The Value of a Degree: Part One

At MGA our vision statement describes ours as an "extraordinary higher education" without cost being a prohibitive factor for our students. We have much evidence to support that. As we build a new economic model for the University, based on a tuition level that reflects our State University sector, we also continue to break down financial barriers to learning for our students, by increased scholarships - nearly $500,000 last year - and robust financial aid packages.

Just as importantly, we are working through stronger retention efforts to ensure our students graduate, so that the burden of expense does indeed result in a life-enhancing degree. This is evident when we look at MGA's national data in IPEDS. The national picture shows that the average public university cost of tuition and fees is $8,300 per year (2021). At MGA, even after a three-year adjustment to a State University tuition level, our pre-financial aid "sticker" price will be estimated currently to be no more than $6,600 per year. Those who qualify for the Pell grant - our students with the least resources - graduate/transfer in eight years at a rate of 75% of the Pell population, illustrating well the desirability of MGA's value proposition and commitment to an accessible and attainable degree.

This strength of value also accounts for another national metric of significance. In the most recent US News & World Report rankings, compared to 600 institutions in the Regional Universities South category, we were ranked 11th in Campus Ethnic Diversity and 14th in Least Debt for graduates.

So, when the question is asked “Is higher education worth it?,” the answer to that question is a resounding "Yes" when it comes to Middle Georgia State University. In this respect I am also encouraged by a recent initiative from the University System of Georgia. Earlier this month the USG released its new "Georgia Degrees Pay" website, which presents a wealth of compelling data on the income potential from a degree within the USG. That data is disaggregated for individual institutions. I encourage you to review that data at: In general terms, it is estimated that a bachelor's degree produces $1M in extra income over a lifetime – double that of a high school graduate. That dollar return on investment can make a remarkable difference in a life.

I hope you shall join me at one of our Town Halls in Macon and Cochran next Monday, 10/3, to discuss the future strength of MGA and where we should set our sights. I have no doubt that our track record of support for access, affordability, and the value of an MGA degree will be at the core of our future commitment.

I look forward to seeing you soon!