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Colleges in Georgia

Why Go to College in Georgia?

Georgia offers safe neighborhoods, cultural and historical attractions, and affordable housing, which is why 100,000 people each year make the Peach State their home. Georgia boasts sunny weather, beautiful scenery, and delicious regional cuisine, ranging from James Beard-awarded restaurants to colorful food trucks, and there’s no shortage of outdoor recreation, from festivals to sporting events.

Georgia is home to more than 120 colleges and universities, making this coastal state an appealing place to earn a degree at campus or at online colleges in Georgia.


According to 2016 estimates, Georgia is the eighth most populous state in the country. Attending college in a large metropolis, such as Atlanta, affords students opportunities to engage with a diverse community.


Georgia has a gentle climate, with average summer temperatures of 80 degrees and winters in the upper 40s. Fall weather is crisp, with beautiful autumn foliage. Annual precipitation ranges from 50 to 60 inches.

Number of Higher Learning Institutions

Georgia has 52 four-year universities and colleges and 23 technical colleges. It is one of only five states with two or more universities ranked in the top 25 in the 2014 U.S. News and World Report — Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia.

Sporting Events

Georgia has local teams for nearly every major professional sport. In addition, the Masters Tournament, a golf competition, is held each year in Augusta. College students in Georgia take advantage of recreational sports leagues, public golf and tennis clubs, and parks.


Georgia offers bars, dance clubs, and concert venues. Atlanta, which is home to Georgia Tech, Emory University, and Georgia State University, is a metropolitan hub with all types of nightlife.

What Options are Available for Colleges in Georgia?


Attending a traditional, on-campus college gives students experiences often unavailable through online colleges in GA. Students are exposed to a social atmosphere through their living arrangements or participation in on-campus activities. On-campus students engage with students of differing backgrounds, cultures, and ideas.

The ideal student for an on-campus learning experience is not employed full time, is eager to form new friendships, and is a hands-on learner. A student who prefers to interact with classmates and professors face-to-face will benefit from an on-campus learning environment.

Online Programs

Online learning is ideal for working students, as online schools in Georgia allow students to access course materials according to their own schedules. An online education eliminates any commute to campus, as well as driving and parking expenses. Many online schools in Georgia allow students to schedule courses at their own pace or take one course at a time.

An online student should be able to incorporate classwork into daily life with minimal disruption. With few exceptions, online learners don’t have to live near campus or attend classes in person. A student at an online college in GA can even complete coursework while they travel for work or vacation.

Hybrid Programs

Some students choose hybrid degree programs, which involve taking some courses online and some on campus. A hybrid program offers the socialization of a campus experience with the convenience and freedom of online classes. This option appeals to students with a variety of learning styles; students can interact with peers and instructors in person, while also completing online coursework online at their convenience.

Popular Degree Programs in Georgia

The two industries that employ the largest number of workers in Georgia are professional and business services and government. As a result, many Georgia students pursue degrees that prepare them for employment in these industries. Two popular degrees for students at online colleges in Georgia are business management and administration and early childhood education.

  • Business management and administration

    This degree prepares students to conduct the planning, organizing, and management functions for a company or organization. This major is popular among Georgia students because the professional and business services industry employs the most workers in the state. Graduates also pursue careers outside professional and business services, such as positions in finance and human resources.

  • Early childhood education

    Early childhood education prepares graduates to become teachers of young children, school principals, and childcare directors. Coursework covers the fundamentals of educating young children and administration of academic and childcare facilities. With ample employment opportunities in public schools, this is a popular degree in Georgia.

What Are the Best Online Colleges in Georgia?

The following section ranks the best online colleges in Georgia. Different students will be attracted to certain features when choosing the best school for their goals. Consider which degrees a school offers, as well as available courses and concentrations. Additionally, online colleges in GA vary with regard to resources for distance learners and policies regarding out-of-state tuition for online students. This ranking will help students determine the best fit for their educational needs and goals.


University of GeorgiaAthens, GA

Admissions Rate 53%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 95%
Graduation Rate 85%
Online Enrollment 1%

University of Georgia comprises 17 different colleges and schools on five separate campuses in Athens, Atlanta/Buckhead, Griffin, Gwinnett, and Tifton. Known as the birthplace of public higher education in America, this top institution is among online schools in Georgia that provide 25 bachelor programs in more than 143 fields. UGA is a national leader among public universities for the number of major scholarships earned by degree candidates. The school offers two online undergraduate degrees in either business administration or special education. The university also features 16 online graduate programs and several online certificate programs. Distance learners complete coursework asynchronously, providing learners with a flexible schedule. Online students pay an in-state tuition rate.


