students walking

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, UH Hilo, UH West Oʻahu and UH Maui College in partnership with Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) student access programs, have helped Hawaiʻi residents save $24.9 million in 2018–19 in interstate tuition, while benefiting from enrollment of students from other states.

Hawaiʻi sees a net gain of Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) students, with 2,683 students from other states coming to study at UH institutions and 2,467 Hawaiʻi residents choosing to participate in WUE programs in other states.

“The WUE program is one of the key tools we utilize to draw students from other states, which generates revenue while also diversifying our campuses and our local student experience,” said David Lassner, UH president and a Hawaiʻi WICHE commissioner. “Our outgoing WUE students also benefit with the opportunity to leave home and enjoy a different educational opportunity than they might be otherwise able to afford.”

Overall, the program saw 40,487 students save $380.5 million this year on non-resident tuition at public associate’s or bachelor’s degree programs in the western U.S. Through WUE, students enroll in one of 162 participating colleges or universities outside their home state and pay no more than 150 percent of that institution’s resident rate.

Since non-resident tuition can cost 300 percent (or more) of resident rates, the WUE discount saves students more than $9,300 a year on average. Hawaiʻi residents have saved $271.3 million since 1988 through the WUE program.

These interstate tuition-savings programs serve Western states, students and institutions.

The Western population has quadrupled since WICHE’s founding, but many states still lack programs in key fields. Meanwhile, student debt, mobility and tuition costs keep increasing. Such factors have led to 20 percent growth in enrollment in student access programs such as WUE.

Read the full WICHE Student Access Programs: By the Numbers 2018–19 report.