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2023 Best Online Colleges in Georgia

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 6/16/2023
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Online colleges in Georgia give students a wide array of choices. Distance learners can opt for degree programs from some of the largest schools in the state, such as the University of Georgia and Georgia State University, as well as small specialty schools, like Clayton State University.

Our rankings for online Georgia universities is exclusively for schools offering distance education degrees. View our methodology for more details about our list or learn more about OnlineU. You can also check out our list of Georgia community colleges or the best online colleges across the U.S. for additional inspiration.

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2023 Best Online Colleges in Georgia

RankSchool Salary Score Online Enrollment
# 1 #1 Georgia Institute of Technology 92 13,301
# 2 #2 University of Georgia 57 828
# 3 #3 Kennesaw State University 55 5,107
# 4 #4 Thomas University 48 646
# 5 #5 University of North Georgia 47 1,449
# 6 #6 Georgia College & State University 47 903
# 7 #7 Shorter University 41 391
# 8 #8 Georgia Southwestern State University 39 812
# 9 #9 Georgia Southern University 38 2,707
# 10 #10 Mercer University 38 1,110

#1 Georgia Institute of Technology

  • Salary Score: 92
  • Online Enrollment: 13,301
  • Locations: Atlanta
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Atlanta's Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) is a competitive, public institution offering ten fully online master's degrees. Almost 70% of Georgia Tech's graduate students participate in distance-only education. They enroll in online master's degrees in STEM fields, such as aerospace engineering, computer science, cybersecurity, mechanical engineering, and medical physics. Three hybrid professional master's degree programs are also available. These online graduate programs offer the same rigor as comparable on-campus programs and generally take full-time students two years to complete.

Georgia Tech uses the Genius learning management system to deliver its online programming to distance learners. It's a large school with a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio, though graduate-level class sizes are generally small. Georgia Tech is known as one of the nation's top research universities. It is also one of the South's largest industrial and engineering research agencies. As such, it's classified as an R1 high-activity research university by Carnegie.

#2 University of Georgia

  • Salary Score: 57
  • Online Enrollment: 828
  • Locations: Athens
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens is a relatively competitive, public, four-year institution offering a limited number of online degrees, mainly at the master's level and one online bachelor's degree in special education. A low 10% of UGA graduate students participate in distance-only education. Online master's degrees are primarily in education, including majors such as educational psychology, educational administration and policy, science education, and reading education. Online graduate certificates and endorsements are also available. Programs are traditional in length, taking full-time students about two years to complete.

UGA's learning management system is called eLearning Commons (eLC). It's a large university with a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio. UGA is known for being military-friendly. The Veterans Administration has approved all its degrees and majors as eligible for educational benefits through the GI Bill.

#3 Kennesaw State University

  • Salary Score: 55
  • Online Enrollment: 5,107
  • Locations: Kennesaw
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Kennesaw State University (KSU) is a public institution and the third-largest university in Georgia. Among undergraduates, the acceptance rate is 83%, with a graduation rate of 48%. KSU has over 180 academic programs — from bachelor’s to doctoral programs.

At KSU, online students complete asynchronous and synchronous coursework on the learning management system (LMS) called D2L Brightspace. With 75 total undergraduate programs to choose from at KSU, it can be hard to narrow it down. They also offer a total of 15 bachelor's programs that are 100% online degrees, including a Bachelor of Sciences in Cybersecurity, Political Science, and Psychology. Online students can access academic advising, career planning and development, the bookstore, student disability services, and an online library.

#4 Thomas University

  • Salary Score: 48
  • Online Enrollment: 646
  • Locations: Thomasville
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Thomas University (TU) is a four-year, private, nonprofit institution in southern Georgia near Tallahassee, Florida. It offers online degrees at the bachelor's and master's levels and one at the associate level in law enforcement. Approximately a third of undergrads and graduate students enroll in distance-only education. Popular online degree majors include criminal justice, psychology, nursing (RN to BSN, MSN), social work, education, and business administration. Getting into TU is competitive, as it only accepts 29% of applicants. However, almost half — 44% — of students graduate with their degrees.

