Georgia, part of the Southeast region of the United States, is named in honor of King George II of Great Britain. The 24th largest state in the nation, it has an area of 59,425 square miles.
With 10,310,371 residents across 159 counties, Georgia has the 8th largest population in the United States. Georgia has the 9th largest population in the nation. Georgia’s capital city, Atlanta, is the largest city in the state, with a population of 472,522 residents. Georgia’s other major cities include Augusta, Columbus, Savannah, and Athens.
As compared to residents in other states around the nation, Georgia residents generally have an average level of education. According to the most recent Census data, approximately 85.4% percent of the state’s residents over the age of 25 have finished high school, with 28.8% of people over the age of 25 holding a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Georgia has more than 162 post-secondary institutions. Of these, 44 offer online programs. Of these accredited online colleges, 17 are public four-year colleges or universities, five are public community or technical colleges, and 22 are private colleges, universities, or career and vocational schools. These schools offer 826 online certificate programs, 3,321 online associate programs, 5,362 online bachelor’s programs, 2,288 online master’s programs, 2,832 online professional programs, and 544 online doctoral programs. In these programs, students may study subjects ranging from psychology to web design to chemical engineering.
Georgia’s Online Education Profile
For students interested in pursuing higher education, but in need of a more flexible program, there are many online colleges in Georgia. Georgia ONmyLINE offers a portal of the state’s online programs, including a breakdown of available degrees, necessary credit hours, and costs. Georgia also offers students specific programs through a partnership of schools. The Georgia Web MBA is jointly offered by six schools that are part of the University System of Georgia. Similarly, the Georgia WebBSIT combines four colleges to offer coursework in information technology studies.
While the state offers a variety of educational opportunities, tuition costs at traditional schools have increased by an average of 77% in the last ten years. Obtaining an online degree at one of the many online schools in Georgia can be a cheaper alternative for students hoping to obtain a post-secondary degree. Online classes in Georgia can prove to be less expensive than traditional courses.
|Number of Title IV 4-year colleges||77||56|
|Number of Title IV 2-year colleges||55||33|
|Percentage of students enrolled in distance education||24.5%||25.8%|
|Postsecondary education spending per full-time student||$7,319||$6,954|
|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%|
Average Cost of College Tuition & Fees in Georgia
|Average in-state tuition & fees – public 4-year||$7,011||$8,778|
|Average in-state tuition & fees – private 4-year||$25,754||$27,951|
|Average in-state tuition & fees – public 2-year||$3,181||$3,038|
Best Online Colleges in Georgia
College doesn’t just mean brick-and-mortar, ivy-covered buildings. You can receive a top-notch education at one of the many online schools in Georgia without ever leaving your home. Online colleges in Georgia will help you obtain the certifications and degrees in your desired field, and are taught by some of the same professors as traditional programs, all without having to search for a parking spot before class! With more than 300 online programs available in Georgia, students are sure to find one that is the perfect fit.
Georgia’s Higher Education Outlook
There are 553,969 students enrolled in higher education programs across Georgia. This includes traditional programs and online schools in Georgia, and both undergraduate and graduate students.
In 2014, it was reported that Georgia had the second-highest retention rate in the United States. Retention measures the number of students who entered as freshman and return the following year as sophomores. The four-year graduation rate at public institutions for Georgia is 27.6%, and the six-year graduation rate is 54.5%. Both are slightly below the national averages of 33.3% and 57.6%, respectively.
Standing out among the rest, Georgia was one of just five states that has two or more colleges ranked in the top 25 national public colleges and universities in the 2014 U.S. News and World Report college rankings: the Georgia Institute of Technology (No. 7) and the University of Georgia (No. 20).
Nationally, at the end of the 2016 school year, it was indicated that employers would be hiring 5.2% more college graduates than in 2015. In Georgia, the Complete College Georgia initiative was created to increase the number of individuals with college degrees by 250,000 by the year 2025. Studies show that in the next five years, 60% of jobs will require some sort of post-secondary education, making obtaining online degrees in Georgia even more important.
Higher Education Initiatives in Georgia
Higher education is a major priority for the state of Georgia. The governor’s Complete College Georgia was created in 2011 to increase the numbers of those obtaining a higher education degree or certificate. This program seeks to achieve its goals and boost college enrollment and completion by increasing college readiness for high school students, improving access to underserved populations, providing opportunities to obtain a degree in less time, creating innovative ways to obtain these degrees, and removing barriers to educational success.
In partnership with the initiative, individual campuses across the state have come up with their own plans to increase enrollment and graduation rates, which include engaging community leaders and stakeholders, consistently collecting data to evaluate outcomes, working with K-12 districts, improving access for underserved students, and restructuring learning opportunities to create more avenues for online instruction.
