Top 8 Cheapest Out-of-State Colleges

If you’re studying out-of-state, tuition can be extremely expensive. Mitigate that cost with our list of cheap out-of-state colleges.

TCM Staff

18th March 2022

College is expensive, especially if you pick an out-of-state school. The average price of tuition for in-state public schools is $10,388. If you leave your home state? You’re looking at more than double, with public out-of-state colleges costing about $22,000 per year. 

But it’s normal to crave the full college experience — to want to live away from home and explore a new city. Sometimes, scholarships fall short in covering the cost. Is there such a thing as a school with the cheapest out-of-state tuition? Luckily, you can find affordable out-of-state colleges all over the US. 

We’ve put together a list of some cheap out-of-state colleges for you to choose from. 

Cheapest Out-of-State Colleges

Tuition isn’t the only thing you have to worry about with even the best out-of-state colleges. You’ll spend more on accommodation costs, food, and travel to and from home on the weekends or holidays. 

Here’s our list of the cheapest out-of-state tuition colleges. 

1. Nicholls State University, Louisiana (NSU)

Nicholls State University, Louisiana

Nicholls State University has some nationally renowned programs, including in biology, nursing, and culinary school. Impressively, their website claims that 100% of all nursing graduates are either employed or pursuing graduate school education. 

Tuition (2021-2022): $9,039

Acceptance Rate: 94%

Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,674

Popular Programs: Nursing

2.University of North Carolina - Pembroke (UNCP)

University of North Carolina - Pembroke

The University of North Carolina - Pembroke is one of the top colleges with low out-of-state tuition for students interested in a career in law enforcement. If you want to study on a budget, UNCP offers one of the lowest out-of-state tuition on our list. The school is also well-known for being one of the most ethnically diverse schools in the area. 

Tuition (2021-2022): $5,000

Acceptance Rate: 91%

Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,436

Popular Programs: Law enforcement, criminal justice, homeland security

3. Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Oklahoma (OPSU)

Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Oklahoma

OPSU was founded in 1909 and offers a great education to prospective nurses and liberal arts graduates. This is a great choice if you want to attend a school with a smaller population, as the undergraduate enrollment last year was just over 1,000. Students have a great chance to apply for grants, scholarships, and student loans as well.

Tuition (2021-2022): $7,665

Acceptance Rate: 93%

Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,337

Popular Programs: Nursing, liberal arts, business

4. Bemidji State University, Minnesota

Bemijdi State University, Minnesota

Bemidji State University is nestled in Minnesota’s rich forests, with a nature-centric campus. The school is known for renowned business programs in accounting, as well as for having small classes. 

Tuition (2021-2022): $9,192

Acceptance Rate: 70%

Undergraduate Enrollment: 4,108

Popular Programs: Accounting, business, arts

5. Mississippi University for Women

Mississippi University for Women

If you’re a young woman looking to study in the south alongside mainly women, the Mississippi University for Women offers an affordable option. Contrary to its name, the school still accepts male students, with about 20% of the student body men. 

Tuition (2021-2022): $7,756

Acceptance Rate: 99%

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,418

Popular Programs: Nursing, kinesiology, speech pathology

6. Alcorn State University (Mississippi)

Alcorn State University (Mississippi)

Alcorn State University is located in Mississippi. Founded in 1871, the school is a historically black land-grant university. Popular areas of study include agriculture, business, and liberal arts.

Be sure to check out our list of affordable online colleges in Mississippi as well!

Tuition (2021-2022): $7,596

Acceptance Rate: 37.7%

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,729

Popular Programs: Agriculture, liberal arts, business

7. Wayne State College, Nebraska

Wayne State College, Nebraska

Wayne State College was founded in 1910 in Wayne, Nebraska. The school used to be primarily for education and teaching programs, but has expanded to offer over 100 other programs. Popular fields of study include

Tuition (2021-2022): $7,458

Acceptance Rate: 81%

Undergraduate Enrollment: 3,440

Popular Programs: Psychology, international business, computer science and technology

8. Western Carolina University (NC)

Western Carolina University (NC)

Founded originally to educate North Carolinians in the mountains, Western Carolina University is part of the University of North Carolina school system. The school has many different programs, with notable majors in the engineering, healthcare, and business fields.  

Tuition (2021-2022): $5,00

Acceptance Rate: 48%

Undergraduate Enrollment: 10,517

Popular Programs: Engineering, science, healthcare

Cheap Out-of-State College Comparison

Curious about how the above affordable out-of-state colleges compare? Check out our chart below, comparing each school’s tuition, acceptance rate, popular programs, and more. 




Acceptance Rate

Undergraduate Enrolment

Popular Programs

Nicholls State University






University of North Carolina - Pembroke

North Carolina




Law enforcement,  criminal justice, homeland security

Oklahoma Panhandle State University





Nursing, liberal arts, business

Bemidji State University





Accounting, business, arts

Mississippi University for Women





Nursing, kinesiology, speech pathology

Alcorn State University





Agriculture, liberal arts, business

Wayne State College





Psychology, international business, computer science and technology

Western Carolina University (NC)

North Carolina




Engineering, science, healthcare


Cheap out-of-state colleges do exist, helping you fulfill your dream to embark on a college adventure away from home. Just make sure you research each school thoroughly to make sure they offer the programs and curriculums you’re most interested in. Without that, cheap tuition isn’t as valuable.  

If in-state schools don’t appeal to you, and you can’t find the right out-of-state college, don’t worry. Check out our list of the cheapest online colleges for 2022

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What State Has the Cheapest Out-of-State Tuition?

Out of the colleges on our list, University of North Carolina Pembroke and Western Carolina University offer the cheapest out-of-state tuition, at $5,000 per year. 

How Can I Get Inexpensive Out-of-State Tuition? 

Most out-of-state schools charge a premium. Review our list of the cheapest out-of-state tuition universities to find inexpensive out-of-state tuition. Additionally, you might consider applying for some scholarships

Is it Worth it to Pay Out-of-State Tuition?

That answer depends on the individual. If you can afford the cost of attendance and feel drawn to a school’s culture and program of study, it’s certainly worth it.  

Does FAFSA Cover Out-of-State Tuition?

Yes, but FAFSA might not cover the entire cost of out-of-state tuition. 

Do Athletes Pay Out-of-State Tuition?

It depends on the school and the student. Some scholarships might cover the entire cost of an athlete’s tuition. If not, some schools may waive the additional costs of out-of-state tuition for athletes.

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