Tuition Discounts Lure Students Out of State

Ann McClure's picture

Megan Pritchard decided an MBA with an international focus would get her closer to landing her dream job. After managing sales at a winery for almost two years, she wanted to move on to a French company in a U.S. operations function. Because none of the MBA programs in her home state of Alabama offered an international track with a language component, she started looking at private—and more expensive—schools like Tulane and Thunderbird.

Ultimately she enrolled in the business program at the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business. Why Moore? In the midst of her MBA search, she learned an exchange agreement between Alabama and South Carolina qualified her for in-state tuition. “It was a huge incentive,” she says of the discounted tuition status, which reduced the cost she would have paid as an out-of-state student by nearly $55,000 over the course of the program. “Without question, I will be able to afford to go to France to look for jobs.”

Such exchange arrangements exist in 46 states and have been around for decades as a way to give students wider access to higher education resources that may not be available in their home states. Several specialized degree programs—ranging from an MBA with a concentration in logistics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to a master’s in hotel administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to a bachelor’s degree in insurance and risk management at the University of Georgia—are eligible for similar out-of-state tuition discounts based on a student’s residency.

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