Website says GHC students get ‘best bang’ for their tuition bucks

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Georgia Highlands College continues to be recognized nationally as an excellent educational value for post-secondary students.

This time, the five-campus college was named one of the Top 2 institutions in Georgia with the “best bang for your tuition,” according to The Penny Hoarder, one of the largest personal-finance websites and the No. 1-ranked fastest-growing private media company in the country for the second consecutive year.

Currently, a GHC student can earn a two-year degree for less than $8,000 and a four-year degree for less than $16,000, according to the college.

More than ever, students evaluate college based on return on investment, and GHC remains a unique opportunity in northwest Georgia to graduate with a college degree with little to no debt upon completion,” Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Jones said. “Having a national source point out that a student at GHC can earn a two-year degree for less than $8,000 and a four-year degree for less than $16,000 right here at home is fantastic.”

In the article “We Crunched the Numbers and Found the Best College Bargains in Each State,” The Penny Hoarder analyzed annual tuition cost, net cost, enrollment, acceptance rates and other factors for every college in the country that had data available to produce a “bang-for-your-buck ratio.” The higher the ratio, the further a student’s tuition dollars will go.

The website said it “dug into hundreds of megabytes of data and used a statistical technique to weight the following factors: enrollment, acceptance rate, average net cost (the total cost of attending college, including tuition, books and housing, minus scholarships and other financial aid), in-state tuition cost, median earnings 10 years after graduation and student loan default rate.”

The Georgia Institute of Technology and GHC were listed as the state’s two colleges with the best bang-for-your-buck ratio.

Jones said the college strives to be the University System of Georgia’s primary access institution for northwest Georgia “and remains one of the most affordable, accessible and valuable options for students.”

“GHC continues to research and implement new ways to make the college experience at GHC financially stress-free, including efforts to eliminate textbook costs and providing free digital options,” he said. “GHC’s faculty have been working since fall 2015 to expand open education resources courses each semester. Through spring 2018, GHC’s faculty has helped students save roughly $6.48 million with offerings in 25 courses across 250 classes.”

OER course conversions are aided by the USG’s Affordable Learning Georgia initiative, “which promotes student success by providing cost-free alternatives to expensive textbooks,” Jones said.

“The new OERs don’t just provide free textbooks either,” he said. “Students also get video resources, software, labs and an enhanced textbook experience with hyperlinks to many other resources.”

While this is the first time Georgia Highlands has been listed by The Penny Hoarder, it’s not the first time the college has been recognized by other sources for its affordability and return on investment, Jones said.  

Georgia Highlands College was one of two colleges in Georgia listed on a federal report as the best value and best return on investment in the state,” he said. “GHC was highlighted in the two-year category and the Georgia Institute of Technology in the four-year category. The data was collected and published by the U.S. Department of Education on a website called the College Scorecard.”

Scholarship Owl named GHC the most affordable four-year college in Georgia, Jones said.

“The research compiled also shows GHC as the fourth most affordable in the country, just behind Palm Beach State College in Florida, Colorado Mountain College in Colorado and Brazosport College in Texas. Scholarship Owl notes that ‘getting a quality education doesn’t have to require a lot of spending.’”

The website Schools.com ranked GHC second in the Top 5 Best State Colleges in Georgia and touted the institution for its transfer rate to four-year schools and its affordable cost for tuition, fees and supplies, Jones said.

“Schools.com states, ‘…the college offers classes on weekends and evenings and expanded its geographical reach with additional instructional sites in Cartersville, Marietta, Dallas and Douglasville to accommodate those who live at a distance from the main campus,’” he said. State colleges within the USG were ranked by Schools.com on the percentage of students enrolled in distance education, cost of attendance, student-to-faculty ratio, graduation rate and transfers to USG institutions, Jones added.