Get an Affordable Education: The Cheapest Out-of-State Tuition


College is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be that way. A lot of prospective students, especially those who travel out-of-state to earn their degree, worry about how they will afford it. Instead, we will look at some of the cheapest out-of-state tuition schools, as well as the opportunity to earn your degree online at tuition-free institutions, like at University of the People.



Woman with backpack and cherry blossoms

Photo by Tim Gouw



Out-of-State Versus In-State?

Before we get into the list, let’s define what out-of-state means. For students in America, you are considered an in-state student in the state in which you have resided in for a period of time. However, students who have a working visa in another state (outside their residence) may be able to apply for schools in said state as an in-state student.


The biggest difference between the two designations is the associated tuition fees. Out-of-state students generally have to pay double that of in-state students. Keep in mind, this only holds true for public institutions. Private schools cost the same for everyone, regardless of where they are from.



Low Cost Tuitions: Out-of-State

Although the cost of most out-of-state tuition is astronomical, these universities have relatively low and “cheap” out-of-state tuition fees.


1. Chadron State – $5,760


Chadron State College is a public school located in Chadron, Nebraska. The school offers both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a variety of majors, including 52 undergraduate options and 8 graduate programs. With a low student-faculty ratio at 19-1, the classes are also small, averaging only 14 students per class. Chadron State is situated in a rural and agricultural community and was founded in 1911.



2. Delta State University – $6,562


With over 3,000 students enrolled, Delta State University is a public institution located in Cleveland, Mississippi that offers over 40 majors and north of 100 organizations to get involved in. Beginning as a teacher’s education college, the University has expanded to offer core programs as well as unique areas of study like Commercial Aviation. The school has no out-of-state fees and prides itself on being affordable.



3. Minot State University – $7,064


Located in Minot, North Dakota, Minot State University has over 100 majors to choose from. Additionally, the school charges all students the same amount of money, whether they are considered to be out-of-state or in-state students. With over 3,000 students, MSU boasts almost 2,000 of whom are full-time and pursuing their undergraduate degree. The average high school GPA of those who are accepted is 3.36 and the most popular type of degree pursued is a Bachelor of Science.



4. Southwest Minnesota State University – $8,640


In Marshall, Minnesota sits Southwest Minnesota State University that was founded in 1963. The school has nearly 7,000 enrolled students coming from 75 different countries. 99% of recent graduates are employed. In Minnesota, the school ranked 6 in terms of the best return on investment.



5. Eastern New Mexico University – $10,633


With both online and on-campus options, Eastern New Mexico University has over 90 programs and more than 1,200 courses to choose from. It is considered to be in the top 10% of most affordable universities located in the Southwest region and 97% of its students feel satisfied with their overall experience. The school has a wide array of opportunities, from studying online to accepting transfer units, providing support for those in the military and veterans and more.



Why is College so Expensive?

In the United States, the price of college continues to rise. This is because there’s high demand paired with a low supply of faculty and teachers. Compounded by a lack of funding, the burden often falls on students to bear the expenses, and as such, many are left struggling to pay for school or taking out loans that are overwhelming to pay back.


Although the quality of education is seemingly strong, the drawbacks of high costs keep many from attending school. In an effort to combat this situation, as well as democratize education around the world, University of the People is reshaping what it means to earn your degree.



Paying for School

If you do choose to attend a traditional institution, here are a few ways you can help to pay for school:


1. Work study


Work at a job on campus and receive a portion of your salary tax-free that counts towards your tuition.



2. Part-time job


Balancing work and school isn’t an easy task, but it’s more doable with a part-time job rather than a full-time job.



3. Scholarships


Regardless if you attend an online school or on-campus school, you can apply for scholarships that are basically free money to earn your education.



4. Loans


You can take out federal or state loans to help pay for school, but keep in mind, you will have to pay them back (and often with high interest rates).



Person using computer

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash



University of the People: A Revolutionary Approach

University of the People is an entirely online and accredited institution that grants degrees from associate’s to bachelor’s to master’s degrees. In four subject areas (Health Science, Education, Computer Science and Business Administration), you could attend school tuition-free. The benefits of online education are many, and perhaps one of the biggest differences compared to a traditional campus is the flexibility online schools offer. You are in control of where and when you learn and study.


The UoPeople model is a low-cost alternative to the high price of most traditional institutions. Additionally, with students in attendance from over 200 countries and territories, as well as the high value it places on peer-to-peer learning, you can network and meet people from around the world (from the comfort of your own home).



The Bottom Line

Depending on your preferences, moving out-of-state to go to school may be what you desire. If so, there are affordable universities that don’t charge an arm and a leg for visiting students.


However, you may now realize that online universities provide a better and more cost-effective alternative to moving away for school. Even if you do want to go to a different state to learn, you can enroll online and still gain the experience of moving away to earn your degree!




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