College education is increasingly important to Georgia's growing economy. A comprehensive study by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI) backs up this claim. According to the GBPI, 65% of Georgia jobs will require at least a postsecondary diploma or certificate, some college education, or an associate degree by 2020.
In this guide, you will learn why attending a Georgia postsecondary school will benefit you when entering the state's job market. You will also familiarize yourself with essential facts about the state's higher education landscape, including where to find the most affordable online colleges in Georgia and how to navigate the many available options.
Keep in mind that some schools offer only a limited selection of online programs, while others have many more options. As you browse each school's description, pay particular attention to details that indicate the availability of programs aligned with your academic interests.
The growth of online college programs in Georgia demonstrates the state’s overall commitment to higher education excellence. The USG’s 402 online programs, combined with hundreds of programs across the remaining institutions, give students a wide range of options. But which colleges stand out? Which colleges offer the most affordable online programs year in and year out?
|Rank||Logo||School||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate||Graduation Rate||Financial Aid||Credit For Experience||Placement Service||Counseling Services||Description & Additional Information||Toggle|
|1||Mercer University Macon, GA||
66% Graduation Rate
Mercer offers more than a dozen entirely online bachelor's degrees, including programs in accounting, communication, and informatics. These 120-credit degrees feature a 36-39-credit general education component, and students can select a concentration or academic cognate in many programs. Some programs require students to complete an on-campus orientation.
Mercer's career center provides online learners with a four-year career plan, resume and cover letter guides, and salary negotiation tips. Mercer students can also access resources through Handshake, an online platform that includes a job and internship board.
Admission requirements include high school or GED transcripts. Prospective students do not need to submit recommendation letters or standardized test scores. Transfer applications must have a minimum 2.25 undergraduate GPA. Mercer charges the same per-credit tuition rate to all learners regardless of residency. Over 90% of Mercer undergraduates receive some form of financial aid.
|2||University of Georgia Athens, GA||
86% Graduation Rate
UGA offers prospective undergraduates a bachelor's degree online in special education. The two-year program admits transfer students who hold an associate degree. Required coursework includes the foundation of teaching reading, instruction of individuals with mild disabilities, and learning technologies. Additional requirements include three practica and student teaching, which prepare students to apply for a Georgia teaching license.
UGA operates a career center that helps distance learners sign up for virtual counseling sessions, catch up on the latest career and job-searching trends, and research employers. The center also provides learners with interest assessments and a guide for creating academic portfolios.
Admission requirements include undergraduate transcripts and a minimum 2.8 GPA. Applicants must pass both the GACE Program Admission Assessment and the GACE Educator Ethics Entry Assessment. UGA charges a flat, per-semester tuition rate that benefits full-time and accelerated students. Learners may qualify for one of seven scholarships.
|3||Piedmont College Demorest, GA||
50% Graduation Rate
Piedmont features a bachelor's degree online in leadership studies. The program includes an 18-credit core curriculum wherein learners hone management and technical writing skills. After completing the core, students personalize the major by selecting seven electives in areas such as criminology and governmental institutions.
Piedmont helps learners craft a resume, develop interviewing skills, and determine which career paths align with the leadership studies curriculum. After taking an interest inventory, students can go over the results with a career counselor. Piedmont students can also sign up for SuccessLink, an online hub that features the latest job postings and informational videos.
Piedmont accepts GED scores and the Common Application. Piedmont does not require standardized test scores for admission. All students pay the same per-credit tuition rate. Financial aid opportunities for online learners include federal grants and loans. Learners can apply for aid by submitting FAFSA results.
|4||Columbus State University Columbus, GA||
37% Graduation Rate
CSU's eight online bachelor's degrees include programs in information technology, nursing, and general sociology. CSU's distance learners use CougarVIEW to access asynchronous courses, and CSU provides online learning and troubleshooting guides for students unfamiliar with online education.
CSU's career center offers students and alumni resume and interview assistance and one-on-one career advising. Learners can log in to Handshake to find job postings. The center also maintains a list of internship opportunities throughout Georgia.
Some of CSU's online degrees do not admit out-of-state applicants. CSU accepts both high school and GED transcripts. Applicants also submit ACT or SAT scores. The university does not use a GPA cutoff for transfer credit. CSU provides Georgia residents with a significant tuition discount.
|5||Shorter University Rome, GA||
46% Graduation Rate
Shorter offers online bachelor's degrees for aspiring business, criminal justice, and human services professionals. Some degrees include both a BA and a BS option, and students can take all general education courses entirely online. Distance learners must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to remain in good academic standing.