Toccoa Falls CollegeToccoa Falls, GA

Admissions Rate 45%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 66%
Graduation Rate 47%
Online Enrollment 31%

Toccoa Falls College, a private, nonprofit religious institution, provides a liberal arts education in Toccoa Falls beneath the Blue Ridge Mountains in northeast Georgia. Distance learners receive the same education as on-campus students and may visit campus for special events or serve remotely on student government. Distance learners living within 40 miles of campus may even try out for a sport, a rare benefit among online colleges in Georgia. TFC offers discounts for distance learners employed full-time in the Habersham and Stephens counties, and a 50% tuition discount for full-time emergency responders. High school students in the dual enrollment program may take college classes online or in person. Unless a student applies for dual enrollment, learners must complete more than 12 college credit hours before applying to one of the school’s 12 online degree programs.


Mercer UniversityMacon, GA

Admissions Rate 67%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 87%
Graduation Rate 61%
Online Enrollment 6%

While the city of Macon houses Mercer University’s main campus, learners may also attend classes at two additional main campuses in Atlanta and Savannah, and three regional centers in suburban Atlanta. Mercer, one of the nation’s oldest higher education institutions, comprises 12 schools and colleges and provides career-focused online programs for distance learners. Like other online colleges in Georgia, Mercer uses various course management software and online tools, including Canvas, Moodle, WebEx, blogs, and Wikis. Some classes require synchronous meetings or proctored exams. The school also offers hybrid programs for distance learners interested in taking some classes on campus. Degree candidates may apply to Mercer University’s programs online or schedule an in-person visit with an admissions representative. Distance learners pay the same in-state tuition as resident students.


Georgia Southern UniversityStatesboro, GA

Admissions Rate 60%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 50%
Online Enrollment 9%

Georgia State University, the state’s largest higher education institution, offers 119 different undergraduate and graduate programs. U.S. News & World Report ranks GSU at 21 for best online graduate programs in computer information technology in the nation. Situated south of Atlanta in Statesboro, about an hour northwest of Savannah, the university houses the only school of economic development in the southeastern United States. Similar to other online schools in Georgia, GSU offers hybrid and entirely online programs. Distance learners complete asynchronous courses. Degree candidates must complete an online education readiness assessment and check with their state to verify online learning eligibility. Distance learners receive discounts on technology and university fees.


Brenau UniversityGainesville, GA

Admissions Rate 66%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 59%
Graduation Rate 48%
Online Enrollment 33%

Brenau, a liberal arts institution, offers programs in more than 50 fields. The university has a residential women’s and coeducational college in Gainesville. Other coeducational campuses include Augusta, Norcross, and Fairburn. The university has an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio. As one of the top online schools in Georgia, Brenau offers 16 distance learning programs. Certified faculty teach synchronous and asynchronous courses over a seven-week schedule using the Canvas platform. Similar to other online colleges in Georgia, distance learners receive discounts on student fees. Online and on-campus classes (calculated per credit hour) cost the same. Online offerings include multiple MBAs, psychology, and marketing.


University of West GeorgiaCarrollton, GA

Admissions Rate 57%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 39%
Online Enrollment 16%

University of West Georgia, the sixth largest public university in the state, offers programs at two separate campuses in the cities of Carrollton and Newnan, both located less than an hour from Atlanta. Regardless of residency, online learners pay a general tuition rate (the same as in-state residents), plus eTuition and additional fees. Distance learners complete asynchronous classes online or partially online courses. Students enrolled in other online colleges in Georgia may complete distance learning courses for one semester as a transient student. Application requirements vary; they are based on program and student type (e.g., undergraduate, graduate, transient, or transfer student). UWG accepts credits from accredited institutions as long as the credits apply to a specific program.


Valdosta State UniversityValdosta, GA

Admissions Rate 50%
Default Rate 10%
Retention Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 36%
Online Enrollment 17%

Valdosta State University offers undergraduate and graduate programs on campus and online. VSU features unique research opportunities in the Florida Keys and an online science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program. Online classes with more than 95% of instruction time through the Internet cost the same for in-state and out-of-state students. Residents of Florida, South Carolina, and Alabama receive in-state tuition. Distance learners paying online tuition, known as eTuition, may be eligible for the Hope scholarship and other financial aid. Online learners also receive discounts on student fees and may enroll in a hybrid program, which combines online and on-campus courses.


Kennesaw State UniversityKennesaw, GA

Admissions Rate 59%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 42%
Online Enrollment 7%

Kennesaw State University, the third-largest university in the state, offers more than 150 programs from two campuses, Kennesaw and Marietta, both found in the metro Atlanta area. Considered one of the top online schools in Georgia, the university provides different types of online and hybrid programs. KSU faculty design and teach online classes for 16 weeks each semester during the fall and spring, and for eight weeks during the summer. Some courses provide synchronous online sessions, where distance learners interact with peers during a set time. While not required, the university strongly encourages students to participate in these synchronous sessions, which are held during evening hours. Distance learners receive discounts on some fees, including student services and the parking permit fee. Regardless of residency, all online learners pay the same tuition.


