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 you are a resident of one of WICHE’s 16 member states/U.S. territories (CNMI and Guam), you are eligible for consideration for reduced tuition rate offered at 160 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!
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.
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, some 34,000 students saved $264.7 million by enrolling through WUE.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Some institutions have special admissions requirements for students requesting the WUE rate. To find out, check the institution’s profile on our website.
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.
No. Only residents of WICHE’s member states qualify. They are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. 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/.
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.
No. WUE was created for public institutions; private institutions do not participate in 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.
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, Wyoming, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. 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/.
Most enrolling institutions do not require applicants to show financial need to receive the WUE rate. Students should check directly with the institution’s for application requirements.
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.