Updated on July 7, 2017 at 4:53 PMPosted on July 7, 2017 at 4:49 PM
30sharesBY BEN BAXTER
Ben Baxter is a Tuscaloosa dweller, a Dothan native, an experienced engineer, and a regular contributor for personal finance and career development topics. He's also a frequent voice on race-related topics.
With senior year about to begin for many Alabama high school students, it is becoming imperative for college selection choices to become solidified. For most students, tuition price greatly affects the number of schools that are viable options for attendance. But what if a few more schools became available because tuition price was no longer a factor? And what if those schools just happened to be in neighboring states?
As it stands, most out-of-state colleges and universities are cost-prohibitive to Alabama students because out-of-state tuition prices are routinely 2 or 3 times as much as in-state tuition prices. The following colleges defy those statistics and present several more options for prospective college students. The first three schools only offer out-of-state tuition waivers to residents from border counties, but the last two offer out-of-state tuition waivers to residents from anywhere within the state of Alabama. Keep that in mind while perusing the list. All figures are for the 2017-18 school year.
Mississippi State University (Meridian)
If getting a degree from a football powerhouse like Alabama or Auburnis important, but the price tag of attendance is an obstacle ($11,580.00 and $10,968.00 respectively), then give Mississippi State University a try. The MSU Meridian campus gives several west Alabama counties the in-state tuition treatment, and the price tag for that tuition is quite affordable. Overall tuition and fees end up being several thousands of dollars cheaper than Alabama and Auburn.
Eligible Alabama Counties: Sumter, Green, Choctaw, Hale, Marengo, and Clarke
Tuition and Fees per Semester: $7,075.00
Florida State University (Panama City)
Living in Lower Alabama has many surprising advantages, and being able to attend Florida State University is one of those advantages. Residents in counties near the Florida border have the option to attend the FSU Panama City campus at a significantly cheaper price than anything here in Alabama. We can likely thank Florida's state lottery system for that stark tuition price contrast.
Eligible Alabama Counties: Baldwin, Barbour, Butler, Clarke, Coffee, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Escambia, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Mobile, Monroe, Pike, and Washington
ADVERTISINGTuition and Fees per Semester: $6014.70
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
While out-of-state tuition is a measly $4,029.50 per year for Jackson County residents, mandatory fees raise the total tuition and fees to $12,693.50 per year. This is does not seem like the best deal in world until we realize that living at home is a viable option for many Jackson County residents. So if the hour-long commute isn't a deterrent, UT Chattanooga is a worthy college option.
Eligible Alabama Counties: Jackson
Tuition and Fees per Semester: $ 12,693.50
University of West Florida
While the University of West Florida certainly doesn't have the name recognition of some larger universities in Florida, it does provide something those other universities do not: affordable out-of-state tuition for all students from Alabama. Students from any county within Alabama are automatically eligible for reduced out-of-state tuition rates. So if warm, sandy beaches outside the dormitories are a selling point, University of West Florida is a serviceable university to attend.
Eligible Alabama Counties: ALL
Tuition and Fees per Semester: $9719.40
Valdosta State University
This one is a little tricky. Yes, all Alabama students are currently eligible for in-state tuition rates at Valdosta State University. However, that status is not stagnant. Every three years, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents reevaluates whether Georgia colleges are eligible to grant tuition waivers. But as long as colleges within Georgia remain below full enrollment capacity, then tuition waivers are readily available.
Eligible Alabama Counties: ALL
Tuition and Fees per Semester: $7476.00