College: To stay or not to stay

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Illustration by Emerald Green
Illustration by Emerald Green

To Stay: Bekah Denny

“There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.” This mantra fills every hallowed hall of universities as college freshmen, who two months prior wanted to be anywhere but home, realize that going to an out-of-state college is not the stress-free life that coming-of-age movies have portrayed it to be. With grad-palooza engulfing every high school in the country, students get swept into the fantasy of the college experience depicted in movies like “Neighbors,” “Accepted,” and the forever classic, “Legally Blond.”

Reality kicks in when the first bill comes in the mail with the beautiful college insignia stamped on the corner asking for money that isn’t there. At a four-year public school for an undergraduate student, the average cost gap between in-state and out-of-state public colleges is roughly $9,000- excluding any higher education or universities. Locally speaking, UNLV’s in-state tuition is $4,682 while the out-of-state tuition is $11,637 per semester. The gigantic gap is a result of 75% of students attending local colleges rather than going out of state, according to Brian Knight and Nate Schiff authors of “The Out of State Tuition Distortion.” Also, UC schools, in a systemwide tuition and fee system, charge $12,294 to in-state residents compared to the additional $26,682 nonresidents pay in “nonresident supplemental tuition.”

“Staying in state is a great thing because you can use the Millennium Scholarship [maximum of $10,000 award paid on a per-credit hour basis], and you will also be able to apply for other scholarships through UNLV and UNR that only apply to students who went to high school [in Nevada],” Nichole Pennington, Coronado counselor, said.

Staying home for college also provides the benefit of a support system. With America’s college graduation rate at 55% for full-time freshmen within six years of enrollment, according to a new report by Third Way, having a strong backbone is crucial. Consider more than the financial positives of staying home– an average of $8,887 is spent just for room and board per year at public colleges– but also the emotional appeals. Living at home with family and friends near by brings relief to the student during the common stress and anxiety-filled moments that plague college life. This safety net also allows the student to reach milestones in their adult life like renting an apartment or pursuing less financially stable opportunities, without fear of losing everything should things go awry.

One of the biggest apprehensions in going to an in-state college is that the area is already known, a fear that there is nothing new to discover, but college is a whole new world, no matter where it is. Don Fraser Jr., director of education and training at the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) advises to “get involved in campus life. Join a club and you’re bound to meet folks who have had different experiences and come from other parts of the country.” People make a community, and Las Vegas, being one of the world’s most well-known places, will never run out of new people to meet. Students can experience the world without having to leave the safety of their own city.

In-state college is the most beneficial to the students’ psyches and their bank accounts. It still gives them the opportunity to fly without being weighed down by an even bigger pile of tuition debt. College is about working toward the American dream and attending an in-state college allows students to achieve it.

To Go: Giana Haynia

One of the biggest decisions that teens make is where to attend college. When deciding, students must consider a college’s majors, tuition, the size of the student body, extracurriculars, and the distance from college to home, but going to college out of state is ultimately more beneficial than remaining in-state.

In college, people are supposed to grow and discover themselves. Students can realize something about themselves that they never knew prior. Staying in state stops people from developing, leaving them stagnant rather than flourishing in a new city.

Going out of state invites new opportunities and experiences that in-state colleges lack. It’s a chance to meet new people and explore. A student from Las Vegas, accustomed to the bright lights and loud noises, can go to a quiet city like Eugene, Oregon and feel more at peace there, or they can go to a bustling, skyscraper-filled city like New York City or Los Angeles and find their fit.

In addition to gaining experience, distance teaches independence. Teenagers can only depend on their parents for so long before it’s time to go out on their own. Eventually, the umbilical cord has to be cut. Going out-of-state for college is the perfect way to grow into a confident, self-sufficient adult. Learning responsibilities like managing a budget and scheduling doctor appointments can make anyone grow up.

If out-of-state tuition costs are a point of concern, there are ways to qualify for in-state tuition. A student can get a job, register to vote, register a car in that state to show that there are no ties to the former state, demonstrating they officially live there so that they can qualify for in-state tuition. Although, it should be kept in mind that most colleges may require that a student lives there for a year beforehand. However, Minnesota and Nebraska are exceptions to that. However if a student absolutely wants to go to a college that requires them to live there a year beforehand, a way out of that is to move to the desired state and go to the local community college first to establish that residency.

One of the biggest mistakes a student can make is assuming that every out-of-state school has a higher tuition. In some of the Pacific Northwest part of the country, there are no out of state tuitions. Eastern Oregon University is one of those schools; their tuition is $7,046 regardless. According to bestcolleges.com, Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska has the lowest tuition rate in the country with a tuition of $5,760 for all students.

Going out of state is immensely more beneficial than remaining in state. Students gain unique life experiences by traveling and meeting new people. They develop a self-reliancy they wouldn’t get by staying home. Although leaving home may seem daunting, the pay off in the long run is fulfilling.