Dear Estelle. Is there a way for a student to attend college in another state without paying the exorbitant outstate tuition? We have encouraged our son to think “outside the state” when it comes time to make a decision about college but after looking at the cost of nonresident tuition, even in our neighboring states, I am becoming less encouraging to our son. When we lived in Minnesota years ago there was some reciprocity with the Wisconsin universities. Does Colorado participate in programs like these? ERZ, Denver
Your are in luck if your son is looking at attending public universities in the west. A program called WUE, the Western Undergraduate Exchange, allows students in fifteen western states, to enroll in participating two and four-year public college programs at a reduced tuition level: 150 percent of the institution’s regular resident tuition. WUE tuition is considerably less than nonresident tuition. For the academic year 2007-08, resident students from the following states may participate, if they meet eligibility requirements: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming.
Virtually all undergraduate programs are available to WUE students at one or more of the participating schools. Some institutions have opened up all their programs on a space-available basis and others offer only designated programs at the discounted WUE rate.
Many institutions require evidence of eligibility such as academic performance and ACT/SAT test scores. A major drawback of the WUE programs is that not all schools in a state participate. For example, no University of California schools participate nor does the University of Washington or Arizona State University. So although the price is right, not all colleges participate. In Colorado you can phone the state’s WICHE office which is housed with the Colorado Commission of Higher Education or go online to www.wiche.edu/sep/wue . Wiche also administers programs for graduate exchange and professional seeking students. WUE could be a good option for your family.