Getting an Academic Bargain Across State Lines

If you want to attend a public university outside your state, the price tag can often be outrageously high.

It’s easy to understand why.

States are usually only interested in holding down the costs for their own residents. You might, however, be able to capture a higher ed bargain if your state maintains a reciprocal agreement with its neighbors. States commonly have reciprocity agreements with public colleges and universities in other states.

Thanks to these compacts, an out-of-state student may be able to pay the same tuition as a resident or pocket a significant discount.

Why would states cut the price for outsiders? One motivation is money.

If reciprocal agreements are in place, a state might not have to worry about offering its own students, for instance, a school of architecture, optometry or forestry. Instead of spending the money on these majors, a state can reach a deal with a neighboring state.

That’s exactly the sort of agreement that the states of Kansas and Missouri reached years ago. The University of Missouri has a dentistry school, but the University of Kansas doesn’t. KU, however, has a School of Architecture, but Mizzou doesn’t. Consequently, Missouri architecture students can pay in-state tuition at KU and Kansas dentistry student enjoy a cut rate price at Mizzou.There are countless examples around the country of these piggy back arrangement.

Many schools, however, don’t advertise these arrangement so you must ask. Large groups of states have also entered into regional reciprocity agreements. Keep in mind that not all public schools participate in these compacts.

Here are the regional compacts:

Academic Common Market. Member states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware,), Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Texas, Florida and North Carolina only participate through their graduate programs.

Midwestern Higher Education Compact Member states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

New England Board of Higher Education. There are 78 public colleges and universities in the six states in this compact and they all participate in the tuition discount program. The states are: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Western Undergraduate Exchange Member states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

You can learn more about shrinking the cost of college by reading  The College Solution.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

 Email a Friend

3 Responses to “Getting an Academic Bargain Across State Lines”

  1. Erika Says:

    Never even heard of this helpful blog site before, but while researching some financial questions of mine regarding school it provided a great deal of information. Thank you for your help.

  2. Arielle Says:

    So if I reside in Delaware, I can go to school (Grad School) in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia or West Virginia, and pay in state tuition??? If so, PLEASE CONTACT ME ([email protected]) I need to know. This would be sooooooooo helpful..

  3. Lynn Says:

    Hi Arielle,

    Yes, these reciprocal agreements are a great deal. You should know, however, that not all grad schools will participate in a particular state. I’d suggest contacting schools you are interested in and also visiting the website of the Academic Common Market. Here is the link:


    Lynn O’Shaughnessy
    Author of The College Solution

Leave a Reply