Shorter's career center provides learners with essential support services, including a career assessment and 30-60-minute one-on-one counseling sessions. Students can also log in to Hawk Ready, a resource that offers resume critiques, a job board, and career-path exploration guides.
Admission requirements include high school or GED transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. All applicants also submit FAFSA results. Shorter charges the same per-credit tuition rate to all undergraduates. Georgia residents may qualify for the HOPE Scholarship, which awards financial aid over four years.
|6||Georgia Southwestern State University Americus, GA||
29% Graduation Rate
GSW offers three online bachelor's degrees: criminal justice; management, accounting, and human resources; and an RN-to-BSN. GSW's criminal justice degree offers electives in areas such as criminal justice administration, family violence, and police problems and practices. Each program delivers all coursework asynchronously.
GSW's career center helps learners use Hurricane Career Path software to identify career-development tools and connect with potential employers. GSW also offers access to career counselors, self-assessments, and an alumni association.
GSW accepts both GED and HiSET scores, and applicants who do not submit ACT or SAT scores take the ACCUPLACER exam to determine initial English and math placements. In addition to transfer credit, incoming learners can earn credit by completing a prior learning assessment. Students living in states that border Georgia pay in-state tuition.
|7||LaGrange College Lagrange, GA||
46% Graduation Rate
LaGrange offers online bachelor's degrees in three fields: business administration, nursing, and sociology. Each degree delivers all coursework asynchronously. The nursing degree is accredited by both the Georgia Board of Nursing and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.
LaGrange's career center offers online students resume critiques, mock interviews, and personality assessments. Other resources on the center's website include a salary calculator, a private job board, and etiquette training courses.
Admission requirements vary by program. Nursing applicants must have a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA and a valid nursing license. All online programs charge the same per-credit tuition rate.
|8||Clayton State University Morrow, GA||
30% Graduation Rate
CSU's online programs include many unique options, including degrees in health and fitness management, film production, and performing arts. All programs deliver coursework asynchronously through the Brightspace platform. CSU supports distance learners through resources like peer tutoring.
CSU provides students with salary and career guides, interest inventories, and multiple career-preparation videos that cover topics such as interview preparation and resume writing. The university also offers a mentorship program.
CSU admits new learners in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Admission requirements include high school or GED transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. CSU uses a standardized test score cutoff. The university provides a significant tuition discount to in-state learners. Incoming students can apply for both institutional and departmental scholarships.
|9||Emory University Atlanta, GA||
90% Graduation Rate
Emory features one of the best online bachelor's degrees in medical imaging. The program's 128-credit curriculum includes coursework in imaging equipment, business, communication, and advanced clinical procedures.
Emory's career center helps students connect with employers, set professional goals, and research industry trends. Learners can download a resume guide and receive a resume critique. Emory provides additional resources through Handshake.
Prospective students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA. Emory also requires ACT or SAT scores, a personal essay, and three recommendation letters. The university charges the same per-credit tuition rate to all learners. Students can apply for federal grants, institutional scholarships, and external aid exclusive to learners majoring in a medical area.
|10||Brenau University Gainesville, GA||
43% Graduation Rate
Brenau's online programs include 11 bachelor's degrees in areas such as organizational leadership, finance, and healthcare administration. Courses in each program last seven weeks. All programs deliver coursework asynchronously, and learners can build professional relationships through discussion boards and group projects.
Brenau provides career services such as individualized counseling, mock interviews, and an updated list of internship opportunities throughout Georgia. Students can also review common career myths and realities and explore Brenau's exclusive job board.
First-year admission requirements include a minimum 2.75 high school GPA. Transfer applicants should have a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA. Homeschooled prospective students can also apply, but must complete an internship. Brenau does not charge out-of-state tuition, and more than 85% of learners receive some type of financial aid.
|11||Valdosta State University Valdosta, GA||
42% Graduation Rate
VSU's online bachelor's degrees feature an asynchronous delivery method and programs in areas like French, organizational leadership, and workforce education and development. Each degree's website includes a four-year program map to keep students on track for graduation. VSU online resources include virtual proctors, workshops, and troubleshooting guides.
VSU helps learners and alumni research internships and job postings, create a four-year success plan, and calculate salaries for potential careers. Other essential resources include links to top networking and job-search sites.
