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Sometimes attending a college in the state where you’ve raised your child is not the best option for your student’s career path or considering their academic achievements. Out of state tuition is expensive because as a non-resident, you have not been contributing to the funding of public colleges in that state when paying taxes, and therefore students are charged significantly more than in-state residents who have been making tax payments to the state. Read this article to learn more about how your child can work towards qualifying for in-state tuition rates.
Obtaining in-state tuition rates can significantly lower the overall cost of a college education, however, there are financial implications with this decision as well. If your child does decide to attend a public school out of your home state, keep in mind that they can not quickly change their residency status in order to get a tuition break. There are stringent rules to follow when it comes to determining eligibility. Here's what you should know about qualifying for in-state tuition.
State Residency Requirements
State residency is the key factor used to judge eligibility for in-state tuition. Residency requirements vary significantly from state to state. The College Board's Guide to State Residency Requirements. Guide to State Residency Requirements will give you specific information on the requirements for each state. Typical requirements for residency determination include:
Because your child’s college of choice usually has the authority to determine whether your child qualifies, be ready to provide proof of residency and intent to remain a resident. Examples may include:
Keep in mind that these examples are provided as a guide. No state has a comprehensive list that automatically grants resident status.
Out-of-State Tuition Waiver
If you live in a certain geographic area and your child is looking for academic programs that are not available at your state institutions, they may be eligible to participate in a tuition-exchange program. Partaking in this program means that your student will be charged in-state tuition (even though you are not a state resident) or will be offered a reduced tuition rate. Regional tuition waiver programs include the Academic Common Market (Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia), the New England Regional Student Program (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont), the programs of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming), and the Midwest Student Exchange Program (Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wisconsin).
Some schools may also offer out-of-state tuition waivers to the following and their dependents:
Again, this list is not comprehensive. Some schools may offer tuition waivers to certain people and their dependents, while other schools will not. Decisions are made on an individual basis.
As a family, determine if qualifying for in-state tuition is necessary and work together to get your child established as a resident of the state where their college is located. Scholarships can be helpful too!