Study: Georgia Tech, UGA offer best salary returns on tuition

(Associated Press)

Tech cheerleaders ride the Rambling Wreck onto Grant Field (Associated Press)

Georgia Tech offers “the best academic deal in America” when it comes to which colleges and universities help graduates reel in the biggest paychecks considering the tuition they had to fork over, according to to SmartMoney.

In fact, Georgia has two schools in the Top 5: The University of Georgia ranks No. 4, behind Tech, the University of Florida (2) and the University of Texas at Austin (3). (See complete table here – pdf). From SmartMoney:

Recent Georgia Tech grads earn $59,000, or a stellar 67% of what they paid in tuition. Grads in their 30s average $102,000 a year, more than three times their 1990s tuition tab.

President G.P. Peterson credits the focus of virtually all Tech students on science-oriented disciplines, including engineering and computer and software design, and Tech’s “fortunate position” of being able to get tuition subsidies from the state thanks to the HOPE scholarship. It also helps that the hottest careers are currently in the technology industry.

SmartMoney, with the help of Seattle-based compensation data company PayScale, relied on 35 million salary profiles to come up with median pay figures for two groups of alumni at each of the Top 50 most expensive schools on the list. One group was the Class of 2009 and the other was the Class of 1997, who were now getting mid-career salaries.

The median salary was divided by total tuition and fees for each of the four-year periods. The result was converted to a percentage figure, and the outcome was a measure of return on investment, or a “Payback Score”.

Tech’s Class of 2009, who paid $87,810 for four years of college, had a median salary of $59,000 today. The Class of 1997, who paid $30,249 for four years of college, had a median salary of $102,000 today.

Georgia’s Class of 2009, whose members paid $77,957 for four years of college, have a median salary of $41,100 today. The Class of 1997, whose members paid $27,865 for four years of college, have a median salary of $79,200.

The thousands more in tuition paid by private college school graduates also didn’t translate into a much higher salary return when compared with the pay public college graduates were seeing. The study found the average salary for the public college Class of 2009 was $47,790, compared with $46,024 for their  private liberal arts counterparts. The salary was $87,257 for the public college Class of 1997, compared with $91,019 for their private school counterparts. From SmartMoney:

By their mid-30s, alumni of the 21 private liberal-arts schools we surveyed are pulling down only about 4% more than their public school peers, despite having spent almost twice as much on tuition (assuming they paid the sticker price).

What kind of return are you getting on your college investment as you glance at your paycheck?

164 comments Add your comment

Steve

September 25th, 2012
7:14 pm

UGA is #4 in the country? But I thought they were such a “stupid” school? Moron Tech fans.

Yep, engineering & science grads ...

September 25th, 2012
7:17 pm

…make considerably more than business, journalism and education majors…

not stupid, easy

September 25th, 2012
7:18 pm

Steve, I can’t find anyone who would say UGA is a stupid school because that’s entirely not true. What makes UGA “stupid” is the school selling out their academic integrity to get the dumbest, most neanderthal athletes they can find and walk them through a Basket Weaving major. However i can’t blame them because thats the status quo in the SEC.

Hey Troll

September 25th, 2012
7:22 pm

Hey Stupid Steve…Study doesn’t take into account private schools. IVY leagues schools and so forth.
Also, do the math idiot. GT grads earn 1/3 more than UGA grads.

Critical Reading is Fundamental

September 25th, 2012
7:24 pm

“UGA is #4 in the country?”

No, they are fourth out of the mere 50 schools considered without regard for the net cost of attendance after financial aid.

godawg

September 25th, 2012
7:24 pm

I graduated in 1983 from UGA and paid about $3,500 in tution for four years….

Proud UGA Grad

September 25th, 2012
7:25 pm

I’m living proof that a UGA degree pays off. I’ll bet that more top executives who are UGA grads earn more than top executives who are Tech grads because Tech grads are narrowly focused and can’t see the whole picture. Their degrees won’t carry them as far as UGA grads’ degrees for the top tiers. Let’s get some statistics on that Tech and UGA. Go Dawgs, and How ‘Bout Them Dawgs!

Confused

September 25th, 2012
7:26 pm

Three of my children’s friends (good friends) applied to Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia last year. All were in state students. All three were accepted to Tech, only one was accepted to UGA.

YoMama

September 25th, 2012
7:33 pm

UGA offers a great education in a wide variety of diciplines. GT is a great institution, offering a more limited curriculum. Artists and musicians, as much as engineers and lawyers, add to the quality of life, as well as to the social and ecomonic development, of our state. All Georgians should be very happy to have two great institutions like UGA and GT. So save your sophomoric banter for the athletic field and savor the great opportunities while they last.