Thomas UniversityThomasville, GA

Admissions Rate 43%
Default Rate 11%
Retention Rate 60%
Graduation Rate 34%
Online Enrollment 31%

Thomas University offers programs online and at various locations, including the main campus in Thomasville, a satellite office in Tallahassee, and at partner universities in China. TU provides a unique dual-degree option at partner universities throughout the world. Regardless of state residency, all degree candidates pay the same tuition. Transfer students must complete an application and submit all prior transcripts, including high school transcripts for students with less than 14 credit hours. Distance learners must verify their state’s authorization with TU. As one of the top online colleges in Georgia, Thomas offers five online undergraduate programs and three online graduate programs. Requirements, including credit hours for completion, vary by program.


Columbus State UniversityColumbus, GA

Admissions Rate 56%
Default Rate 11%
Retention Rate 71%
Graduation Rate 30%
Online Enrollment 18%

Columbus State University offers 46 undergraduate and 42 graduate programs. Distance learners can apply financial aid towards an online degree. Unlike programs at other online schools in Georgia, CSU requires distance learners to attend a meeting or orientation on campus before attending online programs. Most courses are taught asynchronously. CSU also offers hybrid programs, which combine online coursework with in-person classes. Out-of-state students must verify their state’s eligibility by emailing the State Authorization Office. Transfer students must submit an application, immunization records, and official transcripts from all previous colleges or universities attended. Transfer students without 20 transferable college credits must also send official high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores.


Shorter UniversityRome, GA

Admissions Rate 63%
Default Rate 12%
Retention Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 46%
Online Enrollment 30%

Originally an all female college, Shorter University now welcomes co-educational learning at its main campus in Rome and remote campuses throughout the Atlanta area. The university offers six online bachelor's programs. Shorter University, a religious institution, also provides six online graduate programs. Degree candidates complete asynchronous classes through Moodle, an online learning system, over an eight-week period. Distance learners can also chat with professors either online or by phone during set office hours each week. Two eight-week terms take place each semester in the fall, spring, and summer. Applicants must submit an online application and prior educational transcripts. Unlike other online schools in Georgia, Shorter University accepts degree candidates from all 50 U.S. states.


Clayton State UniversityMorrow, GA

Admissions Rate 39%
Default Rate 11%
Retention Rate 69%
Graduation Rate 32%
Online Enrollment 11%

Clayton State offers on campus and online programs from five schools and colleges in Morrow. Distance learners complete courses and communicate with professors and peers through an online learning platform known as BrightSpace. While most online courses last 16 weeks, students can complete some courses in just eight weeks. Some online classes require scheduled online meetings and on campus proctored exams. Most classes are taught asynchronously. Distance learners with a high school diploma, at least 30 transferable college credits from an accredited institution, and a minimum 2.0 GPA may transfer into a Clayton State University online program. Like other online schools in Georgia, Clayton State waives certain fees for online learners, including parking fees.


Albany State UniversityAlbany, GA

Admissions Rate 64%
Default Rate 16%
Retention Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 31%
Online Enrollment 10%

Albany State, a historically black institution, offers 14 associate, 29 bachelor's, and 12 graduate programs. The university offers workforce-related associate degrees through a partnership with Darton State College. The university has two campuses in Albany. Albany State also provides hybrid programs at centers in Cairo, Cordele, and Waycross. Each distance learning facility offers different programs. To apply for an online program, distance learners must fill out an online application, send official transcripts, submit ACT or SAT test scores, and complete the FAFSA. Like other online colleges in Georgia, this school requires out-of-state residents to verify state eligibility before enrolling in a program.


LaGrange CollegeLagrange, GA

Admissions Rate 57%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 46%
Online Enrollment 2%

LaGrange, the oldest private college in the state, provides a liberal arts education. The school is known for its drama, music, and art offerings. The college has more than 55 academic and professional programs. LaGrange provides distance learners with the same resources as residential students. Similar to other online colleges in Georgia, distance learners may take advantage of financial aid to reduce costs. Degree candidates complete asynchronous online classes through a learning management system called Moodle. The college waives the admission fee for freshmen and transfer students who complete the online application. Transfer students must complete an application and submit all transcripts from any colleges or universities previously attended.


Point UniversityWest Point, GA

Admissions Rate 49%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 55%
Graduation Rate 49%
Online Enrollment 3%

Point University is a private liberal arts and religious educational institution. The university’s main campus can be found in the city of West Point. Point also offers academic programs at several other locations, including Atlanta, Savannah, and Peachtree City. Considered one of the best online schools in Georgia, the university offers unique programs, including undergraduate degrees in social media marketing and information technology. Residents of some states are not eligible to apply for online learning; distance learners must verify their state’s eligibility. PU offers a special scholarship, valued up to $15,000, for new online students. Like some other online colleges in Georgia, the university waives student fees for online learners.


