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Best Colleges That Offer In-State Tuition to Out-of-State Students

With this list of the best colleges that offer in-state tuition to out-of-state students, studying at your dream school for much less is possible.

Fortunately, numerous programs across the United States give out-of-state students equal opportunities for academics as in-state students. In this guide, we review 10 top-ranked institutions that participate in these benefits for distance students.

Each of these schools meets the following criteria:

  • An average annual cost of no more than $21,000
  • A median starting salary no lower than $35,000
  • Accredited programs by recognized bodies

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.  

10 Best Colleges That Offer InState Tuition to Out-of-State Students

1. West Virginia University

4 Year; Morgantown, WV

Average Annual Cost: $13,380

Students from select southern states can attend out-of-state universities and pay in-state tuition through the Academic Common Market (ACM) program, provided their desired major is unavailable in their home state. West Virginia University (WVU) has made changes to its ACM program, which are discussed below.

Important Changes to the Academic Common Market (ACM) Program at West Virginia University (WVU)

This information is especially important for prospective and current undergraduate students from participating southern states who are considering WVU through the ACM program.

Key Changes:

  • Effective Summer 2020: WVU no longer accepts new undergraduate students under the ACM agreement.
  • Current undergraduate ACM students: You will continue to receive in-state tuition benefits until you graduate, exhaust your eligibility, or leave the university.
  • Double Majors: WVU cannot approve double majors for students enrolled in the ACM program.

Maintaining Your In-State Tuition Benefits:

  • Be a full-time student (minimum 12 credit hours per semester).
  • Remain enrolled at WVU (don’t transfer to another institution).
  • Maintain good academic standing (minimum 2.0 GPA).
  • Keep your residency in your home state.
  • Graduate within five academic years.

Changing Your Major:

  • Changing your major to a program unavailable in your home state or not approved for ACM will not require repaying past in-state tuition.
  • A mid-semester major change may result in out-of-state tuition for that semester.
  • Switching to a different approved ACM major requires re-certification from your home state ACM coordinator.

Staying in Good Standing:

  • Maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA and full-time enrollment (12+ credit hours per semester).
  • Meet academic progress benchmarks for your major.
  • Complete at least 12 credit hours by the end of fall or spring semesters to avoid being charged out-of-state tuition.
  • The ACM program may remove students with poor academic standing or insufficient progress, resulting in out-of-state tuition charges.

Additional Information:

  • In-state tuition benefits are limited to five years. Out-of-state tuition applies in the sixth year.
  • Maintain eligibility requirements set by your home state’s ACM program.
  • Obtain a new certification letter from your home state coordinator if you change majors or defer enrollment.
  • WVU will send all ACM program-related updates to your MIX email address.

Remember:

  • Carefully monitor your academic progress and eligibility to maintain in-state tuition benefits.
  • Review these guidelines thoroughly before applying to WVU through the ACM program.

This information should answer your questions about the recent changes to WVU’s ACM program. If you have any further inquiries, be sure to contact WVU’s ACM program coordinator.

To learn more about tuition waivers for out-of-state students at West Virginia University, you can visit this link.

2. University of Arkansas

4 Year; Fayetteville, AR

Average Annual Cost: $14,998

Looking for a specialized degree program not offered in your state? The Academic Common Market (ACM) can help! It’s an agreement between 15 Southern states that allows students to enroll in certain out-of-state programs at in-state tuition rates.

Benefits:

  • Save money: Pay in-state tuition instead of the often higher out-of-state rates.
  • Access unique programs: Enroll in programs unavailable in your home state.

How it Works:

  1. Check eligibility: Make sure your state and desired program participate in the ACM (contact your state ACM coordinator for details).
  2. Get admitted: Apply and gain acceptance to the program at the out-of-state university.
  3. Enjoy in-state tuition: Once accepted, you’ll qualify for in-state tuition rates.

University of Arkansas:

The University of Arkansas offers several programs through the ACM for residents of participating states. These include Anthropology (West Virginia residents), Architecture (Kentucky), and Kinesiology (Louisiana, Georgia, Oklahoma residents) – see the full list above.

Important Note:

This information session is separate from the University of Arkansas’ residency classification policies for tuition and fees. These policies determine whether you qualify for in-state rates based on factors like residency duration. If you have questions about residency classification, consult the University Registrar’s Office.

Looking for more information?

  • Contact your state’s ACM coordinator to confirm program eligibility.
  • Visit the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) website for more details on the Academic Common Market: https://www.sreb.org/academic-common-market

Remember: The Academic Common Market can be a great way to afford an out-of-state program that aligns with your academic goals.

