#111 Mythbusting In-State v. Out-of-State Universities with Cristiana Quinn Transcript


Lisa Marker Robbins  00:33

The landscape of college admissions is ever evolving, sparking crucial conversations among families about the benefits of n state versus out of state universities. A recent Forbes article that I’m going to link to in the show notes shed light on a growing trend, America’s flagship universities increasingly favor out of state students. This shift raises questions and concerns for families aiming to navigate the college admissions process wisely. I’ve invited Christiana Quinn, a seasoned independent educational consultant to dissect this phenomenon, and debunk common myths surrounding NC State and out of state college choices. Together, we’ll unravel the reasons behind this trend as highlighted by Forbes and tackle the misconceptions that often misguide families, from financial implications to academic opportunities. We’re here to provide clarity and guidance. Our conversation aims to arm you with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions about your teens college journey. Whether you’re considering the local flagship university or eyeing institutions beyond your state borders, this episode is a must listen. I’m Lisa, Mark Robbins welcoming you to another insightful episode of College and Career Clarity it flourish coaching production, let’s dive in to the world of in state versus out of state universities in separate fact from fiction. Christiana, welcome. Thanks, Lisa. It’s


Cristiana Quinn  02:11

nice to be here.


Lisa Marker Robbins  02:13

Well, welcome back. We should say we’re literally we both realized before we hit record that it’s been just about a year since the last time we had you on when I can’t really say I said we were celebrating, but I guess we should be. We were commemorating the anniversary of COVID. Last year, last March and all the had greatly changed in our industry of college admissions and advising and supporting families and continues to change absolutely


Cristiana Quinn  02:42

continues to change. monumentally. I mean, this is really a long term disruption in the college admissions game. I think it is


Lisa Marker Robbins  02:52

I I’m just gonna say and I’ll look it up. So I can say it here in a little bit. I’m not 100% Sure which episode that one was, but I’ll look up the number but it was in March of 2023, where you joined ABC Li, and we went through the ins and outs of what has changed. So this one is I’m glad that you agreed to come on, because there are so many misconceptions about in state versus out of state. And I don’t know I find when I’m working with families, they quickly go, Okay, well, a lot of them will say, I want we want in state schools. And it’s funny because I live in the border 20 minutes from two other states. I live in Cincinnati. So Kentucky in Indiana right there. When I hear we went in state, I think it’s a financial implication is in the mind of the family. Do you? Do you feel the same way?


Cristiana Quinn  03:47

Yes, I’m from a smaller state where we don’t have an enormous state university system. And many times people think that their least expensive option will be an in State University. But in reality, if they have financial need, they might pay less at an out of state state university or at a private college.


Lisa Marker Robbins  04:14

Yeah. So that I mean, that’s the first myth. Like I always say, if you’re well, we want an insane school is about geographical distance from home and for some families, it legitimately is, you know, where I am in the southern part of the state I can get to the University of Kentucky, or Butler University in Indianapolis faster than I can get to Ohio University, Bowling Green State University. I mean, those are closer. So if it’s about geographical distance, that’s okay. But don’t dismiss out of state schools if it is just that financial concern.


Cristiana Quinn  04:55

Absolutely. And also depending on what region of the country you live in. There can also be regional discounts for neighboring state universities. So here in New England, we have the New England Board of Higher Education tuition exchange. Now, it is limited to certain majors at certain schools. But those exchanges exist all over the country. So that’s another thing for families to think about. I think they’re very often overlooked, or people simply don’t know about.


Lisa Marker Robbins  05:28

They can be, they don’t know about him. And they can be hard to find, which I think underscores for families who are able to do so if you don’t want to DIY this process, you want to work with an educational consultant, that’s one of the values they bring, because it’s there are like there’s the Midwest exchange, that Ohio’s not a big contributor to that they don’t really participate. But like Michigan State University, which is not that far from North Western Ohio, they have Ohio reciprocity, tuition, give the discount. And then here in the Cincinnati area, there’s a Cincinnati Metro for like University of Cincinnati, some of the Kentucky schools. So that, you know, you really get to go to the school websites and do your research.


