate of tuition as an in-state student. If you qualify, this is most certainly a viable option, even if you had originally planned to spend the first two years at community college in order to graduate at an out-of-state school.

Community College First?

Guidance counselors often encourage their students to spend the first couple of years of their higher education at a lower cost, local community college, and then transfer later to one of the state's big-name universities. Understandably, they are simply trying to save students and their parents some money. There is no fault in this, but sometimes guidance counselors do their students a disservice by not providing them with alternate plans of action.

Community college is much better than no college at all. There is no shame in having a degree from a technical training program, a vocational school, or a community college. The most important thing, when it comes down to it, is that you have a degree in the first place (no matter where it may be from).

There is no disputing that the “community college first” method has the potential to save students, as well as their parents, a substantial amount of money. However, if you're thinking along these lines, you and your parents must also consider how much quality you are going to sacrifice in your college experience. In the quest to save money, it might be better in the long run to look into the tuition waiver option.

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