OldTimer

September 25th, 2012
7:34 pm

I’m a two time Georgia Tech drop out and I’m pulling 135.

Oh'man

September 25th, 2012
7:34 pm

I went to both schools and there is a big difference in academics standards. Tech is heavily invested in engineering and technology, which is in high demand right now. UGA, on the other hand, focuses evenly across each study, but they do also invest heavily on Biology and Business. Between the two Tech is definitely more academic orientated, but both are still great schools.

Critical Reading is Fundamental, maybe, but ...

September 25th, 2012
7:35 pm

…comprehension is not your strong suit – “The thousands more in tuition paid by private college school graduates also didn’t translate into a much higher salary return when compared with the pay public college graduates were seeing. The study found the average salary for the public college Class of 2009 was $47,790, compared with $46,024 for their private liberal arts counterparts. The salary was $87,257 for the public college Class of 1997, compared with $91,019 for their private school counterparts. From SmartMoney:

By their mid-30s, alumni of the 21 private liberal-arts schools we surveyed are pulling down only about 4% more than their public school peers, despite having spent almost twice as much on tuition (assuming they paid the sticker price).

Despite your "broadness" you still cant do math...

September 25th, 2012
7:35 pm

To the “Proud ” UGA Grad… clearly there SHOULD be more, at least 3 times more UGA graduated execs, than Tech Grads, because, UGA graduates 3 times more than Tech, but I’ll be willing to bet that there is not 3 times more. Duhh…. You are wrong, Tech just received a huge 50 Million grant from a very broad minded donor Scheller, on top of the countless very broad minded previous donors Klaus, no doubt that UGA degree pays off… but the math is crystal clear that the TECH degree pays MORE.

Stumpknocker

September 25th, 2012
7:35 pm

Yeah, sure you are (living proof) Proad UGA Grad,……….and talk about being narrow focused and narrow minded……….when you open your mouth, you say it all.

@ Confused

September 25th, 2012
7:36 pm

It’s called “Tufts Syndrome.” If a college is confident an applicant will get into and attend a better school, they’ll reject them to protect their yield.

Oh'man

September 25th, 2012
7:36 pm

@YoMama Couldn’t have said it any better : ) . And yo mama so fat when she jumped in the air she got stuck.

2012 GT Grad

September 25th, 2012
7:40 pm

Many grads from both schools are having trouble finding employment after graduation right now. Luckily, I have been able to find a good paying job in my field due to some of the work experience I gained during college. Many kids think just attending these schools will set them up for success and that is not true at all. UGA grads do fine and so do Tech grads ultimately. We are all screwed if this economy does not turn around.

Tufts Syndrome?...

September 25th, 2012
7:42 pm

… what a crock – you, sir or madam, have no sense of what goes into the admission process –

So, please follow the rule – “when in doubt please keep quiet and be thought dumb rather than pontificate and remove all doubt”…

Critical Reading is Fundamental

September 25th, 2012
7:43 pm

“By their mid-30s, alumni of the 21 private liberal-arts schools we surveyed are pulling down only about 4% more than their public school peers, despite having spent almost twice as much on tuition (assuming they paid the sticker price).”

What part of “assuming they paid the sticker price” don’t you understand? At Harvard, for example, 70 percent of students receive some form of grant-based (i.e., not loans) aid. This is standard at most selective private schools with $1 billion-plus endowments.

Dawg1

September 25th, 2012
7:44 pm

Yomama got it right.

Congrats to both schools.

You clowns should for once be proud of both schools…

bucket

September 25th, 2012
7:47 pm

Why can’t we just be thankful that this survey paints both GT and UGA in a very positive light as opposed to resorting to the juvenile arguments that are made everyday on these blogs? GT and UGA are both very fine schools.

Critical Reading is Fundamental, maybe, but ...

September 25th, 2012
7:48 pm

…and it is doubtful any ot thje Ivy League schools were included in that small (21) sample – however, even if they were, usually the majority of “grants” involves work study, so, in essence, those kids
ARE paying close to sticker price – only the TRULY needy, who are also brilliant, get the “actual” free money – and we all know that over 90% of Ivy League schools admit mostly those whose parents CAN afford the huge tuition costs “out of pocket”…

Numbers

September 25th, 2012
7:49 pm

Tufts syndrome or not, just look at the average tests scores and GPA numbers. Nuff said.

