Want to learn the differences between in-state and out-of-state tuition at state public universities?
You have come to the right place.
Here’s what you will learn in this article:
- The difference between in-state and out-of-state resident.
- The cost difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition.
- How to qualify for in-state tuition fees
Majority of International students will pay Out of State Fees.
What about that certain few? How do they pay the Lower In-State Fees?
Let’s rewind back to 2001.
I told my parents that I’m interested in studying abroad.
They were supportive of my decision. And the very next question was about the total expenses.
I gave them a blank stare!
Then, I started visiting a few universities website to find the approximate total expenses for Graduate School.
I visited about 10 different universities to find tuition fees.
I kept running into the following terms
- In-State Fees
- Out of State Fees
- Under Graduate Resident Fees
- Under Graduate Non-Resident Fees
- Graduate Resident Fees
- Graduate Non-Resident Fees
Fast forward to today.
It’s hard and confusing for an International student to pinpoint what will be net expenses to study in America.
I was looking for answers.
But, I ended up with more questions than finding the actual tuition fees.
Most International students admissions page would refer to a single tuition fees webpage.
That page will list a table that shows the In-state and out of state Fees for Bachelors, Masters and other college degrees.
Do you know what I’m talking about?
In 2019, here’s the Tuition Fees page for University of Florida.
Now, think like an International Student.
- What are Credits?
- What are Credit Hours?
- How Credit is Related to a Course?
- Will I become a Resident after coming to the USA?
- Where’s the Total Tuition fee for International Student?
- How many credits are there per semester for the degree I want to study?
I’m sure, you have the exact same questions, as you are trying to find the total cost to study in the USA as an International Student.
And just when I thought, I figured out the answers, I found that some universities follow the Semester system.
Whereas some universities follow a Quarter system.
And, how to calculate the total tuition fees for two different systems.
You will find answers to all these questions here.
There is often a big difference in cost at private colleges and universities compared to public colleges and universities.
Even within public schools, there is a significant difference in cost between those students that are residents of the state versus those students that reside in different states.
Before I explain about their difference in In-State vs Out of State Fees, it would help if I first discuss some related terms:
- Public Universities
- Private Universities
- State Tax funding
To manage any university, money is needed. Where that money is sourced from categorizes colleges and universities. So we have public and private colleges and universities depending on where the funds are sourced to operate them.
In the U.S., every State has both a State Tax and a Federal Tax. While all American States have federal tax, there are some that don’t collect state tax, but the majority of them do. And for every money earned, Americans must pay both state tax and federal tax.
Revenues collected from state tax are used by State governments to fund government operations, which also include allocations for schools, colleges, universities and the like. As such, these schools that are funded by state tax are called Public Schools.
Unlike public academic institutions, private schools don’t get funding support from the State government. These private organizations raise funds from donations, rewards, and of course tuition fees paid by the students.
Because of government-provided privileges and exemptions, students attending public universities will pay tuition fees much lower in comparison to those attending private universities.
In-State fees vs Out-of-State College Fees
Students who are residents of a particular State would pay in-state fees.
Because their school is operated using funds from the taxes paid by the residents of that state.
If a student resides in North Carolina (where I live).
If I want to send my son to study at North Carolina State University for Bachelors Degree, he would pay In-State Fees.
A small part of the money I paid for North Carolina State tax over the past 13+ years is used to pay for funding the operation of the University.
If my son goes to attend the University of Texas at Austin, he would pay Out of State Fees.
Same goes to International Students.
Unless, university employees you as Research Assistant or Teaching Assistant, you will pay Out of State Fee.
Here’s an example from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
A detailed discussion with difference Between Graduate Assistant, Research Assistant and Teaching Assistant can be found here.
You may be wondering, if Universities can get higher tuition fee from Out of State students, why would they admit In-State students.
I found this interesting research that concludes that Universities gain by admitting students from In-State because they tend to stay within the State and contribute back by paying taxes in the long run.
By know, you should you why international students pay Out of State Fee.
But, you still have additional questions.
Just tell me what is the total tuition fees I would have to pay?
Example: Undergraduate & Graduate International Student Fees
Following Screenshot is from the University of Iowa Estimated fees for International students for Bachelors Degree.
Pay attention to 12 or more semester hours in the above image.
- Semester Hours = Total Credit Hours enroller per Semester.
Here’s one more example for Out of State Tuition Fees from the University of California at Berkeley.
Credit Hours vs Tuition Fees
Here’s approximate math.
- Most Masters Degree requires the student to complete 30 to 36 credits to complete a Masters Degree.
- Most Bachelors Degree requires the student to complete 120 credits to complete a Bachelors Degree.
Number of Credit per Semester
- Masters Degree – 9 Credit per Semester
- Bachelors Degree – 12 to 15 Credits per Semester
Most of the math you will see to estimate the Tuition fees are based on 9 or 12 credits per semester.
For a detailed analysis of Credit Hours, Duration of the Degree, read this article – What does a Credit Hour Mean?
Some universities will list the Total Fees for International students like the University of Iowa or the University of California Berkely.
If you are having a hard time to find the total expenses, search for the following
- Find In-State vs Out of State Tuition Fees
- Cost per Credit for Out of State Fees
- Do the Match for 9 or 12 credits per semester
- You will study for Two Semesters per year
- Find Living Expenses for 1 year
- Add Total Fees for 2 Semesters + Living Expenses
Can F1 Students Qualify for In State Tuition fee Qualification via Residency?
I guess, the duration of stay in that State is also required to qualify for in-State tuition fees. Some U.S. universities mention it as 1-2 years. Please give me the correct information.Anushka
International students in U.S. universities don’t qualify for In-State tuition fees based on residency status.
To qualify as a State resident, each U.S. university had set a criteria that students must satisfy.
However, that rule only applies to U.S. Residents, not for international students.
For example, when a student from Texas applies at University in Florida, that student must pay Out-of-State tuition fees until the student gets a residency status in Florida.
These days, Out of State Schools are cracking down on that as well, if the student is relocating just to attend the school.
Usually, it will take 1 year for a student from Texas to become a resident of Florida.
That 1 year can be from the date the student gets enrolled at the school or the date when the student gets a driving license in Florida, and so on.
According to UC San Diego, who can be called as residents of California
International Students and In-State Fees
To qualify for In-State tuition fees, international students in U.S. universities must have RA/TA or scholarship.
Summary: In-State vs Out of state Fees for International Students
- Majority of International Students Pay Out of State Fees
- International students qualify for In-state Fee if they are employed by the University
- H4 Visa Holders qualify for In-State Fees in the State they reside
- Total Expenses = Out of State Fees + Living Expenses
Articles Related to College Tuition Fees for International Students
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- How to Calculate Total Tuition Fees from the Form I-20
- What is Credit Hour, Duration of Degree and Tuition Fee?
- Total Cost of Studying Masters (MS) Degree in the USA
- 4 Ways to Pay the US Univerity Tuition Fees (this article)
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