To learn more about the Academic Common Market Program at the University of Arkansas, visit this link.

3. Augusta University

4 Year; Augusta, GA

Average Annual Cost: $15,044

Augusta University is a state-funded institution located in Georgia. As such, students must provide documented proof of residency to qualify for in-state tuition rates. The university requires that students who are legal residents of Georgia provide proof of residency as a benefit of paying taxes in the state.

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

  • To qualify for in-state tuition, you must be a legal resident of Georgia.
  • Proof of residency (e.g., lease agreement, tax return) is required.
  • If you’re under 24, your parent/guardian’s residency for 12+ months prior to the term start qualifies you.
  • If you’re 24 or older, your spouse’s residency for 12+ months prior to the term start qualifies you.

Out-of-State Tuition Waivers:

  • Waivers reduce the gap between in-state and out-of-state tuition.
  • They cannot be applied retroactively.
  • Various waivers are available, including those for:
    • Career consular officials
    • Full-time school employees
    • Non-resident students (specific criteria apply)
    • USG employees and dependents
    • And more (see Augusta University website for details)
  • Review the Board of Regents Policy Manual for specific criteria for each waiver.

Mandatory Fee Waivers:

  • If your program includes courses at non-Augusta campuses, you might qualify for fee waivers.
  • Submit a waiver request each term, signed by your department, to the Registrar’s Office.
  • Processing occurs after tuition and fees are approved for the year.

Important Notes:

  • This information is a summary. Refer to Augusta University’s website for complete details and application procedures.
  • Contact the university directly with any questions.

To learn more about the tuition fee waivers available from Augusta University, you can visit this link.

4. Emporia State University

4 Year; Emporia, KS

Average Annual Cost: $15,312

Emporia State University (ESU) is a public university with a rich history, established in 1863. It offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs across various fields.

Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP) Discount

If you’re a resident of Indiana, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, or Wisconsin, you may be eligible for a tuition discount through the Midwest Student Exchange Program. Check ESU’s website for details and application procedures.

Admission Requirements

Undergraduate:

  • Full-time enrollment required
  • Satisfactory academic progress
  • Meet one of the following requirements:
    • Complete the Board of Regents pre-college curriculum with a minimum 2.5 GPA (including 4 English, 4 Math, 3 Social Science, and 3 Natural Science credits)
    • Achieve an ACT score of 21 or higher or an SAT score of 990 or higher
    • Graduate in the upper third of your high school class
  • Students not meeting the above criteria may be considered for the 10% window (check ESU website for details)

Graduate:

  • Enroll in at least 6 credit hours
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 2.5 in the last 60 credit hours, or a 3.0 GPA for a completed master’s degree
  • Some programs may have higher GPA requirements (check departmental websites)

Additional Resources:

Certificate Programs

Emporia State University offers the following certificate programs:

Archives (Graduate)
Autism Spectrum Disorders Certificate: Rehabilitation Services, General and Special Education (Graduate)
Dyslexia (Graduate)
Economic Education (Graduate)
eLearning and Online Teaching (Graduate)
Elementary Literacy (Graduate)
Elementary STEM (Graduate)
Geospatial Analysis (Graduate)
Health Information Professionals (Graduate)
Informatics (Graduate)
Leadership & Administration in Information Organizations (Graduate)
Math (Graduate)
Psychology of Learning (Graduate)
Quantitative Economics (Graduate)
Secondary Literacy (Graduate)
Social-Emotional Learning and Psychological Well-Being (Graduate)
Teaching with Technology (Graduate)
Youth Services (Graduate)

Baccalaureate Degree Programs

Emporia State University offers the following baccalaureate degree programs:

Accounting (BSB)
Art (BA, BFA, BS, BSE)
Athletic Training (BS)
Biological Sciences (BA, BS, BSE)
Science Teaching (BSE)
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BS)
Business Administration (BSB)
Business Education (BSE)
Chemistry (BA, BS, BSE)
Communication (BA, BS)
Speech Communication/Theatre (BSE)
Computer Science (BS)
Data Security (BS)
Counseling – Rehabilitation Education (BS)
Crime & Delinquency Studies (BA, BS)
Earth Science (BA, BS)
Earth/Space Science (BSE)
Economics (BS)
Education – Elementary (BSE)
English (BA, BSE)
Finance (BSB)
Health (BSE)
Health Promotion (BS)
History (BA, BS)
Information Systems (BSB)
Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS)
Information Resources Studies (BS)
Management (BSB)
Marketing (BSB)
Mathematics (BA, BS, BSE)
Modern Language (BA, BSE)
Music (BA, BM, BME)
Nursing (BSN)
Physical Education (BSE)
Physical Sciences (BA, BS)
Science Grades 5-8 (BSE)
Physics (BA, BS, BSE)
Political Science (BA, BS)
Psychology (BA, BS, BSE)
Recreation (BS)
Social Sciences (BA, BS, BSE)
Sociology (BA, BS)
Theatre (BA, BFA)

