The Western Undergraduate Exchange, available to students who call Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington or another of the 15 participating states home, has saved students roughly $2 billion over the past 25 years, says Margo Colalancia, director of the program.
Residents can attend certain schools located in other member states and pay 150 percent of in-state tuition. About 145 institutions participate in the exchange, including the University of Arizona, Washington State University and Colorado State University.
There is a catch, though. Many schools put an annual cap on exchange students and some restrict tuition breaks to certain majors. At the University of Arizona, for example, out-of-state students can get more than $11,000 off nonresident tuition - but only if they major in mining engineering.
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Eligibility depends on a number of factors, including where students live, what degree program they are interested in and whether minimum caps have been met. If students earn a tuition break through the exchange, then change majors, they could lose their discount, Colalancia says.
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