WUE Frequently Asked Questions

What is WUE, and how does it work?

Founded in 1987, the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE, pronounced “woo-wee”) is a regional tuition savings agreement administered by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). WUE enables students from one of 16 WICHE states and territories in the Western U.S. to enroll as nonresidents in 160+ participating public colleges and universities and pay 150 percent (or less) of the enrolling institution’s resident tuition—which annually saves students an average of $9,610 each on the cost of nonresident tuition.

If you’re a resident of one of WICHE’s 16 member states/U.S. territories (CNMI and Guam), you may be eligible for tuition savings at 160+ participating WUE schools. Apply directly to your chosen WUE college or university (and not to WICHE itself). Some schools have special eligibility requirements or annual WUE admission quotas, found in the school’s WUE Savings Finder profile. If you still have questions, contact the school’s office that administers WUE (admissions, financial aid, or the scholarship office), as indicated on the school’s WUE Savings Finder profile. Some institutions automatically consider applicants from a WICHE state for the WUE rate, but many require that applicants request the WUE rate when applying for admission. Check to see if they have a special WUE application.

The majority of WUE schools accept transfer students, but some only offer the WUE rate to first-year students. Certain schools offer some, but not all, majors at the WUE rate to transfer students. Some majors are only available to first-year students (at some schools). Check your chosen school’s profile in the WUE Savings Finder to learn more.

Most institutions extend the WUE rate to a student for that school’s typical minimum graduation interval (two years for an associate’s degree program, four years for a bachelor’s degree program). Some also require a minimum credit load each term. Some institutions require that you reapply each year; check directly with your school and follow their rules. You must maintain good academic standing to keep the WUE rate.

Each WUE school’s tuition is different, and some schools lower WUE tuition even more than the standard 150 percent of resident tuition threshold. A helpful illustration: If Best Western University’s resident tuition is $10,000 for the academic year, then your WUE rate would be $15,000 ($10,000 x 1.5). If their nonresident tuition is $25,000, then you’d save $10,000 ($25,000 – $15,000). Estimated savings are posted on each school’s profile in the WUE Savings Finder; you can get precise up-to-date figures directly from your enrolling WUE school.

160+ public two- and four-year undergraduate WICHE-region college and universities participate in WUE. Use our WUE Savings Finder to see if a school that you’re interested in participates. Private institutions are not eligible for WUE participation.

No. The WUE rate is not automatically awarded to all eligible candidates. Even if you meet the institution’s WUE admissions criteria (which may 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 be sure to request WUE when applying for admission.

It depends. If you change from a WUE-eligible major to one excluded from the WUE rate at your school, they may charge you full nonresident tuition for the time you’re enrolled under the WUE-ineligible major. If your new major is WUE-eligible, then it’s not a problem.

Check directly with your chosen school’s relevant office (admissions, scholarships, or financial aid), whose contact information can be found in the WUE Savings Finder.

WICHE itself does not process student applications, so we cannot tell you whether you’ve been awarded the WUE rate. WICHE’s role in WUE is to administrate it broadly in partnership with states and institutions. Submit your application directly to the WUE school where you want to enroll.

Each participating school decides for itself. Some offer all or most of their majors at the WUE rate. Others offer only a handful of majors at the WUE rate due to limited capacity in their higher-demand majors. Check your chosen school’s profile in the WUE Savings Finder to see if your major is WUE-eligible.

There is no common WUE application. Some WUE schools have a special WUE application, or a box you must check to request consideration for the WUE tuition rate.

Though most do not, a few do. Find out which schools offer online degrees in the WUE Savings Finder, or by contacting the institution directly.

Probably. Most schools require that you apply for WUE by (if not before) standard pre-term admission deadlines. Though it’s unlikely they would grant you WUE post-enrollment, you can contact the relevant office at your institution to see if it’s possible.

70+ public community colleges in the WICHE region participate, but not all. Check the WUE Savings Finder to find out if a particular college participates.

No. If you want to build time towards establishing residency in another state, schools require you to pay the full nonresident tuition until that residency is legally established. Residency policies vary by state (and college/university), so check with your school’s admissions or residency office for guidance.

The WUE program is intended for first-degree undergraduates. However, an enrolling school may consider awarding WUE to a student pursuing a second undergraduate degree. Contact your chosen school to find out.

No. Resident tuition in your home state is already less expensive than nonresident tuition, so the WUE rate—while valuable if you decide to study at a WUE school outside your home state—will not further subsidize your resident tuition rate.

Many schools do cap the number of WUE awards they issue each year, or have earlier admissions deadlines for WUE applicants. For this reason, it’s important to apply for WUE as early as possible. Don’t wait to apply until the school’s final deadline for regular admission.

No. WUE exclusively serves the WICHE region of 16 Western U.S. states and territories, but other tuition savings programs operated by the other regional interstate compacts in the Midwest, the South, or the Northeast may be able to fill your needs.

No. WUE admission criteria generally do not include financial need.