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Cost Considerations When Choosing a Location for College

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Hale Jaeger in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info. 


What’s Covered



In State vs Out of State 


There are many things to consider when deciding which college you want to attend. For example, the location has much to do with the costs that you will end up paying. Whether you attend a college in state or out of state is the biggest determining factor. Public universities receive government and state funding, so if you attend a public school in the state that you live in, you will most likely pay less in tuition compared to students who live out of state. 


The difference between in-state tuition and out-of-state tuition varies from state to state, but in general, you can expect to save more money if you go to an in-state university. A few of these universities even commit to covering 100% of a student’s demonstrated financial need. For example, the University of Michigan has a guarantee that if you qualify for in-state tuition and your family makes less than $65,000 a year, you don’t have to pay for tuition or room-and-board fees. All students are eligible to apply for financial aid regardless of their family’s income. Many schools will try to give full aid to students whose families make below $65,000 a year. For example, Yale University doesn’t ask students whose families make less than that amount a year to pay for tuition and other costs of attendance. However, people who make more than $65,000 are still eligible for financial aid—you’re likely to get some aid for tuition costs, just not the full amount.


The Types of Financial Aid 


When a college commits to helping you with your demonstrated financial need, they will cover this with different types of scholarships and grant money rather than with loans. When you take out a loan, you will have to pay it back in the future, but the scholarships and grants that you are given do not have to be paid back. This is why financial aid grants and scholarships are crucial for making college affordable for many students. 


The state of Delaware has a program called the Student Excellence Equals Degree (SEED) scholarship for all in-state students and is not affiliated with any particular university. For any public university in Delaware, as long as you maintain a certain GPA, SAT, or ACT score, the SEED scholarship will cover whatever remains of your tuition after financial aid. For this reason, the state that you live in is a crucial thing to consider for what kinds of financial aid you’ll receive if you attend a public university.


The Cost of Private and Public Universities 


An essential aspect to keep in mind when choosing your college is whether the college is private or public. Location cost only matters when you attend public universities because they receive government and state funding. Private institutions generally don’t have a difference in terms of cost for people based in various locations. 


Regional Consortiums 


A regional consortium is when a college extends in-state tuition to students who live in nearby states. For example, the University of Maine has in-state tuition for almost any state in the Northeast, including New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. These states are all part of the New England Board of Higher Education.


The New England Board of Higher Education has a tuition break program where students living in New England often pay less to go to a public university in a New England state. This program doesn’t mean students will be paying as low as in-state tuition, but they can expect to pay around $8,000 less per year compared to students coming from outside of New England. The West Coast has a similar program called the Western Undergraduate Exchange Program. When you are looking at colleges, investigate if your state is part of one of these programs. It could be a great way to save money on tuition if you choose to attend a college outside of your state.