Average In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition

Last Updated: September 24, 2021 by Melanie Hanson

Report Highlights. In the United States, public 4-year undergraduate degrees have an average out-of-state tuition of $26,382 vs. $9,212 for the same degree in-state.

  • Vermont is the state with the highest average in-state tuition among four-year institutions: $16,604.   
  • Florida is the state with the lowest average in-state tuition among four year institutions: $4,443.  
  • Vermont has the highest average out-of-state tuition among four-year institutions: $39,947. 
  • Florida has the lowest average out-of-state tuition among four-year institutions: $18,456.
  • Public 2-year undergraduate degrees have an average out-of-state tuition of $7,917 vs. $3,313 for the same degree in-state. 

Understanding In-State Vs. Out-of-State

These terms refer to the tuition rates charged by public colleges and universities for students who are residents of the state the institution is located in vs. the rates charged for students who are not residents. Tuition rates may also be listed as “resident” or “non-resident.” Even out-of-state online students may find themselves paying these rates, but some colleges with large distance learning programs offer discounts. 

  • Most public institutions receive state tax revenue to subsidize their expenses, so a student (or their parents) who has paid taxes in that state receives a lower tuition rate.
  • Students who are coming from out-of-state have not contributed to the operations of public institutions in the state with their taxes and are therefore assigned a higher rate.
  • Private schools do not generally charge higher rates for out-of-state students.
  • Vermont has the highest average out-of-state tuition for four-year public institutions, with out-of-state students paying $39,947 in 2020.
  • In comparison, Vermont’s in-state rate was $16,604.
  • Florida has the lowest average out-of-state tuition among public four-year institutions, coming in at $18,456 for nonresidents.
  • In comparison, Florida’s in-state rate was $4,443.
Average Out-of-State Tuition vs. In-State Tuition, Public 4-Year Colleges
State Out-of-State Tuition In-State Tuition
Alabama $25,782 $10,138
Alaska $24,454 $8,396
Arkansas $20,825 $8,391
California $31,423 $8,118
Colorado $30,140 $9,394
Connecticut $33,709 $12,959
Delaware $30,405 $10,607
District of Columbia $12,416 $5,888
Florida $18,456 $4,443
Georgia $22,751 $7,319
Hawaii $31,581 $9,952
Idaho $23,850 $7,586
Illinois $28,522 $14,259
Indiana $29,092 $9,225
Iowa $24,521 $9,966
Kansas $23,302 $8,941
Louisiana $22,208 $9,358
Maine $27,735 $9,930
Maryland $26,883 $9,521
Massachusetts $30,966 $13,286
Michigan $35,844 $12,888
Minnesota $22,780 $11,381
Mississippi $19,942 $8,340
Missouri $19,914 $8,554
Montana $24,481 $6,972
Nebraska $21,516 $8,467
Nevada $21,125 $5,845
New Hampshire $29,447 $16,329
New Jersey $28,669 $13,963
New Mexico $18,350 $6,902
New York $22,083 $8,184
North Carolina $22,968 $7,174
North Dakota $15,565 $8,091
Ohio $24,454 $10,068
Oklahoma $21,526 $7,866
Oregon $30,929 $10,286
Pennsylvania $28,527 $14,812
Rhode Island $29,998 $12,576
South Carolina $32,174 $13,013
South Dakota $12,465 $8,772
Tennessee $26,068 $9,789
Texas $25,031 $8,678
Utah $21,557 $6,731
Vermont $39,947 $16,604
Virginia $34,890 $13,413
Washington $29,228 $7,036
West Virginia $21,996 $8,016
Wisconsin $25,063 $8,697
Wyoming $14,268 $4,596

College Comparisons

Among four-year public institutions, the top three with the highest in-state tuition rates in the 2020-21 academic year were Medical University of South Carolina, Oregon Health & Science University, and the College of William and Mary. Among four-year public institutions, the top three with the highest out-of-state tuition rates in the 2020-21 academic year were the University of Virginia, the University of Michigan, and the College of William and Mary. 