Cristiana Quinn  06:20

Yeah. And here in New England, of course, things are a lot closer together. So you know, here in Rhode Island, we have Massachusetts, right above us, Connecticut, right next to us and New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine are not that far away, for the New England exchange. And by the way, that New England exchange, also, and I assume it’s this way for other parts of the country, also applies to graduate schools. So for instance, we don’t have a medical school that is public. In Rhode Island, we just have Brown University. So just something long range for people to think about, too, is there can be reciprocity for graduate school tuition as well.


Lisa Marker Robbins  06:57

Well, you know, like, twice now, we’ve said something about college majors, which, you know, my passion is figure out the college major and career peace. So you’re finding the right colleges. And in that effort, you know, there’s like, let’s say, it’s a student who or was one of my own children that lives here in Ohio, you know, there are certain majors that you’re not going to study marine biology, and Cincinnati, Ohio, my friends know, you


Cristiana Quinn  07:25

should come to Rhode Island to do that. Exactly.


Lisa Marker Robbins  07:27

So you’ve got to think like, there’s even on this end state out of state, like if you’re just digging your heels right away and saying, Nope, in state, and here in Ohio, you know, we rank six in the United States and the number of public universities we have. So we’re extremely blessed with lots of options. But that’s not the case for a lot of states in the US. So this idea of like, I always teach lead with, well know your college budget, and do the work to identify the right college major. So you’re not going in with limited options later to switch majors. And so those, both of those really impact this in state out of state. You know, I also was thinking like mining, petroleum engineering. Those would be other ones. In forestry was another one I came up with, as I was just kind of thinking like, what majors would really necessitate maybe going into a specific region of the country. Yeah.


Cristiana Quinn  08:28

And then the other thing that families can look at, that is available via the common data set or other resources is the percent of merit aid given out to students, both who are applying for need based aid and who are not applying for need based aid, and also the average dollar amount of that merit aid. Because there are some state universities that really need to attract out of state students. They don’t have enough in state students, the three northern New England states would be examples of that. University of Vermont University of New Hampshire, University of Maine, are 60 to 75%, out of state students, University of Maine has run different discounts over the years for different GPAs. And University of Vermont gives absolutely fabulous merit money. So, you know, those are data points that families need to look out for some out of state universities don’t give much merit money to out of state kids, but others do. Yeah.


Lisa Marker Robbins  09:36

Well, you made a point. I think when we were talking last week, you had said something like, we don’t even have enough students in seven these states that if every single senior went to that university, they still can’t fill a freshman class.


Cristiana Quinn  09:51

Yeah, I know. At one point the statistic was true that there were more cows in Vermont than a JH kids so needed out of state students. So well and the nice thing about those universities when you look at you Delaware or UVM, or UNH, is that they become much more diverse when they have a lot of out of state students, because you have geographic diversity, ethnic diversity, all sorts of different types of diversity on the campus that sometimes you don’t if a if a university is 80% in state kids or 85%. Yeah,


Lisa Marker Robbins  10:35

wow, that makes me think of like University of Alabama, right. So there’s the state flagship this Forbes article. And we’re mentioning a lot of the state flagships. This Forbes article was, you know, looking at the state flagships or opting for out of state students, primarily, that is a financial concern of theirs. But I, I’ve always known that about Alabama. But I took some time and getting ready for this episode to kind of dig into the why behind that. And it really started in 2003, when, quite frankly, the higher ed was not in as much of a crisis, I think, financially as it is now, when the faculty really wanted more, and I pulled the data, and we’re gonna link to this resource as well. I’m John Beck, instead put together this first year freshman student migration back in 2022. And it’s publicly available. So back in 2002, Alabama was 76 point 51% in state students, in 2022, the most recent data here, it was only 34.92. So 35%, and state. And I know part of what they did was for the most, I mean, they’re football for the kids who want the big rah rah football, that’s always a nice poll, and a lot of kids do on the social fit of college. Wasn’t that rah rah experience that that NCAA D, one football. And one of the things Alabama did at first was they had really lucrative scholarships. And to get students to come down there to help this. And now they still have good scholarships, but they’ve pulled back a little bit.


