Trustees | Costs

Georgia’s best colleges carry less of a cost burden than neighbor

THE CENTER SQUARE   |  July 30, 2019 by Nyamekye Daniel

The debt burden for attending the top public colleges in Georgia is lower than its neighboring states.

Annual in-state tuition fees for Georgia’s three best-ranked universities are lower than in Alabama but steeper than Florida. Despite the annual differences, Georgia’s college graduates have a bigger incentive for turning the tassel in the Peach State.

Earlier this month, the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association recognized Georgia’s University System for its higher education policy and administration. Georgia received the 2019-2020 Exceptional Agency of Excellence in part for its affordability.

“USG is a national leader in delivering on the dream of an affordable college education,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson in a statement on July 19. “I’m so proud of the work our university system has done on behalf of our students and congratulate USG on this distinction.”

It costs about an average of $9,000 to attend undergraduate school at the University of Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia Southern University, the state’s top-ranked public schools according to In-state students at Alabama’s top three colleges pay about $700 more for their tuition, while Floridians spend $3,000 less for the best public post-secondary education in the state, according to

The average total undergraduate loans for the three Georgia universities is about $27,000. Graduates from Florida State University, the University of South Florida and the University of Florida, it’s about $29,000. 

Undergraduates at the University of Alabama, Auburn University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham have more of a financial burden with loans averaging at $33,000.

Georgia officials said that they have been working to bring down costs over the past five years.

“Undergraduate in-state tuition increases are at an average of 1.7 percent with two years of no increase at all,” according to a statement from the governor’s office. 

GSU saw a 1.5 percent increase in its inflated-adjusted tuition between its 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school year, according to The number then decreased by 1.2 in the following school year. GSU tuition ranks low when compared to the total average cost of all the schools in its peer group, such as Boise State University and Louisiana Tech University.

University of Alabama’s inflated-adjusted tuition jumped by 7.1 percent between 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. It decreased by 1.1 percent in 2016-2017. It also ranked higher in cost over other comparable schools in the nation.

Georgia Tech also had a higher increase in inflated-adjusted tuition between 2014 and the beginning of 2016 with a 7 percent spike. 


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