UGA in top 10 list of best values among public colleges

UGA is among the top 10 best values in public education, according to a new survey.  (AJC file)
UGA is among the top 10 best values in public education, according to a new survey. (AJC file)

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance released its annual 100 Best Values in Public Colleges list today based on outstanding education and economic value and awarded the University of Georgia the No. 6 spot.

Georgia Tech earned the 31st spot on the list.

For the 11th year in a row, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took first place. The rest of the top five in order are the University of Florida, the University of Virginia,  the College of William and Mary and the New College of Florida.

North Georgia College and State University landed in 88th place.

According to a release on the Kiplinger’s list:

The total cost of private colleges has recently averaged almost $39,000 a year, more than twice the average annual in-state sticker price–roughly $17,000–at public schools. A third of the public schools on Kiplinger’s top-100 list charge about the same as or less than that average amount, an indication of the emphasis Kiplinger’s places on affordability. Plus, the deals aren’t restricted to in-state students.

At UNC-Chapel Hill, out-of-state students pay $37,500 a year, not inconsiderable but far less than the $54,000-plus costs of nearby competitors Duke and Wake Forest. UNC-Chapel Hill provides the same level of financial aid to both in-state and out-of-state students.

Other terrific bargains on the list include North Georgia College and State University (number 88), which runs less than $14,000 a year for in-state total cost and keeps average debt at graduation at $10,000.  The University of Sciences and Arts of Oklahoma (number 93) charges $11,230 to in-state students and $18,200 to out-of-staters, making it the lowest-cost institution on the list.

“As states cut funding for higher education and tuition continues to climb, the word “value” becomes more significant than ever,” said Jane Bennett Clark, senior editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. “This year’s top 100 public schools deliver strong academics at reasonable prices. We applaud these institutions for tightening their belts without compromising quality.”

Kiplinger’s assesses quality and affordability according to a number of measurable standards. This year, Kiplinger’s revamped the rankings to give more weight to academic value, such as the percentage of students who return for sophomore year and the four-year graduation rate. Cost criteria include low sticker prices, abundant financial aid and low average debt at graduation.

–From Maureen Downey for the AJC Get Schooled blog

67 comments Add your comment

Butterball

January 3rd, 2012
2:07 pm

Dawgfan1958

January 3rd, 2012
2:08 pm

Guess having to dodge bulletts on North Ave takes something off the value of attneding there!

hmm

January 3rd, 2012
2:12 pm

I wonder how they calculate this? I believe both schools cost the same amount of money to instate students. Tech grads make more money coming out of college according to virtually every salary survey. Im intersted to hear what factor made UGA so much higher on this list. Both schools are good schools.

Ramblin' Wreck

January 3rd, 2012
2:14 pm

Interesting. The metrics they use don’t take the quality of the education into account at all. It talks about competitiveness getting in, but makes no judgement as to the education you actually receive, salaries coming out, etc. It only looks at cost. To me, that means the word “Value” is meaningless here.

carlosgvv

January 3rd, 2012
2:16 pm

How many other groups besides Kiplinger compile a top ten list of best values in public colleges?

GP Burdell

January 3rd, 2012
2:16 pm

Agree with Ramblin Wreck. How can you calculate value without some measure of ROI?

Ron Burgundy

January 3rd, 2012
2:20 pm

UGA is a good value thatnks to the Hope and all the deadbeats who would rather buy a lottery ticket then feed their families that support it!

I wonder

January 3rd, 2012
2:20 pm

If this survey puts Tech at a disadvantage because most people take around 5 years to recieve a degree from GT, thus increasing the debt acrued. I graduated from Tech in 3.5 years and had only 8 grand in debt. Ive never made less than 90 thousand a year since graduating five years ago…so I am inclined to think this ranking is missing some important factors. Tech is very cheap and absolutley worth the extra year of debt.

I wonder

January 3rd, 2012
2:22 pm

PS I need spell check!

darattler

January 3rd, 2012
2:23 pm

Jim B

January 3rd, 2012
2:30 pm

Just don’t join the band at FAMU. You could pay with your life.

