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Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)
How can I apply for reduced tuition through the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)?
If you are a resident of one of WICHE’s 15 member states or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, you are eligible for consideration for reduced tuition rate offered at more than 150 participating WUE institutions. To be considered for the WUE rate (150% of resident tuition), apply directly to the WUE institution(s) of your choice.
Read the institution’s WUE profile for WUE eligibility requirements and if you still have questions, contact the institution’s WUE administrator as indicated in the profile (see link to profiles at the end of this section). Although some institutions automatically consider applicants from a WICHE state for the WUE rate, many of them require that you request the special WUE rate at the time of application for admission, or that you apply for the WUE rate through their scholarship or financial aid office.
Please note that WICHE does not set qualification criteria for WUE applicants, nor do we process applications or participate in the student selection process. Equally important, the WUE reduced tuition rate is not automatically awarded to all eligible candidates. Most institutions limit the number of new WUE awards each academic year, so apply early!
What is WUE, and how does it work?
WUE (pronounced “woo-wee”) is the Western Undergraduate Exchange, and it is coordinated by WICHE. WUE is a regional tuition-reciprocity agreement that enables students from WICHE states to enroll in more than 150 participating two- and four-year public institutions at 150 percent of the enrolling institution’s resident tuition. WUE is the largest program of its kind in the nation, and has been in operation since 1987! WUE is not a short term exchange—it is meant to be used for a full degree.
If I am awarded the WUE rate, how many years is the award good for and do I need to reapply each year?
Most institutions extend the WUE rate to a student for a maximum of two years to earn an associate’s degree at a community college or for four years to earn a bachelor’s degree at a university. Most institutions don’t make you reapply each year, but some do; check directly with your enrolling institution to find out what the rules are. In all cases though, WUE students must maintain good academic standing to keep their discounted tuition rate.
How much tuition will I pay if I am enrolled at the WUE rate? What would I save compared to paying full nonresident tuition?
It depends, but here is an example: If the resident tuition rate of “Best Western University” where you are enrolling is $10,000, then your WUE rate would be $15,000 ($10,000 x 1.5). If you were paying the full nonresident rate, you would pay $20,000, so you are saving $5,000 ($20,000 - $15,000) per year. Please note that this is just an illustration. We have estimated savings on each institutions' WUE profile (check our database), but to find out exactly how much you'll save, check directly with your enrolling WUE institution. In the most recent academic year, more than 31,000 students saved $235.8 million by enrolling through WUE.
Can you establish residency in the state where you are attending school if you are paying the WUE tuition rate?
No. If you want to build time towards establishing residency, institutions require you to pay the full nonresident tuition. Residency policies vary by state (and institution), so check with your institution’s admissions or residency office for written requirements and advice.
I am a resident of a WICHE state and plan to enroll in a WUE institution. Do I automatically receive the WUE discounted tuition?
No, the WUE reduced tuition rate is not automatically awarded to all eligible candidates. In fact, most institutions are becoming more and more selective. Even if you meet the institution’s WUE admissions criteria (which can be more rigorous than its regular admissions criteria), there are no guarantees. Many institutions limit the number of new WUE awards each academic year, so apply early! And make sure you request to be considered for the WUE rate at the time you apply for admission.
Can WUE help me if I’m enrolling at a public institution in my home state where I’m a resident?
No. In this case, WUE can’t help you. Resident tuition offered by your home state is your least expensive option. Take advantage of it! But WUE can help you if you decide to study at a WUE institution located in the WICHE region but not in your home state.
I already have a bachelor’s degree (or an associate’s). Can I qualify for the WUE discount for a second undergraduate degree?
The WUE program was intended for first degree students at the undergraduate level. However, it is the enrolling institution’s prerogative as to whether or not they would consider extending the discount to a student enrolling for his or her second undergraduate degree.
If I enroll through WUE under a specific major and then change my major later, can I still receive the WUE discount?
It depends. If you change from a WUE-eligible major to one that is excluded from the WUE rate at that particular institution, the college or university can charge you full nonresident tuition for the WUE-ineligible major.
How many WUE awards are offered each year? Is it true that institutions limit the number of WUE discounts they award?
