In-State Difficulty by State
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USA Map

The above map categorizes every US state by how hard it is to earn in-state tuition. Although all states share common fundamental concepts when it comes to earning in-state status, every state has its own unique laws and every university its own unique interpretations. So even within the same state there are commonly easier and harder colleges.

Green Square Means In-State Tuition is Least Difficult Least Difficult

-Full-time school typically possible
-Some financial independence

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Medium

-At least part-time school typically OK
-Part-time job typically required
-Medium financial independence
-Some sacrifices likely involved

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult Most Difficult

-Might require gap-year
-FT job typically required
-Typically strict financial requirements
-Large sacrifices likely involved
-Nothing is impossible

Gray Square Means In-State Tuition is Special Difficulty Special

-Unique characteristics

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Alabama

Qualifying for in-state in Alabama is medium-difficult but most notably you can’t begin the 1-year process until you’re 19-years-old (usually).

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult Alaska

Two year domicile requirement is twice as long as most states. Lucky for some universities in Alaska, a handy trick exists to effectively bypass out-of-state tuition.

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult Arizona

As of spring 2014, establishing resident tuition status takes only one-year for most people instead of two.

Green Square Means In-State Tuition is Least Difficult Arkansas

Arkansas requires only a 6-month domicile period meaning in-state status can be gained quickly if you know what you’re doing.

Gray Square Means In-State Tuition is Special Difficulty California

California is special when it comes to earning in-state tuition. The University of California (UC) system is across-the-board extremely strict but still amenable to at least the lucky and very dedicate. This contrasts with the California State University (CSU) system which is practically impossible for most colleges in the CSU system except a few outliers.

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult Colorado

Major in-state residency interpretation changes in Fall 2013 for the University of Colorado system made a difficult state in which to earn in-state residency even more difficult.

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Connecticut

UConn is the major college in Connecticut and although in-state appears basically impossible, it’s not! It’s actually very do-able for those dedicated and willing to make it happen.

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult Delaware

Rules governing in-state residency requirements in Delaware vary greatly by university.

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult District of Columbia

You’re lucky if you’re a DC resident wanting to go to college outside of DC, learn about that special arrangement here. Not a DC resident but wanting to go to college in DC…a little less lucky but you’re not too bad off.

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Florida

You need to be prepared for limited to no school for a year substituted for work preferably full-time. But thankfully, the financial requirements offer some relief. You don’t have to be entirely on your own like some harder states.

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult Georgia

Except for at a couple smaller colleges, getting in-state in Georgia is generally going to require an alternative year of no school and lots of work instead.

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Hawaii

Universities in Hawaii have a substantial difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition so taking limited school for a year and working a good amount instead seems like a no-brainer but few people actually go through with it, why!?

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Idaho

If you can cut back on your classes and work a little extra in your free time then getting in-state in Idaho is likely within reach.

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult Illinois

Getting in-state in Illinois is tough. More often than not a gap-year will be required as well as strict financial restrictions.

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult Indiana

In general with very few exceptions, if you apply to a university in Indiana before moving to Indiana (like most people!), then that will be held against you forever such that you can’t earn in-state status.  Messed up right?

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Iowa

Getting in-state at University of Iowa is super demanding and rigorous while getting it at Iowa State University is a much simpler proposition. Either are doable but it just goes to show how differently schools can interpret the same state regulations.

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Kansas

Have family in Kansas who can help you out a bit? That could help.

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult Kentucky

Kentucky resident tuition can only be earned by hard workers and is restricted primarily to only those financing themselves through school.

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Louisiana

Ready to work? Great! You’ll need to work full-time in Louisiana for a year to demonstrate your worthiness for in-state status.

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult Maine

It’s hard and easy to earn in-state status in Maine. Much easier if you moved to Maine before applying to school in Maine. Lucky is he or she who contacts In-State Angels before applying to any universities in Maine.

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Maryland

Maryland is a bit tricky when it comes to getting in-state status. Live in the dorms? Bummer, you’re not getting any closer to in-state.

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult Massachusetts

Super strict financial requirements make getting in-state status in Massachusetts especially difficult. The only way to overcome is with a gap-year of utter financial independence which is available to anyone but few attempt.

Gray Square Means In-State Tuition is Special Difficulty Michigan

Universities in Michigan vary by in-state difficulty but in general it’s tough. Prohibitively tough for almost everybody. But maybe you’re special and willing to work for it?

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Minnesota

Not as difficult as it’s made to seem, getting in-state in Minnesota is a real viable possibility for many but few even try.

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult Mississippi

You 21 yet?  Let me save you some trouble then…just give up.  Mississippi’s backward stagnant conception of what it takes to become a resident for tuition purposes has been preventing deserving people from in-state since the 70’s.

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Missouri

Great disparity in difficult of acquiring in-state status in Missouri depending on the university. Really hard at some Missouri schools while much less difficult at others.

