Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) is a program designed to give students in a number of states in the western portion of the United States a bit of flexibility in their college life. Students who live in participating states can attend schools in the other states at a significantly reduced rate of tuition. This program permits students who are interested in a couple of classes at another university to attend for much less money.
- If you are interested in WUE, your first stop will be the Internet. Search for Western Undergraduate Exchange to find out about all of the benefits, how the program works, and whether you qualify. Some students will qualify automatically based on their grade point average, while others will need to jump a few hurdles to get approved. Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) is the governing body for this program, and you will find them during your Internet search. WICHE will have information about which schools participate in the program. This list is important to have before you begin planning because you don't want to spend time looking at non-participating schools.
- Contact the appropriate office. Once you know that the basics of the program appeal to you, find out the office that handles WUE applicants at your university. Most likely you will need to begin with the registrar's office as the people here typically determine what course credits are transferable and other valuable information.
- Be sure that you meet the basic qualifications. For example, you must be a resident of one of the participating states, which are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. You also will need specific SAT or ACT scores and a certain grade point average. These numbers change annually.
- Seek details from the other school. After you know your school's policy, contact the school where you plan to enroll for a semester. Find out the process for getting the courses you want. You may need to apply early, or there may be a special procedure for you to follow. Finding out about courses is important because you will want to get the most academically from this experience.
- Find out the cost of attending the other school. The program calls for the student to pay 150 percent of the institution's cost for in-state residents. If you're an out of state resident, you will be saving a significant amount of money by going through WUE rather than a traditional transient program. Still, the actual dollar figure varies widely, so be sure you know how much you will be asked to pay.
- Embrace the flexibility, but remember your ultimate goals. Some students will attend for only a semester while others will attend various schools throughout their college career. WUE is set up for just this scenario. When you apply to your first choice institution, you will indicate that you want to be considered for Western Undergraduate Exchange. The key for you will be to keep up with the courses you need to graduate at a home institution.