Jill Haley: Heading north to attend college | TheUnion.com

Jill Haley: Heading north to attend college

Jill Haley
Columnist

Photo for The Union John Hart

East Coast colleges are often the first choice for students wanting to study outside their native state of California. But students are also deciding to attend college to the north of us in Oregon, Washington and Canada. Let's look at some of the best colleges, including those that give generous financial aid to California students.

The Western Undergraduate Exchange program is a plan that gives reductions in college tuition to students in neighboring western states. Students need to check for limits on certain majors available to WUE students, and any GPA or test score requirements.

A great selling point for WUE is that the reduction in tuition is not based on family income. All eligible students are granted the WUE. Colleges that are a part of the program are located in Oregon, Washington, and Nevada. The most popular WUE college for students in Nevada County is the University of Nevada at Reno.

Oregon State University in Corvallis is not a part of the WUE, but high achieving California students often get financial aid to make it comparable to the University of California. Widely acknowledged for their science and technology programs, Oregon State University has less competition for admissions to engineering majors then the University of California.

Private colleges up north are also wooing students with generous scholarships. Willamette University in Salem, Ore., awards merit money to over a third of its applicants with awards averaging $15,000. Known for hands-on learning and internships, students here often take advantage of their excellent travel abroad program.

Another college worth noting for its merit aid is University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash. A liberal arts college that also has an outstanding business program. University of Puget Sound is located in a beautiful part of the country. A whooping 42 percent of their student body receives merit aid.

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And don't forget about Whitman college in Walla Walla, Wash. An academic powerhouse, Whitman attracts top-notch students from across the county and is generous with their financial aid offers. With an average class size of 20, and outstanding programs in both the liberal arts and sciences, Whitman is among be the best colleges in the west.

Increasingly, students are deciding to go over the border to get an undergraduate degree. The number of U.S. students at Canadian colleges rose 50 percent in the last decade.

An undergraduate degree from a Canadian university is recognized around the globe as one of high quality and can open doors to graduate programs internationally. The tuition for U.S. students is considerably lower than private colleges in the U.S.

For adventurous students who desire to leave California, Pacific Northwest colleges may be just what they are looking for.

Jill Haley is a retired high school counselor who now works as an independent college counselor. She can be reached at http://www.getyouintocollege.com or jillncca@gmail.com.

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