Devil's Advocate

January 3rd, 2012
2:45 pm

Is there more disbelief that Tech is ranked 31st overall, the fact that they are ranked behind UGA, or both? Career earnings ultimately have more to do with the individual than the degree they may hold. While degrees from some schools carry more weight than others in certain fields, it’s not the ultimate factor in future earnings and is not the focus of this report.

The deeper you go into a career, the less the degree matters as experience and contacts take over. There is some merit to evaluating first post-graduation job salary by school but what does that really tell us? While I recognize that Tech has programs beyond various engineering fields, that’s the school’s bread and butter. If a person has no interest in being an engineer, is Tech the best value in the state of Georgia?

Tech is a great school, don’t be offended by the rankings.

Sad, but true

January 3rd, 2012
2:55 pm

The truth is is that UGA is a better value due to the HOPE and scholarships. UGA students have a higher retention of HOPE scholarships than GT allowing for a smaller post-collegiate debt. Also, with a larger out-of-state student population, less of GTs academic scholarships goes to instate students. And, as some of you have said, GT takes more semesters to graduate than UGA. I know my degree required 126 class hours which is over the HOPE allowable 120 hours. All this looks at is pre-college and during college expenses. If you really want to compare post-collegiate funds, look at the endowment of the two schools. In 2009 GT: $944mil UGA: $456mil and GT has far less alumni.

North Ave Trade School

January 3rd, 2012
3:11 pm

First its football, now it is value. You cannot put UGA ahead of Tech in anything in the AJC without some folks from the joke next to coke explaining why it is inaccurate. Value = Georgia has a lot to offer students compared to the cost of admission. It is a very large diverse institution with a huge swath of choices for students who choose to come to Athens to study. Not everyone wants to be an engineer or take the M train. Law, politics, medicine, arts, music, philosophy, psychology, education, etc… Is it really that bad at Tech? You would think you by the blogs you were Southern Poly Tech the way you bitch about your big brother in Athens. Tech is a good school, but it is not for everyone. Lots of people who are smart enough to get into Tech choose to go elsewhere for a different education. Many go to Athens. You take your pet to see them when they are sick. You pay them by the hour when you need legal advice. You vote for many of them in the state legislature. Some of them teach you at Tech. They may even hire you to design stuff for them. Tech does not have a monopoly on education. Frankly neither school is as good as UNC so get over yourselves.

@Dawgfan1958

January 3rd, 2012
3:13 pm

It takes a real man to make fun of victims of violent crimes.

Instead of quibbling...

January 3rd, 2012
3:22 pm

…about UGA vs GT we should all be figuring out how UNC, UF, UVA and W & M manage to be such good values AND great educational institutions (well, all are great, except, maybe UF)…

kennesaw guy

January 3rd, 2012
3:30 pm

Kennesaw state is a FANTASTIC school! It has so much to offer ans has endless opportunities with its close proximity to Atlanta.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution January 3, 2012 [...]

darattler

January 3rd, 2012
3:50 pm

@Jim B – You could pay with you life just by driving your car or walking on UGA’s campus.

Boris Badnoff

January 3rd, 2012
4:05 pm

As George Rodgers, a Heisman Trophy Winner, said: He couldn’t have afforded to go to college if South Carolina didn’t have a school of Motel Management. Not knocking USC or the importance of managing a motel. But we need more physicians and certainly UGA can supply that. We do not need any more lawyers. Close down all the law schools for 40 years. History, philosophy, sociology, etc. have some interest, but are they marketable job skills? These surveys are meaningless. Most of these schools are surviving on their reputations. Go where you want. Georgia State is probably a better buy than either GT or UGA. Emory is over priced. And Mercer is too religious oriented.

Peadawg

January 3rd, 2012
4:13 pm

You could pay with you life just by driving your car or walking on Ga Tech’s campus.

