It is no secret that out-of-state students pay an exceptionally high amount of tuition, especially compared to in-state tuition. However, that isn’t the only thing they give up.
On top of the tuition cost, there are the extra expenses for out-of-state students that in-state students would never even think of.
Flights home for breaks are evident as an extra price, but there is also extra added pressure when you don’t know when your finals are. The longer you wait into the semester, the more the prices of flights home go up. However, at least in my experience, the final exam date isn’t always made clear. That can leave you with the stress of whether to book your flight and risk having to move it or waiting and hoping prices don’t skyrocket.
The little things add up as well.
Getting to the airport requires a long bus ride, expensive Uber, or, if you are lucky, your own car. Even then, this requires you to pay for a parking pass (and airport parking). If you forgot something at home, your parents must ship it to you or rebuy it.
The more you look at it, it becomes clear that out-of-state students pay an excessively high amount of money just to attend college. However, money isn’t the only price in this situation.
Although many college students must leave home and be on their own for the first time, it is under-recognized how hard it is for out-of-state students. Packing up your entire life and moving it across the country is nothing short of a big deal.
Being away from home for any student is difficult, there is no doubt about that. Yet, after months of the semester, sometimes, all you need is a hug from your mom.
I can’t count the number of times I have wished for nothing more than to just be near my parents. The idea that just one simple home-cooked meal or night at home could get me through till the next break. Except, my mom is a two-and-a-half-hour flight away. For some students, their parents are even further. It isn’t as simple as just driving home for the weekend to see them.
Although I genuinely believe this has made me stronger in the long run and forced me to push through the challenging times on my own, it hasn’t been easy.
It can be easy to assume that out-of-state students are incredibly independent and don’t feel the distance. It can be hard to have sympathy because they made that choice to create that distance from their families and friends. However, those students can sometimes need that extra support.
Mental health is an extremely important topic to discuss in college. Mental health can rapidly decline in college, and it is incredibly important to focus on it in yourself and even in others.
There are in-state students who don’t have that support system equally as much as those from out-of-state. There are out-of-state students who go home on the weekends anyway. By no means is it black and white. There isn’t a clear-cut line drawn between out-of-state and in-state students.
Still, out-of-state students are often expected to be strong and keep up with in-state students in terms of mental health. Yet they lack that support system, that ability to feel at home, the fallback of friends from high school.
So, reach out, check in and verify that those around you have that support system. Be there for those around you, especially as the holidays and breaks come around. We are all in this together.
Gentry Keener (she/her) is a sophomore studying journalism and political science.