When I attended U of M as an undergrad, I think my out-of-state tuition was 3 or 4xs the in-state-tuition and rivaled that of any private liberal arts college on the east coast. Even today, as a part-time PhD candidate @ GMU, living in DC, just 5 or 6 miles from the Arlington Campus where I take a majority of my classes, I pay out-of-state tuition.
As we have seen recently, there are some interesting changes afoot in the current tuition model (one entry on free tuition to Harvard).
More changes are coming according to Jonathon D. Glater of the NY Times. His recent article highlights how many state universities are beginning to offer in-state tuition to students from around their regions. From the piece, a vignette about Cal State East Bay
So starting this year it is trying something different to lure applicants: participating in a regional program resulting in lower tuition for students from Washington, Oregon, Montana and a dozen other Western states.
“With the changing world, a lot of these national borders or state borders, to what extent are they still relevant?” said East Bay’s president, Mohammad H. Qayoumi, brushing aside questions about whether a regional public campus supported by California taxpayers should be soliciting out-of-state students.
“You should not get into protectionism in this,” Mr. Qayoumi added, explaining his goal to create a university that is “really a microcosm of the world.”
I think this is great for a variety of reasons. It gives student more choice, it should create more dynamic, diverse campuses, and should grow networks of all types as more people/ideas interact across regions. This ‘regionalization’ of state college’s and universities is a good sign and will create opportunities for campus entrepreneurs as mobility and diversity on campuses grows and more marketplace mechanisms are brought onto the campus.