AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- Augusta University’s affordability is a BIG draw for many students. The school is being recognized as a top 10 university for best return on student investment.

BestColleges website ranked AU at number 5, along with Georgia Tech and Stanford University- meaning students get a good education at an affordable price.

“If you’re spending years of your life trying to get a degree, whether it’s an undergraduate, a graduate or a professional degree, at the end of the day, it’s about what was that investment worth?” said Dr. Neil MacKinnon, Provost at AU.

This is the third time in recent years that Augusta University has been recognized for its affordability on the national level.

In 2019, it made “Washington Monthly’s” top 50 schools for being a “Best Bang for your Buck” college.

And last year, the “Third Way Think Tank” ranked AU in the top 5% of colleges that improve economic outcomes for students.

Dr. MacKinnon said BestColleges looked at several factors when putting together its list.

“It looks at essentially net cost, how much did it cost the student during their time at the university,” he explained. “It also looks at expected earnings, so with that certain degree, what can you expect to earn? It also looks at the amount of time it takes you to repay any student loans and other things.”

Chandler Barnwell is a senior graphic design major at AU. She told NewsChannel 6 there are several reasons she enrolled there.

“So I definitely took into consideration the institutional affordability of this school. That really played a part in why I decided to come here. But also to be close to my family and to have that support during my undergraduate year, in my undergraduate studies.”

Barnwell explained she also considered the fact that she would have lower student loan debt and still receive a quality education.

“I feel like I’ve been well prepared to go into my field if I decide to go into any graphic design firm. I feel like I am confident enough to tackle anything that they throw at me,” she said.

With a record high in student enrollment going into the fall semester, Dr. MacKinnon believes that AU being a part of this list means they are doing something right.

“For us to be on this list, I think it just reassures that we are on the right path. At the end of the day, you want to feel that you offer value.”

Dr. Mackinnon said AU’s affordability is partly responsible for the school’s growth over the last 20 years.

The university will set a new enrollment record this fall, seeing a 6 to 7 percent increase.