Distance learners use Canvas to participate in their classes and receive instruction. TU is a small school with a low 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Classes are small, which allows instructors and students to build working relationships. TU is known for supporting military personnel and their families and partners with the Community College of the Air Force so transfers can seamlessly transfer from the Air Force to TU. It's also an approved General Education Mobile provider for Air Force personnel.

#5 University of North Georgia

  • Salary Score: 47
  • Online Enrollment: 1,449
  • Locations: Dahlonega
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of North Georgia (UNG) in Dahlonega is a four-year public institution offering online degrees at all academic levels, primarily the master's level. While only 13% of undergrads participate in online-only education, a little over half of graduate students do. Some examples of online master's degrees at UNG include criminal justice, business administration, nursing education, public administration, and teaching. Students who commit to full-time study can generally finish an online master's degree at UNG in two years. UNG has an 81% acceptance rate and a 39% graduation rate.

UNG uses Brightspace for online coursework and instruction delivery. It has an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Resources for online students include remote access to tutoring, the library, supplemental instruction, accessibility services, and career services. UNG's Online Student Ambassadors (OSA) promote participation in off-campus activities for online students. The organization also facilitates peer-to-peer mentoring.

#6 Georgia College & State University

  • Salary Score: 47
  • Online Enrollment: 903
  • Locations: Milledgeville
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Georgia College & State University (GCSU) is a public four-year institution about two hours outside of Atlanta offering online master's degrees in the liberal arts. GCSU's graduate programs are popular with students — almost three-quarters of graduate students attend exclusively online. Online degrees are available in majors such as business administration, criminal justice, kinesiology/physical education, management information systems, nursing, and special education.

Online students at GCSU use Brightspace to log into their classes and receive instruction. It has a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio and small class sizes that help educators personalize instruction to suit individual student needs. Online graduate certificates are also available for students seeking career advancement but can't commit to a graduate degree. Certificates are available in fields such as education, information technology, and nursing.

#7 Shorter University

  • Salary Score: 41
  • Online Enrollment: 391
  • Locations: Rome
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Rome's Shorter University (SU) is a private, Baptist institution offering a limited number of online degrees at the associate, bachelor's, and master's levels. While only 20% of undergrads enroll solely online, nearly all graduate students do. Majors at each level include business, Christian studies, criminal justice, healthcare management, and sport management. Online degrees at SU are traditional in length, taking four years for bachelor's degrees and two for associate and master's degrees. SU accepts 81% of applicants, and 52% of students graduate with degrees.

SU delivers its online programming via Moodle. It has small classes and a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio. As a Baptist institution, SU's curriculum incorporates a Biblical worldview. It also holds firm, conservative beliefs around gender identity, classifying LGBT folks as participating in "nonconforming misconduct." Students are not allowed to have a "lifestyle discordant with birth gender," as outlined in the Student Handbook.

#8 Georgia Southwestern State University

  • Salary Score: 39
  • Online Enrollment: 812
  • Locations: Americus
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) in Americus is a public, four-year institution offering online degrees at the bachelor's and master's levels. Approximately one-third of undergrads and one-half of graduate students participate in distance-only education. Notable majors include business administration, criminal justice, nursing, and computer science. Online endorsements and certificate programs are also available for students seeking to gain skills without earning a degree. GSW has an 86% acceptance rate and a 44% graduation rate.

GSW gives its distance learners access to Brightspace for online coursework and instruction. It has a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1 and small classes. GSW awards over $1 million in scholarships annually to first-year students to help pay for their education. For example, all new, traditional-aged first-year students meeting qualifications are guaranteed $1,000 or $3,000 scholarships through the Georgia Southwestern Promise Scholarship.

#9 Georgia Southern University

  • Salary Score: 38
  • Online Enrollment: 2,707
  • Locations: Statesboro
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Georgia Southern University (GSU), which is a public institution, offers 15 online bachelor's and 34 online master's degrees. Examples include a bachelor's in English literature, a bachelor's in business management, and a master's in health and physical education. Georgia Southern also appears on many of our lists featuring the most affordable college degree programs.

