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The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

College decision dilemma

College+decision+dilemma

Nestled Nearby

Deciding whether to stay in-state or go out-of-state for post-secondary education is often a difficult choice for high school students. Quality of education, cost, distance and environment are usually at the forefront of discussion. Because there is no inherent discrepancy between quality of education and career preparation between in-state and out-of-state schools, staying local is always the smarter option since it allows families to avoid the lasting burden of debt.

Tuition costs should be the most important factor students consider when deciding between colleges. Public college tuition for in-state residents is drastically cheaper than it is for out-of-state or private colleges. According to College Board, the average annual cost for in-state students at a four-year public school was around $11,260 while the average tuition for out-of-state students was $29,150 during the 2023-24 school year, tallying up to a difference of $71,560 between out-of-state and in-state tuition after four years, not including interest if a family isn’t able to pay up front. According to the Education Data Initiative, these debts can take decades to pay off.

To help offset the cost of college, many state organizations offer in-state exclusive scholarships. These scholarships are relatively easier to attain compared to other scholarships due to their smaller applicant pools, and they are a effective option to covering costs for many in-state students. In 2022, scholarships covered a quarter of Americans’ total college costs. For students who want to avoid crippling debt, these savings and scholarships are critical, and they should attend a public school in their state.

The costs of going out of state for higher education are not just financial. Adapting to and finding roots in a new place can also be mentally overwhelming. The confusion and potential culture shock that comes with moving may cause individuals to feel emotionally and socially isolated, unable to find resources to support themselves. Starting a new life can be dangerous, especially when it is paired with the academic pressure most college students face. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the leading cause of death for college students, which highlights how important it is for students to carefully evaluate whether or not they are ready to leave home. If students want to move away from home, they should wait until becoming more familiar and comfortable with adulthood and college life, not when they are fresh out of high school. While some students may want to pursue higher education in a different state for a better fitting school and a fresh start, they should consider the financial, emotional and practical costs of doing so.

Faraway Fantasy

Quality education is a significant factor in shaping one’s future, and choosing the right college is a crucial part of this journey. Attending college out-of-state can be a transformative experience, offering numerous advantages that extend far beyond the pursuit of academic excellence. While it might seem daunting to leave the familiarity of home, the benefits of doing so substantially outweigh the disadvantages.

Attending out-of-state colleges opens the door to a myriad of possibilities. Some offer a more diverse range of academic programs than in-state colleges, purely from the greater number of options. Out-of-state colleges may also offer more focused programs that require a certain environment or offer more job opportunities that will aid students’ transition into the professional workplace. For example, the University of Washington doesn’t offer majors in kinesiology or artificial intelligence, while Oregon State University and the University of Texas Austin do. Or, perhaps if a student is looking to study aerospace engineering in college, they could seek schools in Florida or Texas where there are abundant opportunities in the field for internships and professional networking. 

Not only do out-of-state colleges expand options and opportunities, but only considering in-state colleges can make it difficult to find the perfect college environment. Whether it’s the calm, serene campus of the University of Hawaii or the bustling, vibrant atmosphere of New York University, new cultural and social experiences gained during college can be just as important as academic ones, contributing to a well-rounded and fulfilling college experience. And besides, it might be time to give the parents a bit of time off. By going beyond the state lines, a world of opportunity is instantly opened, and the sky’s the limit.

Tuition costs are an important factor to consider when choosing a college, but financial worries shouldn’t define the next four years. For public universities, tuition costs can vary significantly between in-state and out-of-state colleges. However, private institutions typically offer the same tuition rates for both in-state and out-of-state students. Additionally, the average undergraduate student receives $15,480 in financial aid, according to College Board.

Out-of-state students can also benefit from reciprocity agreements that offer tuition discounts for students attending out-of-state public schools in partner states. For example, the Western Undergraduate Exchange includes 16 states and more than 160 institutions in the western United States, such as Washington State University, Oregon State University and the University of Hawaii. Students from a member state can attend undergraduate programs in other member states for significantly reduced tuition compared to the usual out-of-state rate. With all the student debt relief and financial aid options, students should invest in the program that is perfect for them.

Financial and emotional costs should always be considered when deciding between colleges, but what students want to gain out of their experience is of utmost importance. New perspectives, experiences and environments are waiting to prepare them best for the future. Moreover, the sheer variety of programs from out-of-state colleges around the country lets them decide the perfect home for their next four years, but this time, without those pesky parents.

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About the Contributors
Daniel Su (he/him)
Daniel Su (he/him), News Editor, Senior PR Manager
Junior Daniel Su is hyped for his second year on Nordic as news editor and Senior PR Manager. This year, he is looking to improve his writing and reporting skills while making sure every student at IHS is represented in Nordic’s stories. Outside of Nordic, Daniel runs XC and plays soccer for the school. He is also involved in a lot of interesting clubs, such as DECA, MUN, and Chess club. He hopes you find our issues interesting and helpful. Happy reading Viks!
William He (he/him)
William He (he/him), Junior Web Editor, Photo Editor
Junior William He embarks on his journey of the 2023-2024 school year as the Junior Web Editor and Photo Editor of Nordic News. In his third year on staff, Will aims to continue Nordic’s mission of serving the Inglemoor community by expanding the newspaper’s physical and digital presence by creating relevant, informative, and entertaining content. Outside of Nordic, Will is a full IB student and participates in DECA. 

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