This is an exerpt from Rich Smith’s “5 Sneaky Ways to Get In-State Tuition for Your Out-of-State Kid”. Hope it’s helpful.
In the personal finance book “Achieve Financial Freedom — Big Time!” authors Sandy and Matthew Botkin lay out a handful of strategies for securing in-state tuition rates. Not all of them work for all people, all the time, in all situations. But when you’re talking about the chance to cut tuition costs by 66 percent, it’s probably worth examining your options.
Here they are:
1. Take advantage of “academic common markets”: In certain regions of the country, states have banded together to offer in-state tuition rates to students within their “common market.” There are four such markets in existence:
•New England Board of Higher Education: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
•Midwestern Higher Education Compact: Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and North Dakota.
•Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota (yes, them again), Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
•Southern Regional Education Board Academic Common Market: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Within each common market, students residing in one state, accepted to a school in a different state, can apply for in-state tuition at their preferred school if they’re studying in a major not offered by any public school in their home state.
2. “You’ve got a friend in Pennsylvania (and Elsewhere)”: An analogous program, less official, more variable, and dubbed the “friendly neighbor policy,” can be found on occasions where states are willing to bend the rules a little. Sometimes, a state will grant in-state tuition rates to a student who lives near the border in a neighboring state, according to “Achieve Financial Freedom.” Emphasis on “sometimes.”
(This is like the example I mentioned in a previous post about how MI and OH often offer in-state tuition to each other’s residents.)
3. We’re All Moving to College: You say your dream school’s home state is not inclined to be friendly? Fine. Do an end-run around too-strict in-state tuition policies by moving to your dream school’s state. Just make sure to do this at least one year before beginning school, and make sure to register to vote, and pay taxes, in your new state as well.
4. Emancipation Proclamations: Too late to move the whole family before school starts? There’s still another option. If a student declares herself independent of her parents — and can prove it by, for example, showing she has sufficient funds (or access to sufficient loans) to pay for tuition and room and board — then it may be possible to become an instant in-state resident even after starting school.
Again, registering to vote and paying taxes in the new state are non-negotiable, the Botkins write. And, of course, the parents will not be able to claim the student as a dependent on their tax returns anymore.
5. You want cheap tuition? Uncle Sam wants YOU! A fifth and final option, according to the book, is available to members of the U.S. military, who can essentially “pick a state” for their domicile, and if that state just happens to be the one with the great in-state tuition rate, well, what a coincidence!