At GSU, students access their online courses through the Folio learning management system. The school has an 89% acceptance rate and a 53% graduation rate. More than 80% of enrollees study full time.

#10 Mercer University

  • Salary Score: 38
  • Online Enrollment: 1,110
  • Locations: Macon
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Macon's Mercer University (MU) is a private, nonprofit institution offering online degrees for career readiness at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. About one-fifth of all MU students enroll solely online. Majors of interest include communication, criminal justice, business, healthcare leadership, human services, nursing, psychology, and software engineering. Online students can finish quickly due to eight-week terms and year-round enrollment. MU has a 75% acceptance rate, and 61% of students graduate.

MU delivers its online curriculum via the digital platform Canvas. Classes are small, and the student-to-faculty ratio is low at 13:1. MU is military-friendly, and U.S. Department of Defense employees, including civilians and contractors, may be eligible for a 30% tuition benefit. It also participates in the Extended Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program.

#11 University of West Georgia

  • Salary Score: 37
  • Online Enrollment: 3,645
  • Locations: Carrollton
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of West Georgia (UWG) is a public university. The university accepts 78% of undergraduate applicants and has a 47% graduation rate. UWG offers bachelor’s, master's, and doctoral degrees, endorsements, and certificates. UWG has 87 academic programs prospective students can choose from, including many fully online bachelor's degree options.

UWG facilitates asynchronous and synchronous online learning through the LMS, CourseDen. Some of UWG’s 100% online degree programs include a Bachelor of Science in Criminology, a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership, and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Economics. Online student support consists of a writing center, academic advising, tutoring, counseling, and tech support.

#12 Georgia State University

  • Salary Score: 37
  • Online Enrollment: 850
  • Locations: Atlanta
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Georgia State University (GSU) is a public institution in Atlanta that's designated as a predominately Black institution and also serves Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander population. 13% of its large 37,000 student body participates in online-only education. Students can enroll in online degree programs at the associate, bachelor's, and graduate levels. Some of the programs include online bachelor's degrees in nursing, psychology, and social work, and online master's degrees in education, health sciences, nursing, and political science. GSU accepts all applicants, and 57% of students graduate.

GSU uses Brightspace as its learning management system for distance learners. It has a 27:1 student-to-faculty ratio. While GSU charges online associate degree students the same tuition regardless of residency, online bachelor's and graduate degree students pay tuition based on whether they live in or outside the state. GSU also awards scholarships to students seeking financial assistance.

#13 South University Online

  • Salary Score: 34
  • Online Enrollment: 6,195
  • Locations: Multiple Locations
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Distance education-only South University Online (SUO), based in Savannah, is a private, for-profit institution offering online degrees at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. This includes online degree programs in nursing and healthcare, such as RN to BSN, family nurse practitioner, allied health sciences, healthcare management, and public health. Other popular areas of study include criminal justice, counseling and psychology, and business and technology. SUO accepts all applicants due to its open admission policy. Its graduation rate is 13%, considerably lower than the 58% average.

SOU's distance learners access Brightspace to participate in classes and complete assignments. It has a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio and small class sizes, allowing individualized instruction. Its average annual cost of $23,200 is about $5,000 higher than average, and median earnings of $35,200 are about $15,000 less. However, a unique Alumni Scholarship program for students, their friends, and families awards $3,000 for undergraduate degrees, up to $6,000 for master's degrees, and up to $15,000 for doctoral degrees.

#14 Columbus State University

  • Salary Score: 34
  • Online Enrollment: 1,460
  • Locations: Columbus
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Columbus State University (CSU) is a public, four-year institution near the Alabama border offering 39 online degree programs at all academic levels. Overall, 17% of undergrads and 63% of graduate students participate in distance-only education at CSU. Fields of study range from computer science and criminal justice to education and nursing. Notable online bachelor's degrees include RN to BSN, management information systems, and general business. Online master's degrees include educational leadership, nursing, and public administration. CSU has a 79% acceptance rate and a 43% graduation rate.

