Two Georgia colleges named best values in MONEY’s rankings

When deciding on a college, one of the main factors for students and parents is cost.

In Georgia, the most affordable public college for lower-income, in-state students is the University of Georgia, according to data released today by Money magazine.

The information is part of Money’s annual list of the Best Colleges for Your Money.

Money ranked 705 schools on 24 factors including educational quality, affordability and alumni success, such as how much recent graduates earn. New this year, Money’s methodology incorporated data from the federal education department’s College Scorecard, and took into account the percentage of a school’s graduates who consider themselves to be in “meaningful” jobs.

Taking all those factors into account, Georgia Tech was ranked the best college in the state.

Among the 705 schools, Georgia Tech ranked 35th, UGA ranked 56th, and they were the only Georgia institutions in the top 100.

Money also teamed up with Barnes & Noble College and surveyed more than 2,000 students at four-year colleges and parents of current and former students on a variety of higher education topics. The survey revealed that families are aware of the high cost of college, yet half the students and parents surveyed were surprised that college costs more than they anticipated.

For lower-income families — those earning less than $48,000 a year — none of Georgia’s public colleges were deemed affordable without some contribution from parents or borrowing by the student, according to Money’s new affordability search tool also launched Monday. For students in this income group, the search tool does not take into account any grants or scholarship awards such HOPE, Georgia’s popular merit-based scholarship.

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