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

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…

162 comments… add one

  • Deepika Jan 21, 2015 Reply

    Hi, A friend of mine got to pay in state tuition fee, without even applying for anything and he doesn’t even have any GA, RA or TA. He is an international student. first help me in understanding that how it could be possible, secondly, can i get the same.

  • ayesha khan Jan 8, 2015 Reply

    I had a question. I am a green card holder and I have spent a month in texas and I wish to study in university of houston but I want to be consider for in-state tuition. so what do I have to do, pay taxes for a year? And if yes then can the tax be on odd job salary or not? I heard that I need to buy property in texas to be considered for in-state tuition.

  • Anoop Dec 24, 2014 Reply

    I have recently applied for MBA @ California State University, Fullerton, they have classified me under ‘non-resident of California’ regardless of the fact that I have been working in CA for 3 years.

    Can you please provide a link from any US Gov site where it states that H1B holders would be considered for in-state tuition fee?

  • Manjunath Dec 21, 2014 Reply

    Hi… Plz anyone help me out…

    I am holding L2 valid visa. I have completed my bachelor of engineering at India.

    In few days time, i m moving to USA.

    Can i do MS/M.Tech/MBA at USA without appearing to GRE. or How?? i need information about this.

    kindly do the needful.

    • Kumar Dec 21, 2014 Reply

      Manjunath, It depends on the school you plan to apply to. Typically, most of the good schools require GRE and TOEFL. You can go and speak to the admissions counsellor at few universities and see,if you can get it waived.

  • Shamna Dec 5, 2014 Reply

    I am on h4 visa residing in Connecticut for more than 1 year.Can I be eligible for in state tuition ? Should I need to take GRE or anyother exams inorder to pursue studies granting the in state tuition??

  • Zack Nov 13, 2014 Reply

    I’ve been in america for 4 years now with an A1 visa, but it expires in 6 months time and i have roughly one more year of schooling to go. My question is can i switch to an F1 and do i still have to pay as an out of state student or not?

  • Lilo Nov 11, 2014 Reply

    I’m getting married in January in US and I am taking a break this semester, I need to go to school next semester but the tuition is $7500 and my parent can’t pay it. I am wondering while I am applying for green card if I kick out of US… I have been here 2 years now.

  • Naz Nov 6, 2014 Reply

    Can my sister as my sponsor who is a permanent resident pay the in state tuition fee for my first year of study or can she only do that for the 2nd year of my study?

  • sandhya Sep 15, 2014 Reply


    I’m living in US since 1 year on H4 visa in Louisiana and now I’m doing my master’s in Maryland. My visa conversion from H4 to F1 is in process( in which my husband is my guardian). Now,I’m living with my relatives in Maryland who are living here since 10 years. So, my question is can I be a instate student if I change my guardian from my husband to my relatives?

    • Kumar Oct 19, 2014 Reply

      Hi Sandhya,
      I doubt, if a sudden change of your guardian will make you eligible. Typically you can gain in-state if your parents are from Maryland or your husband worked in Maryland for over an year. It always varies by school, I suggest you check the university.

  • Nina Jul 7, 2014 Reply

    Hi, thank you for the info. But what about for undergraduate students? How can they get in state.

  • Pranay Rajeev Jun 30, 2014 Reply

    Hello Guys,

    Hope everyone are doing well. Thank you very much for this valuable post

    I am totally confused about this discussion here about F1 student In-State Tuition fees. I am currently holding an F1 Visa and living in Maryland for almost 12 months. I am working as a Graduate Research Assistant under the department for last 8 months now and it doesn’t cover my tuition fees / instate tuition fees. There are only 2 posts in the department for graduate research assistants which will cover the tuition fees and are paid $ 11/ hour and 20 hours a week. I am paid $15/ hour and can work 30 hours a week.

    Am I still eligible for instate tuition fees?? Can someone please explain this issue which will be tons of help for me as I have no senior Indian mates in the university to help me.

    Hoping to see a reply soon. Thank you in advance.

