Out State vs In-State Fees With Examples
Admission | Study in USA | Universities

College Tuition Fees: In State vs Out Of State Fees

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:

  1. The difference between in-state and out-of-state resident.
  2. The cost difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition.
  3. 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?

Read On:

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.

Total Cost of Studying Masters (MS) Degree in the USA

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.

Here’s why:

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.

2018-19 Academic Year Tuition and Fees 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.

Keep Reading.

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.

Public Universities

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.

Private Universities

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.

Assistantships - Funding - The Graduate School at UNC-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.

instate fees vs out of state fees universities


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.

Estimated Costs for International Students | Undergraduate Admissions - The University of Iowa

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.

International Student Expenses | International Office - California 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.


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

  1. Difference Between In-State vs Out of state Fees for International Students
  2. How to Calculate Total Tuition Fees from the Form I-20
  3. What is Credit Hour, Duration of Degree and Tuition Fee?
  4. Total Cost of Studying Masters (MS) Degree in the USA
  5. 4 Ways to Pay the US Univerity Tuition Fees (this article)
  6. Cost of WES Transcripts Evaluation (Analysis)?

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  1. Hi. please i want to know if Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Nova Southeastern Uiversity are state universities. Thanks

  2. Hello, I would like to ask a question please : What if I am an international student but I rented a room in the state , which fees do I have to pay ? thanks

  3. I am international student from India.
    I will be flying to US on F1 VISA for my Masters after paying my SEVIS fee.

    Wherever, my university is, I will be staying in the neighborhood.
    Does that make me a resident? Will I be paying In-state or Out-of-state fee?

  4. Hello
    I lived in the US for 3 years and studied kindergarten before I moved back to my home country.
    Me and my family might go back for good so I was wondering if I would still pay the out-of-state tution? And if I will, would I pay the in-state tuition fee for the next year since I’ve already stayed for more than a year?

  5. My girlfriend is planning to study abroad. If I am a H1-b holder for California state, can she claim her in-state feed by applying for a H4 visa?
    given that I have paid state taxes for a year or more.

  6. I came from nepal I lived in Connecticut for 4 months and moved towards Kentucky should I stay for 1 year or just 8 months to be in state there I have green card and social security number

  7. Hi Raghu,
    I have 2 queries
    1.Is the Fee for Out State Student and International Student Same in Public Universities..
    2. Does the Private Universities also have In State and Out State Fee structure.

  8. Hi Raghu,
    I have one question, in order to qualify for instate fees being on H-4 visa in California schools, they ask the physical presence in CA for atleast 366 days before the decision date. So are these 366 days have to be continuous? Or if I travel to India in between for 1-2 months, but still total days or presence in US are 366. So would I be considered for instate fees?
    Please answer. Thanks!

  9. Hello
    Am planning to get my son’s admission in US for his UG. and I will also start working in US (MI). May be both will move to US in a difference of 3-6 months time.

    question I have is — for the 1st year, am sure I have to pay “out of state fee”, however can I pay the “In state” fee, starting from 2nd year, as I will complete 1 full year as a resident of MI?

  10. I worked in KY USA from 1996 to 2003. 2004-2016 I am in india. When i want to do a MS or a Research program now in KY, am i considered international or in-state ?

    1. International Student and you will pay Out of State Fees. All F-1 students come under out of state unless they get a Scholarship or Assistantship.

  11. If I reside in the particular state I wish to study in for 1 year and then apply to a state university, I will be paying for in-state fee right?

    any reply would be greatly appreciated!

  12. i am from india .I had completed my 10+2 and i wanted to study in america .can you pls tell me the name of universities which have low fee structure for international students and courses of 1 year that are simpler to get in ? will be very thankful

  13. Hey I lived in Pennsylvania for 13 years and my parents live there but I moved to New York for and now I have 2years living here and I want to attend a online college in Pennsylvania would that be out-state tuition fee or in-state ?

  14. Hey I lived in Pennsylvania for 13 years and my parents live there but I moved to New York for and now I have 2years living here and I want to attend a online college in Pennsylvania would that be out-state tuition fee or in-state ?

      1. if i have an F2 Visa and have resided in a particular state for a year, will i be considered for in state Tuition fee ? if not for how long do i need to be living in that state to avail the in state Tuition fee?

  15. Hi. I am a citizen of ghana who wants to study in Minnesota. I have an aunty who resides in Minnesota who will sponsor my tuition and will be staying with her. Do I have to pay in-state or out of state?