CSU delivers its online programming via Brightspace. As a midsized institution, it has a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio and small class sizes. CSU began offering distance education via phone lines in 1991 and has greatly increased its virtual offerings as technology has grown exponentially over the last 30 years.

#15 Augusta University

  • Salary Score: 34
  • Online Enrollment: 481
  • Locations: Augusta
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Augusta University (AU) is a public institution offering a limited number of online master's degree programs, including a Master of Education in Instruction, a Master of Public Health, and a Master of Science in Information Security Management. In terms of AU's distance learners, 21% of graduate students only participate in distance education. The online master's degree in education includes 21 tracks, such as elementary, middle grades, and special education. It generally takes two years of full-time enrollment to finish online master's degree programs at AU.

AU provides distance learners access to Brightspace to participate in classes and engage with educators and peers. It features small class sizes enabling individualized instruction and a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio. AU aims to offer a "private school experience at a public school price." With this in mind, its MEd program costs just under $20,000 in total tuition and $7,000 for the MPH and information security management programs.

#16 Brenau University

  • Salary Score: 34
  • Online Enrollment: 1,291
  • Locations: Multiple Locations
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Brenau University is one of the relatively few private, nonprofit colleges in the country catering exclusively to women. Through distance education, the school offers online degrees at various levels: two associate degrees, eight bachelor's degrees, and 13 master's degrees. These include disciplines such as business administration, communications, healthcare administration, and elementary education. Brenau has an 87% acceptance rate and a 46% graduation rate.

Online learners at Brenau use the Canvas learning management system to access their courses. Two-thirds of the student population attend school full time.

#17 Savannah College of Art and Design

  • Salary Score: 32
  • Online Enrollment: 1,096
  • Locations: Savannah
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is a private, nonprofit institution specializing in creative careers. It offers online fine arts degree programs at the bachelor's and master's levels through SCADnow. Notable fields of study include animation, fashion, graphic design, illustration, and interactive design and game development. 6% of undergrads and 19% of graduate students attend SCAD exclusively online. GRADpath@SCAD allows students to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in an accelerated format which may take only four years of study. SCAD accepts 81% of applicants, and 68% of students graduate, which is more than average.

SCAD streams its courses in real-time though students can access them as their schedules allow. It has a 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Overall, 80% of new applicants receive merit-based scholarships before first-quarter attendance — amounts vary but may go as high as $15,000. The website Art & Object, popular with creators, ranks SCAD #1 in its list of the top 15 art schools in the U.S. for the last two years.

#18 Valdosta State University

  • Salary Score: 32
  • Online Enrollment: 2,993
  • Locations: Valdosta
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Valdosta State University is a public institution offering nearly 40 online bachelor's and master's degrees as well as online certificates and endorsements. Among the school's most notable online programs are the master's in teacher education and the master's in school counseling. Valdosta State accepts 89% of applicants, and 40% of students earn their degree.

The school operates a proprietary online learning management system for online courses called BlazeVIEW. Three-quarters of enrollees are full-time students.

#19 Clayton State University

  • Salary Score: 29
  • Online Enrollment: 1,428
  • Locations: Morrow
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Clayton State University is a public institution with an acceptance rate of 69% and a 40% graduation rate. Clayton offers over 100 degrees, majors, and certificates for future students to choose from, including 41 fully online undergraduate programs.

At Clayton, online students complete coursework asynchronously and synchronously via D2L Brightspace, an LMS that provides discussion forums with peers, guidance from instructors, and a place to receive and submit assignments. The university’s online programs range from a Bachelor of Business Administration in Supply Chain Management to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Online students can also access academic advising, tutoring, coaching, a writer’s studio, and tech support.

#20 Middle Georgia State University

  • Salary Score: 27
  • Online Enrollment: 2,120
  • Locations: Macon
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Middle Georgia State University (MGA) is a public institution that accepts 99% of applicants and has a 26% graduation rate. MGA offers continuous admissions, allowing students to enroll in online programs at any time. The university awards several associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. What makes MGA unique is that it offers accelerated degree options, including 8-week programs for those who want to graduate with a bachelor's fast.

