Tuition Break Eligibility and FAQs

Is the RSP Tuition Break only a New England program?

Yes. The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) Tuition Break – officially known as the New England Regional Student Program (RSP) – is for permanent residents of the six New England states – – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Participating institutions are New England's 82 public colleges and universities.

How does a student qualify for the RSP Tuition Break?

As a permanent resident of a New England state, a student is eligible for the RSP when enrolled in a degree program offered through the RSP by a specific public college or university in another New England state. Approved degree programs (associate, bachelor’s and graduate) for residents of each New England state are listed on the Find a Program page.

Proximity Eligibility

At certain colleges, a student may also qualify when the out-of-state college is closer to home than the in-state college offering the same program. Many community colleges and a few four-year colleges and universities allow this eligibility. These colleges are flagged with a [P]. (Refer to the RSP Tuition Break Policies: Proximity-Based Programs of Study [3B2]). Approval is made at the discretion of the institution. Click here to download the list of Institutions Participating in the Proximity Policy in PDF format. A student wishing to apply under Proximity should confirm their eligibility with the college's admissions office.

How does a student apply to enroll in an RSP-approved degree program?

A student first determines that a program is offered through the RSP by the college or university where they wish to enroll. A student then completes the college’s application for admission and declares the RSP degree program as their intended area of study. Once accepted to the college, a student should confirm that the college or university has granted RSP status.

Note: Some programs may have special requirements or may not be available to freshman students. NEBHE does not require a separate application.

How are degree programs approved for RSP status?

Undergraduate and graduate majors are approved for RSP status on an annual basis. The colleges and universities determine which programs will be eligible. Program eligibility and availability vary depending on the college.

Many colleges allow eligibility only for programs that are not offered in a student's home state, according to the Specialized Programs of Study Policy [3B1].

Certain colleges allow eligibility for residents of all five other New England states, and eligibility is not dependent on the program not being offered in the student's home state. These programs and colleges are flagged with [F] to indicate they are made available under the Flexible Policy [3B2].

Eligible programs are published on NEBHE's website under Find a Program.

Can a student already enrolled at a college declare an RSP major at that college?

Usually. An enrolled student needs to contact the registrar and/or the college’s RSP campus representative, listed in the RSP catalogs, under Find a Program.

What happens if a student changes from an approved RSP major to one not approved?

The student will be charged the full out-of-state tuition rate from that point forward.

How much of a discount is provided by the RSP?

The average annual tuition savings per full-time RSP student is currently $8,200. The RSP allows an eligible student to pay a lower tuition rate, that is significantly less than out-of-state tuition. The rate is based on a percentage (up to a maximum of 175 percent) of a college’s in-state rate. Example: In-state tuition = $6,000; Out-of-state tuition = $18,000; Regional tuition = $10,500 (discount of $7,500). Current rates are available on the Data & Reports page, as well as on the individual colleges’ websites.

Why are certain programs, which aren’t offered in a student’s home state, not offered under the RSP?

Sometimes a college or university decides not to offer certain majors, such as high-demand programs, through the RSP. Also, a few programs are not offered by any New England public college (Examples: Professional Golf Management, Aerospace Engineering) and therefore are not available through the RSP.

What happens if a college decides to discontinue offering a major through the RSP?

If a college withdraws a major from the RSP, but still offers the major, students currently enrolled through the RSP are grandfathered as long as they continuously pursue the program and required courses.

Can the RSP be used to attend a private college or a college outside New England?

No. The RSP can only be used at New England’s two-year and four-year state colleges and universities.

Is an RSP-eligible student eligible to apply for financial aid?

Yes. A student should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and any financial aid applications required by the college(s) in order to be considered for any type of financial aid (scholarships, grants, loans and/or work-study). The RSP is a tuition discount and not a scholarship or grant.

Financial aid is awarded based on need and/or merit at the discretion of the institution. Note: If a student has been accepted for admission and received a financial aid award prior to declaring an RSP program as his/her intended major, the institution may revise the financial aid award. Note: There is no guarantee that a student’s RSP status will provide an additional discount; however, it should not result in a net increase in out-of-pocket expenses.

Click here to access the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Click here to view a list of Financial Aid Resources.

How long has the RSP/Tuition Break program existed?

The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) established the New England Regional Student Program (RSP) in 1957-58. Over the years, it has been known as the “Apple program,” and more recently is called the Tuition Break program. All of New England’s public colleges and universities participate in the RSP. The RSP has helped New England families with discounts on more than 300,000 annual tuition bills.

RSP Tuition Break Policies

RSP Tuition Break Policies
Click here to download the policies in PDF format. (Note: The policies are also listed in the annual catalogs.)