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Planning & Economy

College Tuition Expenses – What would you do?

March 19th, 2018

I have been asked by several people to reissue an updated college tuition expense newsletter. This year I’ve added some new schools and added a couple of technical schools as well.

The original reason I wanted to do the newsletter last year was to prove or disprove my belief that I should only pay for my daughter to go to an in-state school for college. If she wants to go out-of-state or private she can get a scholarship or work for the difference.

Thanks to Lilly’s mom keeping all of his sports memorabilia from high school and college I actually found a good use for his memorabilia other than Lilly bragging about himself 😊. There is some old college tuition information from his old high school paper from 30 years ago! So, this is going to be fun!

To get started let’s do a check and see how many colleges/technical schools are in the state of Georgia. Then we’ll see what schools are the hardest to get into.

There are 26 public colleges in the state of Georgia, 22 technical schools in the state of Georgia, and 49 small non-profit private colleges and universities. So, that’s a total of 97 schools in the state of Georgia.

According to Niche.com the following are the hardest colleges to get into in 2018 either by academics or low acceptance rates:

  1. Emory University
  2. Georgia Tech
  3. University of Georgia
  4. Fort Valley State
  5. Emmanuel College
  6. Berry College
  7. Toccoa Falls
  8. Wesleyan College
  9. Clayton State University
  10. Spelman College

This website shows that the top three on this list are the hardest academically to get into in the state of Georgia and a close 4th is Berry College.

So, how much does all of this cost and what can I expect?

Before I dive into the individual school comparisons; I want to show you the numbers from the Jonesboro High School newspaper – The Cardinal, from February 1988:

Public Vocational Tech School:    $2,500 to $3,500 a year

Public Jr. College:                            $3,700 to 4,100 a year

Public 4-Year College:                   $4,900 to $5,500 a year

Private Jr. College:                         $5,100 to $6,200 a year

Private 4-Year College:                 $9,000 to $10,000 a year

Let’s look at today’s prices:

Public Colleges: Annual Tuition* Housing/Food Total
Georgia State University $10,858 $10,708** $21,566
Georgia Tech $12,418 $11,492 $23,910
University of Georgia $11,818 $10,060 $21,878
University of North Georgia $5,460 $10,440 $15,900
Average cost of above listed in-state public: $20,813.50
Private Colleges:
Brenau $28,510 $15,068 $43,578
Berry College $35,176 $12,290 $47,466
Emory University $58,238 $13,894 $72,132
Mercer University $35,700 $11,459 $47,159
Average cost of above listed private: $52,583.75
Technical Schools:
Lanier Technical Institute*** $3,308 N/A $3,308
Gwinnett Technical Institute $3,402 N/A $3,402
Average cost of above listed technical schools: $3,355
Popular Out-of-State Schools:
Clemson University $34,590 $9,144 $43,734
Auburn University $29,640 $8,656 $38,296
Average cost of above listed out-of-state: $41,015


Based on today’s prices and the prices from 30 years ago this what we have learned:

Public Vocational Tech School:    This cost is almost the same from 30 years ago

Public 4-Year College:                   This tuition has increased by approximately 278%

Private 4-Year College:                 And this cost has increased by about 429%

So, what should I do?

Not sure what happened, since last year, but I may have changed my mind about sending my daughter to go to an out-of-state school. She’s in the first grade and in the next 11 years so much can change; will the school inflation rate go lower? Most likely not. So, if I’m willing to send her to either a private school and as an option an out-of-state school my college planning goals are significantly different.

As the saying goes: “hope for the best (scholarship), plan for the worst (save mo-money)”. If this is an issue for your family we’ll help you calculate your worst and best case.

Thank you for reading!

Christina Jones


Financial Planner

Partner, Windsor Wealth



*Based on full-time, some of the colleges charge by the hour so I calculated 30 hours a year which is considered full-time to move onto the next year.

Some colleges did not have their 2018-2019 tuition schedules released yet, so this is the current 2017-2018 schedule.

Tuition is based on in-state residence for Georgia Schools and for out-of-state schools I have listed the nonresident costs.

Tuition is based on main campus costs if there are multiple campuses.

**This is based on one bedroom, one bath shares with 2 other college students

***If you over the age of 62 you can take any courses for free. You must pay the $306 of mandatory fees, but no tuition costs.

















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