Out-of-state colleges more accessible due to Midwest Student Exchange Program


Graphic by Melissa Irish

A map shows the 10 states involved in the Midwest Student Exchange Program: Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Melissa Irish, Editor-in-Chief

For many college-bound students, colleges outside of their home state seem unreachable.  This is more often due to steep tuitions than physical distance. For midwestern students, a program makes out-of-state colleges more accessible.

The Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP) is an alliance between colleges in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The agreement requires that public colleges cannot charge more than 150 percent of tuition to students from other MSEP states. Private colleges must offer at least a 10 percent reduction on tuition.

“You go to a different state and get the same as in-state,” senior Marisa Zvezdich said.

Scholarship counselor Kathie Britten remarked that tuition costs are important to consider while choosing a college.

“School is very expensive, and that’s not meant to deter anyone from attending college, but you need to be aware of the cost,” Britten said. “You don’t want to go into it blind, because then that’s when you are going to wind up paying more than you should and spending a lot of years down the road paying it off.”

While senior Jordan Thorstad was considering a college in Kansas, she found the MSEP to be useful.

“It definitely helps with the tuition cost because it basically gives you the tuition of an in-state student instead of an out-of-state one,” Thorstad said.

Typically, students save between $500 and $5,000 due to the MSEP.  There are other financial aid options unrelated to the MSEP for students considering colleges outside of their home states as well.

“If you do look at an out-of-state school, which you definitely should if that’s something you want to do, sometimes you can get more aid for being an out-of-state student,” Britten said.

The only requirements for the MSEP are that the student be a legal resident of an MSEP state and that they are applying as a non-resident student in another MSEP state.

“Basically all you have to do is apply for the college, and if you qualify, you get it if you are eligible,” Thorstad said.

As of the time of this publication, there are no other programs like the MSEP in the United States. However, Britten said she believed that that may change.

“We’re seeing a trend of schools starting to partner with other states in order to bring their kids into there and then giving them the in-state tuition,” Britten said.

Overall, Britten found the program to be beneficial for both colleges and the students planning on attending there.

“It’s definitely given them an opportunity for more students to attend their schools because of it,” Britten said.