It’s no secret that attending school in-state can save you a pretty penny. As reported by, the national average for in-state tuition and fees at a public institution is $9,139 per year. Meanwhile, the same package at an out-of-state school will cost you an average of $22,958 annually. If you’re keeping track, that’s a difference of $13,819 per year – more than $55,000 over the course of a four-year education.

At the same time, if you have your heart set on an out-of-state school, it’s worth noting there are ways to minimize the effects of this price difference. The experts at Communityforce are here to weigh in on how you can attempt to close the tuition gap.

Moving to make it work

With enough dedication, there’s always a way. Some families go as far as to pack up and move to a given state long enough to establish residency and qualify for in-state tuition. According to, the time requirement varies by state but is typically around a year.

Close by can be close enough

As pointed out, you might be surprised to learn that many institutions will offer out-of-state waivers or scholarships to students who reside in a bordering state or within a certain distance of the school. These waivers can cover part or even all of the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition.

Check with your school’s financial aid office to see if they offer such a waiver and ask about their requirements for qualifying.

In-state students vs. transient students

In order to qualify for waivers, it’s important to have an understanding of what your school considers an in-state student compared to a transient student. According to, states want to know that you plan to make your college town your home beyond just the next semester. They want to see you living off-campus, contributing to the local economy and maybe even settling down in the area in the long run. As such, they may require you to meet certain criteria, such as acquiring a locally based job or establishing permanent residency.

Find loopholes

Some colleges and universities offer out-of-state tuition discounts for reasons that are not location-based. These cost reductions can come as a result of maintaining a certain GPA or enrolling in online courses. Look into your school’s requirements, and be sure to get any necessary forms or applications in before the deadline.

Get outside help

If you find you aren’t able to make up the tuition difference directly through your school, remember there are always outside scholarships up for grabs. Sure, applying for these may take more time and effort on your part, but receiving these scholarships could go a long way in covering thousands of dollars for your education.

As you consider out-of-state schools, it’s important to keep in mind that not every school will adhere to or acknowledge the recommendations above; even similar schools have varying financial aid and tuition policies. As suggested by, be sure to inquire with each of the schools you’re interested in – it’s possible you’ll qualify for in-state tuition at one out-of-state school but not another in the same state.

For more information on financial aid, scholarships and college planning, please visit Communityforce website!