Admission requirements include standardized test scores and a high school diploma. Nontraditional applicants -- those who left high school more than five years before applying -- can submit GED scores. Out-of-state students who take at least 95% of courses online qualify for the in-state tuition rate.
|12||University of North Georgia Dahlonega, GA||
34% Graduation Rate
Aspiring and current healthcare professionals pursue UNG's online bachelor's degrees. The university offers three online BS degrees: healthcare services and informatics administration, interdisciplinary studies, and an RN-to-BSN. Each degree's website includes a plan of study that helps new learners select courses and graduate on schedule. UNG's distance learners complete coursework through the eCore and eMajor platforms.
UNG provides online learners with a career database, internship opportunities, and resume critiques. UNG provides an in-depth guide on interviewing best practices. Students and alumni can also receive specialized advice on how to start a successful business.
Admission requirements vary by program. UNG maintains a GPA cutoff for transfer credit. Prospective nursing students must hold a Georgia nursing license. All UNG learners pay the same tuition regardless of residency.
|13||Fort Valley State University Fort Valley, GA||
28% Graduation Rate
FVSU offers online bachelor's degrees in organizational leadership, criminal justice, political science, and psychology. The university uses Brightspace by D2L to deliver online course content.
Each program begins with an online learning readiness assessment. FVSU's career counselors help distance learners achieve a positive career outcome by providing one-on-one advising services and multiple career fairs throughout the academic year. Students can also review FVSU's guide on how to dress appropriately for a career fair or interview.
First-year applicants submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. The university maintains both high school GPA and standardized test score cutoffs. FVSU accepts transfer credits earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA. FVSU does not charge out-of-state tuition to online learners.
|14||Atlanta Metropolitan State College Atlanta, GA||
15% Graduation Rate
AMSC's online bachelor's degrees include dozens of options, including accounting, chemistry, computer science, and history. Many degrees also feature multiple concentrations. Students can supplement a program by completing a minor or earning a certificate in aviation management or instructional design.
AMSC's writing center provides expert advice from peer tutors. The university's career center features additional resources, including Handshake and interviewing best practices. Learners can also log in to CandidCareer to research potential career paths.
Prospective students must have a minimum 2.0 undergraduate GPA and at least 36 transferable credits. AMSC does not require standardized test scores or recommendation letters. Students who maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA may qualify for one of AMSC's Excellence Scholarships.
|15||Georgia Military College Milledgeville, GA||
24% Graduation Rate
Students who can learn at an accelerated pace should consider GMC's online bachelor's degrees. The college offers three programs: supply chain management and logistics, supervision and management, and business management. Learners with an associate degree or significant transfer credit can complete these programs within two years.
GMC provides online guides that cover resume writing, career-planning best practices, and interviewing tips. The college also provides links to excellent outside resources such as interest inventories, networking sites, and job boards. Students can review career-focused self-assessment questions.
GMC admits new learners at multiple points throughout the year. The university accepts GED scores. All GMC students pay the same per-credit tuition rate, except for active-duty service members, who receive an automatic tuition discount.
|16||Point University West Point, GA||
32% Graduation Rate
Point offers 20 online bachelor's degrees, including an RN-to-BSN program and programs in logistics management and social media marketing. Students complete all coursework asynchronously, and courses cap enrollment at 18 learners. The university also features an academic mentorship program in which learners can receive help from alumni and peers.
Point's career center helps students plan for life after graduation by offering resume assistance, an interviewing skills guide, and interest inventories. Other resources include personality assessments and standardized test study guides that prepare learners to take the GMAT, GRE, MAT, and MCAT.
Admission requirements include academic transcripts and FAFSA results. Point accepts up to 90 transfer credits and does not require standardized test scores or recommendation letters. Point charges the same tuition rate to all students. Georgia residents should submit the Georgia Scholarship/Grant Application to apply for state financial aid.
|17||Georgia Southern University Statesboro, GA||
50% Graduation Rate
Georgia Southern offers online bachelor's degrees in interdisciplinary studies, information technology, and nursing. The university's programs offer generous transfer credit policies, and students maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to remain in good academic standing. Since the degrees use a cohort learning model, students can forge valuable professional bonds with their peers.
Georgia Southern's career counselors assist students in locating appropriate services, including career assessments and career courses. The university also maintains a list of both on-campus and off-campus internship opportunities.
