College education is clearly one of the largest financial challenges amongst families in their financial plan today. Parents unfortunately often don’t devise a quality game plan or research all of their options until the 11th hour when their first child goes to college. In fact, many parents inaccurately fill out their FAFSA forms because they don’t research the questions and the actual underlying answers that FAFSA is actually asking for when you fill out the forms. More and more, parents are encouraging children to attend an in state school in an effort to make college costs reasonable. However, one way parents can potentially cut their college tuition costs and have their children attend out of state school is to research the academic common market.
Consider this for a moment. The states surrounding you have a similar issue as the state you live in now. They are getting more and more in state applications, and that creates considerable risk to have a much more homogenized student body than they would like. Thus, in different regions in the United States, many schools have begun to participate in a tuition reciprocity program through something called the academic common market. The market is broken out by various regions based upon geography and essentially if your major is not offered in state and it is offered out of state by one of the participating institutions, you may be able to qualify for in state tuition for an out of state school even though you aren’t a resident of that state.
Since I am a resident of Georgia, the market created for my children is the Southern Region Educational Board (www.sreb.org). This opens up options in over sixteen states, and also allows me to have a healthy discussion with my teenagers about the schools and our options as a family. Doing research on a program like this and making a smart calculated game plan could help cut one of the biggest costs your family will face paying tuition for a four year college education.