  • Medical University of South Carolina with tuition at $26,045 is the most expensive in-state public college. 
  • Oregon Health & Science University with tuition at $24,250 is the 2nd most expensive in-state public college. 
  • College of William and Mary with tuition at $23,628 is the 3rd most expensive in-state public college. 
  • University of Virginia with tuition at $52,945 is the most expensive out-of-state public college. 
  • University of Michigan with tuition at $51,200 is the 2nd most expensive out-of-state public college.
  • College of William and Mary with tuition at $46,283 is the 3rd most expensive out-of-state public college.
  • In 2021, the cost of attending University of Denver, a private four-year university, is $67,953 for both in-state and out-of-state students.
  • In 2021, the cost of attending Colorado School of Mines, a public four-year university is $33,273 for students who are Colorado residents, compared to $53,973 for out-of-state students wanting to study in Colorado.
  • The most expensive tuition rate in the United States among all institutions in 2021 was at Columbia University, at $62,430 for tuition and fees in the 2020-21 academic year (both in and out-of-state rate).
  • The most expensive in-state tuition rate in the United States among two-year institutions in 2021 was at Landmark College, at $59,100 for tuition and fees in the 2020-21 academic year.

Regional Exchange/State Reciprocity Agreements

Many states are part of an exchange program where students living within their region can qualify for discounted tuition rates even if they are technically non-residents. Some states also have reciprocity agreements with a bordering state with fewer qualifications needed, such as the New Mexico-Colorado Tuition Reciprocity Agreement.

  • Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE).
  • Midwest Student Exchange (MSEP).
  • New England Regional Student Program (RSP).
  • Academic Common Market.
  • The New Mexico-Colorado Tuition Reciprocity Agreement allows an equal number of students from each state to enroll in the other state at in-state tuition prices. 

Reciprocal agreements on EducationData

 

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)

Founded in 1953, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) incorporates the states in the western region of the United States.

  • In the 2019-20 academic year, students in this region saved over $451 million in tuition costs.
  • WICHE programs offer savings on out-of-state tuition at over 160 universities, colleges, and healthcare programs.
  • Under WICHE’s PSEP program, a student could save between $32,600 to $130,600 on tuition during their completion of a program, depending on their field of study.
  • Under WICHE’s WRGP graduate program, students save an average of $14,162 in tuition.
WICHE Programs by State
State WICHE Program Highlights
Alaska
  • In 2019-20, 1,355 Alaskan residents saved $13.6 million  under WUE, WRGP, and PSEP.
  • Since Alaska enrolled in WUE, Alaskan students have saved nearly $246 million.
Arizona
  • In 2019-20, 1,971 Arizona residents saved $18.4 million  under WUE, WRGP, and PSEP.
  • Since Arizona enrolled in WUE, its students have saved nearly $149 million.
California
  • In 2019-20, 18,544 California residents saved $196.5 million  under WUE, WRGP, and PSEP.
  • Since California enrolled in WUE, its students have saved nearly $1.54 billion.
Colorado
  • In 2019-20, 18,544 California residents saved $196.5 million  under WUE, WRGP, and PSEP.
  • Since Colorado enrolled in WUE, its students have saved nearly $328 million.
Guam
  • In 2019-20, 87 Guam residents saved $1.3 million  under WUE and WRGP, with $3.4 million saved since Guam began participating in WUE.
Hawaii
  • In 2019-20, 87 Hawaii residents saved $24.8 million  under WUE and WRGP, with $296 million saved since Hawaii began participating in WUE.
Idaho
  • In 2019-20, 2,152 Idaho residents saved $19 million  under WUE and WRGP.
  • Since Idaho enrolled in WUE, its students have saved nearly $208.4 million.
Montana
  • In 2019-20, 1,114 Montana residents saved $7.57 million  under WUE and WRGP.
  • Since Montana enrolled in WUE, its students have saved nearly $730 million.
Nevada
  • In 2019-20, 1,913 Nevada residents saved $17.5 million  under WUE and WRGP.
  • Since Nevada enrolled in WUE, its students have saved nearly $175 million.
New Mexico
  • In 2019-20, 1,012 Nevada residents saved $9 million  under WUE and WRGP.
  • Since Nevada enrolled in WUE, its students have saved nearly $103.8 million.
North Dakota
  • In 2019-20, 2,194 North Dakota residents saved $2.2 million  under WUE and WRGP.
  • Since North Dakota enrolled in WUE, its students have saved nearly $40.3 million.
Oregon
  • In 2019-20, 554 Oregon residents saved $23.4million  under WUE and WRGP.
  • Since Oregon enrolled in WUE, its students have saved nearly $250.3 million.
South Dakota
  • In 2019-20, 554 South Dakota residents saved $3.48 million  under WUE and WRGP.
  • Since South Dakota enrolled in WUE, its students have saved nearly $90.4 million.
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
  • In 2019-20, 104 CNMI residents saved $1.3 million  under WUE and WRGP, with $3.5 million saved since CNMI began participating in WUE
Utah
  • In 2019-20, 1,038 South Dakota residents saved $8 million  under WUE and WRGP.
  • Since Utah enrolled in WUE, its students have saved nearly $93 million.
Washington
  • In 2019-20, 4,823 Washington  residents saved $58.2 million  under WUE and WRGP.
  • Since Washington enrolled in WUE, its students have saved nearly $558.8 million.
Wyoming
  • In 2019-20, 1,038 Wyoming residents saved $6 million  under WUE and WRGP.
  • Since Wyoming enrolled in WUE, its students have saved nearly $140.8 million.