Prospective nursing students must hold a Georgia nursing license and a minimum 3.0 GPA on previous undergraduate coursework. The university's other two online degrees require a minimum 2.5 high school GPA and standardized test scores.
|18||Dalton State College Dalton, GA||
22% Graduation Rate
Dalton State offers bachelor's degree online programs in two areas: criminal justice and organizational leadership. The organizational leadership degree features three concentration options, including healthcare administration.
Dalton State's career center provides resume reviews and counselors who work solely with learners preparing for graduate school. The university also provides Purple Briefcase, a networking and job-searching site available to both students and alumni.
Dalton State accepts GED scores. All applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores. All transfer students must have a minimum 2.0 undergraduate GPA. Dalton State charges the same per-credit tuition rate to all online students.
|19||Toccoa Falls College Toccoa Falls, GA||
59% Graduation Rate
At TFC, students can select from 10 online bachelor's degrees, including programs in biblical studies, ministry leadership, and youth ministries. Each course lasts eight weeks, and students take two courses at a time. Online learners can also participate in TFC's study-abroad program. All learners in each program complete 30 credits of Bible and theology courses.
TFC's career services office provides career tests, an academic portfolio guide, and resume templates. Other online resources include links to top job and internship boards. Local employers recruit TFC graduates through the College Central Network.
Freshman applicants submit high school transcripts and standardized test scores. Other application materials include a personal testimony - a 200-300-word statement of faith. A private university, TFC charges the same per-credit tuition rate to all online degree-seekers. Finally, new students need only submit FAFSA results to apply for all institutional, federal, and state financial aid programs.
|20||Middle Georgia State University Macon, GA||
18% Graduation Rate
MGA offers nine online bachelor's degrees, including programs in information technology, health services administration, and aviation science and management. Students take all online courses through the eCore platform. Although MGA delivers all online coursework asynchronously, distance learners must complete proctored exams at an authorized testing center. Additionally, all students speak with an academic advisor before registering for courses.
MGA's career center helps students use Handshake to review the latest job and internship opportunities. Other resources include resume critiques, graduate school guides, and salary negotiation tips.
Admission requirements include high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. MGA does not accept undocumented immigrants. The university provides a significant tuition discount to Georgia residents. MGA's Our Opportunities website allows learners to both research and apply for institutional scholarships.
|21||University of West Georgia Carrollton, GA||
42% Graduation Rate
UWG's online bachelor's degrees feature over a dozen entirely online and hybrid options, including marketing, nursing, and organizational leadership. Hybrid options require some coursework on the university's Carrollton campus. UWG also offers five online certificates.
UWG's career services office provides students and alumni with resume and cover letter guides, internship search strategies, and InterviewStream. Hybrid learners can also attend on-campus events such as industry-specific career fairs and expos.
UWG admits learners in the spring, summer, and fall semesters. Prospective freshmen submit high school transcripts and standardized test scores. Transfer students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA. UWG offers a significant tuition discount to in-state learners.
|22||Albany State University Albany, GA||
19% Graduation Rate
ASU offers six online bachelor's degrees, three of which -- generic BSN, health and human performance, and social work -- accept degree-completion students. Degree-completion tracks require approximately 60 credits, and full-time learners can graduate in two years. Students who enter an ASU program as a freshman can complete the 42-credit general education requirement entirely online.
ASU's first-year experience/pathway to success course prepares distance learners for positive academic and career outcomes. ASU also provides job-hunting tips and links to some of the best career and networking websites.
Prospective online students can apply for the spring, summer, or fall semesters. Freshman admission requirements include high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. ASU uses a 2.0 undergraduate GPA cutoff for transfer credit. All distance learners pay the same tuition rate.
|23||Georgia Highlands College Rome, GA||
11% Graduation Rate
GHC offers online bachelor's degrees in four fields: criminal justice, dental hygiene, health science, and nursing. The health science program requires some coursework on the university's Rome campus. All online learners can enhance their educational experience by joining one of GHC's student associations.
Students can research and apply for job opportunities by accessing College Central Network (CCN). CCN helps learners attain professional success by providing networking tools and tips. Degree-seekers can review the 30 most important interview questions on the CCN website.
GHC's dental hygiene and nursing programs require that prospective students hold a state-issued license. The other two online degrees accept GED scores. GHC evaluates transfer credit on a case-by-case basis. Incoming students with excellent ACT or SAT scores may qualify for an institutional scholarship.
|24||Georgia State University Atlanta, GA||
54% Graduation Rate
Georgia State offers a single bachelor's degree online in nutrition. The program's hybrid curriculum requires some coursework on one of the university's seven Georgia campuses. Students analyze food science, nutrition assessment, and advanced medical terminology. The program's curriculum features two concentrations: nutrition science and nutrition and wellness.
