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  • In-state and out-of-state tuition prices vary widely, but going out of state usually costs more.
  • State schools typically get funding from state tax dollars, which is why tuition is lower for in-state residents.
  • While in-state tuition is generally cheaper, scholarships and other financial aid can help bring out-of-state tuition costs in line with in-state prices.

If your heart is set on another state’s public college or university, you might want to compare in-state versus out-of-state tuition first. That’s because public college tuition tends to cost more for nonresidents. The numbers vary widely, but going out of state could increase your college costs. However, the right financial aid package could make an out-of-state school more affordable than you might think. Knowing what to expect can help you decide what makes the most sense for you.

In-state versus out-of-state tuition by the numbers

State schools get funding from state taxes, which subsidizes costs for in-state students. That’s why schools typically give lower rates to students whose families have lived in the state for at least a year. Tuition and fees for in-state and out-of-state students vary widely depending on the state and university—and so do the differences between those numbers according to data from the College Board® in 2022.

States with the lowest average in-state tuition and fees:

  1. Florida: $6,370 
  2. Wyoming: $6,440 
  3. North Carolina: $7,360 
  4. Montana: $7,460 
  5. Utah: $7,660 

States with the highest average out-of-state prices:

  1. Vermont: $41,980 
  2. Michigan: $38,680 
  3. Virginia: $36,930 
  4. Oregon: $35,730 
  5. Delaware: $34,960

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

  1. Vermont: $24,330 
  2. Michigan: $23,870
  3. California: $23,340 
  4. Oregon: $22,850 
  5. Washington: $22,810 

Curious where your state falls? Check out our state-by-state breakdown of average tuition costs.

State In-state cost Out-of-state cost
Alabama $11,620 $29,200
Alaska $8,990 $26,820
Arizona $12,180 $32,870
Arkansas $9,460 $23,800
California $10,250 $33,590
Colorado $12,100 $33,820
Connecticut $15,610 $34,220
Delaware $14,230 $34,960
Florida $6,370 $22,010
Georgia $8,220 $25,380
Hawaii $11,000 $31,690
Idaho $8,180 $25,740
Illinois $14,960 $25,210
Indiana $10,040 $30,650
Iowa $10,110 $28,590
Kansas $9,390 $23,800
Kentucky $11,390 $25,530
Louisiana $10,160 $22,700
Maine $11,210 $29,670
Maryland $10,560 $25,860
Massachusetts $14,400 $31,840
Michigan $14,810 $38,680
Minnesota $12,910 $25,730
Mississippi $9,100 $20,740
Missouri $10,240 $23,660
Montana $7,460 $27,890
Nebraska $9,140 $22,620
Nevada $8,590 $24,930
New Hampshire $17,020 $32,740
New Jersey $15,440 $28,660
New Mexico $8,930 $23,980
New York $8,560 $21,020
North Carolina $7,360 $23,990
North Dakota $10,470 $14,800
Ohio $12,560 $27,730
Oklahoma $9,390 $23,460
Oregon $12,880 $35,730
Pennsylvania $15,550 $29,710
Rhode Island $14,570 $32,760
South Carolina $13,120 $34,170
South Dakota $9,290 $12,830
Tennessee $10,570 $25,020
Texas $11,140 $28,340
Utah $7,660 $24,050
Vermont $17,650 $41,980
Virginia $14,580 $36,930
Washington $11,130 $33,940
West Virginia $8,940 $23,670
Wisconsin $9,230 $26,460
Wyoming $6,440 $21,590

Note: Average costs are applicable for 2022-23 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, $12,310 for a public four-year university for the 2022-23 school year.

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

There are potential benefits and drawbacks of attending an out-of-state college. 


  • Going to another state may give you access to a wider range of opportunities and programs. 
  • Going away from home exposes you to a new part of the country—and the different experiences that go along with it. That can help you get out of your comfort zone and grow as a person. 
  • Another state might be a better fit for your personality, whether you prefer the hustle of a big city or the slower pace of a small town.


  • You’ll likely pay more in tuition and fees in addition to transportation costs to travel back home.
  • 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 be harder to get accepted to an out-of-state college, especially if the school you’re targeting is nationally ranked as a top university. 
  • For some, being far away from home and loved ones can be difficult.

What are the pros and cons of staying in state?

Staying in state comes with its own pros and cons.


  • Your tuition will probably be more affordable.
  • Staying in state could unlock state-sponsored scholarships and grants.
  • You may be closer to home, which can make the transition to college a little easier.


  • An out-of-state school might have a better program for your major.
  • You might not get the college experience you want, especially if an in-state school feels similar to your hometown.
  • Attending an in-state college with high school friends may cut you off from the new experiences you’d have out of state.

Ways to afford out-of-state tuition

There are several ways to potentially lower your tuition costs if you’re going out of state:

  • Establish residency: Carefully research your options since state and school requirements can be complex. You may need to live in your new state full-time for at least one year prior to attending school. If a parent claims you as a dependent, they may need to meet similar residency requirements for you to qualify for in-state tuition. 
  • Explore state-specific tuition exchange programs: Some schools offer in-state tuition for certain out-of-state students. For example, Ohio has reciprocity agreements with Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia. 
  • Look into regional college tuition discount programs: Certain regions offer tuition discounts to out-of-state students who attend a participating school. For example, the Southern Regional Education Board allows qualified students to leave their state to pursue a professional health degree at an in-state rate.
  • See if there are exceptions for special circumstances: Some schools give in-state tuition to out-of-state students who are veterans, members of military families, or children of alumni. If you’re interested in a college in another state, check their residency requirements.

How to pay for out-of-state tuition

Completing the FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the first step in paying for college. Schools use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and federal student loans. 

Be sure to review your financial aid award letters carefully. Before taking on debt, compare in-state and out-of-state programs to decide which school is right for you. With the right combination of aid, an out-of-state college could be quite affordable. Scholarships, federal student loans, and private student loans can fill in any remaining funding gaps.

There’s no easy answer when comparing in-state versus out-of-state tuition. For some people, the tuition savings are convincing enough to stay in state. Other students may decide that the benefits of an out-of-state experience are worth the extra costs. Let your financial situation and college goals be your guide.

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

FAFSA® is a registered trademark of the US Department of Education and is not affiliated with Discover® Student Loans.

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