Confused

September 25th, 2012
7:49 pm

@ @ Confused

Yield protection
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Tufts syndrome)

“Yield protection is an alleged admissions practice where a university or academic institution rejects or wait-lists highly qualified students on the grounds that such students are bound to be accepted by more prestigious universities or programs. However, alternate theories regard the yield protection as a myth propagated by college students who failed to gain admission to elite universities. Yield rate refers to the proportion of students who matriculate (i.e. accept an admissions offer and attend the college) after acceptance to a college.”

Words “alleged” and “theories” jump out to me.

FYI: None choose to attend Tech. Not saying this is a negative directed at Tech, they just have a limited (or should we say specialized) curriculum.

GFJacket

September 25th, 2012
7:49 pm

Both are good schools, and a bargain. UGA offers quite a few more degree programs than Tech. Some of those degree progams cater to the academically challenged so they can compete in the SEC. What is interesting is the size of both school’s endowments. Tech’s is about $1.6Billion. UGA’s is $571Million. Interesting when you consider that UGA is has over twice the number of alumni as Tech.

You are correct , GF Jacket... ...

September 25th, 2012
7:54 pm

…about the endowments of the two universities – but, Tech didn’t get to be called the “Joke by Coke” due only to its proximity to the Coca Cola headquarters – they got a lot of that endowment money from the Woodruff family, just as Emory did, but not UGA…

@confused

September 25th, 2012
8:01 pm

Tech is definitely easier to get into, but yet much more difficult to stay there – known for flunking out underclassmen!

Critical Reading is Fundamental

September 25th, 2012
8:08 pm

“it is doubtful any ot thje Ivy League schools were included in that small (21) sample.”

The sample includes 50 schools, and all eight Ivy League schools are represented.

“however, even if they were, usually the majority of ‘grants’ involves work study, so, in essence, those kids ARE paying close to sticker price.”

Please cite your source.

“we all know that over 90% of Ivy League schools admit mostly those whose parents CAN afford the huge tuition costs ‘out of pocket.’”

Only ignorant people “know” that. Aside from Harvard, 60 percent of Princeton, 57 percent of Yale, and 52 percent of Dartmouth students, for example, receive financial aid. Brown, at 44 percent, has the smallest percentage of financial-aid students among Ivy League schools.

Warhorse

September 25th, 2012
8:10 pm

UGA limping in behind Tech and Florida for academics. Sounds like a story repeated over the decades.

And for the last decade or so, UF has been the king of the hill in athletics.

There is no "A" academics at UGA

September 25th, 2012
8:30 pm

KJ

September 25th, 2012
8:43 pm

Warhorse, the only thing limping is in your pants. Top 4 is hardly limping, and you get the added bonus of not being around women with mustaches, or white trash north floridians like you.

Ambulance chasers R' us!

September 25th, 2012
8:43 pm

Funny how all the Tech people talk about selling out their academic integrity.

—- NEWS FLASH —-
The Tech football players average much further below the ‘mean’ of the general student population on SAT scores than UGA’s football team does!!!

I would think with such a highly touted school of engineering that you Tech fans would have a grasp of simple math.

And to cut you blowhards off at the pass.

Yes, GaTech has a higher average SAT for the student body which helps to cause the large discrepancy. The problem with your argument is that even though it is higher, the gap is larger even when perecentage based. This was all covered in an AJC article a few years ago, but as usual the AJC link is now dead.

Put simply, you can argue that UGA athletes and students score lower. Point taken. What you CANNOT argue is that UGA lower’s itself to get athletes, because GaTech lowers itself much more than UGA does.

Besides, we all know that Tech can’t count to four.

AppleCEO

September 25th, 2012
8:55 pm

So happy I graduated from AU and became the CEO of the wealthiest company of all time. Keep buying our products thuga grads! Tech is far superior to thuga in academics…….

Wrecker

September 25th, 2012
8:59 pm

Yes, please take 120 or so football players out of our 20k enrollment to make your point, Ambulance Chaser. In general, our athletes outside of the football program are some of the best students in the school.

And, AppleCEO...

September 25th, 2012
9:07 pm

congrats on being an AU grad who did well (with the help of that MBA from Duke) – somehow I think the Duke aspect of your academic resume helped more than the AU part – as we all kinow, AU is for all those who cannot get into UGA…

Proud UGA Grad

September 25th, 2012
9:11 pm

I’m a three time UGA grad, almost 50, and I’ll put my salary up against most Tech grads at my level any day. As time goes on, they do the work, and we are their bosses. It’s a fact.

Again, Critical Reading is Fundamental, maybe, but ... ...

