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What Is the Academic Common Market?

The Academic Common Market (ACM) allows students to attend an out-of-state school while paying in-state tuition rates. Basically, with the ACM, a student from Alabama could attend school in Tennessee and pay the same tuition rate Tennessee residents pay.

illustrated graduation hat on top of coin showing academic common market savings

If you’ve found yourself in either of these scenarios, you might be interested in learning more about the Academic Common Market (ACM):

  1. You’ve finally declared your college major. You’ve done the research, thought long and hard about it, and decided to commit. There’s just one problem: The program you’re interested in isn’t offered at any college in your state!
  2. You’ve always dreamed about leaving your home state to go off to college. However, you can’t necessarily afford to fund that dream. Out-of-state tuition is expensive!

So, What Is the Academic Common Market?

The Southern Regional Education Board’s Academic Common Market essentially allows students within participating states to attend an out-of-state public institution while paying in-state tuition rates for specific program offerings. Basically, with the ACM, a student from Alabama could attend school in Tennessee and pay the same tuition rate Tennessee residents pay.

Let’s Talk Money

Why does out-of-state tuition cost more anyways? Universities are typically given subsidies from their state governments that are funded with taxes paid by state residents. Since non-residents do not contribute to the tax bases that support those public institutions, they typically do not benefit from the same in-state tuition rates they are eligible for within their home states.

The result? Four-year undergraduate degrees offered by U.S. public colleges and universities typically have an average out-of-state tuition of $26,382 compared to $9,212 for in-state tuition (Education Data Initiative, September 2022).

The Academic Common Market solves that problem!

Eligible Programs and Courses of Study

There are more than 2,200 undergraduate and graduate degree program offerings to choose from at a wide variety of Southern Regional Education Board member schools. Some eligible programs are even offered online!

Check out a few examples of what a undergraduate student from Alabama could study in another state while paying in-state tuition rates:

  • Louisiana State University- Bachelor of Arts, Mass Communication/Political Communication
  • Mississippi State University- Bachelor of Science, Forestry/Environmental Conservation
  • Clemson University- Bachelor, Language and International Health
  • Tennessee State University- Bachelor of Science, Aeronautical and Industrial Technology
  • Murray State University- Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Animal Technology/Veterinary Technology

Looking for another specific program? Check out the full list of Academic Common Market programs!

Are You Eligible for the Academic Common Market? 

There’s a certification process that any student applying to participate in the ACM must follow. It varies from state to state, but usually involves verifying your residency and the availability of the specific program you’re interested in.

Most schools will require proof that you have been a resident of your home state for at least twelve months before you qualify for in-state rates. In addition, you must meet the admissions requirements of the school you’re seeking to attend. This encompasses everything from your GPA and ACT scores to your enrollment status. The majority of schools will also require you to attend full-time to take advantage of the ACM benefits.

As an editor, copywriter, and social media manager at exploreMedia, I work to develop content that is relevant and interesting to our readers and coordinate with contributing writers.

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