Does your child want to head to an out-of-state school? Would you prefer they stay in Ohio to receive the lowest possible costs on tuition?

The State of Ohio has tuition reciprocity agreements with four surrounding states: Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia. The Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) renews these reciprocity programs every two years.

While partnering with these contiguous states, these agreements are tied to specific schools within each state, at which residents of specific counties can take advantage of in-state tuition costs at an out-of-state school. To see a chart of these state agreements, the schools, and the counties to which they pertain, visit ODHE’s website for the tuition reciprocity page.

Don’t forget your college credits in Ohio

With all of Ohio’s options to earn college credit while still in high school, a student could graduate with enough credits to skip part of their freshman year. Advanced Placement (AP), College Credit Plus (CCP), Career-Technical Credit Transfer (CT)2, and International Baccalaureate (IB) all allow high school students to build a portfolio of college-equivalent course work that will help them graduate quicker.

But what happens if a student, who lives near the state border, wants to further their education at an out-of-state institution that participates in a tuition reciprocity? Will they lose that credit? Most likely not. College credit transfer has come a long way since your parents were in college. In the last 10 years, colleges and universities have embraced transfer and transfer students. There are now a host of resources to help you keep the credit that you’ve already earned. Here are two that can help the most.

Transfer Offices

Higher education institutions see the value in helping students find the right path to earning a degree. This is why they’ve created transfer offices that are staffed by dedicated personnel that are available to help transfer students succeed. If a student is thinking of enrolling or transferring to an out-of-state institution, contacting that school’s transfer office should be a top priority. The transfer office will direct you to the most up-to-date information on how to find out how your courses and test scores will be applied to your future transcript.


Transferology is a nationwide network that helps students explore their college transfer options. This website allows you to see how your college courses, test scores, and military transcripts will be interpreted. Transferology can also help students, who want to take courses over the summer months, figure out which courses will easily transfer back to their home institution. All you need to do is setup a free account and start looking.

During the 2019-2020 school year, Ohioans saved over $67 million through the state’s transfer initiatives. That’s why it is important to do your homework before you head off for a higher education - to make sure you don’t lose any of your educational or financial hard work.

Saving For College Costs Before They Head Off

Ohio’s tax-free 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage, can cover tuition costs and much more.

For more than 30 years, Ohio’s 529 Plan has been helping families across the nation save for their children’s higher education. Ohio’s 529 Plan offers three large tax advantages to help you save for college. The first is tax-free earnings. All contributions and earnings grow tax-free in a 529 plan, so all investment growth is yours to use to cover college costs. The second is tax-free withdrawals for qualified higher education expenses—those costs that are mandatory to attend the school. The third is a State of Ohio income tax deduction of up to $4,000 per beneficiary, per year for Ohioans who contributed to Ohio’s 529 Plan. This tax deduction has an unlimited carry forward so if an Ohio taxpayer contributes $8,000 in one tax year, they will continue to subtract $4,000 per year, per beneficiary, from their State of Ohio taxable income until all the 529 contributions are deducted.

Ohio’s 529 Plan pays for qualified costs at any four-year college or university, two-year community college, trade or vocational school, apprenticeship, or certificate program nationwide that accepts federal financial aid. These qualified higher education expenses include:

  • tuition;
  • room and board during any academic period in which the 529 beneficiary is enrolled for at least half of the full-time academic workload according to the eligible education institution;
  • mandatory fees;
  • computer equipment and related technology as well as internet services;
  • books, supplies and equipment related to enrollment and class schedule;
  • certain expenses for a special-needs student;
  • qualified costs for apprenticeships such as fees, textbooks, supplies, and equipment like required trade tools. The apprenticeship program must be registered with the Secretary of Labor’s National Apprenticeships Act in order to use a 529 plan withdrawal. Check the U.S. Labor Department’s search tool to confirm that a program is eligible; and
  • student loan repayment. Any student loan that qualifies for the federal student loan income tax deduction can now be paid with a 529 distribution. There is a $10,000 lifetime limit per 529 beneficiary. However, an additional $10,000 can be used to repay qualified student loans for each of the beneficiary’s siblings.

As the account owner, you will ultimately decide where your college savings account is – or is not – used.  You can use your account almost anywhere you’re comfortable sending both your student and your money. 

Visit Ohio’s 529 Plan online to start saving for your child’s future education. A 529 account can be used for whatever comes after high school. If you’d like to do more research, explore Ohio’s 529 Plan at The Plan That Can.

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