    • Kumar Oct 19, 2014 Reply

      Pranay, it varies by school. Are you studying in a state funded school ? Typically, if you are eligible, it will be automatically applied to your fee, you do not have to explicitly ask for it. Either case, I suggest you check with your professor or department for the same.

  • Nuts May 29, 2014 Reply

    Regarding your point on 50% TA position and eligibility criteria for In-State Tuition…Is this the case in California at a State University as well??? If yes, please kindly send me a link of the legal clause to it.
    I am in talks with a State University Business School and have been denied the In-State tuition fee. I am on F1 visa and have 50% TA position on campus.
    Pls help with this ASAP

  • Meghna Mar 1, 2014 Reply


    I have been in NJ for more than a year now on H4 visa. Am I eligible for Instate tuition fees?

    This is what i read on Rutgers State university website for Graduate program:
    NJ Residency:
    International students on H, F, or J visas are not eligible for in-state tuition rates. To be eligible for in-state tuition, you must be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident (hold a green card), and have resided in New Jersey for a minimum of 1 year.

  • Susie Feb 16, 2014 Reply

    My parents moved to arizona (from another country). My sibling goes to high school in AZ. We moved all our belongings (sold our house etc). My parent (non US citizen obtained her visa). The rest of us are all US citizens. My other parent, the main source of income, works outside the state as there is no work in his field in AZ. He travels home on weekends. I have been told by the university of az that we cannot be considered “residents” as long as he has foreign income (we file federal at this point). What do we need to do to become residents? We have supplied bank info, leases, voter registration, drivers license, moving bills, house sale contract, etc.

  • prathyusha Feb 4, 2014 Reply

    I’m on h4 status , since 1 yr and my husband is on h1 b vissa and now I would like do my MS. Since 1yr I’m in us in same state , so I would like to know whether i come under domestic student or international student category .

    • Megha Mar 1, 2014 Reply

      Hello Prathyusha,

      I am in the same situation as you. Please let me know if you get more information on getting IN-State tuition fee on H4 in lived more than a year in same state.

    • Deepali Apr 17, 2014 Reply

      hi prathyusha… I have the similar situation… can u tell me if u did fall under the category and availed in state tuition at all?

  • Olivia Jan 21, 2014 Reply

    Thus topic is really interesting. My question is I had my OPT in 2013 and went back to school in 2014.. Can I apply for in tuition since I paid my tax during my opt ?

    • prathibha Apr 14, 2014 Reply

      hey olivia,
      did u get any answers for ur question?? i am in a similar sitatuion like u now

  • Himanshu Sep 17, 2013 Reply

    Hi. I have done B.Tech. ECE from India. I have received PR. But I have just arrived here. I am in Pennsylvania. Do you think that I can get some kind of full scholarship for MS now that I am a PR. And should I wait for whole one year to be considered for in-state eligibility. I mean isn’t there anyway that I can complete my MS as fast and as cheap as possible? Like being considered for TA,RA or GA right from the beginning?

  • sue Aug 16, 2013 Reply

    Hi Kumer,
    Your post gave me a light of hope. I am currently living in Alaska and have been working in Alaska for 2 yrs on H1B visa. I got enrolled into nursing program at University of Anchorage Anchorage (which is a public school). Yesterday, I was told by a financial advisor that I am not qualified for in-state tuition which is devastating for me. You mentioned that most states give H1b holders in-state tuition after living in that particular state certain amount of time.

    I was wondering if you know Alaska is one of the states? I did some google searching, yet didn’t find anything. Thank you so much and I am anxiously awaiting your response.
    Thanks again

    • Saurabh Aug 20, 2013 Reply

      Here is the link for your school.

      You can go through it to see if you qualify or not. If you do, then you can take this up w/ the school.

      • sue Aug 20, 2013 Reply

        Thank you so much for the link. I got this link. It says “students with a non-immigrant visa is not qualified for in-state tuition”. H1b is non-immigrant visa. So I am not qualified?

        I guess here in AK we don’t have a lot of h1b holders so it doesn’t say students with f1 visa ( instead of non-immigrant visa) is not qualified for in-state tuition.