The number of WUE awards varies each year. Many institutions do cap the number of WUE awards. That’s why it’s important to apply for the WUE discount EARLY—as soon as you apply for admission. And make sure that you apply for admission early too! There are a few institutions that don’t limit the number of WUE awards, but they are in the minority.
Which majors and degrees are offered at the WUE rate?
It depends on the institution. Some institutions offer all or most of their majors at the WUE rate. Others offer only a handful of under-enrolled majors at the discounted rate. To find out if your major is “WUE eligible”, check the institution’s profile on our website.
Is it true that some majors are not available at the WUE rate?
Yes, that's true. Not all majors are available at the WUE rate. Participating institutions have the option of excluding certain majors from the WUE rate. Typically they are programs that are in high-demand by in-state residents, such as nursing. To find out if your major is “WUE eligible”, check the institution’s profile on our website.
I got my offer of admission, but haven’t been notified if I received the WUE discount. What should I do?
Check in directly with the office of admissions to the institution where you applied. At some institutions, the WUE applications are handled by the scholarship or financial aid offices. Our WICHE office does not process student applications, so we cannot tell you whether or not you’ve been awarded the WUE rate.
Have you received my WUE application?
No we haven't, and please don't send WUE applications to our WICHE office. WICHE oversees the WUE program but our office does not process student applications. To check the status of your WUE application, contact the admissions office at the institution where you applied. At some institutions, the WUE applications are handled by the scholarship or financial aid offices. You can find their contact information in the institution’s WUE profile on our website.
What about transfer students?
The majority of our WUE institutions will extend the discounted WUE rate to transfer students, but some only offer the WUE rate only to incoming freshman. To find out if the institution you're considering will give you the WUE rate as a transfer student, check the institution’s profile on our website. And, if you are transferring, make sure you negotiate credit for your previous coursework prior to enrolling, and get it in writing.
Where can I find the WUE application?
There is no common WUE application. Some WUE institutions have their own WUE application posted. If they do not, make sure that you indicate you want to be considered for the WUE tuition rate somewhere on the application (whether it is online or a paper application).
What are the WUE admissions requirements?
Some institutions have special admissions requirements for students requesting the WUE rate. To find out, check the institution’s profile on our website.
I just learned about WUE and already started classes. Can I apply for the WUE tuition rate after I’ve enrolled?
Most institutions require that you apply for the WUE rate BEFORE you begin classes. You can contact the admissions office to see if it is possible, but it is highly unlikely that they will award the WUE tuition retroactively. In addition, make sure that if you were awarded the WUE discounted rate that you have it in writing from your enrolling institution.
If I am not from a member WICHE state, am I still eligible to enroll as a WUE student?
No. Only residents of WICHE’s 15 member states qualify. They are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. There are programs similar to WUE in other regions. If you are in the mid-west, visit http://www.mhec.org. If you are in the southern United States, visit http://www.sreb.org/. And if you are in the northeast, visit http://www.nebhe.org/.
Which institutions participate in WUE?
More than 150 state-funded community colleges and universities located in the WICHE region participate in WUE. To find out whether or not an institution that you’re interested in participates in WUE, check our website. If your destination institution is not listed, then it does not participate in WUE.
Do private institutions participate in WUE?
No, not at this time.
Do institutions offer online degrees through WUE?
A few WUE institutions offer complete degrees online at the WUE rate. To find out whether or not an institution offers the WUE rate for an online major you're interested in, call them directly and ask.
I am interested in enrolling in an institution that is not located in a WICHE state. Is this possible through WUE?
Sorry. We can’t help you if your institution is located outside of the WICHE region. WUE institutions are located in the WICHE member states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. There are programs similar to WUE in other regions. If you are in the mid-west, visit www.mhec.org. If you are in the southern United States, visit http://www.sreb.org/. And if you are in the northeast, visit http://www.nebhe.org/.
Must a student demonstrate financial need to receive the discounted WUE rate?
Most enrolling institutions do not require applicants to show financial need to receive the WUE rate. However, a few do. Check the institution’s WUE profile. If completion of the FAFSA is required, then demonstrated financial need may be part of the institution's WUE selection criteria.
Do community colleges participate in WUE?
Most of our WICHE states’ public community colleges participate, but not all. California community colleges do not participate in WUE at this time. Most other states offer some associates degrees through WUE, either through their community colleges or through universities that award both bachelors and associates degrees.