Truett-McConnell CollegeCleveland, GA

Admissions Rate 91%
Default Rate 16%
Retention Rate 62%
Graduation Rate 32%
Online Enrollment 34%

Truett McConnell University, a private liberal arts and science university located in Cleveland, offers more than 30 different programs. Distance learners complete asynchronous assignments through Brightspace, an online learning platform. Online courses last eight weeks. Most degree candidates complete two courses each semester in the spring and fall. The school offers online undergraduate courses in business administration, Christian studies, psychology, and criminal justice. Like other online schools in Georgia, Truett McConnell University waives the application and student fees for distance learners. Students must complete an online application. Transfer students must also submit prior transcripts and SAT, ACT, or Component-Level Testing (CLT) scores. Truett McConnell is a Christian university.


Armstrong State UniversitySavannah, GA

Admissions Rate 74%
Default Rate 10%
Retention Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 31%
Online Enrollment 6%

Armstrong offers online programs in unique fields, including respiratory technology and radiologic sciences. The university has a main campus in Savannah and additional locations, including Hinesville, which includes more than 100 different undergraduate and graduate programs. While online courses cost more per credit hour than on-campus classes, distance learners pay fewer student fees than residential students. Whether living in state or out of state, distance learners pay the same tuition. Transfer students must submit an application, immunization records, and any prior transcripts; In-state residents must show proof of residency. Armstrong State University also requires an English or math placement exam for transfer students, age 23 and older.


Reinhardt UniversityWaleska, GA

Admissions Rate 91%
Default Rate 11%
Retention Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 35%
Online Enrollment 12%

Reinhardt, the only higher education institution in Cherokee County, provides an individualized learning experience to all students. The university operates from several locations, including the 525-acre residential main campus in Waleska, which is just 45 minutes northwest of Atlanta. The Waleska campus also houses a police academy, which offers programs in basic peace officer certification and criminal justice. Online offerings include associate and bachelor's programs in business administration, criminal justice, and healthcare administration. Distance learners typically complete two eight-week courses every semester in the fall and spring. Unlike other online schools in Georgia, Reinhardt offers a free laptop to distance learners enrolled in the business administration and criminal justice program.


University of North GeorgiaDahlonega, GA

Admissions Rate 96%
Default Rate 14%
Retention Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 24%
Online Enrollment 4%

University of North Georgia, one of the state’s largest public universities, offers more than 100 programs at five separate campuses in Blue Ridge, Cumming, Dahlonega, Gainesville, and Oconee. The school also houses the Lewis F. Rogers Institute for Environmental and Spatial Analysis, a nationally recognized center for geospatial sciences, where learners can pursue an undergraduate degree or certificate in environmental studies or earth sciences. UNG offers hybrid and online degree and certificate programs. Like other online schools in Georgia, in-state and out-of-state distance learners pay the same tuition. Each undergraduate online course requires at least one, in-person, proctored activity per semester. All other work is completed asynchronously online. UNG encourages off-campus students to participate in activities through the online student ambassadors, which also provides peer-to-peer mentoring online.


Middle Georgia State UniversityMacon, GA

Admissions Rate 63%
Default Rate 18%
Retention Rate 68%
Graduation Rate 14%
Online Enrollment 10%

Middle Georgia State University holds the unique distinction of being Georgia’s newest university and one of the state’s oldest educational institutions. While the university’s origins date back to 1884, the 2012 consolidation of Macon State College and Middle Georgia College gives the university its current name and status. With five campuses located in Macon, Cochran, Dublin, Eastman, and Warner Robins, the school provides a quality public education at a low cost, offering more than $300,000 in scholarships each year through the MGA Foundation. Distance learners pay the same tuition regardless of state residency for online programs. Like other online schools in Georgia, MGA also waives certain student fees for off-campus distance learners.


Savannah State UniversitySavannah, GA

Admissions Rate 83%
Default Rate 19%
Retention Rate 61%
Graduation Rate 27%
Online Enrollment 2%

Listed among the top online schools in Georgia, Savannah State University serves as one of the state’s oldest higher education institutions. The main campus, located in Savannah, features historic architecture and a large marshland. The university offers 30 different bachelor's degrees, including an online degree in business administration. While some online classes require real-time communications, distance learners mostly complete coursework asynchronously. The school participates in eCore, a collaborative University System of Georgia program that offers distance learners the opportunity to complete undergraduate requirements completely online. Participants of eCore pay reduced tuition rates, receive free textbooks, and save on university fees. Lasting only eight weeks, eCore classes cost the same for in-state and out-of-state distance learners.


