The Allure of Out of State College Opportunities

Less than 14% of high school students attend college out of state. Cost considerations, proximity to friends and family, and climate deter many from going too far afield, but having an adventurous spirit might pay dividends in the world of colleges. Outside the golden state an assortment of public schools, private research universities, and liberal arts colleges seek to enroll Californians. These schools behoove your investigation.  

The RACC (Regional Admissions Counselors of California) is a cross section of regional admissions officers from such schools as the University of Glasgow (Scotland), University of Minnesota (Twin Cities), Lafayette (PA) and Northeastern (MA). Many have gorgeous campuses, competitive tuition, hundreds of majors, honors programs, non-impacted nursing programs, and even four-year graduation guarantees (such as the University of Minnesota). Best of all, they want Californians on their campuses.

True, some of the public out-of-state schools want to get you on to their campuses simply because you will be paying out-of-state tuition, and this can get expensive. Though, as mentioned in a previous column, through WUE, Western University Exchange, schools charge only 150% in-state tuition for Californians. Getting accepted under the WUE program at Montana State in Bozeman costs less than $8,000 annually in tuition, versus over $18,000 for full out-of-state tuition.

Several flagship public universities are already composed of substantial portions of out-of-state students. The University of Vermont, for instance, is 75% out-of-state students; University of North Dakota (a WUE member) 67%; and University of Colorado, Boulder, over 40%.  A number of schools in the Northeast and Midwest are joining Vermont’s lead in the search for out-of-state students because the number of high school graduates in their region of the country is declining. University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Rutgers (NJ), and SUNY campuses (State University of New York) are all increasing their portion of out-of-state students.

The flow of Californians venturing out is becoming pronounced. Last year Washington State, which has a superb pre-veterinarian program, doubled the number of Californians it enrolled to 132, while the University of Arizona and Arizona State each had more than 1,000 California freshmen. University of Oregon, a third of whose football team is composed of Californians, enrolled over a 1,000 Californians in its 2011 freshman class; that’s double the number from five years ago.   Some marquee schools have doubled their number of Californian enrollments over the last decade as well, including NYU, whose recent freshman class had 600 California students, along with Wesleyan (CT), and Williams (MA).

Private research universities and liberal arts colleges seek California students to secure a national body of students. Prestige factors into the equation. Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, one of the top research universities in the country, offered six figure scholarships and grants to California applicants over the last three years. Geographic diversity helps their recruiting and, possibly, their US News ratings. Coming from outside a school’s traditional recruiting range, renders you special. Lynn O’Shaughnessy in her second edition of The College Solution mentions that her Californian daughter enrolled at Beloit College in Wisconsin and was featured in a guide for prospective students; after all, if a girl from San Diego attends Beloit that shows the allure of Beloit.

The reasons to join this migration are as many as there are graduates from California high schools. Beyond the golden state there are schools that graduate high percentages of students in four years, have available seats in what are high-impacted majors in the Cal State or UC systems, and have programs or grants/scholarship/work study aid to offset some of the costs—thereby bringing many of their costs into parity with the ever escalating costs of California state schools. Don’t dismiss the entreaties beyond the golden fence: create more options and unfold to the undiscovered.