Qualifying for in-state tuition can have a huge impact on the amount of student debt you’re stuck with after graduation. According to The College Board, in-state students pay an average of just $9,410 a year, compared to $23,893 for non-residents.

That’s a tremendous difference in cost that can be avoided, but not in the ways you might expect. For example, many students think that moving to their chosen state for a year to establish residency will do the trick. However, most schools frown upon that tactic and have employed even stricter residency requirements to counteract it. In other words, there’s no guarantee that your move will pay off.

That’s why rather than gambling with your future, we recommend looking for top universities that work with non-resident students to make their tuition more affordable.

Some of the best ones include:

  1. Texas A&M University. One of the best colleges in the nation, there’s no shortage of applicants to Texas A&M University – even with their steep out-of-state tuition at $26,356 per year. However, if you earn a competitive scholarship of at least $1,000, you’ll qualify for their in-state tuition rate at a much more affordable $9,180.


  1. University of California, San Diego. Another popular choice for students across the country, this top university offers non-resident tuition waivers in very specific cases. For example, you can qualify for their in-state tuition rate if you’re the child, spouse, or registered domestic partner of a faculty member or university employee, or if you’re an employee of a California public school district.


  1. University of South Carolina. The University of South Carolina is a well-respected school that takes academics seriously. Through their prestigious McNair and Horseshoe Scholars Awards, exceptional out-of-state students who are leaders in their communities and demonstrate strong academic records can qualify for in-state tuition, erasing the burden of paying steep non-resident rates of $29,440 per year.


  1. University of Arkansas. If you’re from a neighboring state like Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, or Oklahoma and you have at least a 3.25 GPA and an SAT score of at least 1090, The University of Arkansas will waive a portion of your nonresident tuition.


  1. University of Alaska. Interested in going to school in Alaska but don’t want to pay the $15,552 in non-resident tuition? You can qualify for in-state tuition if your parent living in any other state has invested in Alaska’s 529 college savings plan.


  1. Northwestern Oklahoma State University. This is one school that appreciates a good legacy. If you’re not a resident of the state but one of your parents graduated from Northwestern Oklahoma State University, the school will waive your out-of-state tuition fees.



A special note on veterans and their families…

When it comes to the cost of college tuition, we have great news for our nation’s veterans and their families. As of 2015, all recent U.S. military veterans and their families are entitled to in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities throughout the country – regardless of their home state.

Please note that the information provided on this website is provided on a general basis and may not apply to your own specific individual needs, goals, financial position, experience, etc. LendKey does not guarantee that the information provided on any third-party website that LendKey offers a hyperlink to is up-to-date and accurate at the time you access it, and LendKey does not guarantee that information provided on such external websites (and this website) is best-suited for your particular circumstances. Therefore, you may want to consult with an expert (financial adviser, school financial aid office, etc.) before making financial decisions that may be discussed on this website.