In-state vs Out-of State tuition. Can you get in-state tution if you work in US for more than year ?

In Application Info MS-MBA by Kumar218 Comments

Tuition fee is the biggest expenditure of all your student life if you go to school in US. If you work in US for some time, you get benefits and save tuition.  I will try to explain the difference and tell you ways how to get it and tell you why you can not get at some places.

Out of State Tuition :

As the name says, it is tuition fee that you pay if you are NOT from that state. i.e., if you go to school in  Texas and you are not from Texas, you have to pay Out of state tuition. So, all the international students on F1 visa fall under this category. Unless, you can convince immigration you are from Texas…may be by wearing a cow boy hat and behave like a true Texan 😉    Anyways, we cannot convince them, so we will stick to the basics and say, all internationals are Out of state tuition. Typically the out of state tuition is double the in-state tuition. So, lets say if your in state fee was 3000, your Out of state tuition would be 6000.

In- State Tuition :

Well, as it says, it is tuition  you pay if you are from the state or have lived in the state or your parents are from that state. As said above, it is HALF of out of state tuition. First question we get is WHY ? Second question WHY  ?  Third question WHY NOT ME ?
Because, you are from state or your parents are from that state, it is assumed that you or your parents paid Income taxes for state and other taxes on vehicle, property, etc. Bottom line, your taxes are doing the trick here and getting you a big saving on Tuition. In fact, the State Budget has allocation for all the State Schools.  Thats where the money is coming for schools to give you in-state.   Why NOT You ? Simply, because you haven’t paid taxes as you are on F1 and just came to US.  The concept of In state tuition only works for State funded schools and NOT private schools. So, if you go to a private schools, there is only one fee…that is TUITION FEE 🙂

In State if you Worked in a State on H1 ?

YES  and YES, most of the states ( I do not  know about every state)  give you In state tuition if you worked in that particular state for more than 1 year ( some places more than 6 months). They  assume, you paid taxes. You will need proof to support these, like  a driving license, W2 tax return, car registration, rental, etc.  But, the point is, you get benefit on tuition if you consistently lived in a state for more than one year. This is very important if you want to pursue higher education like MBA where the fees is RIDICULOUSLY HIGH.  H4 visa holders can be  eligible  for in-state tution. Read this article  : H4 Visa Study MS/ MBA in US: In-state Tuition and other advantages?

In-State tuition for F1 students ?

YES, you may get In state tuition if you are on F1 visa too. It depends on the school and their rules. In some schools, if you get 0.5 FTE (  i.e., 50% of full time employment, which is 20 hrs a week)  Teaching assistant (TA) , Research assistant(RA)  or Graduate Assistant (GA), you may be eligible for in-state tuition fee.  The pay varies by state for these positions, but typically, if you have a 0.5 FTE  TA, RA or GA, you may be eligible to get in state tuition. Another way is if you get scholarships or any grants.  So, talk to your professor about funding you for TA, RA or GA and get in-state. Some states, have FULL Tuition waiver if you are GA, TA or RA. It depends on school and state. So, it all varies, but worst case is you at least get in state tuition.  Some schools may not have the provision of in-state tuition for positions like GA, TA or RA as they pay higher hourly rate to students…so, it totally depends on the school and their rules in their campus, you are better of checking with the financial aid or your academic dean of students.

Any questions…drop a comment…

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Comments ( 218 )

  1. Julia

    Hey, great article here! I wonder if you know if F1 students on OPT (I worked as a student and transferred into a full-time position, have been working for a year already and live in this state for three years) can qualify for in-state tuition?

    1. administrator

      Well, if you are on F1 visa, you may not be eligible, unless you get some sort of funding from school. You can check with the school you plan to apply to double check.

  2. Uma

    Hi all,

    I have applied for H4 extension.I received my receipt notice in feb 2016 and not yet received the approval notice. I got admitted in University of north Carolina. Will I be eligible for instate tuition fee? I have stayed in NC for more than an year now.


  3. Isabel

    I am currently going to school in Florida from NY. My parents still support me but I do have a job here in Florida to have extra spending money. I really needed a license (obviously because there is no way to travel without it) and I got one today. I DONT want to be a florida residence and im worried that I’ll be considered one with this id. Is this the case?

  4. Marco

    I live in Colorado. I have been her for more than a year. I am currently on an F-1 Visa. But i also have TPS (Temporary Protected Status) and employment authorization card. I have worked here for more than a year,
    Will i be eligible to get in state tution fee?

  5. Jake

    Great article, thanks for sharing information.

    If I’m an international student F1, and I got married to a U.S. Women, will I get an in-state tuition?


    1. administrator

      If you are on F1, you will not be eligible, unless you get some sort of funding like TA, RA or GA. You will need to have other visa status, if you get Green Card, and maybe live in the same state for one month, you may be eligible. I suggest you speak to the school you plan to apply for better clarity.

  6. H4toF1COS


    I am on H4 visa and I paid in-state tuition fees for the last term. I have applied for F1 COS. If it gets approved, will I still be eligible to pay in-state tuition fees as we have been paying taxes for the last 4 years?


    1. administrator


      AFAIK, you have to pay international fees on F-1. You can’t have it both ways.

      Think about it, someone enrolls in MS program from India on F-1. After 1 year, they can claim domicile and ask for in-state tuition. That will not fly.

      1. H4toF1COS

        Hi Saurabh, thanks for the reply. I agree on your point but I was wondering if there would be any chance since F1 students do not pay tax.

  7. Arun

    Very good website.

    I have one question. I am staying in texas since may 2015 but I got my state id card and DL in Dec 2015 . The university rules for in-state fees is for state residents who complete more than 1 year in texas. .Considering that how many months they will consider for me if they ask my state ID proof. Will they calculate from May 2015 or dec 2015. I am paying taxes since may2015 and I am on H1.

    Help and advice needed

    1. administrator

      It has nothing to do with the DL or state ID, if you can show proof to them that you are working and paying taxes from May 2015 and on H1, that should help you with the in-state.

  8. Arun

    Hi I am currently in H1 working in Texas. I am paying taxes from past 13 months. My wife is joining me next month with H4.

    Can she study in US with in-state fees ? Or she needs to complete 1 year to be eligible for in-state fees? Please help.


  9. Jada

    I live in Georgia but I want to go to South Carolina University. I don’t want to pay out of state tuition. My aunt lives in SC so is there any way I can say I live with her so I don’t have to pay?

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