Colorado students thinking about going to college in an out-of-state college may qualify for cheaper in-state tuition costs at out-of-state schools when they go to colleges in states like Hawaii, Wyoming, and Arizona thanks to tuition reciprocity agreements. One of the biggest programs for tuition reciprocity is the Western Undergraduate Exchange Program. A number of schools in states that participate in the WUE are home to two and four year public colleges that can offer out-of-state students 150% of their in-state tuition costs. States in this program include most every state behind Colorado going West- Hawaii, Alaska, California, Nebraska, the list goes on and on. However, not all colleges may choose to offer this program so you must check to see what universities extend this deal to students. “The thing about it is it depends school-to-school,” Post Grad Specialist Mary Jo Pook explains. “Every school can decide whether they’re going to participate or not. At some schools, every student qualifies that comes from out-of-state. It usually means that they get one and a half times said state’s tuition, not the [tuition from the] state the student comes from.” she continues. Some colleges only offer the privileges for specific majors. “That’s the misnomer. Other schools can decide if they will offer it at all, and if they do, what they’re going to offer it for.” For example, those who would like to go to the University of Arizona under the WUE may go, but only if they major in Mining Engineering. No other majors are offered at that university, so nobody can assume they’ll get the program for exactly what they’d like to major in. Schools that offer the exchange program also differ in how it is earned or rewarded. In some colleges, students who register may acquire the arrangement with no action. In others, pupils must apply for it like a scholarship and meet certain requirements such as a set GPA and a high school diploma. For instance,at the University of Hawaii at Hilo freshman applicants need a 3.0 cumulative GPA and at least 4 years of attending high school. “You could go talk to Wyoming University and check out their WUE scholarship- but in Wyoming you have to apply for it like a scholarship.” Pook disclosed. Ultimately, if high school students are considering going out of state for college, it’s a great idea to check if they qualify for the WUE program. While sometimes it is not ideal for every student’s plan, it is good to double check just in case. In some cases the WUE program offers better tuition than other scholarships someone could get. “I think it should be in those arsenal scholarships,” Pook concludes. “You just see if it’s the best scholarship or if you can get something that’s better. It’s just that at every school you have to see what they offer.” To check which schools participate in the WUE and to get more information on specific colleges and the majors they offer, students may go to the organization’s website at WICHE.edu for more information.
Story by Katie Heffernan