What is WUE?
WUE (pronounced “woo-wee”) is the Western Undergraduate Exchange, a program of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). Through WUE, students in western states may enroll in 150 two-year and four-year college institutions at a reduced tuition level: 150 percent of the institution's regular resident tuition. The program began in 1987 and all WICHE states have now signed the agreement. A copy of your state’s signed WUE agreement is available for your review. Students from all WICHE member states are eligible to request the WUE tuition discount.
WICHE member states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming. Search the WUE Online Database to see which institutions participate and which programs are available at the discounted WUE rate.
Advantages of WUE
When states and their institutions participate in WUE, everyone wins.
Advantages for participating institutions. While the WUE tuition reciprocity arrangement does not provide financial reimbursement to institutions for WUE students, there are many advantages to the participating institution. WUE can help institutions to build an enrollment base to strengthen programs, improve efficiency by filing excess capacity, and provide student diversity. Some institutions that border other states value the program as it enables them to serve the citizens of the nearby communities. WICHE’s new online searchable WUE database will prove a valuable tool to promote your institution and its programs of study.
Advantages for the sending and receiving states. States benefit from WUE in several ways. Sending states’ residents are able to attend affordable institutions in other Western states at no expense to the state. Receiving states also benefit if a student decides to remain there following graduation, helping the state to build an educated workforce.
Advantages to participating students. WUE gives students from WICHE states affordable access to programs that may not be available in their home state or that do not have sufficient capacity. WUE also provides students with a more diverse array of institutions in which to enroll.
How do I apply to get the reduced tuition rate?
Apply for admission directly to the WUE institution(s) of your choice. There is no general WUE application. If the institution that you are applying to uses a hard copy application, mark prominently on the form that you seek admission at the WUE rate. For online applications, check the WUE box and if there is not one provided, contact the school admissions office on how to apply for the WUE discounted rate.
Although some institutions automatically consider applicants from a WICHE state for the WUE rate, most 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.
The WUE reduced tuition rate is not automatically awarded to all eligible candidates. Many institutions limit the number of new WUE awards each academic year, so apply early!
If you are admitted to a WUE institution at the reduced rate, keep all copies of correspondence confirming your WUE award.