September 25th, 2012
9:16 pm

…nowhere did I say that of the 90% that I quoted that they did NOT receive the financial aid, only that their parents could afford to send them there without the aid – they are quite bright, so they are taking advantage of what the schools have to offer, and they are using what is available.

And, you are correct that I did not read the data correctly about the 21 private schools cited – my bad…

GT Joe

September 25th, 2012
9:22 pm

Proud UGA Grad:
put your salary up against the Wal-Mart CEO (a GT grad). LOL. Owned.

GT Joe

September 25th, 2012
9:23 pm

YEs, UGA is harder to get into. there are a LOT of dummies in the world, looking for a school to go to.

Average SAT score of the 2011 class at GT: 1393/1600
At UGA? Don’t embarrass yourselves.

The Truth

September 25th, 2012
9:23 pm

In today’s AJC, average SAT at GT 1395, at UGA 1273. Yea, sounds like UGA is harder to get into. The two kids who couldn’t get into UGA probably could not hitch up their mule to a plow.

SBinF

September 25th, 2012
9:26 pm

Sigh, folks arguing about salary…There is more to life.

I graduated from Tech and went into teaching. I didn’t get anything near the average starting salary of a GT grad. I’m back at Tech for a master’s. If I stay in teaching, I will still be far below what a Tech graduate degree holder earns. And yet I can still pay my bills. Perish the thought…

GT Joe

September 25th, 2012
9:27 pm

UGA grads are bosses of Tech grads? LOL.

Yeah, UGA grads are the bosses, but make 25% less salary after 15 years. Something does not compute.

DawginNY

September 25th, 2012
9:31 pm

GF Jacket, after the merger of UGA’s 2 foundations, we come in at $745M, http://www.nacubo.org/Documents/research/2011_NCSE_Public_Tables_Endowment_Market_Values_Final_January_17_2012.pdf
It’s still embarrassing, though. I think it is a failure on the part of Adams. Chuck Knapp make Georgia a top 50 university. Adams was hired from Centre College becuase he was supposedly a master fundraiser.
As for the salary comparison. Tech’s starting salary is as good as Harvard’s. Tech is not as good of a school, but Harvard has liberal arts majors. That’s their mission and it’s UGA’s mission as well. Tech’s mission to educate engineers. It’s silly to compare salaries of sociology majors with electronic engineers.

GT Joe

September 25th, 2012
9:33 pm

Fact #1: UGA grads before the Hope Scholarship = the dummies in high school
Fact #2: Hope scholarship dramatically improved the quality of student at UGA; kids who were smart found it hard to turn down free school.
Fact #3: Once the Hope scholarship goes away, UGA will return to the cowtown junior college that it always was.

GT Joe

September 25th, 2012
9:36 pm

Highest average SAT score of all D1 public schools for the FOOTBALL team: GT

GT Joe

September 25th, 2012
9:36 pm

Highest average SAT score of all D1 public schools for the FOOTBALL team: GT

Go Dawgs!

September 25th, 2012
9:36 pm

Forget earning power…..it’s all about football!!!!

GT Joe

September 25th, 2012
9:41 pm

AppleCEO: had no idea Tim Cook went to Auburn, cool. Industrial Engineering grad, btw.

And just named the most powerful gay man in the world: http://thelastword.msnbc.com/_news/2011/08/25/7473885-the-most-powerful-gay-man-in-america?lite

Critical Reading is Fundamental

September 25th, 2012
9:46 pm

“nowhere did I say that of the 90% that I quoted that they did NOT receive the financial aid, only that their parents could afford to send them there without the aid – they are quite bright, so they are taking advantage of what the schools have to offer, and they are using what is available.”

First of all, you were referring to 90 percent of Ivy League schools, not students. (At least, that’s what you wrote.) Secondly, you said that these schools admit “mostly” (implying over 50 percent) students whose parents can afford full tuition. Considering the figures I referenced pertain only to NEED-BASED financial aid, your assertion holds true only for Brown, or an eighth of the Ivy League.

DawginNY

September 25th, 2012
9:48 pm

Here’s the problem with average, or even median. Georgia’s mission to provide a broad array of degree for our state. We have an ag school, a college of education, a college of arts and sciences and a college of fine arts. Farmers and teachers aren’t going to make what business people and engineers make. Psychology and political science majors aren’t going to make money in their fields without grad school, which would not be fair to compare them with undergrads. Tech should compare themselves with MIT, Harvey Mudd, RPI, Cal Tech, etc. We should compare ourselves with other flagship state universities.