Money magazine has ranked the University of North Georgia as one of the top five public universities in Georgia on its inaugural "Best Colleges" list, which measures educational quality, affordability and career outcomes. Only 14 of Georgia's public and private institutions of higher education were included on the list, which was released on July 28.
"This ranking further validates our on-going commitment to providing students with access to a high-quality, affordable education," said UNG President Bonita C. Jacobs. "We are very proud to be included on this list, as it is a testament to the university's commitment to providing consistent value within the state."
In addition to UNG, the top 10 Georgia schools on Money's "Best Colleges" list include public universities like Georgia Tech, University of Georgia and Georgia State University and private colleges like Emory University, Agnes Scott College and Mercer University.
Money's "Best Colleges" examined more than 1,500 four-year colleges and universities nationwide, eliminating schools with a below-average graduation rate, and comprehensively ranked the remaining 665 on 17 measures, based on data from the 2012-13 academic year, to determine the best values for the money. According to Money, the ranking "is a list of colleges - some famous, some surprising - that, according to the best data available, provide real value. College is expensive, but the highly rated colleges on our list are the most likely to do a great job of educating your student and helping to launch him or her into a well-paying job."
To develop the new rankings, Money partnered with Mark Schneider, former commissioner of the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and his company College Measures, which collects and analyzes data to drive improvements in higher education. One of the most important findings to come out of the rankings, Schneider noted, is that students don't have to pay a lot to get a high quality education that really helps in the job market.
"The published price of a college doesn't tell you very much about what you'll actually pay or of students' later life success," he said. "There is zero correlation with most of our measures."
UNG has been recognized consistently by Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine as one of the nation's "100 Best Values in Public Colleges" and a top 25 public university in the South in U.S. News & World Report's annual "Best Colleges" rankings. UNG also was at the top of the Kiplinger list for lowest debt at graduation, with students' average debt at graduation from UNG only $12,166.
UNG was formed in January 2013 from the consolidation of Gainesville State College and North Georgia College & State University. The university offers more than 100 programs of study and, with about 16,000 students, is the sixth-largest public university in Georgia. As one of only six federally-designated senior military colleges in the United States, the university is The Military College of Georgia and its leadership development experiences have earned it designation as a state leadership institution by the USG Board of Regents.