Here are two ways.
First, keep your child in-state. Public colleges and universities offer their lowest tuition to state residents.
There might be special state scholarships, too. You can influence this choice by telling your child, early, to concentrate on attractive state schools. Search their Web pages — their programs and student activities — to find a likely fit.
Second, see if your state has a deal with some nearby states to provide each other’s residents with tuition discounts at their own public colleges and universities.
For example, say that you live in one of 15 states that belong to the Western Undergraduate Exchange. Your child can apply to a participating school in any of these states, at a tuition cost that’s just 50% more than in-state residents pay. (Applicants from other states pay considerably more.)
The schools accept limited numbers of students under the WUE discount, so apply early.
The Midwestern Higher Education Compact covers 12 states. Its public institutions also charge applicants from member states just 50% more than the in-state rate. There’s a 10% discount at participating private colleges
You can search the programs offered by ACE schools, then check to see whether there’s something comparable in your own state. Students can also take degrees online.
Six states participate in the Tuition Break program of the New England Board of Higher Education. They, too, provide discounts only to students seeking majors not offered in their own states. You’ll pay up to 75% more than in-state tuition rates, for an average saving of $6,900.