Hundreds of students from Virginia save tens of thousands of dollars on college each year without having to apply for scholarships and grants, says Andes. That's because they participate in the Academic Common Market -- a reciprocation agreement among 16 southern states.
"If a state resident cannot find their degree program offered in their home state, (through the Academic Common Market) they can go to a participating public college in the southeastern United States and get the in-state tuition rate at that college," says Andes. "That is a tremendous benefit. It could be (worth) $10,000 to $15,000 or more."
Of the three major interstate reciprocation agreements, the Academic Common Market is the only one that eliminates the out-of-state fees at participating institutions. The other two programs -- the Western Undergraduate Exchange and the Midwest Higher Education Compact -- allow enrolled students to attend college out of state for no more than 150 percent of the price of tuition at their home institution. Rules and restrictions on eligible majors also vary by agreement.
The Academic Common Market, Western Undergraduate Exchange and Midwest Higher Education Compact are the largest reciprocation programs, but many individual institutions maintain similar agreements with sister schools.