Midwest Student Exchange (MSEP)

The Midwest Student Exchange Program is a multi-state tuition reciprocity program in which public institutions agree not to charge out-of-state students more than 150% of their in-state resident tuition rate. Private colleges offer 10% reduction off their tuition rates instead. 

  • The Midwest Student Exchange Program saves $81.1 million total annually for out-of-state students. 
  • Students typically save between $500 and $5,000 annually in the program. 
  • Online courses are sometimes covered under this program – it varies by college and campus.  
Total Annual Savings for Students by State
State Savings Amount
Illinois $43.8 million
Indiana $1.26 million
Kansas $5.30 million
Michigan $5.23 million
Minnesota $4.74 million
Missouri $8.62 million
Nebraska $6.67 million
North Dakota $603,820
Ohio $2.34 million
Wisconsin $2.62 million

New England Regional Student Program (RSP)

The New England Regional Student Program has been established since 1957, it is also named the Tuition Break program. The New England RSP provides tuition savings to residents of the six New England states when they enroll in college within that region. The RSP program cannot be applied to private colleges. 

  • Students save about $8,200 annually under the RSP program.  
  • The RSP program saves $63.1 million total annually for out-of-state students.
  • There are 82 participating public institutions. 
  • Certain majors and programs are not eligible under the RSP – high demand programs may not be eligible. 
Total Annual Savings for Students by State
State Savings
Connecticut $11,465,018
Maine $2,641,559
Massachusetts $26,518,125
New Hampshire $12,070,251
Rhode Island $7,709,178
Vermont $2,676,897

Academic Common Market 

The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) maintains a tuition-savings program for college students in SREB states who want to pursue degrees in programs not offered in their home state. 15 states fully participate in the SREB Academic Common Market. 

  • There are over 2,200 undergraduate and graduate programs offered in the Academic Common Market.   
  • Distance learning programs are eligible under the Academic Common Market. 
  • Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia all participate in the Academic Common Market program.  
  • Florida and Texas only participate in the program at the graduate level. 

How to Receive In-State Tuition Rates

Most institutions have strict residency requirements to qualify a student for in-state tuition rates. However, there are some ways students may able to attend an out-of-state institution at in-state prices. 

  • Some institutions offer a waiver or scholarship for exceptional GPA ACT/SAT scores.
  • Universities may have a reciprocity agreement for students whose parents or family members are employed in higher education at another university. 
  • Spend a “gap” year as a resident full-time in the state where you intend to attend university, working, or undertaking an internship. Some institutions may offer discounted tuition rates during summer terms.
  • Pay out-of-state rates during the first year it takes to establish residency and pay the remaining four years at in-state rates and utilize scholarships meant specifically for non-residents.
  • If you have relatives who live in your state of choice, see if it is possible to stay with them during part of the year needed to establish residency.
  • If one or both of your parents are in the military or state department, you may qualify for in-state tuition at most institutions nationwide
  • Legacy scholarships are offered by some schools where a student is attending the same institution their parents attended.