Fixed your typo, darattler. No thanks needed.

ryan

January 3rd, 2012
4:19 pm

And smartmoney.com says Tech is number 1 with UGA 4th

Devil's Advocate

January 3rd, 2012
4:21 pm

Actually UF is a great public school too but like I said before, success is more about the individual. A great student at UF would probably be a great student at UVA, UNC, UGA, or GT as long as that student is studying in a field of interest.

At any level, “great schools” are about general levels of opportunity and resources for the entire student population to obtain a quality education. “Great students” can be found at any school because they will make the most out of whatever opportunities and resources are available.

university of ga tech

January 3rd, 2012
4:23 pm

Well said NATS!

GCSU parent

January 3rd, 2012
4:32 pm

Son is now 4 years out of GCSU with Econ degree and a high honors grad. He is for about 2 years with a solid firm in n. metro atlanta is pulling down around $80,000 in salary and bonus and fabulous health care with virtually 0 deductible. He started with another firm and jumped into this position with leadership and upward mobility with much larger firm, in essentially the same industry.

He works hard in his career and always has and was accepted into Tech and UGA and two other schools BUT took the small school route for college and the HOPE and it worked for his entire 4 years.

He was out of undergrad school and within a month or two had a good job and jumped from there to wheere he is now and is navigating corporate america quite well, in spite of Obama’s lousy outlook on it. His current firm has a carrot and stick approach with him on his MBA and they will pay for it.

We are blessed with wonderful colleges in Georgia and my son is doing very well at only 27 and owns a modest home and that European car that they all desire.

Who needs Obama and his free education for deadbeats??? My kids did not and they are doing great.

Devil's Advocate

January 3rd, 2012
4:42 pm

I hope your son isn’t as ignorant as you GCSU parent. My sister graduated college in 1991 and had a hard time finding a job because the economy and job market had gone to crap back then too. Crap markets have been happening in cycles for a long time. How are you going to sit here and tell us your son took “the HOPE” then turn around and comment on “free education for deadbeats”? Many people have PAID their own way so either you pay for your education or you don’t.

TechStudent DawgPartier

January 3rd, 2012
4:44 pm

The chicks are hotter at UGA … BY FAR! The parties are better at UGA … BY FAR! The football games are more exciting at UGA … BY FAR! And did i mention the chicks are hotter at UGA … BY FAR??? Now THAT’s value!

norcrossjacket

January 3rd, 2012
4:58 pm

It should be noted that Georgia Tech has a better ROI than UGA in this same list

Facts not Emotion

January 3rd, 2012
5:12 pm

Right on Devil’s Advocate… No matter what the subject matter, we always can identify a conservative dummy like GCSU parent. The HOPE Scholarship was started in 1993 under Gov. Zell Miller (R). It has nothing to do with current our current leader, President Barrack Obama.

I too worked in college and paid for 100% of my education, graduating with zero debt. Yet, I am thrilled that the Hope Scholarship exists for students who are willing to put forth effort to achieve academically. I pray your son is not as selfish (or dumb) as you GCSU Parent and is willing to give back to help another student. IJS

#ignorantparentlivingthroughkids

UGA Dwag Fan

January 3rd, 2012
5:15 pm

I spent $75,000 on my “Magazine” degree from UGA. (Yes that is a real degree). I am now qualified to read ‘Highlights’ magazine and ‘Sports Illustrated for Kids.’ Thank you UGA!

Wow

January 3rd, 2012
5:17 pm

You got ripped off. I got my Turfgrass Management degree for only $70,000!