Beulah Heights UniversityAtlanta, GA

Default Rate 17% Retention Rate 67% Graduation Rate 10% Online Enrollment 5%

Beulah Heights, one of the nation’s oldest religious institutions, offers higher education in the historic Grant Park area of Atlanta. The university offers online programs in religious studies, business administration, and leadership studies. Online courses last 15 weeks during the fall and spring semesters, and eight weeks during the summer. The school uses the online education platform E360. Distance learners must pay an online fee in addition to the per-credit-hour tuition, which is the same for on-campus students. Degree candidates must complete an application, mail all prior transcripts to the university, complete a math and English placement test, apply for financial aid, and submit two references forms.


Dalton State CollegeDalton, GA

Default Rate 21% Retention Rate 74% Graduation Rate 16% Online Enrollment 2%

Dalton State College offers a wide variety of programs online and at its campus in the city of Dalton, which is located in northwestern Georgia near the Tennessee state border. One of the top online colleges in Georgia, DSC provides three different pathways for online learning: eLearning, eCore, and eMajor. Each online learning program offers benefits, including savings on student fees. Regardless of state residency, eCore participants pay the same per credit hour tuition. The eLearning program provides specific DSC courses online, while the eCore program permits University System of Georgia learners the chance to take collaborative courses completely online. Distance learners enrolled in the eCore program also receive free online textbooks. DSC welcomes transfer students with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Transfer students must submit an application, prior transcripts, and immunization records.


College of Coastal GeorgiaBrunswick, GA

Admissions Rate 95%
Default Rate 21%
Retention Rate 65%
Graduation Rate 14%
Online Enrollment 5%

College of Coastal Georgia provides a unique educational setting. The school is located near beaches, saltwater marshes, golf courses, and resorts. Full-time degree candidates receive passes to Jekyll Island, which includes many attractions and activities. The college also offers classes from the Camden Center, located just a few miles north of the Florida border. The Camden Center houses the university’s award-winning culinary arts program. The college uses Brightspace, a learning management system, for online and hybrid programs. Distance learners may participate in eCore through CCG and finish two years of college courses completely online while saving on student fees. Unlike other online colleges in Georgia, CCG waives out-of-state tuition costs for all eligible Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina residents.


Atlanta Metropolitan State CollegeAtlanta, GA

Default Rate 22% Retention Rate 50% Graduation Rate 11% Online Enrollment 8%

Atlanta Metropolitan offers more than 180 online courses and two associate programs: general education and business administration. The college uses Brightspace to teach online programs. Some online courses require proctored, in-person exams. The University System of Georgia's electronic core curriculum, eCore, offers students the chance to complete degree requirements at the school. In-state and out-of-state distance learners pay the same tuition rate. Like other online colleges in Georgia, AMSC also waives certain student fees for online learners. Degree candidates interested in applying to Atlanta Metropolitan State College must submit an application, transcripts from previous schools, proof of residency, and financial aid documents, including the FAFSA. Degree candidates must also complete the college's admissions placement test.

What Are the Best Online Community Colleges in Georgia?

The term “college” refers to multiple types of postsecondary institutions. Perhaps the most familiar type is the four-year university, such as Harvard or UCLA. Also present in the educational landscape are community colleges, which offer two-year associate degrees, workforce education, and certificate programs. Each type of institution presents advantages and disadvantages, so students should research their options to determine the best fit for their individual needs. This guide is a resource to help students who are interested in Georgia’s higher education opportunities compare universities and community colleges.


Ogeechee Technical CollegeStatesboro, GA

Retention Rate 63% Graduation Rate 45% Online Enrollment 10%

Originally founded as a public technical school in 1986, Ogeechee Technical College offers associate degree and certificate programs to nearly 3,000 students. Ogeechee is located in Statesboro, just northwest of Savannah, and offers both on-campus and fully online programs in a range of subject areas. Students can pursue degree tracks in areas including accounting, criminal justice, technical studies, and business management, all without coming to campus.

Online courses at Ogeechee are taught mostly asynchronously, allowing for more flexibility in when and where students complete their coursework. In addition to entire associate degree and certificate programs being available entirely online, students can take a variety of required general education courses online as well. As with most online community colleges in Georgia, ACT or SAT scores along with high school and other postsecondary transcripts are required for admission.


Coastal Pines Technical CollegeWaycross, GA

Retention Rate 59% Graduation Rate 43% Online Enrollment 8%

In 2014, Altamaha Technical College and Okefenokee Technical College merged to form Coastal Pines Technical College, with a home campus in Waycross. The school offers associate degree and certificate programs at multiple campuses around southeast Georgia. For students interested in online community colleges in Georgia, Coastal Pines also now has an extensive offering of fully online options, including programs in accounting, early childhood care, and criminal justice.

While most online coursework at CPTC is administered asynchronously, some instructors may require students to log on at specific times for webinars and group work. Each course also requires a proctored examination at a set location. Although there is generally no on-campus requirement, online students can visit during instructor office hours if needed. Assignments are completed on a set schedule, rather than student-paced.


