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College Talk Blog

In state or out of state?

Parents often tell their children that they should only apply to public colleges where they will be considered an in-state student.  They do that because in-state students normally pay a lower tuition rate than out of state students enrolled in public colleges and universities. Some parents go one-step further and direct their children to apply to a community college or local four year college for the first two years so that they can live at home and save on dorm costs.
This is good advice but depending on the qualifications of the student, it may also be cost effective to apply to some private and out of state colleges and universities to see what they will offer. Students with whom I have worked have sometimes been offered scholarships by colleges which partially pay tuition for four years. The other interesting thing I have seen is that it has sometimes been less expensive for a student to go to a four year college than to a community college because of the amount of scholarship and grant money offered by the four year college.  It is generally true that although four year colleges cost more they also have more scholarship money to offer students.  Your child may be in a demographic that a college needs or he or she may have grades or test scores or skills that the college seeks.  That can translate into incentive money (scholarships) to consider attending that college.
The best approach to choosing a college is to college shop. Shop for colleges just like you would shop for any other big ticket item.  Visit prospective colleges and keep an open mind.  Assess the value of programs offered and other preferred factors in relation to cost and incentives to offset cost in the spring to make your final decision.   

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