Smart Money ranks Tech third best bang for buck

According to the December issue of Smart Money Magazine, Tech was rated as the third best value institution of higher education in the country, outpacing fourth-ranked University of Georgia as well as all of the schools of the Ivy League.

The objective of the ranking was to examine the relationship between tuition costs and the salaries of graduates.

The magazine looked at the salaries of graduates at different lengths of time since graduation. Both the median salary at three years after graduation and again at 15 years were examined.

Additionally, the tuition and fee costs from the Class of 2005 and the Class of 1993 were used to perform the calculations for ranking the schools.

Private universities, including the Ivy League schools, analyzed in this ranking deliver nowhere near the amount of return on investment compared to state colleges and universities.

For Tech, the median salary three years after graduation is $58,300, with a 2005 out-of-state total degree cost of $59,898. The median salary 15 years after receiving one’s diploma averaged $106,000.

The overall “average payback” for Tech’s return on educational investment was 236 percent. By comparison, the best Ivy League school, Princeton University, only had an average payback of 132 percent.

“To be in the top 5, clearly, is huge,” said Rick Clark, director of Undergraduate Admissions. “Even now, with our out-of-state tuition around $37,000, we are a lot cheaper than others with $50,000 [a year] for just tuition.”

When asked how the recent economic turmoil will come into play regarding Tech’s tuition and this recent ranking, Clark was cautious but still optimistic.

“This year, it’s definitely resonating with people, especially parents,” Clark said. “This is good publicity, but we need to be aware of it, and be conscious of raising tuition.”

“Looking back so far, Tech has jacked up the tuition,” Clark said. “Fifteen years ago, Tech’s tuition was much lower, around $24,600 in total cost. Now at $37,000, that’s pretty dramatic.”

Despite the rising cost of tuition and fees, Tech successfully manages to remain a very good bargain compared to other colleges and universities.

According to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Tech is still seeing increases in the number of applications for incoming freshmen.

“We’ve already seen an increase in freshman applications; up around 5% this year,” Clark said.

Tech’s higher value and return on investment, combined with its highly regarded academic reputation and smaller overall size in terms of student population has some see Tech as a popular choice.

“For international students, such as myself, tuition is five or six times more than in-state tuition and the return on investment changes dramatically,” said Devesh Jain, MGT ‘08. “I am now paying off college loans, but I knew of this before I came to Tech so I am not complaining.”

“I came to Tech because I liked the management program, it was close to family and ultimately for the brand name,” Jain said. “You’d be surprised how many people in India have heard of Tech.”

“The people I’ve met at Georgia Tech have truly shaped what I’ve done and what I will end up doing,” said Paul Stamatiou, CM ‘08, blogger and Skribit co-founder.

“If I had gone to an in-state school in Texas with 60,000 other students, I wouldn’t be nearly as motivated or accomplished as I am now,” Stamatiou said.