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How to Get Scholarships for Out-of-State Students

Because out-of-state students do not benefit from in-state tuition pricing, scholarships are especially important for funding their education. Luckily, there are many scholarship opportunities available for out-of-state students. If you are hoping to spend your college years further from home, or if your in-state colleges do not offer the programs you are looking for, here are some tips to help you in your search for scholarships for out-of-state students!

Look for tuition reciprocity programs

Many states have established tuition reciprocity programs at their public colleges and universities which offer discounted tuition rates to each others’ residents. Some of these agreements entail partial discounts while others offer fully discounted in-state tuition to students in their partner states.

Wisconsin and Minnesota have established a tuition reciprocity agreement which you can read about here. Wisconsin students are eligible to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities in Minnesota, and vice versa. This mutually beneficial agreement allows students of both states more flexibility in their higher education options.

Some tuition reciprocity programs include a larger coalition of states, though the discounts may not always be as steep as the Wisconsin-Minnesota agreement. Some of the agreements also offer partial discounts for private institutions. Here is a list of some tuition reciprocity programs and the states they encompass:

Midwest Student Exchange Program

Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, & Wisconsin

New England Regional Student Program

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont

Southern Regional Education Board Academic Common Market

Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia

Southern Regional Education Board Regional Contract Program

Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina

Western Undergraduate Exchange

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming

Students are not automatically considered for most of these programs; you will have to apply to the program to receive the discount. Make sure to do your research and fill out the appropriate paperwork to get your discount if you decide to utilize one of these programs!

To learn more about how to get in-state tuition as an out-of-state student, you can check out this post for more strategies to save money!

Apply for scholarships in your home state

Some scholarships are offered to all residents of a state, regardless of the state where they choose to attend school; these are perfect opportunities for out-of-state students. Check out our lists of scholarships by state and read the terms of each one carefully to see if you may qualify. 

Scholarships like these are especially common if they are specific to your town, city, or region. If your area has a community foundation or other similar organization, you can research their programs to find some scholarships that have a higher chance of allowing applicants who will be attending school out-of-state.

Recommended: How to win local scholarships

Out-of-state recruitment scholarships

As part of an initiative to recruit more young and college-educated people, some states will subsidize degrees for students from out-of-state. If you are interested in out-of-state scholarships, try visiting the website of the school you are interested in and looking at their scholarships section. Boise State University and Kent State University are two examples of schools with opportunities for out-of-state students.

Related: Top merit-based scholarships

Deciding between public and private institutions

In-state public colleges and universities are generally the most affordable option for a college degree, but what do the numbers look like once you are considering out-of-state options? Generally, public institutions are still cheaper; The College Board found that in 2020, the average out-of-state public tuition cost was $27,020 while private institutions had an average cost of $37,650. 

In general, public institutions are more affordable than private ones, even if you are an out-of-state student. That being said, some private institutions may offer a more generous merit-based financial aid package. Some also participate in the tuition reciprocity programs described above. So don’t rule out private institutions just yet; there are ways to make them more affordable.

See also: Top easy scholarships to apply for

Try your parents’, guardians’, and grandparents’ alma mater

If your parents or guardians hold a college degree from an institution in another state, you could investigate to see if they offer tuition discounts for legacy students. Many schools offer these opportunities, and it could be a quick and easy way to receive a deep discount on an out-of-state education.

Bottom line for students

An education in another state can be a rewarding and eye-opening experience. We hope that this guide will allow more students to experience it. As always, don’t forget to apply for need-based financial aid through the FAFSA as this is an important source of funding for all students. Good luck on your search for out-of-state scholarships!