Tuition Reciprocity Agreements

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Tuition Reciprocity Agreements

Students who would like to study a program not offered by their state universities and colleges often need to turn to a neighboring state, and unfortunately end up paying non-resident tuition rates. However, there are several regional groups whose members cooperate to offer lower tuition rates to their member states. Additionally, quite a few states have reciprocal tuition agreements with neighboring states.

The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) coordinates the Regional Student Program, also konown as the Tuition Break Program. All community colleges, colleges and universities in the New England states (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut) take part in the program. If a course of study is not offered in any schools in your home state, the student may opt to take it in another New England state and receive a lowered tuition rate. These rates are set by the NEBHE, though the individual states can decide to charge a lower tuition. Programs like these benefit not only the students, but allow the states to provide an affordable education to their residents, without having to set up their own educational programs at great cost.

The Academic Common Market (ACM) is offered through the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and allows students to enroll in certain fields of study in participating states while enjoying in-state tuition rates. Members are Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

The SREB also offers the Regional Contract Program for students who are pursuing a professional health degree. Students would be able to pay instate rates at participating public institutions and a reduced rate at private schools. Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina take part in the Regional Contract Program. Included programs are dentristry, medicine, optometry, osteopathic medicine, podiatry and veteranary medicine acccording to the SREB website.

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands all belong to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). WICHE runs the Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP), which gives qualified students preference in admissions, as well as a lower tuition rate. The reciprocal tuition agreement is only available for certain courses of study and not all courses are available to all states. Currently, dentistry, medicine, occupational therapy, optometry, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, podiatry and veterinary medicine are part of the PSEP program.

WICHE also coordinates the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) where students may receive a reduced tuition rate of 150% of the in-state rate. This is not automatic because many schools may limit the number of awards each year.

The Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) runs the Midwest Student Exchange Program Overview (MSEP). Twelve states currently belong to MHEC (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin), but only nine currently take part in MSEP (South Dakota, Iowa and Ohio do not). Public institutions taking part in the MSEP tuition reciprocity program will charge no more than 150% of in-state tuition and private schools will offer a 10% discount to their usual tuition.

In addition to the above named reciprocal tuition agreements, some individual states have also started programs with their neighbors. An example is Minnesota, which is a member of the MHEC group, but also has reciprocal tuition agreements with Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota and the Canadian province of Manitoba, and also a limited agreement with Iowa Lakes Community College in Iowa. Check with your state's department of higher education to find any available tuition reduction plans.

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