Most of MGA’s online programs are delivered asynchronously and synchronously on the LMS, D2L Brightspace. MGA’s online programs range from a Bachelor of Science in Psychology to a Bachelor of Arts in English. Importantly, online students at MGA pay the same tuition for courses as residents of Georgia. Distance learners can also access academic advising, counseling, tutoring, and IT support.

#21 Truett McConnell University

  • Salary Score: N/A
  • Online Enrollment: 1,307
  • Locations: Cleveland
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

At Truett McConnell University — a private, nonprofit, and religious institution — prospective students can pursue 50 online programs at the bachelor’s and master’s levels, which are all taught from a Christian worldview. However, Truett only offers four fully online bachelor's degrees: (1) a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, (2) a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies, (3) a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and (4) a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. Truett’s acceptance rate for undergraduates is 97%, but it still maintains a 40% graduation rate.

Truett students complete online coursework via D2L Brightspace. Truett’s online students can access coaching, counseling, career development services, tech support, and tutoring. They also have an online program consultant to help with any questions or concerns students might have about their online degree programs.

#22 Albany State University

  • Salary Score: N/A
  • Online Enrollment: 1,277
  • Locations: Albany
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

At Albany State University, a public university, students can earn associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees online. One of its most popular programs is the master's degree in nursing. Albany State is also highly ranked on many of our lists featuring the most affordable college degree programs.

Distance learners at Albany State access their course materials, submit homework assignments, and participate in class discussions through the school's GaVIEW learning platform. Two-thirds of enrollees study full time.

#23 Toccoa Falls College

  • Salary Score: N/A
  • Online Enrollment: 1,008
  • Locations: Toccoa Falls
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Toccoa Falls College is a Christian college affiliated with the Christ and Missionary Alliance Church. This private, nonprofit institution offers 12 online degrees, including bachelor's degrees in counseling psychology, business administration, and ministry leadership.

Just over half of Toccoa Falls enrollees are part-time students. The school accepts 68% of applicants and graduates 46% of its students.

#24 Luther Rice College & Seminary

  • Salary Score: N/A
  • Online Enrollment: 736
  • Locations: Lithonia
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Lithonia's Luther Rice College & Seminary (LRCS) is a private, Baptist-faith-based institution offering online degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Essentially all of its roughly 600 students enroll in online-only education. Its programming is in religious studies such as apologetics, Biblical counseling, pastoral ministry, and theology. Students can choose from standard 15-week terms, 11-week terms, or 8-week terms based on scheduling needs. LCRS is relatively competitive, accepting just under half of applicants. 50% of students graduate with degrees.

LRCS delivers its online curriculum via Blackboard. As a small school, it has small classes, and its student-to-faculty ratio is low at 9:1. This enables instructors to individualize instruction based on student needs and for students to build rapport and community. LRCS is incredibly affordable, with an average annual cost of $1,400 compared to almost $19,000 for other schools.

#25 Point University

  • Salary Score: N/A
  • Online Enrollment: 528
  • Locations: Multiple Locations
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Point University (PU) in West Point is a private, Christ Churches and Churches of Christ-faith-based four-year institution. It offers online degrees in liberal arts at the associate, bachelor's, and master's levels. All graduate students and one-fifth of undergrads attend solely online. Notable online undergraduate degrees include business administration, criminal justice, information systems security, psychology, and social work. Online master's degrees include business administration and transformative ministry. Full-time distance learners generally complete online bachelor's programs in four years and master's in two. Relatively competitive, PU accepts just 47% of applicants. It has a 44% graduation rate.

Online students at PU use Canvas to access online coursework and instruction. PU is a small school with small classes and a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio. PU integrates faith into its programming as a faith-based school so graduates can take it into the workplace.

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Higher Education in Georgia

Georgia founded the country's first public university over 200 years ago, forever changing access to college. Today, Georgia is home to 110 universities and community and technical colleges, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education.

