2017 Guide to Online Colleges and Universities in GA

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/Percentage Georgia National Average
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%

Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census Bureau – American Community Survey

Average Cost of College Tuition & Fees in Georgia

Number/Percentage Georgia National Average
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

Source: NCES

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.

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    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:

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      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

      Industry Description
      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
      UPS 434,000
      The Coca-Cola Company 100,300
      Aflac 8,200 employees and 74,000 agents

      Georgia by the Numbers

      Per capita income:

      • State: $26,810
      • US average: $29,979

      Median household income:

      • State: $51,244
      • US average: $55,775

      Gross Domestic Product:

      • State: $525,360
      • US: $18.57 trillion