Students decide in-state versus out of state universities

An inside look to why seniors decide to either stay close to home or venture across state lines


May 1 is National Decision Day for seniors to select the institution they will be continuing their education at. As the deadline approaches, seniors must choose where they will be spending the next four years of their lives, considering a lot of factors when deciding if they will stay closer to home or venture out across state lines. Senior Jewel Coulter committed to out of state institution University of Pittsburgh, majoring in political science on a pre-law track, where she will be attending there this upcoming fall.

“I was drawn to Pitt because they gave me a scholarship which heavily reduced my tuition. I feel like there is a stereotype that you have to go to an in-state school because it’s cheaper but Pitt was actually my cheapest option and it’s an out of state school,” Coulter said.

The advantage that attending an in-state public institution has is students are able to qualify for in-state tuition, which reduces the overall cost of their tuition. In-state tuition can reduce fees, in certain cases, up to 40k a year compared to out of state tuition fees. Senior David Miller committed to in-state institution Christopher Newport University where he plans on majoring in music education.

“I only applied to in-state schools because of the better tuition rates and because most in-state schools offered great programs for my major in music education,” Miller said. “It’s very important to apply to in-state schools because you will always have that option of going to school for a good tuition rate compared to out of state.”

When applying to schools, many seniors decide to apply to in-state institutions regardless of if they plan on attending an out of state school.

“I think it’s important to apply to in-state schools just in case you don’t get any type of scholarships or aid but also because there are some really good schools in Virginia that can reduce the cost through in-state tuition,” Coulter said.

Both in state and out of state schools come with their pros and cons. Being away from home can be intimidating at first but for some, the new experiences of being in a place outweigh that.

“I would say that an advantage to applying to in-state schools is being closer to home because at Pitt I can’t just come home for the weekend. But an advantage to being out of state is that you can explore a new place with different types of opportunities and people,’ Coulter said.

In-state institutions can still offer seniors with new experiences while they explore different areas of Virginia and discover a new sense of independence.

“Even if you’re going to an in-state school you can still get new life experiences,” Miller said. “The great thing about college is that it allows you to experience more of the real world while still getting your education and before having to face the challenges of true adulthood.”