Online Schools & Colleges
in Georgia

FAQs, Financial Aid Info and Top Universities for 2018

The University System of Georgia (USG) includes four research universities, four comprehensive universities, ten state universities and thirteen state colleges. Collectively, these schools conferred more than 58,000 academic degrees in 2013, 60 percent at the bachelor’s level. With such a high volume of schools and students, comes a growing need for more diverse higher education options. In fall 2012, 16 percent of all undergraduates took at least one online course, with 10 percent of all college students enrolling in a fully online program. But how are Georgia’s online colleges meeting the needs of students and, vice versa, how are students finding the right programs? Read on to learn more.

Best Online Colleges in Georgia

2-Year Colleges

With so much variation across schools, it’s hard to nail down what it means to be “the best”. The perfect online college for one Georgia student could be a poor choice for another. Part of the search boils down to identifying what’s most important: a course catalogue with numerous blended and online options, a campus filled with stellar support services or a tuition and fee structure that makes payment as painless as possible. And if you can find online colleges in Georgia that have all that and more (like the ones on this list), that’s a great place to start. See which schools in Georgia are making the grade for online learning.

Rank University Title Tuition # of Online Programs Expand Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Description
1 Georgia State University-Perimeter College $2,181 3 9% Yes No Yes
2 Albany Technical College $2,140 42 39% Yes Yes Yes
3 Georgia Piedmont Technical College $2,136 55 37% Yes Yes Yes
4 Georgia Northwestern Technical College $2,136 36 23% Yes Yes Yes
5 Wiregrass Georgia Technical College $2,136 26 24% Yes Yes Yes
6 Southern Crescent Technical College $2,136 18 15% Yes Yes Yes
7 Columbus Technical College $2,136 9 22% Yes Yes Yes
8 Atlanta Technical College $2,136 11 31% Yes Yes Yes
9 Ogeechee Technical College $2,136 16 45% Yes Yes Yes
10 Augusta Technical College $2,136 6 37% Yes Yes Yes
11 West Georgia Technical College $2,136 23 22% No Yes Yes
12 Chattahoochee Technical College $2,136 13 12% No Yes Yes
13 Lanier Technical College $2,670 28 31% No Yes Yes
14 Southeastern Technical College $2,136 23 42% No Yes Yes
15 Oconee Fall Line Technical College $2,136 12 25% No Yes Yes
16 South Georgia Technical College $2,136 3 49% No Yes Yes
Rank University Title Tuition # of Online Programs Expand Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Description
1 University of Georgia $9,364 17 54% 85% 20% No Yes Yes

Founded in 1785, the University of Georgia is the state's oldest college, as well as its most comprehensive and diversified. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, UGA is home to 17 schools and colleges as well as one of the nation's finest research libraries. An extensive selection of online courses, certificates and degrees are offered in a range of subjects such as education, business administration, writing, psychology, health sciences and the arts. Programs are designed for convenience, so that students may complete coursework from anywhere and at times that fit into their schedules, while still maintaining high academic standards. Small class sizes ensure students can maximize interactions with peers and instructors. UGA also serves students with online-specific resources, including advisers, online career self-assessments and a dedicated librarian for online learners.

2 Georgia Institute of Technology $9,812 7 26% 84% 25% No Yes Yes

Georgia Institute of Technology, a leading research university specializing in advanced science and technology studies, offers online learners a variety of options. These include massive open online courses (MOOCs) taught by the school's world-class faculty and offered through Coursera, Udacity and edX; these courses may be completed anytime, from anywhere in the world, at no cost. Specialized online programs in high school math, professional skill certifications and summer undergraduate studies are also available. Students in all disciplines - even those not enrolled in online degree programs - may also choose from numerous individual online courses. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Georgia Tech has also teamed up with Udacity and AT&T to develop a unique degree offering: a master of science in computer science that is earned through the massive-online format, at a significantly reduced tuition rate compared to on-campus programs. Additionally, the school now offers an online master's degree in analytics through edX, as well as a master's degree in computational science and engineering, which are possible to complete fully online depending on which specialization courses are chosen.

3 University of North Georgia $3,648 5 75% 55% 9% Yes Yes Yes

This regional, multi-campus institution offers several fully online certificates, associate degrees and master's degrees - primarily in education, health and human services and the arts and sciences - as well as an RN-to-BSN bachelor's degree program. Online courses at the University of North Georgia are taught strictly by UNG professors, using the same curricula taught on campus, which meet standards from UNG's accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Some fully online courses at UNG still may require students to complete proctored exams on campus. Core requirement courses also may be completed online through eCore, a statewide system that enables students to take introductory-level courses offered online from any of its institutions; for these classes, students use free, open educational resources and digital textbooks. Online students also have access to 100% online tutoring services, as well as the Online Student Ambassadors, an organization created to promote off-campus activities for online students, in order to foster student relationships and mentoring.

