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What Does it Cost to Attend the University of Georgia?

Located in historic Athens, Georgia, the University of Georgia combines a tradition of academic excellence and Southern charm. According to Kiplinger, the University of Georgia ranks 12th in the nation for a best-value public college, which means that there is a good chance that you’ll find this school to be affordable for your own family.


Even though it’s a great value, how much does it cost to send your student to the University of Georgia? It’s not free, after all, so let’s break down everything you need to know to make an informed decision about financing your student’s education.


Why College Costs are Highly Variable


It would be nice if we could simply say “It costs this much to attend the University of Georgia.” However, this blanket cost for an education wouldn’t give you the full picture of what it costs to attend any school. Very few students actually pay the full amount that schools give, so you need to do a little digging.


While we’ll get to what this blanket cost is in a moment, you need to start thinking about what the net cost is going to be for your family. The net cost is impacted by different types of financial aid and what your student qualifies for based on need and merit. Although you can’t perfectly predict what your net cost will be, you can get a good idea of what it will be based on the information we give below.


To help you better understand how this works, we look at need-based aid together (both from the government and from the institution) and then look at merit aid from the institution to give you a quick idea of how they work together. Luckily, the net cost to most families ends up being less than the full cost thanks to financial aid!


The University of Georgia’s List Price


You won’t see the word “list price” on any school’s website, but you will see the phrase “cost of attendance.” This is the average of what students at that school pay each year for their entire education, including tuition and fees, room, board, and miscellaneous expenses like laundry and transportation. As you can see, there is some variability to what the cost of attendance will be for each individual student, but it’s still a good place to start.


The numbers in this post is based on data we collected for the 2016-2017 school year, so while some of these numbers have changed, they are roughly still the same and give you an accurate idea of what students pay. In the 2016-2017 school year, the total cost for in-state students was $26,208, while the total cost for out-of-state students was $44,418.


Although most families aren’t going to be paying the total cost of attendance, there are some families who can expect to pay the total cost or close to it. In general, families with a household income close to or exceeding the $175,000 mark are going to pay the list price. The exception to this is when a student receives merit aid from that university, usually by being in the top 30% of applicants.


What is the Price with Financial Aid?


If most families aren’t paying the full cost of attendance, then what do families pay on average? While these numbers may seem high, they include families at higher income levels (as we’ll see below). In 2016-2017, the average net cost for in-state students was $23,898, and the average net cost was $42,108.


Cost Based on Household Income


In order to make college more accessible for all students, need-based aid greatly reduces the cost of a college education for the families who need it most. As a result, the average net cost varies based on your household income, which you can see in the table below:


Family Income Average Net Price
$0-$30,000 $9,168
$30,001-$48,000 $11,562
$48,001-$75,000 $14,556
$75,001-$110,000 $14,736
Over $110,000 $16,319

What is the Merit Aid Net Price? What is the Average Net Price for Students Without Need?


Merit aid is a form of financial aid that is based on the student’s achievements, usually academic ones that were recognized at the time of application. Merit aid is often awarded to both students with and without need, but for students without need, this is the primary way to reduce your net cost.


At the University of Georgia, only 5% of students without need receive merit aid, and the average award size was $175. This brings down the net cost for in-state students to $26,033 and $44,243.


It isn’t much, but every bit of financial aid means less that your student has to take out in loans. 

Student Loans and Debt


Even with merit and need-based aid, most students still have some college costs they need to cover, and loans are a common way to do that. About 54% of UGA students take out a loan each year, and the average size of the federal student loan is $3,762.


Student Outcomes


A college education is a significant financial investment for any family, and while your student’s success depends on their own effort and dedication, you can get an idea of how supportive a school environment is based on their outcomes. At UGA, a healthy 81% of students graduate within 6 years, and the average salary after ten years was $50,500.


Local Cost of Living Considerations


Athens offers plenty of exciting things for college students to do along with the sunny, warm weather of the South and its beautiful historic architecture. The cost of living in a place will determine parts of the cost of attendance, so it’s important to take this into consideration. The cost of living index for Athens, Georgia is 93, which means it’s about 7% cheaper to live there than the national average.


UGA requires that all students live on-campus during their freshman year, but they may choose to move off-campus afterwards. Students often reduce the net cost to their families significantly by living in an apartment and sharing rent with friends.


To give you an idea of how you might be able to save, the “monthly” cost of the average dorm at UGA is $523.17. Here are the average apartment rents in Athens:


  • 1 bedroom: $685
  • 2 bedrooms: $806
  • 3 bedrooms: $1,094


If students split the cost of 2 or 3 bedroom apartments, they could end up saving nearly two thousand dollars a year!


Many students also choose to work a part-time job to help cover some of their remaining expenses. It’s unlikely that your student will be able to completely cover the net cost to your family with a part-time job, but it certainly helps reduce what you’ll pay out of pocket.


According to Economic Policy Institute, the minimum wage in Georgia is set at $5.15, but employees eligible for the Fair Labor Standards Act receive the federal minimum wage of $7.25. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical pay for retail jobs is $11.77 and for food service jobs is $9.12.


Other Ways to Save on College Costs


Although UGA automatically considers students for need-based and merit-based awards when students apply, they also have a variety of scholarships and opportunities that require a separate application to receive them. We encourage you to check out their list of scholarships to see if there are any that your student might be eligible for.


Aside from institution-hosted scholarships, there are also private scholarships hosted by nonprofit organizations and corporations. These scholarships range in requirements, but they are often merit-based and need-blind, which can help students of any income level reduce their net cost.


One example of a private scholarship is the prestigious National Merit Scholarship. If your student is currently a sophomore, then you want to do what you can to help your student prepare for the PSAT during their junior year, which is just one (but very important!) step to qualify for this national award. You can find out more about this award in our post How to Qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program.


For other private scholarships, consider working with your student’s guidance counselor. They often have access to scholarship databases or know of local opportunities available for your student. Some companies even have scholarships specifically reserved for students of employees, so you may want to ask your employer if there are any scholarships for your student.


Wrapping It Up


The University of Georgia is a fantastic choice for students looking for a great public education. We hope that you’ve found that your student’s dream school is more financially feasible than you might have first imagined.


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For more information about financial aid and the University of Georgia, check out these posts:


What Does it Take to Get Into the University of Georgia?

How to Maximize Your Child’s Merit Aid Eligibility

Parents: 12 Must-Know College Financial Aid Terms

FAFSA, CSS Profile, IDOC, Oh My: A Guide to Financial Aid

Short Bio
Gianna Cifredo is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she majored in Philosophy. She has six years of higher education and test prep experience, and now works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida and is a proud cat mom.