Cristiana Quinn  12:26

Yeah, they don’t have to offer the money that they once did to the out of state students to come. They’ve it’s become a big trend here in the northeast, for a lot of my students to want to go south. I think part of that is, you know, they want to get out of the cold weather. But they’re very attracted, as you said to the big rah, rah, tailgating, football events, basketball events, all of those sorts of things. Greek life, which has been diminishing here on the northeast is much more alive down south. So for students who want a big fraternity sorority presence on their campus, the South is a good option. So really, those schools have become pretty popular. And I think once they got the notoriety, and we’re pulling steady streams, from the mid atlantic northeast Midwest, they felt they didn’t have to offer the big scholarships anymore. They’d kind of achieved their goals and establish themselves. It


Lisa Marker Robbins  13:29

was like a status. I mean, we talk all the time, people want to chase the highly rejected, right. And that’s one status. But this is really even a different status. It’s that that social scene, I’ve even had students say to me, like, oh, I don’t, on the opposite side. I don’t know if I want to go to a school in the south. And I’m like, but that school has far more northern students that it does southern students, and to your point, that does start to change the flavor, the experience of that campus when they go so you know, it’s always like, have an open mind. Yeah,


Cristiana Quinn  14:10

absolutely. I mean, at some of the schools where there’s a very high percentage of in state students, you know, 7080 85% in state students, sometimes my students say to me, that in the beginning, it can be difficult to acclimate, because a lot of pockets of friends went from high school, and maybe they were all in the same honors and AP classes. And now they’re all at this flagship university together.


Lisa Marker Robbins  14:43

Yeah, well, and as we know, there are some states that actually legislate that they cap the number of out of state students like Virginia and North Carolina do. Absolutely. And you know what, I think that serves to actually And when they do that, it raises the status to the outsiders. And I go like, Oh, wow, you know, you and see. And it’s like, well, it feels more selective than I think the demographic really on campus academically is I’ve told students that because they’re just making select up for out of state.


Cristiana Quinn  15:25

Right? That is very true. Yeah,


Lisa Marker Robbins  15:29

absolutely. So what advice do you give to your families on the financial side of this? Because this really, I think, while there are institutional priorities about we want to diversify. And when we say institutional priorities, these are things that we all don’t know about, that the university usually doesn’t share that they’ve decided, Okay, we’re gonna go after this, we’re gonna grow this major drop this major, whatever. But really, for the most part, this goes down to finances. So what advice do you give to your family so that they can go at this with an open mind and take a more data driven approach? Absolutely,


Cristiana Quinn  16:05

I think the biggest mistake that families make is looking at sticker price. And instead of looking at sticker price, what I really want families to do is go to the net price calculator that is programmed specifically for each college and as mandated by the Department of Justice that it is on their website, if you go to any search bar on any college page, you can type in net price calculator, their net price calculator will come up, you can take out your tax returns, and in about 20 minutes, you’ll understand how much need based aid you’ll get from that school. Now, some net price calculators also calculate merit aid, but others do not. And if they don’t calculate merit aid, one of the things that you want to do is go to the merit aid page for the university, and start to take a look at some of those institutional scholarships that are available, and noticing whether they’re available just for instant kids, or for out of state students as well. Yeah. And


Lisa Marker Robbins  17:13

so once you know that, and if you do have financial need, we talked about this before about, you know, a fluid, people sometimes try to avoid early decision, which actually does often most of the, the vast majority of the time given admission advantage, because they’re afraid of the financial side. But if you apply early decision, and this net price calculator has has indicated on their website has indicated to you that, okay, we’re going to be able to meet your need, then it really isn’t the risk sometimes that people think that it is, that’s