Lanier Technical CollegeOakwood, GA

Retention Rate 56% Graduation Rate 31% Online Enrollment 16%

Lanier Technical College is one of many online community colleges in Georgia that are part of the Technical College System of Georgia. Lanier aims to provide certificates, associate degrees, and diplomas to traditional and nontraditional learners alike. With a home campus in Oakwood, Lanier welcomes adult learners, transient students enrolled with other colleges, and transfer students.

Students can earn a number of associate degrees and certificates entirely online through Lanier's distance learning options, in areas such as business management, fire administration, and criminal justice. While much of the online content in these courses is completed asynchronously, students may be required to schedule a proctored test at an approved location. Students can also take specific single courses online alongside on-campus courses if desired.


Columbus Technical CollegeColumbus, GA

Retention Rate 52% Graduation Rate 22% Online Enrollment 22%

Opened in 1961 with just 39 students, Columbus Technical College now serves thousands of students in western Georgia. Columbus offers associate degrees, certificates, and diplomas in a growing number of exciting and lucrative fields. Distance learners looking for online community colleges in Georgia can also take advantage of the fully online programs offered at Columbus, including associate degrees in health studies, public service, and management.

Prior to enrolling in online courses, students must take a placement test. Online students use the Blackboard Learning platform, and can take advantage of many of the same services available to on-campus students, including math and writing help labs. Columbus also offers GED and English language learner programs.


Georgia Northwestern Technical CollegeRome, GA

Retention Rate 55% Graduation Rate 23% Online Enrollment 16%

Georgia Northwestern Technical College was formed in 2008 by a merger of Coosa Valley Technical College and Northwestern Technical College, making it currently one of the largest technical colleges in the state. Located across six counties, GNTC is one of the foremost on-campus and online community colleges in Georgia, offering an increasing number of fully and partially online programs. Some of these fully online options include associate degree programs in accounting, business technology, and web design and development.

Prior to admission, most students will be required to take a placement test at a proctoring center near them. Students at GNTC can also take advantage of useful resources and services, including a career center and both on-campus and online library resources.


Southeastern Technical CollegeVidalia, GA

Retention Rate 52% Graduation Rate 42% Online Enrollment 7%

Serving eight counties with a primary campus located in Vidalia, Southeastern Technical College officially formed in 2009 after Swainsboro Technical College and Southeastern Technical College merged. Now, the college offers degree, diploma, and certificate programs in a range of fields, including business technology, web design, and information technology. Many of these programs can be completed entirely online, ideal for distance learners and those looking for online community colleges in Georgia.

All students enrolled in an online course at STC must complete at least one proctored event in order to meet college requirements. These events include exams, presentations, or assignments. Other than these proctored events, most of the work for online courses at STC is asynchronous, and can be completed anywhere, at any time.


Atlanta Technical CollegeAtlanta, GA

Retention Rate 55% Graduation Rate 31% Online Enrollment 10%

Initially founded as Smith-Hughes Vocational School in 1945, Atlanta Technical College serves more than 4,000 students in and around Atlanta. ATC offers more than 150 different unique academic tracks, including associate degree, diploma, and certificate programs. Some of these programs are offered either partially or fully online, including accounting, marketing management, and business technology.

Like some other online community colleges in Georgia, ATC's courses are taught through both synchronous and asynchronous instruction, as well as through occasional proctored examinations and assignments at set locations. ATC also offers a tutorial for students who want to test-drive online learning prior to enrolling. Students must take a placement test, or submit recent ACT or SAT scores before they begin at ATC.


Augusta Technical CollegeAugusta, GA

Retention Rate 58% Graduation Rate 37% Online Enrollment 5%

Augusta Technical College serves students in Burke, Columbia, Lincoln, McDuffie, and Richmond counties in eastern Georgia. Since it opened in 1961, the college has significantly grown, and in 2009, ATC began offering online courses and programs for distance learners. Students can earn degrees and certificates online in areas such as information technology, public safety, and health sciences.

Online courses at Augusta Tech are taught asynchronously, though there may be some requirements for proctored exams or a visit to one of the college's four campus locations to complete a test. Transfer students interested in online community colleges in Georgia can apply to ATC by sending official transcripts. Online students must complete a special training course prior to beginning coursework.


Wiregrass Georgia Technical CollegeValdosta, GA

Retention Rate 48% Graduation Rate 24% Online Enrollment 11%

Located in southern Georgia and spanning 11 campuses and centers, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College serves students in 11 counties. Wiregrass was founded through a merger in 2010, built from two separate colleges whose doors opened in the early 1970s. Since its inception, Wiregrass has offered a range of degree program options to students, including a number of fully online degree, diploma, and certificate programs for distance learners.

Prospective students interested in online community colleges in Georgia will find course and program offerings at Wiregrass to be varied and diverse, including degree options in web design, hospitality, and accounting. Courses in these programs are taught asynchronously, though some courses may require at least one campus visit or proctored exam. Students can also opt to take courses both online and on-campus in a hybrid format.


