The appeal of in-state tuition is only rivaled by that of an out-of-state college. How unfortunate, then, that you can only have one or the other. Or at least that’s what you might have been led to believe. Luckily for you, I didn’t believe that nonsense, and decided to find out just what it would take to get the best of both worlds: an exciting new place full of new people and new adventures, all for the low price of whatever in-state tuition is at your dream school.
The Obvious Answer
Now of course the easiest way to get your hands on affordable college tuition at an out-of-state college would be to simply move there. Although… it’s really not that simple. Most schools require a minimum of 12 months’ residency prior to the first day of classes, and some even go as high as 24 months. And for many, simply living in the state isn’t enough. You might have to have a job there, or switch your bank account to a local bank, and in some situations, your parents might even be required to be living in the state as well.
Because of all of those reasons, many people opt not to bother attempting to gain residency, as it’s too much hassle and too time consuming to be convenient. However, it is an option, and it’s a good one if you don’t mind waiting a little while to get into the school of your dreams.
Go Next Door
If you’re not worried so much about the actual school as just getting out of your home town, then maybe you should consider heading to a school in a neighboring state. Many colleges will offer a reduced tuition if you live near the state it lies in, and all you have to do is call the admissions office and find out what your options are!
Consider an Exchange Program
No, I’m not suggesting you go to another country, however certain regions or cities have exchange programs set up with schools in other parts of the country (and yes, if you really want, the world). These usually offer some form of reduced tuition as an incentive for participating in the program, and you get to meet some pretty cool new people from other areas that are participating in the same program as you. While not every prospective student is already living in a region that participates in similar programs, it doesn’t hurt to look and see if there's a program out there that fits your needs.
On top of these options, there are also certain situations that can qualify you for tuition reduction or even a tuition waiver. Certain familial circumstances or affiliations (military service, low income, government work, etc.) can come in handy when it comes to paying for college.
While trying to get cheaper tuition isn't an easy process, it never hurts to try to find out if there is an option out there that would work for you. Take your time, do your research, and who knows? Maybe you'll find out that your dream college isn't just a dream for you anymore.