Cristiana Quinn  17:53

absolutely true. So for private universities that offer early decision, you’ll find that many of them meet 100% of need, particularly for their early decision candidates. And with the state universities, if they don’t meet your need, as demonstrated by the FAFSA form or the CSS Profile, you do not have to follow through on that acceptance, you do not have to attend. So unless a family is trying to compare different financial aid packages, and maybe different merit awards, early decision is fine. Because there is a way out if they don’t meet your need based aid in


Lisa Marker Robbins  18:36

for families who are unsure about what early decision is I do have a previous episode that I will link to but because we don’t have time to get into all that. But you know, another resource that I think is really good in addition to the net price calculator is College Board, their college search engine, big future, it clearly states, what percent of need so if the FAFSA says that you have need of you know, 15, it would indicate that your EFC is a particular amount in that school, you have a need of 15,000 they will tell you on that search engine, what percent of that 15,000 At that particular school, they typically are going to meet so like if you go there, just I pulled up one school, Ohio State University is our state flagship. So I’m picking on state flagships today. And across the menu at the top it says cost you go to cost. You just go down and I can see right here. They meet 74% of need.


Cristiana Quinn  19:43

Right, which is pretty good for a state. And actually, it


Lisa Marker Robbins  19:47

used to be lower. I remember a few years ago, I looked it up and it was in the 50s Yeah,


Cristiana Quinn  19:52

and that’s one of the most important things that families need to pay attention to as they create their college list. I I always like to say that if you don’t have the right college list, nothing else can go well, right? Yeah. So if you put a bunch of colleges on there that only meet 50 60% of need even 70% of need, you can’t expect that suddenly, you’re gonna get offers that meet 90 to 100% of your need, that would be very unusual. And I think people really overlook that number. They just throw colleges on their list that they like, without looking at percent of need math. Absolutely.


Lisa Marker Robbins  20:35

Well, that is fantastic advice. So we are we actually, this episode has probably more resources than I’ve had in a while. So we’re gonna put the Forbes article, we’re gonna put the freshman migration table that you can manipulate and look at different schools, the college search engine for big future? And was there any others? I think that was primarily it. So fantastic. Great.


Cristiana Quinn  21:04

You know, the other thing, I think, just to leave families, is to also ask if the university stacks merit aid offers on top of need based offers. Sometimes they do sometimes they don’t. Another thing just for families to ask the financial aid department or at that information session, right.


Lisa Marker Robbins  21:22

So if they gave you if you had a need based aid package, and then they had you got a $5,000 Merit Scholarship, they’re not going to subtract that from your package. Absolutely. That’s excellent. Well, you do a great job supporting your families. Where can people find you if they want to stay in touch or learn more? Yeah,


Cristiana Quinn  21:44

so they can find me at college advisors llc.com. And it’s been a pleasure talking with you today, Lisa.


Lisa Marker Robbins  21:54

Thank you. We’ll have you back again, for sure.


Cristiana Quinn  21:57

Sounds good thought.


Lisa Marker Robbins  22:04

As we close out our conversation with Christiana Quinn on the often misunderstood dynamics of in state versus out of state universities, it’s evident that making an informed choice goes beyond just looking at the sticker price. From uncovering financial aid opportunities to considering academic programs and social environments. A wealth of factors can influence your family’s decision making process. Remember, the goal is to find a college that not only meets your financial needs, but also aligns with your academic and personal aspirations for your team. Regional tuition exchanges institutional priorities, and the comprehensive data from the net price calculators are just a few of the tools at your disposal to navigate these waters more effectively. And I have one more very special tool for you. I encourage you to dive deeper into this topic by utilizing our complimentary resource to build the right college list for your team. Go to flourish coaching co.com forward slash list and sign up for our complimentary college list building tutorial with tools to help demystify the important financial, academic and social aspects of having the right colleges on your list that’s flourish coaching co.com, forward slash list, and I’ll also put the link in the show notes. Thank you for joining us on this episode of College and Career Clarity. I’m Lisa Mark Robins reminding you that with the right information, choosing the perfect college, whether in state or out of state becomes less of a myth and more of a reality. Here’s to making informed choices for your teens future