Albany Technical CollegeAlbany, GA

Default Rate 24% Retention Rate 55% Graduation Rate 39% Online Enrollment 28%

Established in 1961 as Monroe Area Vocational-Technical School, Albany Technical College has now grown to serve thousands of students in southern Georgia. In addition to providing on-campus degree programs and courses, Albany Tech is also one of many great online community colleges in Georgia, offering degree, diploma, and certificate options that can be completed entirely online.

Students can earn a number of associate degrees online in areas such as fire science technology, hotel management, and accounting. Students can also choose to take hybrid courses that blend online and on-campus learning. Online courses are primarily administered asynchronously, allowing students to do coursework on their own time. Applicants must send sealed high school or GED transcripts as well as transcripts of any college credit earned to be considered for admission.

How We Ranked the Schools

To determine the best programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online master’s in management information systems programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.

Education Trends in Georgia

Georgia’s spending on postsecondary education per full-time student is more than $500 above the U.S. average. Additionally, Georgia’s proportion of tax revenue allocated to higher education exceeds the national average by nearly 2%. According to U.S. Census data, Georgia is just below the national average for the percentage of adults with degrees above high school level.

  Georgia United States
Source: SHEEO and U.S. Census
Postsecondary Education Spending per Full-Time Student $7,490 $6,954
Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education 7.7% 5.8%
Percentage of adults over 25 with associate degree 7.2% 8.1%
Percentage of adults over 25 with bachelor’s degree 18.1% 18.5%
Percentage of adults over 25 with graduate degree or higher 10.7% 11.2%

Paying for College in Georgia

Prospective students should consider many factors when selecting a college. For many students, the economic impact of attaining their degree is chief among these considerations. Tuition rates vary widely, and students should weigh the cost of living in each potential area, along with the cost of transportation, textbooks, and other supplies. Financial aid opportunities can offset the cost of a postsecondary degree.

Tuition Prices

The following table provides average prices for tuition and fees at public two- and four-year colleges in Georgia. These totals do not include costs such as textbooks, transportation, and rent.

Financial Aid

Although a postsecondary degree is a prerequisite for entry into a growing list of careers, earning a degree from an accredited institution of higher learning is not cheap. Students should take full advantage of financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Types of financial aid available to students include scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and loans. Scholarships and grants are the most desirable forms of financial aid, as these funds, awarded based on merit or financial need, do not have to be repaid. Federal work-study programs provide part-time employment to offset the cost of a degree. When other options have been exhausted, students may choose to take out loans, which they must repay with interest, typically following a grace period.

Cost for Online Programs in Georgia

Students who complete the FAFSA and receive financial aid may apply the funding toward a degree from an online college in Georgia. Costs for online schools in Georgia are similar to those for traditional programs, but online students save money on transportation, textbooks, and childcare. Work-study programs are especially feasible for students attending an online college in GA, as online programs are typically designed to accommodate employment.

Cost of Living by Region

The cost of living varies greatly depending on the geographic location of a student’s university. Cost of living drastically impacts the overall cost of a degree, as well as career prospects after graduation. Distance learners attending online colleges in Georgia benefit from choosing locations with lower costs of living.

Scholarships for Georgia College Students

Correctional Officers Association of Georgia Scholarship

$500–$1,500; must be a high school senior or hold a GED and be enrolled in an accredited institution of higher learning in Georgia; must be seeking an undergraduate degree in a field related to government, law enforcement, business, accounting, pre-law, or political science.

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Emerge Scholarship

$2,000–$5,000; must be a female resident of Georgia, who is at least 25 years old, and have been accepted into a field of study at an educational institution.

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Georgia Mining Foundation Scholarship

$500–$1,000; must be a high school senior in Georgia and have been accepted into an accredited college or university in Georgia; must have a minimum 1300 SAT score and an overall average of 85% or higher and must have completed required college preparatory courses.

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Charles Clarke Cordle Memorial Scholarship

$1,000; must be a resident of Georgia or Alabama, have an active amateur radio license and a GPA of 2.5 or higher; may attend any institution in Georgia or Alabama.

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Greenhouse Scholars Scholarship

Up to $5,000 per year for four years; must be a graduating high school senior in Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, or North Carolina who is planning to attend a four-year accredited institution; must have a GPA of 3.5 or higher and demonstrate financial need.

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Southern Automotive Women’s Forum Scholarship

$500–$5,000; must be a woman enrolled in or enrolling in a STEM field at an accredited two-year, four-year, or graduate program in a southeastern state, including Georgia; must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and be pursuing an automotive career.

