Out-of-state tuition waiver

Susan Fernandez November 11 2021

All students want the best education for themselves. It is better to live a better practical life since good education guarantees a reasonable means of earning. 

Many students travel all around the world to get the best education they want for themselves. But it is not ideal for their pocket, and it costs them more than just a tuition fee. 

Students who live in the United States but want to get an education from an institution out of their state get the cost that almost doubles the tuition fee. 

However, people who live in the same state enjoy some facilities. The residential taxes are cut down. For example, students who live in California do not have to pay more than 14,000 dollars for their education. But students from other states pay almost around 43,000 dollars for the same program. 

There are ways people can avoid these high tuition fees and study at the same rates as the residents of the same state. 

Reciprocal State Agreements

Reciprocity programs are one way to reduce the in-state fee at universities. Many universities offer only about 150 percent of in-state tuition for some programs to out-of-state students. 

The benefit of such a program is that it helps you deal with the rising cost while studying in another state. You can start your higher education while paying less than the resident's tuition fees. One more advantage is that some universities include other services along with tuition fees. 

Universities that participate in the Midwest Student Program even offer discounts up to 10 percent. Students from neighboring states can take full advantage of such programs.  Some states even offer tuition waivers for students from neighboring countries.

Recently, California and Washington joined the list of states that grant reduced rates to their residents attending state universities and colleges in other states. Other than this, there is no single formula to determine exact cost reduction because each university has its own system. But you can contact the universities directly to find out more details about such agreements. 

Other programs provide the same values. For example, New England Regional Students programs provide students from New England full advantage of in-state tuition.

Academic Common Market provides students from fifteen states to apply for academic programs. States like Kentucky, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, and many others come under the same program that offers in-state tuition fees. 

How to Apply for an Out-of-state Tuition Waiver?

You have to follow a few basic procedures before applying for an out-of-state tuition waiver.

First, find about the university you want to study at and see if they are offering any reciprocity programs or not. Once you get this information, go online and search for their website on which you will find all sorts of details about them including student fee structure, the application process, etc.

Once you complete your research, contact the university and ask them about what you have read. You will get a simple form to fill out your name, address, etc. Once you finish filling up this form, send it back along with your documents to prove your legal status as a student.

The last thing that you need is a bank draft of the fee amount that you need to pay for attending that course or program. Some universities might also want proof from another state college that says you are indeed their student studying there. 

Once they give you confirmation of enrollment because all procedures were done properly, wait for them to deliver your acceptance letter and other documents to your doorstep. Keep in mind one thing; do not forget to check the deadline of the application process every time you are applying for any university.

The application deadlines are different based on the universities, so go ahead and check them to avoid the last-minute rush. 

Public Sector Employment

Many universities in the United States offer in-state tuition when you have been a resident of the state for more than a year or two. People turn to other tactics like changing their driver's licenses or opening bank accounts to show that they are in-state students. 

But that does not guarantee anything as there can be loopholes. If you are dependent on your parents, your whole family cannot move to another state two years before your admission. However, if your parents are government employees, that can help you.

Parental public sector employment gives you the margin to apply for in-state tuition fees, and it can be done faster than any other way. 

Legal residents are entitled to the same benefits as United States citizens, but they have to prove it by following all immigration laws. If you are a legal resident then you should apply for in-state tuition because that is one of your rights. You just have to pay some fees depending on where you live and study.

What about International Students?

International students can get exempted from paying out-of-state tuition fees if they meet certain requirements like: 

You will need to complete 15 credit hours every semester along with academic requirements and GPA standards. Many universities offer this program, and there is no limit on credits or time frame involved in the process. This means if you keep yourself eligible, you can continue getting such benefits even after attending a single semester.

The other rule is that you must be a citizen of or should have permanent residency status in the country where you are going to apply for this academic program. Apart from these, there should not be any pending immigration problems as well as legal issues involved in your life. 

You should also show proof that you will return to your home after completing the course and degree programs because universities do not want international students who stay back just to look for job opportunities. 

Once all these requirements are fulfilled by you, then you can enjoy an out-of-state tuition waiver without paying any extra fee than others giving up their rights based on their state residence. The best part about this is – no one knows what you did in order to get the exemption even when you are in need of telling someone.

Legacy Scholarship

Many universities offer some relief to students whose parents have graduated from the same institution. These scholarships can help with in-state tuition fees. 

The only thing you have to worry about is maintaining your GPA or getting a GPA higher than 3.5. SAT scores also play an essential part in scoring such scholarships.  There are many universities that have a high GPA for their legacy scholarship.

You should go through the eligibility criteria to know whether you can apply or not because there is no point in wasting your time and energy on something you cannot do.   

There are other ways as well if you think traditional methods will not work for you. Some people try to find job opportunities in another state, but it is too difficult if you want to earn more money every month while studying at the same time. There are scholarships offered to students who live close by, and they never ask about your residence status either.

Scholarships based on merit or talent can also help with the fee waiver situations because these freebies do not care much about where you come from or what citizenship you have. All they want is a brilliant student who can study in their universities without worrying about too many things.

As you see, it is possible to get a waiver from paying out-of-state tuition fees, especially when you are going to earn a degree with good career prospects. Still, it all depends on your academic performance and campus achievements along with the GPA requirement set by different universities. 

Department-Specific Scholarships 

Many universities have scholarships that offer merit-based tuition waivers to students that are not residents. It does not matter if their parents have studied from the same institution or not. 

As long as you are eligible, you are free to apply. But these waivers are not renewable, so students might have to apply for the waivers every year. 

Some Tips for Out-of-State Tuition Waiver

It is important that you research all information about out-of-state tuition waivers because they are very beneficial if applied properly. For example, the University of California does have some agreements with other states but only a few programs there offer this benefit.

There are some programs like nursing, medicine, and business management that offer this waiver to out-of-state students. 

There are a few things to keep in mind.  First of all, make sure you qualify for the program by checking eligibility. You can do it on their website or just email them with questions regarding this agreement.

Secondly, double-check the application deadlines because they might have a different set of rules for each program.

Thirdly, contact your university about any further details regarding this agreement before applying otherwise your application will be rejected instantly because of miscommunication between both parties which is always better to avoid.

This is only our advice but there are still quite a few universities that don't have any waiver-based tuition agreements with other states. So, if you are really serious about getting this fee waiver then it is better to check with your universities first.

After all, public sector employment is the fastest way for out-of-state students to earn in-state tuition fees. Hope this article can help you find some useful information that you will use right away. Good luck!


Whereas it is ideal for getting the education from whichever universities you want to, at the same rate as the in-state students, these are not the humble times. We have many things to consider while applying for education, but it is better to seek help when needed. These ways are indeed the help many students are looking for!