As I have said many times, your child’s choice of college will have the biggest impact on the total cost of college for your family. This is due mostly to merit-based scholarships, tuition discounts, and the ability of the college to cover any financial need. However, there is another strategy for saving on the cost of college: tuition reciprocity agreements.
While your biggest savings on public colleges typically come from being in-state (a resident of the same state as the school), tuition reciprocity agreements provide discounts to students from neighboring states. These can be significant for some schools and areas. Colorado students saved an average of $8,000 per year using the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) program.
However, the tuition savings are not automatic as they are for in-state students. You need to apply and meet the program criteria. For example, some schools only allow a certain number of students from each state and certain in-demand majors may not be included in the program.
The important thing is to do your research or get some guidance based on the specific school your child would like to attend and what major your student plans to pursue. Here are links to the major regional programs:
And these are not the only programs. There are also state and university specific reciprocity relationships. These tend to be between bordering states. For example, Minnesota residents can go to certain colleges in bordering states and some colleges in Canada for reduced tuition rates.
If you would like to talk about how to make college affordable for your family, I would be happy to help.