In-state Tuition vs Out of State Tuition for Internationals - F1 Students - H1B Visa Holders

In-state vs Out-of State tuition Fee ? Eligibility for F1 Students, H1B, L1 ?

In Application Info by KumarUpdated : 243 Comments

If you plan to study in the US, tuition fee is the biggest expenditure of all your student life. If you work in US for some time, you maybe eligible for certain benefits like in-state tuition fee and can save on tuition fee.  I will try to explain the difference and tell you various options on how to get it and tell you why you can not get at some places.

What is Out of State Tuition or International Student Tuition Fee ?

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 … Just Kidding 😉 … 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 Fee in US ?

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 H1B or L1 Visa ?

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 and live there. You will need proof to support these, like  a driving license, W2 tax return, car registration, rental, etc.  All of these are to verify that you meet the residency requirement.  The key point is that 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.  Also, 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?.  The best way to check is to email or call any of the state schools that you plan to study in and ask them the residency requirements for in-state tuition, they will ask you some details or ask you to fill out a form and they will tell based on that. Again, you need to check with the school to ensure you qualify, you cannot assume this as it all varies by state.

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 ( 243 )

  1. 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?

  2. Edwige


    I am an International student but I married a US Citizen few months ago. We filed petition for Alien relative and still waiting for an interview. But in the meantime, am I eligible for in-state tuition?

    1. administrator

      Usually, you need to reside in the state for one year to avail tuition fee for dependents. I am not sure, how it works for situation like yours, I suggest you check with the school on your eligibility.

  3. Huseyin


    I’m on H1b visa and my visa end in 6 months. I’m planing to start a master program and pay in-state tuition. But when my visa ends I’ll have to get I-20 in order to be not out of status.

    Here is my question. Is it possible to keep paying in-state after I got student visa for me?
    Friend of mine did this and completed his degree paying in-state. He actually changed his visa to f1 while he is studying. I was wondering if same thing apply to me in texas.

    Thank you.

    1. administrator


      I don’t think you can pay in-state tuition on F-1 visa. When you are an international student on F-1, you have to pay international fees for the school.

  4. Parimala Venkatesh

    Hey I am on H4 visa, but I’d to convert to F1, because of the ability to work, even it is campus jobs. But in doing so I face paying out-of state tuition which will put me in 60k debt by the time I graduate. I am a resident of Texas & lease a property since Nov ’14 (I got admitted into Fall 2016), so I do qualify, but in the school records I am still an international applicant.

    Is there a way to get f1 visa and still qualify for in-state tuition. If so, How do I do this? Should I tell the school about my residency status, or directly talk to them as an international applicant in need of aid?

    1. administrator

      No, it is not possible to be on F1 and qualify for in-state, unless you get some sort of funding in the form of TA, RA or GA with at least 0.5 FTE status. You can see the possibilities by discussing your situation with DSO, they can guide you as well. Speak to department, if there are any funding options, then you may convert to F1.



    I am a international student studying in Europe. My father got his green card and is a residence of FL for a year now. I plan on going to Graduate school in the fall. Will I qualify for instate tuition as a dependent student?


    1. administrator

      Well, if you plan to be on F1 visa, you may not be eligible. But, if you are in other dependent visa, you may be eligible. I suggest you check with the school you plan to apply as rules can vary by state.

  6. Ntobo

    Urgent can some one help me out. I came to the U.S through a green card program (U.S diversity Visa lottery by the department of state) currently living in Houston-Texas. I want to enroll into a community college for nursing program. i will like to know if i will be considered as instate or out state since i have not been here for close to a year. Just 4 months. Thanks

    1. administrator

      Typically, you get in-state after you live in a state and work there for one year or so. I suggest you check with the University, where you plan to apply for definitive answer and rules on in-state.

  7. CA HS graduate


    I am a California HS graduate and been working full time (with I-765 work authorization)and studying as full time student in NYC in for the past 3 years, but my school advises I am not qualified for in-state tuition. Can you please help to confirm if this is correct? I don’t understand why I am not qualified, esp. since I have been paying state taxes for several years already.

    Thank you

  8. Kedar

    I would be in USA for a long term work assignment in Chicago. My son is in class 11 and post 12th standard, he wants to do his undergraduate study in USA. Currently he is in India and he is planning to join post his 12th std. Since I will be there in USA as a bonafide resident of IL for more than one year, can my son get the benefit of In State Tuiton Fee (assuming he will be getting his preferred course in one of the leading IL based universities).

    1. administrator

      If your child is going to be on H4, he may be eligible, but some schools may ask that he has to be with you for one year to claim it. If he choses to be on F1 visa, he will not be eligible. All in all, it can be a little tricky and confusing at times, it is best to check with school and verify for the eligibility. Check this article H4 Visa Instate Tutition Guidelines. You may read sample guideliens at .

