Regional exchange program offers tuition discounts: The Western Undergraduate Exchange is available to students who call the following states and territories home: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
“In-state tuition and fees at public universities cost more than $12,000 less compared with out-of-state rates for the 2017-2018 school year,” according to a U.S. News annual survey.
In 2017-18, 40,000+ students saved over $365.4 million on out-of-state tuition. With WUE, out-of-state students pay no more than 150% of in-state tuition at participating schools, compared with nonresident rates that can exceed 300% of in-state rates. The WUE discount (150% of resident tuition or less) only applies to the tuition. Fees are typically standard for residents and nonresidents; they must be paid in addition to tuition.
Eligible students must be from a WICHE member state and be planning to study at a public college or university in another WICHE state. Download a PDF list, or check the WICHE database for each school’s details.
Your residency alone doesn’t guarantee you the WUE discount. Many colleges and universities have additional criteria such as ACT/SAT test scores or high school GPA. Some schools use WUE as a merit award and set more rigorous criteria for WUE applicants.
WICHE doesn’t process applications (there is no general WUE application); WICHE does not participate in the student-selection process. When you apply to the college or university, indicate you want to be considered for the WUE discount. Usually the admissions office handles WUE requests, but at some schools you work with their scholarship or financial aid office.
Many schools have an early application deadline for WUE applicants so check your choice schools’ WUE webpages for the most current deadlines. If you apply after your school has reached its quota of discounted WUE seats, you could miss out!
To keep your WUE discount for the duration of your studies, students must remain in good academic standing. Some schools require a minimum number of credit hours per term. Be sure to confirm all requirements directly with your WUE school.
One final thought to consider: Students cannot count time enrolled through WUE toward building in-state residency. Be sure to check the laws and do the calculating to see if establishing residency after a period of time would cost less than entering the WUE program. This is easiest if your questions are specific to a certain school, and you call their admissions office directly.