August 10, 2022 | News

5 things to know about a new website that compares Georgia's colleges

Writer: Vanessa McCray

Published August 10, 2022
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Students trying to decide where to go to college in Georgia and what to study now have one more place to look for guidance.

The University System of Georgia on Tuesday launched a website that allows college-bound students to compare the cost to attend its 26 colleges and universities. The site also provides salary data for graduates by school and by major, plus graduation and loan default rates and the percent of students who keep their HOPE Scholarship after the first year.

Here are five things to know about the website:

  1. It’s called Georgia Degrees Pay, and the University System developed the site (usg.edu/georgia-degrees-pay) with help from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia.

  2. Students can use the site to make a lot of cost comparisons. Start with a straightforward query: How much does a school cost each year? Users can find the estimated net price for in-state residents to attend UGA — $16,902 — and see how it matches up to the $17,360 estimate for Georgia Tech. The net price reflects the cost of tuition, fees, room, board and other expenses minus the average amount of scholarships and grants. (Out-of-state students also can compare costs.)

    Or, dig into loan data. The site reports the average amount borrowed by in-state UGA graduates with a bachelor’s degree is $20,939. At Georgia Tech, it’s $25,207.

  1. Curious about how a field of study impacts future earnings? Users can look up salaries by school and by major. For example: The median salary for Georgia State University accounting majors one year after graduation? Just over $44,000.

  2. Compare with caution. Yes, there are many ways to slice and dice the data. But officials warn it’s best to compare universities that are like each other. For example: Georgia’s four research universities — Augusta University, Georgia State, Georgia Tech and UGA — can be compared with one another. But don’t match them up against smaller schools, such as Atlanta Metropolitan State College or Dalton State College.

    “USG institutions differ in important ways that shape graduate earnings,” said Angela Bell, the system’s vice chancellor of research and policy analysis, at Tuesday’s meeting.

  1. Members of the Georgia Board of Regents are enthusiastic.

    “This is the most impressive presentation that I have seen since I’ve been on the board,” said Dr. C. Thomas Hopkins Jr. “We’ve needed this for a long time. Our students are going to really benefit from this.”

    Said Chair Harold Reynolds: “We strongly believe in transparency so parents and students know what they are getting into and know what their options are.”