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Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund/United Health Foundation Scholarship

$5,000 per year for three years; must be an Asian or Pacific Islander student residing in certain states, including Georgia, with a minimum 2.7 GPA, enrolling as a second-year, full-time student at an accredited U.S. college or university, and planning to earn a degree in a health care field.

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Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholarship

Varying amount; must be a Christian woman living in Georgia or one of several other states who can demonstrate financial need and who is enrolled or enrolling at an accredited institution.

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Korean American Scholarship Foundation Scholarship

Varying amount; must be a student in one of five states, including Georgia, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and demonstrate financial need.

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Watson-Brown Foundation Scholarship

Amount varies; must be a current high school senior or undergraduate student living in one of several counties in Georgia or South Carolina and must be planning to attend a four-year, accredited, nonprofit college.

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B. Phinizy Spalding and Hubert B. Spalding Scholarship

$1,000; must be a first-year student enrolled in a Georgia school, who is majoring in a field related to historic preservation.

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Georgia Association for Nursing Education Scholarship

Varying amount, never less than $500; must be a Georgia resident enrolled in an accredited nursing program, with a minimum GPA of 2.5, and must demonstrate financial need.

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GFB Foundation for Agriculture Scholarship

$1,500 or $3,000; must be a Georgia resident with a minimum 3.0 GPA who plans to major in agriculture or environmental sciences at an accredited college or university in Georgia.

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Morris Newspaper Corporation Scholarship

$500–$2,000; must be an undergraduate student in a journalism program at an accredited institution in Georgia.

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Can All Scholarships Be Used for Online Programs?

Most scholarships can be applied to any type of higher education program, online or in-person. Some awards require students to pursue a particular field of study. Students interested in applying for scholarships should verify the eligibility requirements for each scholarship to ensure they qualify and will be able to apply the funds toward their chosen degree and program.

Employment Outlook in Georgia

Employment opportunities in Georgia follow national trends for mean wages and unemployment rates. Students interested in careers in trade, transportation, and utilities, government, or professional and business services will benefit from a degree from an on-campus university or an online college in Georgia, as these industries are the largest in the state.

Delta Airlines, the Cobb County School System, and the Department of Defense are the top employers in Georgia. Students who plan to live and work in Georgia may wish to pursue a degree that will help them secure employment at these organizations.

  Georgia United States
Source: BLS and BLS
Unemployment Rate, May 2017 4.7% 4.3%
Annual Mean Wage, May 2016 $46,540 $49,630

Top Employers and Industries in Georgia

Top Industries in Georgia

  • Trade, transportation, and utilities: This industry includes wholesale and retail trade, transportation of passengers and cargo, and administration of utilities, such as electricity, gas, and sewage.
  • Government: The government industry in Georgia includes local government educational services, the Department of Defense, and public primary and secondary educational services.
  • Professional and business services: This industry provides professional, scientific, and technical services, including organizations that hold securities or management interests in companies and those that provide day-to-day services for other organizations.

Top Employers in Georgia

  • Delta Airlines: 33,000 employees
  • Cobb County School System: 15,000 employees
  • Department of Defense: 14,500 employees

Accreditation for Colleges in Georgia

An accredited program has passed inspection by an approved agency. National accreditation typically applies to trade and vocational schools and may not require standards as rigorous as those imposed by regional accreditation bodies. Employers often look for regional accreditation when evaluating a prospective employee’s education. Additionally, professional licensure often requires a degree from an accredited institution. Students may favor regional accreditation status when choosing a college or university to avoid obstacles when transferring credits or applying for jobs.

According to U.S. News & World Report, accreditation standards are as demanding for online schools as for traditional institutions. However, online programs may require special considerations, such as the quality of the online environment and resources available to distance learners. Students searching for an accredited online school in Georgia should look for approval by the Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Resources for Students in Georgia

  • State of Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission (GNPEC): The GNPEC regulates the operations of profit and nonprofit private colleges in Georgia. Every degree program must be authorized by the GNPEC before the institution may operate or advertise to students.
  • Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC): The GSFC provides information and resources to help Georgia students pay for college. The organization administers more than 20 scholarships, grants, and loans funded by the state and lottery systems to students enrolled at traditional campuses and at online schools in Georgia.
  • Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG): The TCSG oversees technical and vocational colleges in Georgia, as well as programs for adult literacy and workforce development. The organization coordinates a unified system across technical schools to ensure an educated labor force.
  • Georgia Student Finance Authority (GSFA): The GSFA disburses and services Federal Family Education Loan Program loans, in addition to loans funded by the state and state lotteries. Many loans are dependent on service in various community programs.
  • State of Georgia Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator’s Office: The Coordinator’s Office ensures facilities meet the standards for access defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Coordinator’s Office provides technical assistance and training to state agencies to help them implement ADA requirements.
  • University System of Georgia (USG): The USG regulates public colleges and universities within Georgia’s university system. The USG makes policy decisions, sets tuition rates, and handles academic, communication, and governmental affairs.
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