(This originally appeared on DIYCollegeRankings.com.) Back when I was a freshman attending a rather large state university in Austin, Texas, I ran into quite a few students (relatively speaking) from the state of New York. They told me that they were attending college in Texas because our out-of-state tuition was cheaper than their in-state tuition. I only saw them that one year because the following year, the legislature raised out-of-state tuition and Texas was no longer as appealing to New Yorkers as it once was.
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That sort of situation isn’t as common today as it once was but it still happens. Based strictly on an average of all the states’ public universities total cost of attendance (not weighted), students who are residents in four states (New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut) could find it cheaper to attend public universities in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, or Minnesota. Of course, that’s assuming the students don’t qualify for any need based aid at their state university. And any cost savings would probably be lost in travel costs and the like making the entire proposition a wash in the end.
However, out-of-state tuition is a major concern of many foreign students who don’t qualify for in-state tuition in any state. The average total cost of attendance for out-of-state residents at public colleges is $35,174 for 2017-18, up from $33,943 in 2016. The number of public universities where the out-of-state cost is over $40,000 has increased from 115 to 138. Among those, 35 charge more than $50,000 and 11 of those, in California, Virginia, and Michigan, are over $60,000.
Given that there are now 53 state colleges that have a total cost of attendance over $30,000 for in-state students, I’ve decided to increase my cut-off for “low-cost” out-of-state total costs to $32,000. There are 190 public universities with out-of-state total costs below this level. A total of 66 have prices under $25,000 for non-residents.