The University System of Georgia alone is made up of 26 public institutions that range from smaller state colleges to larger comprehensive and research universities.

Nine of the state's universities are HBCUs (historically Black colleges and universities), which include Albany State University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College. 

Another 23 schools are public community and technical colleges that offer career training and associate degrees.

Most of these institutions are regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which assures students they're getting a quality education. Accreditation is also an important factor when qualifying for financial aid, transferring credits to another school, and applying to graduate school.

Online Colleges in Georgia

Students can choose from online degrees at 72 different colleges in Georgia. Each school has unique programs available and different offerings to meet the diverse needs of distance learners in the state.

Students in Georgia have a few different options to choose from when it comes to online learning. There are associate degrees, bachelor's, master's, and doctorates available online, as well as certificate programs. Students can earn an online degree in everything from early childhood education to computer science.

Students can complete many programs online, even in fields like nursing that require hands-on experience. When choosing an online program, students should consider what type of program they are looking for, what type of online learning format they want, admission requirements for the program, and other factors.

Online Learning Format

Many people aren't able to go to campus and need a fully online degree. Others prefer hybrid programs, with some online courses and some in-person requirements.

Students who need more structure or social connection at school might need a program that offers synchronous classes, where students meet with their class and log in at a specific time. Those who have a busy schedule or prefer to work alone can choose asynchronous classes, where they complete classwork or review lectures when it's convenient for them.

Admissions Requirements

You'll need a high school diploma or GED to get into an associate or bachelor's program, along with transcripts from high school or previous college experience. Some schools also require a GPA of 2.5 to 3.0 and SAT or ACT scores, although these are less common requirements for online students.

Traditional admission requirements such as minimum GPA or test scores are more relevant for high school seniors and people who recently graduated from high school. However, more and more adult students are returning to college, and high school seniors are no longer the traditional college students. 

As a result, many online colleges in Georgia are accessible for adults and do not require SAT scores or minimum GPAs to get in. However, some may require you to take a placement test like the ACCUPLACER.

Popular Online Degree Programs in Georgia

Business and healthcare are by far the most popular programs for online schools in Georgia. The U.S. Department of Education found that in colleges where at least half of students are online-only, nearly 70% of graduates earned their degree in one of these fields.

More than half of students at schools with many online learners got their associate degree in liberal arts and general studies. Healthcare and business are the second most popular associate degrees for online schools in Georgia.

For bachelor's graduates at online colleges, the top programs are business management, healthcare, biological and biomedical sciences, social sciences, computer science, and psychology.

Online master's in business administration degrees are the most popular master's program for Georgia students, followed by master's in education degrees. Health professions and computer information science are also popular for online master's students in the state.

Cost of Online Colleges in Georgia

Georgia students pay less for in-state tuition on average than students in other states. The most affordable college option for Georgia students to earn a bachelor's degree is at public four-year universities in the state, where average tuition and fees were $7,525 for the 2020-21 school year. 

Earning an associate degree from a community college is a great way to save money in school. Average tuition and fees were $3,169 for the 2020-21 school year at Georgia community colleges, less than half of what it cost to go to a public four-year university. 

Many students choose this more affordable option to help lower the cost of their bachelor's degree, and then transfer to a four-year school to finish their program.

Not only do online programs eliminate expenses associated with on-campus housing and transportation, they often feature lower tuition rates. Students can often save money on their degree by enrolling online.

Financial Aid for Students in Georgia

Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is one of the most important parts of the college application process. The FAFSA acts as an application to the biggest pools of free money to pay for college: federal grants, state grants, and sometimes grants and scholarships from your school.

Students in Georgia have access to a variety of financial aid options to help pay for college. On top of federal grants like the Pell Grant, Georgia offers 20 different state scholarships and grants to students in-state.

Some of the most notable ones include:

  • HOPE Scholarship and Zell Miller Scholarship: Two merit-based grants awarded to students who meet academic requirements.
  • HOPE Grant and Zell Miller Grant: Funding for students pursuing certificates or diplomas in career and technical education
  • Student Access Loan (SAL): A state-funded loan program offering 1% interest loans with loan forgiveness options for students who work in high-need sectors after college.
  • Tuition Equalization Grant (TEG): A grant designed to help students at private colleges balance out high tuition costs.

