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Worried About College Affordability? Check Out WUE

The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE), a program developed by the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE), provides a financial incentive for students from Western states to stay in the Western U.S. for college and some graduate programs.  Founded in the 1950’s, the WICHE was formed as a collaborative effort to support the public universities of New Mexico, Montana, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Alaska, Washington, California, Nevada and Hawaii.  North and South Dakota joined WICHE in the 1980’s.

Through the WUE (pronounced woo-wee), California students can attend out-of-state public universities while paying less than the standard out-of-state tuition – most participating colleges charge WUE-participating students about 150% of the in-state student price.

The Los Angeles Times recently published an article detailing the WUE program, with students talking about their reasons for wanting to leave California for college.  In addition to helping ease the cost of college for parents, the WUE program helps broaden students’ horizons.  By attending college out of state, they will experience a new kind of diversity.  And in these difficult budget times for the University of California and the Cal State systems, the WUE program also helps to ensure that students can complete their studies in four years – which has become increasingly difficult at California’s overcrowded public universities.

The WUE tuition program isn’t available at all public colleges and universities in the 15 participating states, but over 150 colleges, both 2-year and 4-year schools, are a part of the program.

For more information about this benefit for California students, you can visit the WICHE website.  You can also look at which colleges participate in the program here.

Are you interested in studying veterinary science?  Take a look at the University of Nevada’s flagship campus in Reno – they have a full working farm!  Looking for faculty diversity?  The University of New Mexico has four times the number of Hispanic faculty and five times the number of Native American faculty than other colleges.  Is your student a budding meteorologist?  Colorado State University is one of the top schools for severe weather forecasting!  These are just a few of the fabulous programs offered by the schools that participate in the WUE.

Save money, finish in four years, and further your education close to home – the WUE offers students some great opportunities.  It’s definitely worth a look!

(Here’s a link to my article in the Westwood/Century City Patch on this topic.)

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