4 Georgia Southern University $4,181 19 65% 54% 13% Yes No Yes

Founded as an agricultural and mechanical college in 1908, Georgia Southern University has grown to be one of the largest, most comprehensive universities in Georgia with a designation as a Doctoral/Research University by the Carnegie Foundation. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and many individual programs have additional, specialized accreditations. In addition to a wide array of individual courses that may be delivered online or in a hybrid format (combining online and on-campus instruction), GSU also offers three fully online undergraduate programs - interdisciplinary studies, information technology and an RN-to-BSN - as well as more than 30 fully online graduate programs in areas including business administration, education, health and human sciences, engineering and information technology, and liberal arts and social sciences. GSU's online courses and programs enable students to complete coursework from anywhere, without sacrificing quality: online courses are taught by the same GSU faculty that teach on-campus courses. The majority of online courses utilize an asynchronous format, so that materials may be accessed at any time, although some instruction-for instance, in the online RN-to-BSN program-is done synchronously (in real time).

5 Georgia College $7,180 9 85% 62% 9% Yes Yes Yes

Georgia College and State University (GCSU) is designated as Georgia's public liberal arts university by the Georgia Board of Regents. Current online degree offerings through GCSU include several master's degrees, in subjects including criminal justice, music, business, public administration, education and nursing; and an RN-BSN program for nursing students. The college itself is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and the nursing program has additional accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Georgia Board of Nursing. The RN-BSN program is designed for nurses who hold associate or diploma degrees in nursing and current RN licenses. Graduation from this nursing program requires 120 credit hours, including credit hours transferred in. Although this program is offered 100% online, students will have opportunities for optional campus visits. Since GCSU is part of the University System of Georgia, students interested in other online bachelor's degrees can access programs through other GCSU system colleges.

6 Brenau University $26,760 29 36% 48% 87% Yes Yes Yes

There are currently 16 online degree programs at Brenau University at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The bachelor's degrees offered online are career-oriented, and considered full-time, 100% online programs. However, students may participate in practicums, field work or other activities such as student teaching as part of graduation requirements. Online courses are delivered through the Canvas system and are in accelerated, 7-week sessions with a cap of 20 students. All programs have liberal education requirements that are broken down into specific categories, with courses such as reasoning, fitness, language, global awareness and civic engagement. Students must meet university admission requirements, and most programs have a GPA requirement of 2.5 for high school students, and a 2.0 for college transfer students, with exception of the childhood education and nursing programs, which require a 2.75 GPA from college transcripts. Also of note is Brenau's commitment to instructional quality; all instructors are certified to teach online after satisfactorily completing a 4-week certification class.

7 Columbus State University $4,181 18 53% 37% 11% Yes Yes Yes

Columbus State University (CSU) students have good variety of online degree options, at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Bachelor's degree-seeking students can choose from 4-year programs in business, communications, information technology, liberal arts, nursing or sociology. Specialty tracks include international business, military and global issues, humanities and social science, and communication studies. These programs typically follow the on-campus semester schedules in a synchronous format, with exception of the nursing program. The RN-BSN nursing program is a CCNE-accredited, asynchronous, 12-month program with clinical rotations required prior to graduation. As part of the Georgia State University System (GSU), students can take advantage of courses through other colleges in the system, which all use GoView for online course delivery. Students seeking online bachelor's degrees can complete all general education credits online for a reduced per-credit cost through the system's eCore program. CSU students can also access online courses offered by colleges in other states through State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA).

8 Georgia Southwestern State University $3,886 9 68% 36% 36% Yes Yes Yes

Georgia Southwestern State University's (GSW) online bachelor's degree programs are career-focused, and geared towards transfer students, military and spouses, students working full time or others needing extra flexibility. Accelerated online degrees are offered through eMajor, the collaborative partnership between schools within the University System of Georgia, designed to meet the workplace needs of Georgia and beyond. Areas of online study include business, criminal justice, information technology (WebBSIT) and nursing. Programs are fully online and vary in length, based on prior learning credits transferred in and enrollment. Per-credit costs are reduced for eMajor students, and students can keep costs down further by applying to several in-house scholarships and for out-of-state tuition waivers. Another option for 4-year-degree seekers is the ecore system, which allows students to complete all general education courses online, with reduced tuition and free textbooks. Courses through ecore and eMajor can be in asynchronous or synchronous format and use GoView for course delivery.

