The War on State Lines

In-state and out-of-state education are equally important


No photographer.

Expensive or cheap, near or far, big or small, public or private, two-year or four-year: college decisions are not easy. Between these factors and many others, deciding the university for you can be a daunting task. Often, a fight breaks out between in-state and out-of-state schools, citing evidence on cost and independence. Since there are many elements that influence a college decision, it can be hard to determine whether in-state or out-of-state education is better.

As of 2017, one-third of college students dropped out before the end of their freshman year and 4% listed distance from home as their reason, according to Homesickness can damage motivation for some students, ultimately making in-state the better option. For senior Sean Turner, University of Missouri, Columbia is the route for him.

“It makes more sense for the cost of college and travel cost to get home,” Turner said. “I can come home more often, and I’ve been a fan of Mizzou sports all my life.”

But for senior Alexa Hedges, she is choosing the University of Alabama. Majoring in marine biology, her choice was made based on availability. Only two universities, Northwest Missouri State and Central Methodist, offer a marine biology program in Missouri, according to To find a large, public college, Hedges had to look out-of-state.

“I get a completely fresh start, and I’m super excited to meet all new people,” Hedges said. “They have a super good marine biology program [that includes] an internship down at Dauphin Island Sea Lab to get hands-on experience with different animals.”

In-state may offer less debt, but out-of-state encourages independence. Ultimately, the decision on college must be made solely by the student and how they picture their future ahead.