Behind State Lines: How Residency Impacts Tuition Rates in New York

Discover what it takes to qualify for New York residency and how in-state and out-of-state tuition rates compare in the state.
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  • New York in-state tuition averages about $14,000 lower than out-of-state tuition.
  • Students with New York residency pay lower-than-average rates in four-year public schools.
  • Out-of-state students enjoy lower-than-average tuition rates in New York's four-year public schools.
  • Nonresidents need a New York high school diploma or GED to qualify for in-state rates.

There are plenty of reasons to study in New York, including an expansive selection of schools, world-renowned institutions, and incredible diversity and culture. Yet, managing the study and living costs while attending New York colleges can be challenging.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average undergraduate tuition and required fees for in-state students was $8,467 at public four-year institutions and $22,669 for out-of-state students in 2019-20. While New York students pay less than the national average, tuition costs in on-campus and online colleges have continued to rise over the years.

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In 2009-10, New York in-state tuition averaged $5,720 and out-of-state tuition was $13,167, as per the NCES. The increase in tuition rates result from many things, including increasing student debts and inadequate and unequal education funding. Here, we dive deeper into New York tuition rates and how it impacts residents and out-of-state learners.

What's the Difference Between In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition?

Since state schools typically benefit from state funding and taxpayer dollars, New York residents have access to lower tuition rates than nonresidents in public and New York community colleges. Private schools do not receive government funding, so they tend to offer the same rates for all students.

Every school has its own requirements to access in-state tuition rates, but learners typically need to have lived in the state recently. The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition was more than $17,000 per year on average, as per the NCES. In New York, the difference was more than $14,000 in 2019-20.

In the absence of lower college tuition overall, students without New York residency can look for schools with the lowest out-of-state tuition rates. Many schools even offer in-state tuition rates for out-of-state learners to attract the brightest minds from other states.

How Much Is In-State Tuition in New York?

According to the NCES, the average New York in-state tuition was $8,467 at four-year public institutions in 2019-20. That was lower than the national average of $9,349, which encourages degree-seeking students to stay in the state and study.

In two-year public colleges and universities, the average tuition was $5,476 in New York in 2019-20. This rate was considerably higher than the national average of $3,377. This likely has to do with New York having a much higher cost of living than the national average.

In-State Tuition Costs & Required Fees in New York
Institution Type Average Cost of Tuition & Fees
Public 4-year (in-state) $8,467
Public 2-year (in-state) $5,476

Source: NCES

Can I Get In-State Tuition in New York?

Even the hardest colleges to get into offer in-state tuition discounts for residents. To qualify for in-state tuition in New York, students need to meet the specific requirements for their school, which vary by institution. The State University of New York, for example, requires learners to have lived in the state for at least 12 months prior to applying to the school.

Other New York residency requirements may include that students keep the state as their fixed and permanent home while studying and during any absences. They must also plan to remain in the state after graduation. In New York, state residents can qualify for in-state tuition rates regardless of their immigration status.

Undocumented students can qualify as residents if they attended a New York high school for at least two years and graduated or if they attended a GED preparation program and passed the exam within the last five years.

How Much is Out-of-State Tuition in New York?

According to the NCES, the average New York out-of-state tuition was $22,669 in four-year public schools in 2019-20. That was lower than the national average of $27,023, which provides some incentive for nonresidents to pursue training in New York.

The average New York out-of-state tuition was $9,228 in two-year public colleges and universities in 2019-20. This rate was slightly higher than the national average of $8,126. Since private schools do not receive government funding, they usually feature the same tuition rates for both in-state and out-of-state learners, an average of $41,404 in 2019-20.

Out-of-State Tuition Costs & Required Fees in New York
Institution Type Average Cost of Tuition & Fees
Public 4-year $22,669
Public 2-year $9,228
Private 4-year $41,404

Source: NCES

Can Out-of-State Students Get In-State Tuition Rates in New York?

Reciprocity Programs

Many schools and states have agreements that allow learners to study in specific states and institutions and pay in-state tuition rates. However, New York schools do not have any of these agreements.

High Academic Achievement

Schools may waive out-of-state tuition rates for high-achieving students, giving them access to in-state rates. The City University of New York provides specific awards to attract high achievers from out-of-state. Scholarships for nonresidents can mitigate the cost of out-of-state tuition rates.

Exemptions and Exceptions

Out-of-state students studying in New York might be able to access in-state tuition rates in other ways. Some schools, for example, allow out-of-state online students to pay in-state rates if they take a certain percentage of courses online.

Many schools provide military personnel, their children, and spouses with out-of-state tuition waivers. This ensures that they can access affordable education even if they move due to their service or deployments.

Another possible option for out-of-state students to access in-state tuition is through legacy scholarships. These awards provide financial support or tuition waivers to the children and relatives of former graduates and alumni.

Frequently Asked Questions About In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition in New York

Why is out-of-state tuition so much higher than in-state?

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In-state tuition is lower than out-of-state tuition for a few reasons. Public schools receive government funding, which comes from the state residents. When state residents access those schools, they qualify for lower rates than in states where they do not pay taxes.

Governments and in-state schools also want to keep local talent in their home state. By offering reduced in-state tuition, they can convince the best and brightest in-state students to study at home.

How long do you have to live in New York to get in-state tuition?

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Most schools require students to have lived in New York for a minimum of one year prior to enrolling as a state resident. Students can prove this by providing documentation that shows their living status during that period.

Schools also recognize nonresidents who have a high school diploma from a New York high school or a GED. They also need to have completed at least two years of high school or a GED preparation program.

Does New York have tuition reciprocity with any other states?

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No. New York does not have any tuition reciprocity agreements with other states. While schools may set up their own reciprocity agreement, no New York schools have any either.

Reciprocity agreements encourage students to attend schools in participating states by giving them access to in-state tuition rates. Some examples of existing reciprocity agreements outside of New York include:

What is New York's nonresident tuition exemption?

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While New York does not have a nonresident tuition exemption, they offer exceptions to the domicile rule. The New York residency requirements include living in-state for at least one year. However, nonresidents who completed at least two years of high school in New York and graduated within five years of applying may qualify for in-state tuition.

Furthermore, nonresident students who have a completed GED preparation program and GED from the state may also qualify for New York residency. Nonresident students of divorced parents who plan to live in New York with one of their parents may also qualify for in-state tuition.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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