If you’re hoping to be far from home for college but are worried about the cost of an
, you might run into some issues in the application process.
How do you find out-of-state schools that still offer relatively cheap tuition?
In this article, I’ve compiled a list of schools that offer the lowest tuition rates and highest rates of institutional aid to out-of-state students. Keep reading to learn what these schools are!
What Are Cheap Out-of-State Colleges?
First off, it’s important to keep in mind that public colleges are the only schools where the moniker “out-of-state” will have any meaning for you tuition-wise.
Public colleges usually offer far higher tuition rates for out-of-state students than they do for in-state students
, whereas private colleges aren’t concerned with students’ residential statuses.
you’ll only see public colleges on this list
(in other words, schools whose tuition price would be affected based on whether or not you live in the state).
I decided that the cutoff for “cheap” colleges would be
schools with tuition and fees lower than $16,000
. Currently, the
average public school tuition and fees for out-of-state residents is $26,820
, and I wanted to pick schools that cost significantly less than average for students hoping to attend from out of state.
I’ve included the cost for room and board at each of these schools
because tuition and fees are often
than the price of room and board. I’m hoping this will give you a better idea of the real cost of attending these colleges.
I’ll also provide statistics on
how much aid is typically offered to students at each college
so you can see how generous these schools are in helping out students who can’t afford to pay full tuition.
Finally, I’ve included stats for admission rates and enrollment to help you get a better idea of the size and competitiveness of these schools.
include schools with open enrollment
, so these colleges all have some degree of competitiveness (even if their acceptance rates are 90%+).
The 24 Cheapest Out-of-State Colleges
These schools are
listed in order of net cost from lowest to highest
tuition and fees
room and board—average annual institutional aid
). Though some schools might have higher tuition prices, they make up for it by offering generous financial aid to students.
Note that some schools did not provide info on average financial aid packages for students;
this does not necessarily mean that these schools don’t offer any aid to students
All data below comes from the College Board, and
all costs are for fall 2020
Tuition & Fees
Room & Board
Avg. Aid Package
Minot State University
Delta State University
West Texas A&M University
Central State University
Southern Arkansas University
Southwest Minnesota State University
Harris-Stowe State University
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Midwestern State University
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
University of Southern Mississippi
Alcorn State University
Henderson State University
University of Texas of the Permian Basin
University of Minnesota Morris
Dakota State University
University of Nebraska at Kearney
Truman State University
Southwestern Oklahoma State University
Mississippi Valley State University
Arkansas Tech University
Oklahoma Panhandle State University
Rogers State University
Youngstown State University
LSU Alexandria looking pretty.
Why Are These Colleges So Cheap for Out-of-State Students?
Why are the tuition prices on this list so low? For a significant number of these schools, there is no difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition. With the increasing level of competitiveness in higher education,
less well-known schools are using low prices to entice students to attend
The affordability of a college education has become a huge concern as
tuition prices continue to rise at most schools
The best way for more obscure schools to increase their viability in the higher education market is to lower their price tags.
This gets them on lists of “best value” schools (like this one!) and leads to a strong reputation for caring about the financial struggles of students.
Some of these schools are simply dedicated to reducing the impact of financial concerns on those who choose to attend their college
, whether they’re in state or out of state. For example,
Delta State University charges the same tuition rate for all students
regardless of their residential status, stating that, “These rates are established to increase financial equity, reduce the impact of financial considerations on educational policy and increase uniformity across the university.”
A Final Word: Remember, It’s Not All About Cost
After seeing the low price tags on all these schools, you might be tempted to forgo your other priorities in favor of a loan-free future. However,
there are many factors to consider besides cost in the college search process
Even if you know it will be difficult for you to pay for college, many schools offer generous financial aid packages to those with demonstrated need.
Avoid sacrificing your preferences for location, academic programs, and campus life just so you can spend less money on college.
Before you make a decision based on how expensive a school is,
think about the following
How big the school is
and whether you think you’ll prefer a large or small environment
Where the school is located in the country
and whether it lines up with how far away from home you want to be
and whether they align with your own interests—what opportunities do you want to have available to you in college?
—do you want to be at a
or one that caters toward smaller gatherings? Are you interested in Greek life at all?
Overall quality of academics
based on its admissions rate and student feedback
The environment beyond the campus—do you prefer
a large city or a small town
Once you’ve made up your mind about these key factors, you can move on to comparing schools based on financial criteria. It’s OK to compromise on some things, but
be sure you know what’s most important to
so you end up with the best possible college experience
If you’re not sure where to start and need more specific advice, read
our step-by-step guide to the college search process
. You can also look at
some highly reviewed college search websites
to learn more information about schools that interest you.
Still not sure what you’re looking for in a college?
Read our articles on
whether you should go to a school close to home
whether you should attend a large or small college
Application fees are the first hurdle you’ll have to overcome when paying for college.
Take a look at
this list of colleges that don’t charge any application fees
to see whether you might be able to save some money in the application process.
Many of the schools on this list have fairly small student bodies. Read this article to
what you should expect from a small college environment
and to figure out whether it’s really the best choice for you.