State (public) colleges and universities get the money they need to operate from
tuition and from taxes paid by state
residents. So, students within that state pay a lower cost. Because out-of-state
students haven't been paying tax dollars into that state, they are charged more
These colleges also may have a lower price tag to entice graduates to stay in that
state. College graduates are more likely to have good jobs, pay taxes, and contribute
to the state's economy.
Whether a student pays in-state or out-of-state tuition isn't always set in stone.
Consider these facts:
- If a student is a "top performer" (someone with an excellent grade point average
or test scores), some colleges may reduce (or eliminate) the extra cost for out-of-state
- Some states with declining populations of college-age residents may reduce out-of-state
- Some state colleges have agreed to a "reciprocity compact." This means that a state
has an agreement with neighboring states to reduce (or eliminate) the extra cost
of out-of-state tuition. For example, Minnesota has reciprocity agreements with
Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota as well as with the Canadian province
of Manitoba. There are four regional reciprocity compacts: Western Undergraduate Exchange, Academic Common Market, Midwestern Higher Education, and the New England Board of Higher Education.