Masters Degree Programs

Emporia State University offers the following master’s degree programs:

Accountancy (MACC)
Applied Sociology (MA)
Art Therapy Counseling (MS)
Art Therapy Post Master’s (MS)
Athletic Training (MS)
Biological Sciences (MA)
Biological Sciences (MS)
Business Administration (MBA)
Clinical Counseling (MS)
Clinical Psychology (MS)
Curriculum & Instruction (MS)
Early Childhood Unified (MS)
Educational Administration (MS)
Elementary Education (MS)
Forensic Science (MS)
Health, Physical Education & Coaching (MS)
History (MA)
Informatics (MS)
Information Technology (MS)
Instructional Design & Technology (MS)
Instructional Specialist (MS)
Library Science (MLS)
Mathematics (MS)
Psychology (MS)
School Counseling (MS)
Special Education (MS)
Teaching (MED)

Doctoral Degree Programs

Emporia State University offers the following doctoral degree programs:

Library and Information Management (Ph.D)
School Psychology (EdS)

Emporia State University provides undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs, as well as certificate programs, across a variety of fields. The university also offers an MSEP discount to eligible students. Admission requirements and program offerings vary depending on the degree level and program type.

To learn more about paying in-state tuition as an out-of-state student at Emporia State University, visit this link.

5. University of Arizona

4 Year; Tucson, AZ

Average Annual Cost: $15,601

Sixteen western states and territories established the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) to collaborate and offer affordable and top-notch education in the West. The organization facilitates sharing of higher education programs and facilities for training new professionals, conducting research, and sponsoring continuing education to sharpen the skills of current professionals.

The Professional Student Exchange Program enables a limited number of Arizona students to enroll in one of five professional programs in other states, or at in-state private institutions, since these programs are not available at Arizona’s public universities.

The fields of study available are:

Dentistry
Optometry
Osteopathic medicine
Podiatry
Veterinary medicine.

United States citizens who have resided in Arizona for a minimum of five years and have maintained a 2.5 GPA are required to meet the eligibility criteria for the PSEP. To obtain certification of eligibility for professional training, applicants must directly apply to one or more of the participating schools during the period between March 15 and October 15 of the preceding year.

Funding priority is given to continuing students who were supported in the previous year and are making satisfactory academic progress. New students who applied for certification before October 15 and were certified and admitted to a participating institution are next in line for funding. In general, the funds requested for continuing students will not be used to support new students.

If you want to learn more about tuition waivers from the University of Arizona, you can visit this link.

6. Mississippi State University

4 Year; Mississippi State, MS

Average Annual Cost: $15,891

Are you a resident of a participating state looking to pursue a degree program not offered in your home state? The Academic Common Market (ACM) can help you save money on tuition!

What is the ACM?

The ACM is a tuition savings program for residents of participating states. It allows you to enroll in specific degree programs at out-of-state public universities and pay in-state tuition rates.

Who is Eligible?

  • Legal residents of a participating SREB state (see list below)
  • Admitted unconditionally to an ACM-approved program at a participating university

Participating States (as of March 14, 2024):

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida (Graduate programs only)
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas (Graduate programs only)
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

How to Apply

  1. Check Eligibility: Make sure your desired program is ACM-approved for your state (contact your state’s ACM coordinator).
  2. Get Admitted: Apply and gain admission to the program at the participating university.
  3. Obtain Residency Certification: Get a letter of Certification of Residency from your state’s ACM coordinator.
  4. Meet Deadlines: Submit all paperwork by the university’s deadlines (usually before the semester starts).

Maintaining Eligibility

  • Remain a legal resident of your home state.
  • Stay enrolled in the approved program.
  • Enroll full-time each semester.
  • Maintain a good academic standing (minimum GPA of 2.75 typically required).
  • Comply with all program requirements.

Important Notes

  • Florida and Texas only participate for graduate programs.
  • Each university may have its own minimum requirements (e.g., GPA).

Lost Your Eligibility?

There’s an appeals process for students who lose their ACM tuition remission due to extenuating circumstances.

