How To Decide Between In-State Or Out-Of-State Colleges

South Dakota State University - tuition is something to consider when deciding between in-state or out-of-state colleges

Flickr user Don Graham

For most students, the first thing that comes to mind when deciding between an in-state college and an out-of-state college is how far away from home the college is located. Some students feel more comfortable knowing they are closer to home, while others can’t wait to begin their adventure far away. But there’s more than that to think about when making this big decision. Here are three more things that must take into consideration when deciding between an in-state or out-of-state college.

Cost of Attendance

This is, by far, the most important factor to consider. The cost of attending an out-of-state college can be considerably higher than attending an in-state college. This is because most states subsidize the higher education of students who are residents of the state, which means you will pay lower tuition fees when attending an in-state college.

If you can get an excellent education right where you are in your home state, then it makes sense to choose this option rather than pay so much more to get the same quality of education in an out-of-state college. Just the fact that you will graduate with less debt is reason enough to consider an in-state school if you find one that ticks all the boxes for you in terms of academics, campus facilities, and extracurricular activities.

However, keep in mind that some states have a Good Neighbor policy, meaning they’ll offer in-state tuition to students from nearby states. For example, the public universities in South Dakota will offer in-state tuition to students who come from Iowa.

In-State Scholarship Opportunities

Many states offer scholarship opportunities to all their students, but there’s a catch—you may have to attend an in-state institution. Most state schools offer exclusive scholarships to students who are residents of the state, and many of these scholarships require that a student be a resident in the state for a minimum of two years.

What’s especially great about scholarships is that they do not have to be paid back so whatever you win through in-state scholarships is like money in the bank. This will help lower your overall debt even more.

If you decide to attend a school out-of-state, you will still be able to apply for private scholarships but you may forfeit any money you could have won through in-state scholarships.

Major Fields of Study

Not all schools offer certain types of majors, and this is especially true for technical, medical, and unique technology fields. Some schools only offer specialty education which may only be offered at that particular institution. If you have your heart set on this type of field of study and it is not offered in any college in your state, you may have no choice but to consider an out-of-state school.

If you choose to apply to an out-of-state college because it offers your choice of major, you must give some serious thought to the additional cost of attendance and decide whether or not you can afford it.

Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!

College Raptor Staff

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