The state also has created multiple financial assistance programs, including the HOPE Scholarship, which provides tuition aid to students with a 3.0 or higher GPA. Additionally, the state provides a variety of helpful portals and organizations for students and families to research the best educational options and opportunities for them. Here are a few helpful resources:
Resources for Georgia
- Southern Regional Educational Board: The SREB works with southern states, including Georgia, to improve public education. The SREB conducts research and analyzes data to ensure effective policy and standards.
- Georgia Humanities Council: As part of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the GHC works to preserve and protect the history and culture of Georgia. They offer a variety of programs, like National History Day and New Georgia Encyclopedia.
- Georgia Office of Adult Education: The office provides educational opportunities and adult education programs. Literacy courses and GED classes are available.
- Technical College System of Georgia: TCSG manages all of Georgia’s adult education programs, technical schools, and a variety of workforce development programs. The system helps facilitate a competitive workforce for Georgia.
- Georgia Public Library Service: GPLS provides access to a digital library and connects 283 libraries for a statewide book-lending network.
- Georgia Student Finance Commission: The commission provides student loans. It manages 20 scholarships for which Georgia students may apply, and provides no-cost financial aid consultation to educational organizations, helping students and families get ready to pay for college.
College Savings Plans
College savings plans are sponsored by states and state agencies as a way for individuals and families to set aside money to be saved for future educational costs. These funds are exempt from federal taxes. It gets its “529” moniker from the section of the Internal Revenue Code for which it was name. Those who create the plan can select from a variety of investment options, much like a 401(k) or IRA. Once a savings plan account is created, the funds can be used for college tuition, books, or a variety of other education-related expenses. Most accredited colleges accept 529 plans.
The Georgia plan is called the Path2College 529 Plan and is managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing. Contributions of up to 2,000 per year are tax deductible (or up to $4,000 for those filing taxes jointly). In Georgia, individuals can choose from a variety of investment options for the plan, including two managed age-based funds, a 100% equity fund, a balanced fund, a 100% fixed-income option, a money market option, and a guaranteed option. Money saved in the plan can be used at any accepting college in the United States, and can even be used for computers and school technology fees.
Educational Nonprofit Organizations in Georgia
In addition to the many state-run programs and resources available for higher education, there are also many nonprofit organizations with missions of assisting those interested in obtaining a post-secondary degree.
- The Southern Education Foundation: The SEF seeks to advance educational equity for all students in the South. Working closely with low-income students and students of color, the organization promotes improving college access and completion.
- The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education: The organization works with policy leaders to create and promote educational policies and procedures that benefit educational achievement. Through its College Access initiative, the nonprofit works with state agencies to get more high school students to enroll in college.
- United Way: The United Way has offices all over Georgia. One of its main impact areas is education, and the organization works to ensure that students stay on track through high school and have the resources they need to attend college.
Accrediting Bodies in Georgia
Colleges earn credibility and enhance their reputation through accreditation. Accredited schools have been certified and meet the standards of the governing agency. Depending on what type of school it is, the college is expected to meet a certain set of standards by the regional or national accreditation agency to which it is applying. Schools must demonstrate a solid foundation and mission of educating its students, and must show that they have the resources to continue this work longterm. Accreditation requires frequent reviews and checks to ensure they maintain these standards.
Some colleges have received regional accreditation, while some have been nationally accredited. Most regionally accredited colleges (98%) are non-profit and degree-granting. Typically, nationally accredited schools are for-profit schools, often with a religious affiliation. Both types require quality outputs from the colleges, can be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, and can accept financial aid.
There are multiple accrediting bodies specific to Georgia. Some of them include:
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC): This is the regional accrediting agency for southern states. Accreditation standards for the body include an extensive review of the school’s institutional mission, its governance, effectiveness, and even financial resources.
- The Council on Occupational Education: The Council provides accreditation for postsecondary occupational colleges located in the southern region. It grants accreditation for non-degree-granting and applied associate degree-granting schools.
Job Outlook for Georgia
Georgia’s overall job outlook is very promising, making it a great choice for students to enroll in one of the many online colleges in Georgia. Many large corporations have headquarters in Georgia, including Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, UPS, Delta Airlines, and Aflac.
The state’s GDP is expected to grow by 3.2% in 2017, and employment is expected to rise by 2.1%, higher than the expected increase of 1.5% for the United States.
Top Industries in Georgia
|Agriculture||Agribusiness totals about $74.9 billion of Georgia’s economy. One in seven Georgia residents work in agriculture, forestry, or similar field.|
|Film||Georgia has the fourth largest entertainment industry in the United States. It employs more than 30,000 workers. Many famous movies have been made in Georgia, including The Walking Dead and most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.|
|Energy||Georgia is ranked third in the United States for growth in the solar energy production sector. It is also a leader in net electricity from all the lumber and pulpwood production.|
Top Employers in Georgia
|Top Employers||Number of Employees|
|The Coca-Cola Company||100,300|
|Aflac||8,200 employees and 74,000 agents|
Georgia by the Numbers
- State: $26,810
- US average: $29,979
- State: $51,244
- US average: $55,775
- State: $525,360
- US: $18.57 trillion