Starting salary stat is meaningless

January 3rd, 2012
5:22 pm

Let’s put that whole “GT is a better school because the starting salaries of grads are higher than UGA.”
1 – Tech is a much smaller school offering significantly fewer fields of study than ANY full university. Statistically, for a university offering a diverse spectrum of degrees that include socially critical fields of study, but that are designed to train for, in part, vocations with historically lower *monetary* compensation (like teaching, nursing, forestry, social work, etc…,) it is virtually meaningless to compare that university’s “average starting salary” to the average for a much smaller less heterogenous group of technical graduates. For many well rounded college graduates, expected earnings is only one of many factors to consider when choosing a major and career.
2 – Even for those who value money abovae all, first year salaries (post graduation) are no indication of lifetime earnings potential. Many, many graduates go on to highly lucrative careers in business, law, medicine, etc…
3 – Even for those who value first year starting salary, the differential between technical fields of study and the humanities, for example, is not in any way unique or related to GT specifically (and, by extension, the quality of the education offered there.) By that I mean, first year salaries for technical jobs are higher “on average* than non-technical jobs as a whole. The differences are macro-economic, *not related in any way* specifically to a degree from GT. I can stand behind this empirically because my senior thesis as an economics major (in undergrad at a large university) was conducted on this very subject.
4 – I often hear this statistic on starting salaries quoted, but as the saying goes, there are “lies, damn lies and statistics.” Did you ever ask yourself how the data underlying this salary statistic was acquired? Typically, figures on compensation and any other “non publically available” information have to be self reported. Technical training schools, like GT, have a relatively large segment of the student body originating from other countries. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, of course, but man of those students must return to their native land after graduation to find employment. It is self evident that the accuracy of graduate surveys suffer (and are skewed) from much lower response rates from those who may be difficult to contact because they live in a remote location (e.g. India, Pakistan, China) and the effect is compounded by language barriers. In addition, graduates who have not yet found work tend not to respond to these surveys, particularly in fields where “potential earnings” are a primary reason for studying in that field. Conversely, in case you were wondering, this effect does not hold true for universities with predominately “domestic” student bodies and in vocations that are not “money focused” but offer other satisfaction elements (like teaching, religion, arts, humanities, etc…). There tends to be a higher response rate ostensibly because those graduates chose their occupation for reasons other than (and some might say greater than) any immediate economic return.
5 – Lastly, using “higher starting salary” as a basis for “valuing” a degree program is based on false assumptions. Many people pursuing technical degrees assume that when they graduate that companies will be competing to hire them because they are somehow “special.” (meaning “more valuable”), which is the reason for “higher starting salaries.” The reality is, in many technical fields (for example, petroleoum, chemical and industrial engineering) the physical working environment is so hostile or monotonous, salaries have to be adjusted upward to compensate. Over the long term, companies won’t pay more than is required to attract workers to a particular position. In general, more money is required, if you want someone to roast in a hazmat suit for several hours each day. But, I’m sure that little piece of information was not included in the GT recruitment brochure. GT students (and grads) might do well to spend a little less time on the calculus they are so proud of and a little more time on statistics, because the “higher starting salary” statistic being held up to justify their false sense of superiority is baseless and, even if one were willing to assume it *was* correct, it still would be meaningless. That being said, the world needs all kinds: engineers, mathemeticians, teachers, nurses, doctors, farmers, et al. Well, ok maybe not lawyers. ;-) Cheers.

Proud-Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
5:24 pm

This doesn’t really surprise me. I transferred to UGA after spending 2 years at Columbia in New York City. I was looking for that college experience, SEC sports and a great business school. I feel very fortunate to have attended UGA’s Terry College. I graduated in 2009 Summa Cum Laude in International Business. Although, I accumulated over $100k in debt during my journey, it was worth the small town college experience. After graduation, I started at my job making 64k/year. I just received a promotion in November, including my bonus I make more money in a year than my dad. Not bragging, just saying A DEGREE IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT. A University doesn’t guarantee you anything, your work ethic does. It’s not what you know or who you know, it’s who knows you.

Mark

January 3rd, 2012
5:24 pm

What was the world college rankings that just came out and had GT ranked 81st in the world as far as quality of education. I think UGa was ranked about 384th

Jon

January 3rd, 2012
5:25 pm

So Florida beat us again? Get on it, President Adams.

Centrist

January 3rd, 2012
5:25 pm

“Kiplinger’s assesses academic value, such as the percentage of students who return for sophomore year and the four-year graduation rate.”

So schools that offer light curricula and/or socially advance students within 4 years to graduation are considered the “top” ones. No value for the degree earned, and schools like Georgia Tech which often require 5 years to graduate in more technical and intense programs are punished.

