Paying for my Georgia Tech degree

In my last post I gave some figures on how much my degree cost. One thing in those that I did not take into account was inflation. If you remember the last graph from the previous post, you can pretty clearly see tuition rising, but was it really rising that quickly? I looked up historical inflation figures (from this website) for the start of each semester, even though that may not have been exactly when each was paid for, it’s close enough for our purposes. I’m also planning on digging into how much I paid from each source. Again, charts are made with the Google Chart API.

Tuition and fees, uninflated

If you’ll notice, compensating for inflation smooths out the graph a bit. Instead of a 28 percent difference ((new-old)/new) between the start and end of my degree, it’s only a 17 percent difference in price, most of which was in the last two semesters as the State of Georgia continued to reduce education budgets across the board. The end result being that my education costs around $8k less now (as I am beginning to repay my loans) than it did when I took those classes!

Loans and Scholarships as a percentage of cost

Now, overall price doesn’t matter to me as much as how much I have to pay for the degree.Note that these figures don’t count inflation. Counting all of the categories (including housing and cost of living refunds) my degree is 45% loans; that breaks down to 18.3% parent loans and 26.5% loans that I am responsible for. Not too bad.

Loans and Scholarships over time

Now let’s break it down per semester! Remember this graph from the last post? I’m reposting it here for comparison, and because it took me forever to build.

Now you can see how I paid for each of those semesters:

This is actually a rather depressing graph. The takeaway here is that as I made more money from my co-op, the amount of aid that Georgia Tech gave me decreased correspondingly. Once I’d finished my co-op, I didn’t have the money that the FAFSA magically expected me to and had nobody to co-sign for an additional student loan, so I had to beg and plead my parents to take on a significant amount of loan debt.

In summary

In comparison to my first semester at Tech, this is what the tuition and scholarships did, percentage-wise. This graph accounts for inflation.

The lesson being that if you get a good financial aid package for your first year at a university (most likely not just Tech), it’s not a guarantee of future aid. In addition, if you co-op, you will be able to pay a significant portion of your education out-of-pocket but that will also decrease the amount of aid you receive.

The last word

Finally, if you tilt your head, that last graph looks like a shaft! It certainly feels like one. I don’t regret going to Georgia Tech, and I understand the reasons that caused these particular numbers. I think I have one last graph for you. You’ll like this one.

Go Jackets!

Andrew Guyton

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