Tuition Reciprocity in the United States

By Stewart, Gregory; Wright, Dianne Brown et al. | College and University, Fall 2008 | Go to article overview

Tuition Reciprocity in the United States


Stewart, Gregory, Wright, Dianne Brown, Kennedy, Angelica, College and University


Reciprocity agreements are contracts between two or more parties whereby students pay reduced tuition rates. The rate ofreduction is determined by the parameters set forth in each individual state's agreement but may range from a modest reduction in fees to a waiver of full non-resident tuition. In addition to providing tuition relief, reciprocity agreements have expanded educational choice for student beneficiaries and have limited unnecessary duplication of academic programs and educational facilities for academic institutions and states.

Knowing that litde has been written about reciprocity agreements, Stewart, Winchell and Wagner (1994) contacted state education officials throughout the United States to investigate the existence of interstate tuition reciprocity programs. Reciprocity agreements are contracts between two or more parties whereby students pay reduced tuition rates. The rate ofreduction is determined by the parameters set forth in each individual state's agreement but may range from a modest reduction in fees to a waiver of full non-resident tuition. In addition to providing tuition relief, reciprocity agreements have expanded educational choice for student beneficiaries and have limited unnecessary duplication of academic programs and educational facilities for academic institutions and states. Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Florida have adopted several unique reciprocity agreements (agreements upon which we will elaborate), but first we will summarize the aspects of other programs.

Agreements vary in service to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Some programs have enrollment capacity limits whereby only a specific number of students may receive assistance. In some programs, student participants pay the same tuition rate as in-state students; in others, a special rate is calculated. Table 1, on page 66, contains a general summary of interstate reciprocity agreements.

TANGENTIAL STATE RECIPROCITY

Officials in neighboring states typically explore the concept of reciprocity to prevent duplication of cosdy programs. Authorization to enter into reciprocity agreements with neighboring states was one of the first responsibilities assigned to the Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board. Minnesota has increased student access to higher education through reciprocal tuition agreements with Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, two institutions in Iowa, the Canadian province of Manitoba, and affiliate membership in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Reciprocity agreements have expanded educational choice for students and have reduced costs to the taxpayers of participating states. In the 2005-0 6 academic year, approximately 13,595 students from Minnesota and 11,418 students from Wisconsin participated in the reciprocity program.

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education has approved tuition reciprocity agreements with Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Advantages of reciprocity for Kentucky include: broader access and opportunity for citizens in a region; reduction of unnecessary duplication of academic programs; and cost reduction by utilizing academic programs in other states. Kentucky has been a leader: its agreements have benefited thousands of students. (See Table 2.)

Northern Kentucky University (nku), Cincinnati Technical and State Community College (Cincinnati State), and the University of Cincinnati (uc) have joined forces to increase access to associate degree programs and to encourage articulation for baccalaureate and master's degrees. The Ohio /Kentucky Reciprocity Agreement has been in effect since July 1991. Undergraduate and graduate reciprocity agreements for students from selected counties in northern Kentucky and southwestern Ohio created many benefits for students, institutions, and states. Dr. Robert Appleson, former Assistant Provost at Northern Kentucky University and one of the writers of the Ohio /Kentucky Recip- rocal Agreement, notes that the agreement has provided many benefits to nku. …

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