After filling out the FAFSA, students should check with their college to see if there are additional grants and scholarships they can apply for. There are thousands of scholarships available from nonprofit organizations, businesses, and other groups for students across demographics.

Once students have exhausted all their gift aid, they can use student loans to cover any leftover costs. It's generally best to take out federal student loans over private loans from banks or the school itself, because they offer lower interest rates and flexible repayment options.

Paths to Earning an Education for Free

Depending on their circumstances, some students may be able to go to college in Georgia for free, or at least tuition-free. For example, students enrolled in specific, high-demand majors, such as engineering, may be eligible for state grants that cover tuition costs. 

The state's dual enrollment program allows high school students to take up to 60 credit hours of college courses during their junior and senior years. Qualifying students do not pay for tuition, books, or additional fees. The state university system also allows residents over the age of 62 to attend college without paying tuition.

Our financial aid guide for online students can help you navigate the application process to make sure you get all the aid you qualify for.

Job Outlook for Georgia College Graduates

Georgia has a robust economy, ranking ninth in the nation by gross domestic product (GDP). Although the median annual household income is slightly lower than the national median — $65,030 as compared to $69,021 — it's also one of the most affordable states to live in. 

Helping to drive the state's economy are the 33% of adults who have a bachelor's degree or higher.

College graduates are most likely to find jobs in the more populous cities, such as Atlanta and Savannah. Some of the largest employers in 2022 included:

  • Delta Airlines
  • Amazon
  • Department of Defense 
  • Emory Healthcare
  • Gwinnett County School District 
  • Northside Hospital
  • Publix Super Market 
  • Home Depot
  • Walmart 
  •  Kroger

According to the Georgia Department of Labor, jobs in healthcare, tech, and management are projected to see significant growth over the next decade.

Healthcare is a popular online degree in part because of the increased demand for healthcare workers and the fact that healthcare programs are offered at every education level, from certificate to doctorate.

For students who are interested in pursuing a short-term certificate program, the need for medical assistants in Georgia is projected to grow by 34%. The need for registered nurses with associate and bachelor's degrees in nursing is also growing rapidly. Earning a master's in nursing is also a strong option for those who already have a bachelor's degree and want to become a nurse practitioner.

The need for software developers and quality assurance analysts is projected to grow by 25% in Georgia over the next 10 years. Professionals in general and operations management or project management and business operations are also likely to be in high demand.

Interested in learning about employment outcomes for alumni of online programs? OnlineU studied ten popular online colleges across the country and found strong career results.

FAQs About Online Colleges in Georgia

How Many Colleges Are in Georgia?

There are 110 public and private colleges and universities in Georgia. That includes 41 community and technical colleges and 69 four-year universities.

Is College Free in Georgia?

No, college is not free in Georgia, but some students might qualify for enough financial aid to go to college for free. One way to do this is by using the HOPE Grant and HOPE Career Grant, which together can cover the cost of college in some high-demand fields.

Is a College Degree Worth It in Georgia?

Whether or not a college degree is worth it depends on personal and career goals, how much you pay for your degree, and how much more you earn with it. In general, earning a degree usually means you'll qualify for better paying jobs and get more career opportunities. 

Those with an associate or bachelor's degree tend to earn more than those with a high school diploma, and those with graduate degrees are often the highest earners.

However, there are high-paying careers that don't require a degree. Personal goals and interests are also important. Some careers, such as bartending or being a tattoo artist, value experience and apprenticeships above degrees.

What Are the Best Colleges in Georgia?

Many rankings of the best colleges in Georgia highlight the most prestigious schools, but in reality, choosing the best college for each student is more complex than that. The best college is one that meets your educational needs, will help you reach your personal and professional goals, and can provide the support you need to finish your degree. Students should look for factors like what programs are available, how much it costs, how much financial aid is available, what types of student support does the college offer, and if their personal values align with the school's values and mission.

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