9 Armstrong State University $3,886 8 80% 35% 8% Yes Yes Yes

Armstrong State University and Georgia Southern University (GSU) recently joined to become one college. The Armstrong campus is one of the 3 GSU campuses. It is located in Savannah. Students interested in a bachelor's degree can complete courses 100% online or in a blended format, depending on students' individual needs. Degrees offered include RN-BSN, BS in information technology and BA in interdisciplinary studies. The latter offers increased flexibility and is a great choice for transfer students and adult learners. Students can choose 3 areas of specialization for upper-division course requirements, from the options of business, criminal justice, sociology, writing, instructional technology and public administration. Programs will have different admission requirements and vary in length; an example is the Information Technology program, which requires completed prerequisites prior to starting the program and takes 2 years to complete. Online courses are managed through GoView, the University System of Georgia virtual instruction system, and are delivered through Desire2Learn.

10 Albany State University $3,888 6 50% 44% 14% Yes Yes Yes

Albany State University offers 4-year online degree options in nursing, health and human performance, management information systems and technology, organizational leadership and social work. The organizational leadership degree offers areas of concentration in health care or public service administration and office administration and technology. These degrees are available completely online, with the exception of the BSN, social work and health and human performance, which have core requirements online and major courses in-person. Online courses are delivered through GeorgiaVIEW and programs have recommended course tracks. Programs vary slightly in the amount of credit hours required, and may have different admission requirements. Students can transfer in credits to shorten program length, and credit may be given to those with military training and relevant life experience. Specific graduation requirements also vary, with some requiring practicum and field work, such as the social work and nursing programs.

11 University of West Georgia $4,181 13 59% 44% 10% No Yes Yes
12 Valdosta State University $4,181 15 65% 41% 7% Yes No Yes
13 Toccoa Falls College $20,714 9 54% 52% 96% No Yes Yes
14 Clayton State University $3,886 11 41% 38% 9% No Yes Yes
15 Savannah College of Art and Design $35,190 17 72% 67% 97% No Yes Yes
16 Shorter University $21,300 8 61% 47% 97% No Yes Yes
17 Dalton State College $2,452 3 - 26% 5% Yes Yes Yes
18 Luther Rice College & Seminary $6,120 7 76% - 75% No Yes Yes
19 Fort Valley State University $3,886 6 26% 35% 15% No Yes Yes
20 Augusta University $6,382 10 77% 37% 7% No Yes Yes
21 Life University $10,170 4 92% 38% 66% No Yes No
22 Thomas University $15,940 7 47% 17% 78% Yes No Yes
23 Beulah Heights University $9,090 8 - 27% 20% No No Yes
24 Darton State College $2,184 5 - - 10% Yes No Yes
25 Truett McConnell University $17,850 3 91% 19% 96% No Yes Yes

How can I find which online colleges offer the degree I’m looking for in Georgia?

In Georgia, the best place to start is with GeorgiaONmyLINE. Run by the University of Georgia System, the website allows you to search all online courses and online degrees across the entire University System of Georgia. The search remains up-to-date and gives you the option to search for programs by subject area, school, degree level and amount of distance learning you desire: entirely distance (100 percent), distance delivery (95 percent w/some campus visits) and partially distance (51 to 95 percent). You can even search for online course and programs by keyword.

Which online schools in Georgia will accept my transfer credits or work/life experience?

Numerous online schools in Georgia accept transfer credits from other institutions, but it will often be school-specific. For example, Georgia Tech accepts transfer credits if students provide transcripts for courses in which they received a grade of “C” or better. The University of Georgia takes most general courses designed for a bachelor’s degree. In addition, the University System of Georgia allows students to transfer credits from 28 general education courses from colleges and universities with the same regional accreditation.

For students with no college experience, work/life experience or military experience may be an early ticket to college credit. The USG recommends that students take the Prior Learning Assessment if they feel they have qualifying experience.

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How Much More Do College Grads in Georgia Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report on earnings by educational attainment, workers with a bachelor’s degree as their highest credential earn nearly twice as much—on average—as someone with a high school diploma only ($1,173/week vs. $712/week). The BLS also reports a similar trend in Georgia, where salaries for occupations that require at least a bachelor’s degree pay over $20,000 more per year than those that require just a high school diploma:

Mean Annual Salary for All Occupations in Georgia, by Minimum Degree Requirement:

No Formal
High School
$29,286 $40,254 $56,828 $56,828 $56,828 $108,369

As you can see, there’s a significant boost in income in Georgia simply by attaining an associate degree, and it only goes up from there. Additionally, Georgia’s labor market is in a state of steady growth.

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The Impact of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in Georgia

Georgia continues to show its support for online learning via student-friendly search platforms and Kinder through College legislation. The University System of Georgia created the GeorgiaONmyLINE directory, which helps students research online courses and degrees within the University System of Georgia, and the state passed the Online Learning Bill, which promotes the extension of online learning modules at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

Georgia Accreditation & SACS

With more online learning options, however, students (and parents) need to keep a close eye on quality. At the college level, this means regional accreditation. When researching online programs at Georgia colleges and universities, make sure the schools on your shortlist have been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS). Not only is SACS accreditation a must if you’re studying online in Georgia, but it’s a requirement to receive federal financial aid.