  9. Mangesh

    Hello there,

    I am on H4 and previously on H1, staying in Florida for 6 years.Is there a way for me to get florida in-state tuition in Florida public university. Is it possible to get in-state tuition on F1 visa? or I can get only if I apply as H4?

    Thanks ,

  10. Abdutolib Normamatov

    I heard that there is still some states that is same tuition and for international and for citizens like Missouri or Minesota. Is that true?

    1. administrator

      Abdutolib Normamatov,
      The concept of in-state and out of state tuition fee applies only to State funded Universities, it does not apply to Private Schools. If you go a private school, fee is same for everyone.

  11. Koen Vrij

    Hi my name is Koen Vrij im from the Netherlands and attendig a community college in california for 2 years noe my plan is to teansfer to a CSU but the tuition is rediculous im on a F-1 visa

    How can i pay instate tuition please help?

    1. administrator

      Koen Brij,

      AFAIK, you will have to pay international student fees when on F-1. Is there any other visa that you can move to? I think CSUs also have few scholarships and RA positions.

  12. ajay

    To quote you :
    ” Some states, have FULL Tuition waiver if you are GA, TA or RA. It depends on school and state. …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.”

    So which states and universities have this provision of getting an in-state tuition fee..I know of Texas..any universities other than Texas?

    1. Graduate

      Georgia state university does. I just completed my bachelors in computer science and maintained at least a 3.3 and got more than half my international fees covered all 4 years.
      Also masters students get GRA and TA positions and don’t pay tuition except for mandatory fees like health etc . But these positions are quickly filled so apply on time

  13. Cindy


    I’m an international student with F1 visa in the U.S. I have paid out of state tuition since 2014. It means, I’ve spent like a small home price 🙂 Now, I’m waiting for my green card. I think, my tuition that I have to pay will change and I’ll pay in state tuition after I get my green card. I wonder about the refund. My question is, will I get refund tuition which I paid until this time, after I get my green card?

    1. administrator


      Once you receive your Green Card, you can start paying in-state tuition fees. You won’t receive any refund on the fees already submitted as you were on F-1 and not a permanent resident at that time.

  14. Venkat

    I’m staying in Georgia since 1 year, but my wife was in India.
    Now if she comes to Georgia, can she qualify for in-state tuition fees since I have been paying the state taxes since 1 year.

  15. ashraful

    i live in florida, and my parents too with full family.and they pay texes too! we are immigrants and we all have permanent residency! so if i move to another state. then will i be eligible to pay in state fee to that state,s college or university?

  16. Yogita

    Hello right now I am in us on h4 visa..I am planning for fall 16..for ms in cs course,I have 3 yrs of teaching experience in India.
    Can I apply for TA? Like what is eligibility for TA?

  17. Brian

    I live in Michigan and am a junior in high school. I want to move to Georgia and do my senior year in living with my aunt in Georgia. Would doing the whole senior year there allow me to get instate tuition costs?

  18. Fazil

    I am on H1B and planning to do MS. If i am spending 10,000$ a year on education, will i be getting any benefits in my tax returns?

  19. Sun

    I am on H4 and moved to california after marriage in march 2014. I enrolled full time into grad school in california (CSU). I want to apply for residency reclassification since i have completed 1 year.
    Will i be able to get in state tuition? Since i am on H4 i am not authorized to work in US and hence do not have a W2 to show i am financially independent. But i have all proofs that show i have completed 366 days in cali.

    Is there a reason why they would reject my residency reclassification? (I have seen 0% success rate in my university previously regarding residency reclassification)

  20. Deepika

    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.

  21. ayesha khan

    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.

  22. Anoop

    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?

  23. Manjunath

    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.

    1. administrator

      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.

  24. Shamna

    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??

  25. Zack

    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?

  26. Lilo

    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.

  27. Naz

    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?

  28. sandhya


    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?

    1. administrator

      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.

  29. Pranay Rajeev

    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.

    1. administrator

      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.

  30. Nuts

    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

  31. Meghna


    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.

  32. Susie

    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.

  33. prathyusha

    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 .

    1. Megha

      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.

    2. Deepali

      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?

  34. Olivia

    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 ?

  35. Himanshu

    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?

  36. sue

    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

    1. administrator

      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.

      1. sue

        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.

        1. administrator

          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.

  37. Meenakshi

    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

    1. administrator

      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.

  38. Rakesh

    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 ?

    1. administrator

      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.

  39. Shoeb Khan

    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.

    1. patty

      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.

  40. Avinash

    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.

  41. melaine

    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?

  42. Amber

    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?

  43. Venkata Ravi Prasad Vasamsetty

    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.

  44. HARDY

    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?

    1. James

      I am in the same situation. I change from H4 to F1 due to 21 years old. My father has been working and taxing since I am 18. UC Davis refuse to give me in-state tuition just because my F1 status. I want to know if conduit bill apply to me?

  45. June

    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 !

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