  16. Im from nigeria but i have an uncle who is based in the US and he resides in california,he also will sponsor my education so will i still have to pay out f state tuition??

  17. Hi. So i am a US Citizen. I was born and lived in Texas for 13 years, then I had to move to Russia because of my father’s business. I currently study at an Anglo-American School in Moscow for the remainder of my high school years. My question is: what fees would i have to pay? International? Out of state? And also lets say if i were to move back to the US how long would i have to stay in my future universities state to only pay in-state fees

  18. Hey!

    So I am a person of Indian origin (as both my parents are Indian) and I’ve lived in India most of my life but I was born in California so legally I’m a citizen of California. What fees would I have to pay if I’m applying for a college there? International or in-state?


    1. There’s nothing called citizen if a state in the U.S. You meant to say Resident of California.

  19. My mother is a student@ UTA, Arlington on F1 visa and i am studying in higher school in Arlinton too & F2 visa.
    I am planing to get into UTA next year’ am i eligible for inter state tution fee exemption?

  20. I actually live in Texas and I would like to study in Florida but here is my question do if I study in Florida do I have to pay out of state fees????

  21. i am from india .I had completed my 10+2 and i wanted to study in america .can you pls tell me the name of universities which have low fee structure for international students and courses of 1 year that are simpler to get in ? will be very thankful

  22. sir,my uncle is working in boston from last 6 years,and i want to do my MS from usa,so please tell me that how could he help me,he is a green card holder,could i eligible for public university,anyway.

    1. Your uncle being GC holder is not going to help you in anyway. He can sponsor your education and you can also apply to universities near his place.

    2. State universities are less expensive compared to private colleges, u can apply as a international student in state universities, but u will NOT be eligible for an "in state tuition fees".

  23. My husband has been working in AZ since Jan 2009 and I am in GA and have lived and worked there most of my life. Our daughter is in school in GA and we are paying in-state fees. I plan to move to AZ by summer 2010. Will she have to pay out-of-state fees in AZ in 20011/12 school year? We will have been AZ residents for a year by the time she moves to AZ but she is planning to stay in GA through spring 2011.

  24. Hi

    I was confused as to wht other things are taken in consideration for residency i mean i an a green card holder moved 2 months back but i had recieved my green card in Dec 2008 so it took me around 8 months to move from India now i am in IL and planning to give the GRE in ard 3 months , i got my state ID card issued in sept 2009 so is tht good enuff coz i havent got my drivers licence yet so was just wondering how and wht things might prove i was a resident for a year. would applying for net fall be a better option than the summer ???

  25. i am married.. now i want to do futher studies in USA ..and i have not given toefl exam..without toefl score can i take direct admission..now i will come by dependent visa..so wether they will give direct admission or make me to give toefl exam..pl guide me…wether fee is same for everyone o various with type of student

  26. i am married..now i want to do further studies in USA itself MS in MIS ..i have not taken toefl exam .now i will come on dependent visa bez my hubby works there..i want to ask whether i can take direct admission without toefl exam or i have speak with uni people…and one more thing i want to ask that fee is same or various with type of students like international ….. pl guide me i need some help from u…and i have prepared with recomadation and SOP

    1. HI.!
      u have to take toefl to demonstrate your english profiency, however, whether or not can u waive the TOEFL depends on the course and the degree requirements on the college you are applying to.
      As off the fees, The state colleges will be less expensive compared to private colleges.

  27. Hi, I have a question about "in-state and out of state fee"

    I am 19 years old and had been living in Kansas for 7 years now (paid tax and stuff). My mother has been an California legal resident since July 2008. This year, I applied and got admitted to University of Kansas and some University of California schools. Both of them showed that I have to pay "out of state fee". My question is.. Should I be considered as "in state" for CA Universities since my mother is a legal resident of CA? or should i be considered as "in state" for KU since I had been go to public high school and living in Kansas for 7 years? I mean at least one of them should be "instate" right?

    thank you


    1. Luke – You are right, atleast one must be instate. Talk to the admission office, they will ahve rules specific for each college that will help you determine in-state fees.

  28. Hi,
    I have two queries…
    1. What might be expected in phone interview from the university? I need tips to attend phone interview..
    2. I am immigrating to USA through I 129 F and also interested in doing my research degree.. In this case, under what category I will be enrolled- International or in-state?

    help me with details….

  29. I guess,duration of stay in that state is also required to qualify for in-state tution fees. Some Universities mention it as 1-2 years. Please give me the correct information.

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