CHERI Survey of Tuition Reciprocity Agreements at Public and Research Doctoral Universities

Sumarry of Findings


In the spring of 2001, CHERI conducted a 2001 Survey of Tuition Reciprocity Agreements at Public Research and Doctoral Universities (PDF, 227 KB). The sample surveyed was all 149 public research and doctoral institutions in the United States as classified in 1994 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Sixty-one of the 128 universities that responded to the survey said that they participated in a tuition reciprocity program with schools in other states and / or as part of a consortium. Typically, a reciprocity agreement between a school or state and another state or consortium will allow a non-resident student from a neighboring state to attend that school at some predetermined, discounted tuition rate. Eligibility for such a program and the size of the discount may depend on the type of program in which a student is interested, the county in which a student resides, the availability of opportunities in the home state, whether the student is an undergraduate or graduate, whether the student attends part- or full-time and many other factors. While some schools negotiate agreements bilaterally with other states, many now choose to participate in consortium agreements in which a number of states in a geographical region are treated similarly under the agreement.

Four such consortia are represented in our survey responses: the Academic Common Market, the Midwest Student Exchange Program, the New England Regional Student Program and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Some institutions in the survey also participate in student exchange programs (e.g. the National Student Exchange, the Consortium of Universities in the Washington Metropolitan Area and the Tuition Exchange, Inc.). These differ from reciprocity agreements in that students participating in them are either visiting another school for a specified time period, or are limited to a narrowly defined, small group of eligible students. A brief description of each of the consortia and exchange programs mentioned above follows.


Academic Common Market (ACM)

This program is administered by the Southern Region Education Board and serves the following 15 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. The ACM was designed so that if a state's public institutions do not offer degree programs in which a student is interested, the student can attend a public institution in another participating state and not have to pay the out-of-state tuition amount normally charged to non-resident students. Participating students in the ACM typically pay the in-state tuition amount at the receiving institution.

Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP)

The MSEP was established by the Midwestern Higher Education Commission in order to expand students? educational opportunities and facilitate enrollment efficiency in those member institutions that have excess capacity in existing programs. The program includes both public and private two and four year institutions. The six member states include: Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska and North Dakota. Participating students in the MSEP that attend private schools receive a minimum of a 10% tuition discount. Participating public school students typically pay a tuition amount that falls midway between the receiving school?s in-state and out-of-state tuition levels.

New England Regional Student Program (NERSP)

The NERSP is administered by the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE). The RSP provides students with a tuition discount when they enroll in certain majors, which are not available at public colleges in their home states, at public colleges and universities in other New England states. All 78 public colleges and universities in New England participate in the RSP, which includes both two and four year institutions. Programs are available through the RSP at all academic levels: associate's, bachelor's, master's, certificate of advanced graduate study, doctoral and first-professional. The New England States in the program are Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Participating students pay RSP tuition when studying a major that is not offered by a public college in their home state, but that is offered by a public college in another New England state through the RSP. The RSP tuition rate is typically 150 percent of the receiving college's in-state tuition.

Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE)

The WICHE administers three types of exchange programs: the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE), the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) and the Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP). The schools in our survey report only on the WUE program. WICHE's student exchange programs offer undergraduates, graduates and professional students the opportunity to access programs not typically offered in their home states without paying the higher out-of-state tuition levels typically charged by other states. In addition, these programs enable the member schools to achieve cost efficiencies by not unnecessarily duplicating programs and facilities. The 15 states that belong to the program include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Participating students typically pay 150% of the receiving school?s in-state tuition level.

Exchange Programs

Consortium of Universities in the Washington Metropolitan Area

This small consortium consists of 12 public and private universities in the Capital area. The Consortium is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization governed by the officers and representatives of the 11 participating universities and one college. The Consortium was founded to take advantage of the cost efficiencies obtained by sharing resources and to provide a breadth of services and facilities that no single institution could provide. This consortium allows students enrolled at any of the 12 member schools to take courses at any of the other participating schools, while paying the tuition of the student?s home institution. In this sense, it is not a true reciprocity program, but rather an exchange program. The participating schools are: American University, Catholic University, Gallaudet University, Georgetown University, George Mason University, George Washington University, Howard University, Marymount University, Southeastern University, Trinity College, the University of the District of Columbia and the University of Maryland at College Park.

National Student Exchange (NSE)

The NSE is an association of 174 colleges and universities that offer tuition reciprocal exchange opportunities for their students. It differs from the reciprocity programs in that the agreements are made between schools, not between schools and states / programs and it covers only visiting students. Campuses are located not only in the United States, but also in Canada and U.S. Territories.

The Tuition Exchange

The Tuition Exchange is a reciprocal scholarship program for children and other family members of faculty and staff employed at over 500 participating institutions. Tuition Exchange, Inc. is a non-profit association that strives to serve higher education by making careers at colleges and universities more attractive.

Public Research and Doctoral Institutions with Reciprocity Agreements

Public Research and Doctoral Institutions Without Reciprocity Agreements

The following 67 universities responded to the survey that they do not have tuition reciprocity programs.

  • Arizona State University
  • Ball State University
  • Bowling Green State University
  • City University of New York
  • Clemson University
  • Cleveland State University
  • College of William and Mary
  • Colorado School Of Mines
  • Florida Atlantic University
  • Florida International University
  • Florida State University
  • Illinois State University
  • Indiana University Of Pennsylvania
  • Iowa State University
  • Kent State University
  • Miami University (Ohio)
  • Michigan State University
  • Michigan Technological University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Ohio State University
  • Ohio University
  • Old Dominion University
  • Penn State University
  • Purdue University
  • Rutgers - New Brunswick
  • Rutgers - Newark
  • Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
  • SUNY at Albany
  • SUNY at Binghamton
  • SUNY at Buffalo
  • SUNY at Stonybrook
  • SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry
  • Temple University
  • Tennessee State University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Texas Woman's University
  • University of Alabama-Birmingham
  • University of Arizona
  • University of California - Berkeley
  • University of California - Davis
  • University of California - Irvine
  • University of California - Los Angeles
  • University of California - Riverside
  • University of California - San Diego
  • University of California - Santa Barbara
  • University of California - Santa Cruz
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Colorado - Boulder
  • University of Colorado - Denver
  • University of Houston
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Mississippi
  • University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
  • University of North Carolina - Greensboro
  • University of North Texas
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Texas - Arlington
  • University of Texas - Austin
  • University of Washington
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Wayne State University
  • Western Michigan University
  • Wright State University