Athens, Ga. — Because of its high four-year graduation rate, low average student debt at graduation, abundant financial aid and overall value, the University of Georgia placed No. 10—up five spots—on Kiplinger’s Personal Finance list of 100 best values among public colleges and universities for 2014.
UGA’s ranking is for in-state value, an improvement from its 15th-place ranking on Kiplinger’s 2013 list. UGA’s out-of-state ranking is No. 13 on the Kiplinger 2014 list, which will be published in the February issue.
Other Georgia universities on the list are Georgia Institute of Technology at No. 33, the University of North Georgia at No. 94 and Georgia College and State University at No. 95.
According to Kiplinger, “Georgia jumped five places in our rankings this year, thanks to improved test scores and a more competitive admission rate. It has one of the highest yields in our top 10: Nearly half of students who earn acceptance letters choose to enroll, and 94 percent stick around after the first year.”
The HOPE Scholarship also played a role in the rankings. “Financial aid is generous, cutting Georgia’s $20,424 total cost to less than $12,000 for in-state students,” according to Kiplinger. “Students graduate with less than $20,000 in debt.”
To determine the rankings, Kiplinger compiles data on nearly 600 public institutions and sorts the schools based on quality measures, such as the admission rate, the test scores of incoming freshmen and four- and six-year graduation rates. Kiplinger then adds cost data, which includes tuition, fees, room and board, and financial aid for in-state and out-of-state students, and re-ranks the institutions.
“The college landscape today is very different—tuition increases and student debt dominate the national conversation surrounding higher education,” said Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. “This year’s top 100 schools have made admirable strides to maintain academic integrity and standards while meeting the financial needs of their students.”
The Kiplinger rankings are available online here.