Out-of-State Scholarships 

Scholarships exist to offset the price of out-of-state tuition. Many of these scholarships are merit-based – based on the student’s GPA average in high school or their scores in the SAT or ACT. Award amounts are usually dependent on how well the student scored or how high their GPA was. A few scholarships are available for non-resident children of alumni.  

  • The University of Arizona offers the Recognition Award for a GPA between 2.75 and 3.49.
  • The University of Arizona offers the Excellence Award for a GPA between 3.50 and 3.89.
  • The University of Arizona offers the Distinction Award for a GPA beyond 3.90.
  • At the University of Missouri, Level 1 of the Black & Gold Scholarship is for students with an SAT score of 1260 or higher or an ACT score of 27 or higher. 
  • At the University of Missouri, Level 2 of the Black & Gold Scholarship is for students with an SAT score of 1200-1250 or an ACT score between 25-26. 
  • Colorado State University has a a merit based scholarship starting from a GPA of 3.30. 
  • Utah State University offers non-resident freshman scholarship awards based on the campuses they go to.
  • Michigan Technological University offers 15 different types of scholarships for non-resident students. 
  • The Akron Advantage Award offers $3,000 while the Presidential Scholarship offers annual amounts between $3,000 and $7,500. 
  • The College of Charleston in South Carolina’s needs based scholarship offers up to $6,000 annually. 
  • The College of Charleston in South Carolina’s merit based scholarship offers between $8,000 – $12,000 annually. 
List of Out-of-State Scholarships
College Scholarship Information
University of Arizona Recognition Award. Excellence Award. Recognition Award offers $1,000 to $7,500. Excellence Awarded offers $12,500 to $20,000.
University of Missouri Black & Gold Scholarship Level 1 is a full waiver of tuition for 8 semesters. Level 2 is a half waiver of tuition for 8 semesters.
Colorado State University Merit based scholarship Awards a total of $10,000 to $40,000.
Mississippi State University 3 scholarships for non-resident freshman. 1 non-resident scholarship for children of Alumni The alumni scholarship is worth $4,000. The freshman scholarships range from $6,000 to $58,000.
Utah State University Presidential award, Deans award, Scholar award, Merit award, 100-mile Radius award, WUE award Award amounts range from $5,700 to full tuition waiver ($47,000)
Michigan Technological University Leading Scholar Award, National Scholars Program, Husky Innovation Leaders Award, Alumni Legacy Award, National Business Scholars Award, College of Business Impact Scholarship, Engineering Technology Scholars – Impress Programs, First Robotics Scholarship- for students in First or Vex Robotics, Visual and Performing Arts Talent Award, Summer Youth Scholars Award, Athletic Grants, Scholarships Sponsored by Individuals and Organizations, Military Family Education Award, Michigan Tech National Merit Scholarship, ROTC Scholarship. Award amounts vary from $1,000 to $20,000 annually.
University of Vermont Presidential Scholarship, Sustainable Futures Scholarship, Trustees Scholarship Award amounts range from $3,000 to $20,000 annually.
Kent State University Merit based scholarship Award amount unspecified.
University of Akron Akron Advantage Award. Presidential Scholarship. Award amounts range from $3,000 to $7,500.
Collège of Charleston Need based scholarship. Merit based scholarship. Award amounts range from $6,000 to $12,000 annually.

Sources

  1. The Chronicle of Higher Education: Tuition and Fees, 1998-99 Through 2020-21
  2. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES): Table 330.20 – Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees 
  3. National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA)
  4. Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE)
  5. WICHE: Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) 
  6. WICHE: Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP)
  7. WICHE: Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP)
  8. Southern Regional Education Board (SREB): Academic Common Market
  9. New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE): Tuition Break
  10. Midwestern Higher Education Compact: Midwest Student Exchange Program