        • Saurabh Aug 21, 2013 Reply

          Yes, H-1 is a non-immigrant visa and so you don’t qualify. At the bottom of the page, it says you can contact Enrollment Management at 907-786-1480. Maybe give it a try as well for clarification.

          • sue Aug 21, 2013

            thank you again. Will give them a call or go talk to them in person.

  • Meenakshi Jul 27, 2013 Reply

    Hello there

    i m in great trouble kindly help me out …i was on L2 visa earlier entered US in 2011 and now i hv H4 visa valid till 2015 . I have done Masters in Computer Application ( MCA ) from India. and i have indian work experience of about 5 yrs. Now i want to pursue MS . Is is possible i can start on H4 visa and next year convert it into F1…how to start GRE ? i mean to say what are the process for H4 visa holders and what documents are required. I m currently in Maryland ( Ellicot city) …i want to join sept Oct session this year. Is that possible i dont want to waste my time anymore pls advise me…Thank you

    • Saurabh Jul 29, 2013 Reply

      Yes, schools allow you to start studies on H-4 and then move to F-1 later. You will have to check GRE requirements w/ the school. Some schools waive it off based on previous work experience and references. If required, GRE needs to be given prior to enrolling on F-1 and not H-4. Still your school can confirm.

  • Rakesh Jul 1, 2013 Reply

    I am on H1B , staying in Tx for last one year. I am getting married this December 2013 and my wife will be on H4 from then on. Will she be considered as In state student ? since I am on H1b and in Tx for one year , will she be considered as In state student and apply for Spring 2014 ?

    • Saurabh Jul 1, 2013 Reply

      Different states have different requirements for in-state fees. You will have to check for TX. However, if the wife hasn’t spent 1 year as TX resident, she may not be eligible for in-state fees.

  • Shoeb Khan Jun 11, 2013 Reply

    My question is, if i got admission to a state university and my first annual tuition is out of state, then for the 2nd year should i be eligible for in-state tuition in master program holding F-1?
    Note: i am a Bangladeshi student.

    • patty Jun 11, 2013 Reply

      Generally students on F1 are never eligible for in-state tuition. You need to be on a green card or H1 or H4 or similar. You can ask your school about their specific residence policy though.

  • Avinash Apr 24, 2013 Reply

    I am currently on F1 (Opt). I have been working since last June on OPT. I have got my H1 approved for 2014, so starting oct 2013 I will be on my H1. I am planning to go back to part time MBA starting Spring 2014. I have been working since June 2012, but I was on if i go back to school while on H1. Will I be able to avail Instate tuition ?? I have been in the same state all through.

  • melaine Apr 2, 2013 Reply

    I was leaving in CA for one year then i move to NJ now im in Florida and they took my California ID this make me Out state student if i wanna go back to CA if i already leave ove there one year?

  • Amber Mar 29, 2013 Reply

    What if I currently live in Tennesee and go to college in TN, but I haven’t lived here for a year yet… and the last state I lived in was Virginia and I’m trying to go to a VA college… should I be able to pay in state?

  • Venkata Ravi Prasad Vasamsetty Mar 11, 2013 Reply

    This article is too good. The way you explained with examples can be understood by anybody who have limited knowledge in English. Thanks for the Information.

  • HARDY Oct 17, 2012 Reply

    Can I get in state tuition if my father has a H1B visa, pays state taxes but I have a F1 visa since I am 21 and cannot get a H4 visa?

    • Anurag Jun 1, 2014 Reply

      I am in a similar situation now.
      Did you get answer to your question ? Would you mind sharing

      • Gio Mar 19, 2015 Reply

        I’m on the same situation. Did you find the answer??

  • June Oct 9, 2012 Reply

    Hello there.
    I am a greencard holder since this past August. (I was on an F1 visa for 6 years until then) I am thinking to go to a community college, am I able to be eligible for in-state student?
    Thank you very much in advance !

    • June Oct 9, 2012 Reply

      Additional information, I am resident of california, US green card holder and a citizen of Japan. Thank you

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