In our recent post, California Conundrum, we shared some bad news: there are more graduating high school seniors in California each year than seats in the freshman classes of all 9 UC undergraduate campuses and all 23 California State University campuses COMBINED.
Sadly (and frustratingly) for those of us who have been paying property taxes in California for years, there just isn’t enough room for all of California’s college-bound students in our public state universities.
And with the UC and CSU campuses going test-blind – meaning they will not even consider test scores in the admission process – more graduating high school seniors than ever before are applying to UC schools, making them even more competitive.
But here’s some good news for California residents who want their kids to attend a UC or a CSU because they think those schools offer the best value and price for their child’s college education. In fact, that’s actually not true! Let us introduce you to WUE, the Western Undergraduate Exchange!
The Western Undergraduate Exchange
The Western Undergraduate Exchange, or WUE, gives California residents a discounted rate for out-of-state public universities. In fact, the discount is valid for residents of 14 states in the Western U.S., and the agreement brings the out-of-state tuition costs down from an average of three times the in-state price to about one and a half times (150%) of the in-state price. The discount is for the tuition portion of the cost of attendance only – this is generally the only piece of the cost that is different for in-state and out-0f-state residents.
In the video, I walk you through how to find these options on the WUE website. Not every public university in the WUE region participates in this program, which you could view as an incentive program – the colleges that participate are incentivizing smart, college-bound students from the Western U.S. to stay closer to home, rather than explore colleges in the Midwest, South and East Coast. Additionally, some universities participate in WUE, but they limit the majors that qualify for the tuition discount, or they have a minimum GPA requirement to earn the discount. It’s important to check both on the WUE website but also on each college website to know the status of their involvement in the program.
The problem for California residents is a numbers problem, and there’s not much we can do to solve it. But if you’re a California student looking to build your college list, take advantage of this amazing tuition discount program.
And if you need help with this process – which can be frustrating in multiple ways – feel free to give us a call. That’s what we do!