Does it Pay to Attend a State University as an Out-of-State Student?
I live in New Jersey, a state that has a very good flagship state university. But college-bound students love to become out of state students someplace else. New Jersey is a fairly small state, land area-wise. It’s not like being from Philadelphia or Pittsburgh and deciding to attend Penn State. If you come from either city, you have a three-hour drive to State College. It’s almost impossible to have a three-hour drive to Rutgers-New Brunswick from anyplace in the Garden State.
Is it really worth the extra dollars to stray further from home?
In some cases it might be. Here’s a few good reasons to stray.
Your state schools do not offer your desired major.
In some states there are exchange programs where students may pursue a degree at a state university in a neighboring state at a discounted rate of tuition and fees.
You want to go where the jobs are.
Students in creative fields want to work in places where creatives are concentrated or places that are the largest audience for their work.Going to school in a large cultural center such as Los Angeles, Minneapolis or Seattle has advantages over going to college in a college town.
You cannot get into the flagship state university or the top public liberal arts college.
Visit any state university today. Chances are they have received more applications from students who live in California, Illinois and Texas. These are all states where the flagship school is extremely selective.
You can’t get into the academic program you want at your flagship state university.
This is especially true of programs in fields such as engineering, nursing and pharmacy where the flagship is considered to be one of the best in the field.
Your state has a very small or exceptionally weak economy.
There’s no better examples than the Midwestern states that serve the auto industry: Indiana, Michigan and Ohio where so many jobs were lost that are unlikely to return. Other schools such as the University of Maine or the University of New Hampshire are located in states that do not have a large industrial base. Those who have grown up in these states may prefer to live in a place where they are likely to find more job opportunities.
You qualify for the most generous merit-based aid packages.
The University of Virginia, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the University of Georgia offer generous fellowships to undergraduates. So does Rutgers, through the Presidential Scholarship program. When you’re comparing one fellowship to another, the decision is more likely to come down to fit.
You can afford and want the very best school that you can get into.
Students who apply to the most selective state universities that are also quite welcoming to out-of-state students–the University of Virginia, University of Michigan, College of William and Mary and Georgia Tech, to name examples–are often considering these schools against private options.
Want to know more about me? Check out these podcasts!
Listen to my talk, College Is A Learning AND Living Community, hosted by Dr. Cynthia Colon from Destination YOUniversity on Voice of America Radio!
Listen to my talk, What Exactly Is a Good College? hosted by test-prep experts Amy Seeley and Mike Bergin on Tests And The Rest!