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Montana

If you’re willing to for one year go to school a little less and work a little more and you’re paying for a good chunk of your own education, then Montana is a great place to earn in-state status.

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Nebraska

You’re not going to want to take more than 6 credit-hours/term for a year if you’re hoping to get in-state in Nebraska. Even that is too many at other schools in Nebraska.

Green Square Means In-State Tuition is Least Difficult Nevada

UNLV is here, UNR. Nevada is welcoming place to earn in-state residency. With some careful strategy and execution, you could get it by sophomore year with limited sacrifices required.

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult New Hampshire

Strict financial requirements. No school for a year. Full-time Employment. Utter self-support.

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult New Jersey

New Jersey requires “unusual circumstances” to demonstrate the financial independence component of earning in-state tuition in NJ. Translation: you effectively can’t hope for in-state status until you’re 23 unless you have a very rare situation.

Green Square Means In-State Tuition is Least Difficult New Mexico

In-state is very do-able but people talk themselves out of attempting it all the time. There are a lot more reasons to say yes to in-state in New Mexico than reasons to say no.

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult New York

The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition isn’t as drastic in New York as it in most other states. With a lesser reward, a difficult in-state process, and a low out-of-state student population, it’s no wonder that few even attempt in-state residency.

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult North Carolina

Hard but not impossible. Practically speaking, you’ll likely want to take a year off from school (either before or after freshman year) to make some money working in NC.

Green Square Means In-State Tuition is Least Difficult North Dakota

North Dakota is the easiest state in America in which to earn in-state tuition. ND basically gives it away to anybody who can get their picture taken. Yet so many people don’t do what’s required!

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Ohio

Which school we’re talking about in Ohio makes a difference. Some schools in Ohio are very hard places to establish residency while many are of medium difficulty.

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Oklahoma

Unlike almost every other state, there are a couple loopholes to avoid out-of-state tuition status in Oklahoma. Aside from those, earning in-state in Oklahoma is restricted to those willing to go to school half-time max and work in their free time.

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Oregon

Get in-state tuition in Oregon, it’s of medium difficulty which although quite do-able, is more trouble than most people are willing to follow through with. There are some potential sacrifices to be made but it’s well worth it.

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult Pennsylvania

During your one-year domicile period… Gap year required? Yes. Full-time job employment? Yes. Help from parents? Absolutely not. Sound difficult? It is.

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult Rhode Island

Tiny state with few universities; nevertheless, universities in Rhode island differ substantially when it comes to their policies of earning in-state status.

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult South Carolina

There are over 30 public universities to choose from in South Carolina with Clemson and The University of South Carolina – Columbia being the most popular. Unknown to most people living in the dorms is required at most universities in South Carolina but living in the dorms also disqualifies you from in-state status.

However there are a number of alternative strategies you can use to establish residency.

Green Square Means In-State Tuition is Least Difficult South Dakota

Getting in-state in South Dakota is close to irrelevant. That’s because the difference in out-of-state vs. in-state tuition is close to nothing.

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Tennessee

Want in-state in Tennessee? You can’t just have. You’ve gotta work full-time and you better not go to school very much during your 8-month to 12-month domicile period.

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Texas

Gainful employment is the key to earning in-state status in Texas. No, that does not mean working at Starbucks. It does mean that you probably can’t manage full-time school for your 1-year domicile period.

Green Square Means In-State Tuition is Least Difficult Utah

The second easiest state in which to earn in-state residency and it’s still kinda tough. Rules exist and if you mess up then you’re out of luck.

Gray Square Means In-State Tuition is Special Difficulty Vermont

Want to earn in-state tuition in Vermont? The odds are stacked against you so high. I bet you’ve already applied to Vermont…if so, you’ve already ruined your chances! Vermont’s in-state rules seem (and probably are) illegal but they get away with it somehow.

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Virginia

Going to school during your one-year domicile period is ill advised. In your downtime, work a lot. Otherwise it would be a better use of your time to give up on getting in-state status.

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Washington

Cut back on school for a year and works a good amount OR stay in school and work a ton. Do one or the other but whatever you do, avoid that super expensive out-of-state tuition if you deserve in-state status.

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult West Virginia

Get ready for a year off school and lots of work instead. Outside that, you won’t be getting in-state status in West Virginia.

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult Wisconsin

Wisconsin has its own way of doing things when it comes to establishing residency for tuition purposes. Future lawyer? Great! You’ll need to convince a panel of faculty, administrators, and student in a court-like setting.

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult Wyoming

Formerly a green state, Wyoming was very do-able prior to late 2015.  Goes to show that in-state regulations are far from set-in-stone and the rules themselves or the interpretations can change abruptly without warning.

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Your Situation Is Unique

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Consultation starts at $60 for 30 minutes (then $2/min)

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Your Situation Is Unique

Get professional advice and guidance from an in-state residency expert who can help you explore the prospect of earning in-state tuition at universities across the country.

Consultation starts at $60 per 30 minute session

Talk to an expert!