Athens, Ga. – Top value and low debt at graduation earned the University of Georgia sixth-place status on Kiplinger’s Personal Finance list of 100 best values among public colleges and universities.
UGA’s ranking is for in-state value, an improvement over its eighth-place standing in 2011. For out-of-state value, UGA jumped from 19th in 2011 to ninth on the 2012 list, which was released Tuesday.
Schools in the Kiplinger 100 were selected from a pool of more than 500 public four-year colleges and universities. They were then ranked according to academic quality—admission and retention rates, student-faculty ratios and four- and six-year graduation rates—as well as cost and financial aid. The rankings appear in Kiplinger’s February 2012 issue and online at www.kiplinger.com/tools/colleges.
“Each category measures a college’s ability to keep students engaged and on track for graduation,” wrote Jane Bennett Clark, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance senior editor. “On the cost side, we continue to reward colleges with low sticker prices and abundant financial aid. But now, as student debt grows worrisome, we give bonus points to colleges that keep borrowing low.”
The 2012 Kiplinger 100 marks the ninth year that UGA has ranked among the magazine’s top 10 values. Clark gave these reasons for UGA’s ranking: “This flagship university, in the music-centric town of Athens, knocks the average price down to $10,288 for students who qualify for need-based aid, and it keeps the average debt at graduation to a moderate $15,938.”
The HOPE scholarship also factored into UGA’s placement. Many of the university’s 25,947 undergraduates—and particularly its in-state freshmen—benefit from HOPE, which covers $3,182 per semester, or about a third of the cost of total tuition and fees.
Two other Georgia institutions of higher education also made the Kiplinger 100. The Georgia Institute of Technology ranked 31st for in-state value and North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega came in 88th.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has topped the Kiplinger 100 all 11 times the magazine has published the list. Other universities in the top 10 are the University of Florida (2nd), the University of Virginia (3rd), College of William and Mary (4th), New College of Florida (5th), University of California, Berkeley (7th), University of Maryland (8th), University of California, Los Angeles (9th) and University of California, San Diego (10th).