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  • There’s a wide range of in-state and out-of-state tuition prices, as well as variations in the differences between those numbers.
  • Typically, state schools get funding from tax dollars, which is why tuition is lower for in-state residents.
  • While in-state tuition is cheaper, factors like scholarships and other incentives can help bring out-of-state tuition prices in line with in-state prices.

If your heart is set on another state’s public college or university, you may find it disheartening to know that public schools charge out-of-state students more to attend. While the cost is usually still less than a private university, the sticker price of an out-of-state public education can be high.

In-state vs. out-of-state tuition by the numbers

The price of tuition and fees for in-state and out-of-state students varies widely depending on the state and university, and so do the differences between those numbers.

The states with the lowest average in-state tuition and fees:

  1. Wyoming: $6,100
  2. Florida: $6,370
  3. Montana: $7,260
  4. North Carolina: $7,390
  5. Utah: $7,390

The states with the highest average out-of-state prices:

  1. Vermont: $41,930
  2. Michigan: $38,710
  3. Virginia: $35,650
  4. Connecticut: $34,670
  5. Oregon: $34,380

The states with the biggest difference between in-state and out-of-state costs:

  1. Michigan: $24,370
  2. Vermont: $24,180
  3. California: $22,240
  4. Oregon: $22,130
  5. Washington: $21,840

Curious where your state or your dream school falls? Check out the latest data from the College Board®. (Figures include tuition and fees, and do not include room and board costs.)

US Tuition Cost Map


In-State Cost

Out-of-State Cost

SD $9,300 $12,840
ND $10,020 $14,260
LA $10,010 $19,950
WY $6,100 $20,650
NY $8,550 $21,040
MS $8,870 $21,310
FL $6,370 $22,060
NE $9,090 $22,550
UT $7,390 $22,860
MO $9,800 $22,880
AR $9,250 $22,910
OK $9,230 $22,990
NM $7,980 $23,010
WV $8,730 $23,130
KS $9,360 $23,580
NC $7,390 $23,840
IL $14,670 $24,060
NV $8,550 $24,450
TN $10,570 $24,600
KY $11,170 $25,110
ID $8,000 $25,230
MD $10,240 $25,590
WI $9,160 $25,670
MN $12,410 $25,740
AK $8,840 $26,290
GA $8,890 $26,480
MT $7,260 $26,780
OH $12,060 $27,130
NJ $14,960 $27,350
IA $9,670 $27,680
TX $11,100 $28,040
AL $11,120 $28,070
PA $15,310 $28,990
ME $11,030 $29,450
IN $9,940 $30,360
AZ $11,820 $31,150
MA $13,990 $31,210
HI $11,000 $31,470
RI $14,100 $31,860
NH $17,040 $31,990
CA $9,930 $32,170
CO $11,770 $32,670
WA $10,900 $32,740
SC $13,120 $33,410
DE $13,900 $33,750
OR $12,250 $34,380
CT $14,550 $34,670
VA $14,120 $35,650
MI $14,340 $38,710
VT $17,750 $41,930
Note: Average costs are applicable for 2021-2022 undergraduate tuition and fees for an entire academic year at a public college as presented by the College Board in 2022, which is the source for this data. Room and board costs are the same for in-state and out-of-state students and are, on average $11,950 for a public four-year university in the 2021-2022 school year.

Why is out-of-state tuition so much higher than in-state tuition?

State schools get funding from state taxes, which subsidizes the costs for students. So, schools typically give lower, subsidized rates to students whose families have lived in the state for at least a year, since they’ve paid state taxes and therefore contributed to those funds. When you attend an out-of-state school, you pay a higher rate since your family hasn’t paid into the tax pool.

What are the pros and cons of going out-of-state?

With in-state tuition being lower, are there reasons to go out-of-state and potentially pay extra? Yes. Expanding your college search to include public schools in other states gives you a wider range of potential opportunities and programs to choose from. Going away from home exposes you to a new set of people and experiences and gives you an opportunity to build your independence and get a fresh start in a new place.

On the other hand, in addition to being charged a higher tuition, students attending out-of-state schools may not be eligible for certain state-sponsored grants and scholarships, which are usually reserved for resident students. It may also be harder to get in, especially if the school you’re targeting is nationally ranked as a top university. Plus, for some, being far from home and loved ones can be difficult and lonely.

How to afford out-of-state tuition

It’s true that out-of-state tuition is more expensive than in-state tuition. But while that’s accurate for the sticker price, when you consider factors like scholarships and other incentives that impact the final cost, it may not be so black and white. For example, some colleges may offer in-state tuition prices to out-of-state students from certain partnering states, or they may offer more need- and merit-based aid. Keep this in mind as you evaluate college options, as well as any costs beyond those published such as flights to a school that’s far away.

If you are considering changing state residency for better tuition rates, carefully research your options and talk to school administrators first. State and school requirements can be very complex, so this may not be your best option to save on college expenses.

There’s no easy answer to the question of whether it pays to stay in-state. For some people, the tuition savings will mean a definite yes. Other students will decide that the pros of an out-of-state experience are worth the extra costs. And still, others may find that the best-priced school for them isn’t in their home state.


Tuition and Fees:

Room and Board:


College Board® is a trademark registered by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse, this site.

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