Makes for a good headline and marketing tool – otherwise useless.

Mark

January 3rd, 2012
5:27 pm

Did UGa ever receive that invitation to join the AAU like GT did? It must have got lost in the mail.

Mark

January 3rd, 2012
5:33 pm

Centrist, you hit the nail on the head. This is nothing but a nice AJC headline to make UGa look like it’s superior to Tech in something educational.

Mountain Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
5:45 pm

Face it, NERDS. YECH sucks. Always has – always will.

crackbaby

January 3rd, 2012
5:50 pm

Alright now, the Tech folk are revealing their inferiority complex. Let’s try an objective look.

If the evaluation was comprehensive, universities would have been scored on a broad spectrum that takes into account curriculum depth. Tech simply has no score for fine arts or anthropology administration. Likely a reason that Florida placed second – UF is top 2 or 3 in terms of number of majors.

Relax. Good to see 3 Georgia colleges in the top 100.

Devil's Advocate

January 3rd, 2012
5:50 pm

LOL, the Tech inferiority complex to UGA is shining bright in this thread. For crying out loud, the article doesn’t rank the absolute BEST public education, it ranks the best VALUE. Often times the best of anything is not the cheapest or even affordable which is why most people appreciate value reports like this one.

That said, Tech is a great school. Guess what, UGA is a great school too! I know some of you guys have Highlander burned into your brain but “there can be only one” does not apply here!

I feel sorry for the reasonable Tech grads/fans who have their image tarnished by the ones who turn an innocent article into another internet flame war carried over from football season because they cannot handle seeing UGA ranked higher than Tech on any list.

Maxwell from TV

January 3rd, 2012
5:56 pm

Basically, you are a better person if you went to UGA. You have social skills.

Aardvark Base

January 3rd, 2012
5:58 pm

To the brilliant “Starting salary stat is meaningless”, thanks for all that worthless blather, much of which was completely moronic– (hazmat suits? foreign grads going home & non-reporting?? that is freaking stupid). I think the fact that you did a senior thesis on that topic is pathetic. It doesn’t take a genius to know that starting salary is a limited measuring stick for college rankings. I also took statistics, combinatorics, and many other higher math classes. The bottom line is that you still come across as a frustrated Tech-hater.

sUGAr_daddy_DAWG

January 3rd, 2012
5:59 pm

I can promise you no one is glowing more than President Adams right now. That’s the part I hate the most…

EC Mom

January 3rd, 2012
5:59 pm

Relax, Tech fans, a ranking of 31 out of the 500 schools originally considered is still great. The low 4-yr graduation rate seems to be dragging Tech down a bit. Many engineering BS degrees require greater than 120 credit hours. That is not unique to Tech.

DavisDawg

January 3rd, 2012
6:00 pm

Easy nerds…..we all know it takes longer to graduate from tech because you have so many tickle piles

Maureen Downey

January 3rd, 2012
6:07 pm

@Devil, EC Mom and the unfortunate named Crackbaby, You are the voice of sanity. Not sure why every mention of UGA and Tech devolves into a shoving match over which is the better school. We ought to be delighted that Georgia has such strong public college choices.
Maureen

EC Mom

January 3rd, 2012
6:07 pm

Easy there, @Mark. GT was only just invited to the AAU in 2010…as opposed to UNC joining in 1922, UF joining in 1985, and UV joining in 1904, etc., etc. You might want to let the ink dry before taunting UGA about not being a member.

Delbert D.

January 3rd, 2012
6:10 pm

UVA was ranked 5th in out-of-state. It is very difficult to gain admission for out of state students. Several years ago when we were looking at moving to Maryland, UVA’s quota for the Gaithersburg-Rockville area was 2 admits.

Wonder where Ole Miss and Miss. State were ranked? (they weren’t). Their tuition costs are extremely low compared to other SEC schools.

carson

January 3rd, 2012
6:21 pm

I am a proud UGA grad and even I know that GT is a much tougher school. I’d be sensitive about it too if I were a GT grad.