College: In state vs. out of state

D’Jaiya Robins, Sports Editor

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Deciding whether to take your educational future in-state or out-of-state is a big decision that involves lots of factors like a school’s cost, what programs it offers, and its location. If an out-of-state college is the right choice for you and you know where you’re going, what you’re doing, and you can pay the out-of-state tuition without accruing college debt, then my argument is not for you. If however, you are about to pay an incredible amount of money for what essentially boils down to a school with a shinier brand because you think “if you pay more well, then it must be better” I hope maybe I can provide some insight as to why I am taking a different path.

Let’s start with the obvious problem – the price. According to The College Board this year the average tuition for a four-year in-state public institution is $9,650 (and that’s before TOPS for us in Louisiana). For a four-year out-of-state public institution the price more than doubles at $24,930. The price-tag is even more astounding if you go to a four-year out-of-state private college whose tuition averages $33,480.

There’s simply a higher return on your investment if you get a degree from a good in-state school because your degree is relatively inexpensive and is just as profitable as an undergraduate degree from an Ivy League school.

Time magazine published an article citing a study done by economists Alan Krueger and Stacy Berg Dale that compared the earnings of graduates of elite colleges with those of “moderately selective” schools.

“The economists found that the earnings of the two groups 20 years after graduation differed little or not at all. A larger follow-up study, released in 2011 and covering 19,000 college graduates, reached a similar conclusion: whether you went to Penn or Penn State, Williams College or Miami University of Ohio, job outcomes were unaffected in terms of earnings.”

Would you pay $33,480 for the same jacket the person next to you bought for only $9,650 because your jacket has a sticker that says “Northwestern?” I wouldn’t.

Another misconception about going out-of-state is that the professors at those universities will be better than the ones in Louisiana; however, this is not the case at all.

LSU has professors who graduated with PhDs from Harvard, Yale, Rice, Brown, NYU, and MIT teaching in their classrooms because LSU is the flagship university of the state as well as a tier one research institution that attracts that kind of intellectual.

The one thing an out-of-state experience will definitely give you is perspective; however, it’s not like you can’t get that at a much more affordable price by simply taking a summer or semester abroad. I will absolutely be taking my studies overseas while I am at LSU, and I will be doing it with the same tuition costs that I would pay for any regular semester.

No matter where you go, make sure you’re not going there because you thought it would look cool to seniors in high school. Pick a place that will leave you without debt (if possible) and is going to give you a marketable skill to succeed in life.


One of the most important decisions you’ll make in the college research process is where in the country to focus your search. Going to school out of state has its benefits, but is an out-of-state college the right choice for you? I decided to go to Prairie View A&M University because of the opportunities in Texas and the financial support. Out-of-state colleges differ from in-state colleges mainly, that they are not in your home state. in-state colleges are primarily used to refer to public universities in your home state because this usually means a lower tuition price tag. For me all the out of state schools I applied to such as Jackson state, University of Miami and University of Southern California offered me more money than In-state colleges. For private colleges, in-state and out-of-state tuition are usually the same. The two main qualities that differentiate out-of-state colleges from in-state colleges are that out-of-state colleges are farther away from your hometown and more expensive than in-state colleges usually. Even though the price and distance might be discouraging You’ll be able to explore a new area and get outside your comfort zone. You’ll meet more people from diverse backgrounds and be more incentivized to make new friends. You’ll have more independence and get a feel for what it’s like to live on your own. There are also Tons of choices out of state. There are 50 states with 50 plus schools in each. If you’re open to attending college out of state, you’ll have a vast range of several types of schools to choose from and won’t be limited by what your state offers. You should also ask yourself how far from home you want to be for college. When I made my decision, I decided to stay within a 6 hour or less time frame from home. I knew that if I went outside of driving distance I might get home sick or my mother would freak. I know it is going to be difficult to the transition from high school to college, and it is going to be tough to be in an unfamiliar place without access to my usual support system. During other times of change in my life, such as switching to a new school or moving to a new town, I adapted well. So, this should give me hope as to how I might deal with settling into an unfamiliar environment in college. I think I’ll be all too happy to be away from my family and meeting new people. Most people thrive at an out-of-state school where you can re-establish your identity. I knew Out-of-state schools were right for me I was looking for new experiences and some distance from Baton Rouge. Prairie View A&M gave me just that. I’m going to school for free and four hours away from family to have a little independence. If you think you want to attend school out of state, you’ll have a wide variety of colleges to choose from that each possess many different qualities that may make or break your experience. Depending on how important cost and proximity to your hometown are for you, you may or may not decide that out-of-state schools are the best choice.


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