To learn more about what’s expected from in-state students seeking out-of-state tuition at this school, visit this link.

7. University of Baltimore

4 Year; Baltimore, MD

Average Annual Cost: $16,443

Are you a Maryland resident interested in a major not offered by public universities in Maryland? The Academic Common Market (ACM) can help you save money on tuition!

What is the ACM?

The ACM allows Maryland residents to attend public universities in participating states and pay in-state tuition for programs not available in Maryland. This is a great way to expand your educational options without breaking the bank.

Who is Eligible?

  • You must be a Maryland resident.
  • You must be accepted or enrolled full-time in a degree-seeking program (undergraduate, transfer, or graduate) at a participating public university.
  • You must be admitted to your program before applying for the ACM.

How to Apply

There are three application periods each year:

  • Fall semester: March 1st – June 30th
  • Spring semester: September 1st – November 15th
  • Summer semester (not all institutions): January 2nd – February 28th

What Documents Do I Need?

The documents you need depend on your age:

  • Undergraduates & Students Under 24:
    • Copy of both parents’ Maryland income tax returns (Forms 502 & 502B only)
    • Copy of your official university acceptance letter
    • Copy of your Maryland ID or driver’s license
    • Copy of both parents’ Maryland driver’s licenses
    • Copy of your or your parent’s Maryland vehicle registration
    • Completed & signed ACM Student-Parent Affirmation form ([download link, if available])
  • Graduate Students & Students 24 or Older:
    • Copy of your Maryland income tax return (Forms 502 & 502B only)
    • Copy of your official university acceptance letter
    • Copy of your Maryland ID or driver’s license
    • Copy of your or your parent’s Maryland vehicle registration
    • Completed & signed ACM Student-Parent Affirmation form ([download link, if available])

How to Apply

Applications are submitted electronically through the ACM Application on the OneStop portal ([link, if available]).

After You Apply

Once approved, you’ll receive an ACM Certification which is sent to your university for processing.

Participating States

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Georgia (graduate only)
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas (graduate only)
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

The ACM is a fantastic opportunity to pursue your academic goals without the high cost of out-of-state tuition. Start planning today!

You can find all the steps for applying through your OneStop account, which is managed by the government of Maryland. To learn more about the Academic Common Market Program and the University of Baltimore, visit this link.

8. Louisiana State University

4 Year; Baton Rouge, LA

Average Annual Cost: $18,300

Are you a college student in a southern state looking for a degree your in-state schools don’t offer? The Academic Common Market (ACM) can help! This program allows students from participating states to enroll in out-of-state ACM programs and pay in-state tuition rates.

Who is eligible?

  • Residents of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia (Note: North Carolina no longer participates)
  • Students seeking degrees not offered by in-state public institutions

Benefits of ACM:

  • Save money on tuition by paying the in-state rate at out-of-state schools
  • Pursue your desired degree even if it’s not available in your state
  • Gain valuable experience by attending a different university

How to Apply:

  1. Contact your state’s SREB representative for specific application materials.
  2. Apply to the out-of-state university offering your program.
  3. Once admitted, submit the LSU ACM interest form (assuming LSU is your target school).
  4. Upon approval, you’ll receive a confirmation letter in your admissions portal.
  5. Submit the official letter to your home state’s SREB representative.
  6. Monitor your university portal to ensure your tuition exemption is applied and that you meet eligibility requirements.

Maintaining Eligibility:

  • Enroll in a minimum of 12 credit hours applicable to your approved degree program (undergraduate).
  • Enroll in a minimum of 9 credit hours of applicable courses for graduate programs.
  • Reapply for ACM if you change majors or take a leave of absence.

Available Programs:

  • The specific programs offered vary by state, so visit the SREB website for a complete list.
  • Some examples include Biological Engineering, Coastal Environmental Science, and Mass Communication.

The ACM Advantage:

The ACM program is a valuable resource for students seeking specialized degrees. It allows you to pursue your academic goals at a reduced cost and gain new experiences at a different university.

Contact your state’s SREB representative today to learn more and apply!

Additional Notes:

  • Information about specific application requirements and deadlines can be found by contacting your state’s SREB representative.
  • This information is presented assuming LSU is the target school. The application process may vary slightly depending on the university you choose.

To learn more about Louisiana State University’s waived out-of-state tuition fees, visit this link.

9. Kansas State University

4 Year; Manhattan, KS

Average Annual Cost: $18,902

Tuition Waiver Programs at Kansas State University (K-State) for Domestic Non-Resident Students

What are tuition waiver programs?

