While many students assume the financial relief comes by looking at colleges close to home, the data released by U.S. News shows that there are schools that offer competitive out-of-state tuition packages that rival many universities’ in-state offerings.

In an analysis of data reported by U.S. News, USD ranked in the top 10 of least expensive public schools for out-of-state students for the 2010-11 school year. Among the 452 public institutions surveyed for their undergraduate programs, the average for out-of-state students was $16,678. USD’s average of $8,259 (tuition and fees) cut that in half making it one of the least expensive public universities for out-of-state students.

New Mexico Highlands University is the nation’s least expensive public school for out-of-state students ($4,632) followed by Minnesota State University-Moorhead ($6,918) and Minot State University ($7,047). Of the top 10 schools ranked by U.S. News, eight are located in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The five military academies, which charge $0 in tuition and fees in return for postgraduate service, were excluded.

Criteria in selecting the nation’s least expensive public schools for out-of-state students was based on a U.S. News survey of more than 1,700 colleges and universities for the publication’s 2010 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body. While U.S. News uses most of this data to rank schools for its annual Best Colleges rankings; the data can also be used for other lists. For more information or to view the complete list, please visit www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2011/06/21/10-least-expensive-public-colleges-for-out-of-state-students.

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