Accreditation by Subject

In addition to regional accreditation, various schools within a college may seek accreditation specific to their subject. This is an extra layer of approval for their program, and, in some cases, it’s a necessity. For example, many business schools actively seek out accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), such as the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. Fields including nursing, teacher education, psychology, law, accounting and many others offer specialized, subject-based accreditation.

Paying for Online College in Georgia: Tuition & Financial Aid

College tuition can sap a paycheck, or at least cause those loan amounts to pile up. The good news is, a college degree can be a ticket to a stable career and more lucrative paycheck in Georgia. Let’s take a closer look at tuition rates in Georgia, and what they can mean for first-time college students today:

In-State Tuition, Public Colleges & Universities: $7,011

Change from 2015 $258

National Average:$8,778

In-State Tuition, Private Colleges & Universities: $25,754

Change from 2015 $1,261

National Average:$27,951

This figures reflect in-state tuition and required fees only. No room, board or optional fees (parking) included.

What are Georgia’s requirements to qualify for in-state university tuition?

To qualify for in-state tuition in Georgia, you, or your parents/legal guardian (if a minor) must:

  • Have lived in Georgia for a minimum of 12 continuous months prior to the academic period for which you’re enrolling.
  • Abandon permanent ties to whatever state you lived in before.
  • Take necessary steps to assume the responsibilities of a Georgia resident, such as getting a Georgia driver’s license, vehicle registration, voter registration, etc.
  • Be financially self-sufficient, if independent, and not claimed by anyone else as a dependent.

There are some exceptions, which will be up to the individual college to approve. You may be able to obtain residency status, or pay in-state tuition if…

  • You live outside Georgia, but your parent lives in-state.
  • You or your parent is an active military person stationed in Georgia (you can get a waiver for the difference in tuition).
  • You are a full-time employee of the UGS.
  • You are a full-time teacher in a Georgia public school.

Are online credits more affordable in Georgia than other places?

The cost of school credits differs within each college and university in Georgia. Let’s look at some undergraduate tuition rates, sans fees, at Georgia’s online colleges compared to those in neighboring states:

$150 to $199 per credit hour

$320 to $412 per credit hour

$407 per credit hour

$389 to $432 per credit hour

$130 to $247 per credit hour

How can I get help paying for online college in Georgia?

Once you’ve settled on a program, figure out how to pay for your degree. Georgia has a variety of financial aid opportunities ranging from federal grants to local scholarships.

  • Georgia Finance Commission: This organization administers state financial aid and runs GAFutures, a website that offers career tools, financial aid calculators, credit transfer information, state scholarships and grants and loans (including the HOPE program).

  • Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant: These awards are given to Georgia residents who plan to attend eligible private colleges or universities within the state. Recipients get an award of $475 per semester or $317 per quarter for up to three semesters or four quarters per year. Students must be enrolled full-time in an undergraduate program of study leading to an undergraduate degree, as well as be U.S. citizens and legal residents of Georgia.

  • HOPE GED Grant: This award is given to students who earned a GED diploma after June 30, 1993. It provides students with a one-time $500 grant for tuition, books and other educational costs at an eligible postsecondary institution. Full-time enrollment is not required. Students must use their HOPE Grant award within 24 months of the date of earning their GED diploma. In addition to the GED Grant, students can qualify for the HOPE Grant for certificate and diploma programs. Eligible students must be U.S. citizens, legal residents of Georgia and enrolled at a HOPE-eligible postsecondary institution in Georgia.

  • Zell Miller Grant: Similar to the HOPE Grant, the Zell Miller Grant is given to students working towards a technical certificate or diploma at a TCSG or USG institution. If students uphold a 3.5 cumulative GPA at the end of each term, the grant will cover full tuition at the students choice of school. The first term of enrollment is paid retroactively if the student has earned the required 3.5 GPA. Award amounts vary depending on the program and number of study hours, with a maximum of 15 hours each semester. Like most of these grants, you must be a U.S. citizen and a Georgia resident.

Online Schools & Adult Education in Georgia

Some students cannot attend college fresh out of high school, and some have to abandon their academic careers because of other work, family or financial obligations. Adult education exists to fill those gaps and help aspiring students get on the path to college. In Georgia specifically, it is making a difference.

Nearly 55 percent of adult education participants in Georgia see a measurable skills increase thanks to the state’s adult education programs. – U.S. Department of Education, 2017

Adult learning courses and traditional online education work together to bring as many people to higher education as possible. Georgia also helps to facilitate adult education through Go Back, Move Ahead, which offers resources and tips to help adults get back to their education.

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