Tuition waiver programs are a type of financial aid that specifically benefits domestic non-resident students by reducing their out-of-state tuition costs. Unlike scholarships that provide a fixed dollar amount, tuition waivers act like a discount on your tuition bill.

Benefits of Tuition Waiver Programs:

  • Reduced Out-of-State Tuition: These programs can significantly lower your overall college expenses.
  • Potential for Long-Term Savings: Since waivers are based on tuition rates, they can save you more money as tuition increases over time.

How are Tuition Waiver Programs Different from Scholarships?

  • Disbursement: Scholarships provide a set amount of money directly to your student account. Tuition waivers reduce your tuition bill but don’t provide actual funds.
  • Projected Awards: Scholarships typically have a fixed award amount. Tuition waiver program awards can potentially grow as tuition rates increase.

Things to Consider with Tuition Waiver Programs:

  • Program Applicability: Waivers only apply to programs with full out-of-state tuition rates. Switching programs might affect your eligibility.
  • Credit Hours: Savings can vary depending on how many credit hours you take per semester.
  • Tuition Rate Changes: If in-state or out-of-state tuition rates change during your enrollment, your award amount may be affected. (Note: This is an estimate based on current tuition rates.)

K-State Tuition Waiver Programs:

K-State offers several tuition waiver programs, including:

  • Midwest Student Exchange Program
  • Founders Non-Resident Merit Award
  • Missouri Reciprocal Program
  • Missouri Match Program

Getting Help:

The Cashier’s Office can help you determine if your program qualifies for in-state or out-of-state tuition and fees.

Key Takeaway:

Tuition waiver programs offer valuable financial aid to domestic non-resident students at K-State. By understanding these programs and how they differ from scholarships, you can make informed decisions to maximize your financial aid benefit.

To learn more about the different out-of-state tuition savings and scholarships at Kansas State University, visit this link.

10. Texas A&M University

4 Year; College Station, TX

Average Annual Cost: $20,976

The ACM is a program between southern states that allows students to pay in-state tuition for specific degree programs at out-of-state public universities. This saves you money and gives you access to programs you might not find in your home state.

Benefits of ACM:

  • Pay in-state tuition for out-of-state programs
  • Access programs not offered in your home state
  • Avoids duplication of programs between states

Who is Eligible?

  • Residents of participating SREB states (check the list below to see if your state is included)
  • Students enrolled in an approved ACM program

Steps to Participate as a Texas Resident:

  1. Check for In-State Options: Make sure the program you want isn’t available at a Texas public university (search here: https://apps.highered.texas.gov/program-inventory/).
  2. Contact Texas ACM Coordinator: If no comparable program exists in Texas, contact the Texas ACM coordinator for more information and a list of approved programs (Jessica Acton, ACMrequests@thecb.state.tx.us, (512) 427-6214).

Steps to Participate as a Resident of Another State:

  1. Contact Your Home State ACM Coordinator: Contact the ACM coordinator at your home institution or state for guidance on applying to ACM programs at Texas A&M or other universities.

Approved Programs at Texas A&M University:

  • You can find a full list of approved programs, concentrations, and eligible states on the SREB website, but here are a few examples:
    • Master of Science in Animal Breeding
    • Master of Architecture in Architecture
    • Doctor of Philosophy in Geography
    • Master of Health Administration in Health Policy and Management
    • Master of Urban Planning in Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning
    • Graduate Certificate in Advanced International Affairs

The ACM Electronic Campus (ACM/EC) Program:

  • This program allows you to pursue approved degrees online (distance learning) from your home state and still qualify for in-state tuition.

Who is Eligible for the ACM/EC Program:

  • No public university in your home state offers your desired program.
  • The program is available at a participating SREB university and offered through distance learning.
  • You meet the admissions requirements of the offering university.
  • You are certified as a resident of your home state.

Approved ACM/EC Programs at Texas A&M University:

  • Graduate Certificate in Advanced International Affairs
  • Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security
  • Graduate Certificate in Statistics
  • Master of Engineering in Petroleum Engineering

Additional Resources:

If you want to learn more about the ACM Program at Texas A&M University, you can visit this link.

Enroll in Your Dream School Today With In-State Tuition

The options are endless when you have a list of the best colleges that offer in-state tuition to out-of-state students. With some of the top programs nationwide, you can explore other areas of interest not typically offered in your state.

Don’t miss the opportunity to apply for your benefits today! This way, you can explore numerous learning opportunities regardless of where you’re from.

There is another way to save money! By choosing to go to a college that pays you to attend you can become more financially stable after you graduate.

Compare your school options.

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