Georgia State's career services office helps students find a fulfilling job by offering access to Handshake, a four-year action plan, and a list of internship opportunities. Other resources include career exploration tools and graduate school application tips. Students preparing for graduate school can build a virtual academic portfolio on Portfolium.
Admission requirements include high school transcripts and standardized test scores that meet Georgia State's cutoffs. The university also accepts homeschooled applicants. Georgia State provides a significant tuition discount to Peach State residents.
|25||Reinhardt University Waleska, GA||
29% Graduation Rate
Reinhardt's online bachelor's degrees appeal to students with an associate degree or at least 30 transferable credits. The university offers three entirely online programs: business administration, criminal justice, and healthcare administration. Each program delivers all coursework asynchronously, and some learners can graduate in 16 months.
Reinhardt provides students with career-planning tools, resume critiques, and guides that cover interviewing skills. Students and alumni can also log in to Purple Briefcase to network with potential employers.
Georgia possesses a strong depth in both the number and range of online program options available in the state. It also features a large and growing distance education student population. These factors reflect favorably on the value and quality of online degrees in Georgia and bode well for a variety of demographic groups, including single parents, full-time employees, underserved populations, and employed individuals seeking high-growth alternatives to shrinking legacy industries and labor markets.
The following table details state-specific information drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Data Education System (IPEDS):
Number of Programs offered Completely Online in Georgia 130
Undergraduate Students enrolled Exclusively Online in Georgia 17,356
Graduate Students enrolled Exclusively Online in Georgia 15,466
Total International Students enrolled Exclusively Online in Georgia 1,546
Online programs in Georgia offer an affordable alternative to traditional education. Non-local students enjoy particular advantages, as many of Georgia's major higher education systems charge out-of-state students in-state tuition rates for online classes.
Georgia's online schools with tuition policies that charge in-state and out-of-state students different rates typically determine residency by considering an applicant's income tax returns, vehicle or voter registration, driver's licenses and other ID documents, and employment records. In most cases, you must establish a permanent home in Georgia well before applying for school, though exact timelines vary from institution to institution. You may also earn in-state tuition eligibility through a reciprocity agreement if you live in a state that borders Georgia and meet certain criteria.
The following table details recent tuition averages for in-state and out-of-state students at Georgia schools:
Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2017
Note that online schools in Georgia remain relatively affordable by national standards. As of 2017, tuition rates for both in-state and out-of-state students enrolled in four-year colleges in Georgia were lower than the national averages for all states.
Most Georgia schools charge online students tuition rates that match or beat those of attending traditional on-campus classes. Remember, too, that studying online also saves time and transportation costs while eliminating the need for you to relocate to a physical campus.
Consider this snapshot of online tuition rates at several major Georgia schools for the 2018-19 academic year:
IPEDS data from 2016 counts almost 7,000 exclusively online out-of-state students enrolled at Georgia higher education institutions. Non-residents should take several factors into careful consideration when looking at online universities in Georgia, especially if you live in a bordering state. Some online colleges in Georgia participate in reciprocity agreements and offer "good neighbor" discounts to qualified residents of nearby states. These programs may entitle you to in-state tuition rates, even though you reside elsewhere.
However, keep in mind that state agreements and school policies may result in limitations or restrictions on out-of-state admissions to online programs. Research each school's stance on this matter early in the evaluation process to avoid wasting time learning about programs you cannot attend for eligibility reasons.
Out-of-State Undergraduate Students studying exclusively online in Georgia 1,894
Out-of-State Graduate Students studying exclusively online in Georgia 5,059
Georgia participates in the regional interstate compact of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB). SREB includes 15 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The Academic Common Market (ACM) serves as SREB's discounted tuition program. Through the ACM, students from any SREB state can qualify for in-state tuition rates if they enroll in an eligible program. Individual institutions determine program eligibility, though in many cases, school administrators elect to include degree programs with little or no availability in other member states.
Using the University of Georgia as an example, you could save over $18,500 per year in tuition and mandatory fees through the ACM program.
Georgia, like many states, participates in an interstate authorization process that applies to out-of-state students enrolled in online programs. Regulators established the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) process to introduce consumer protections to online learning by guaranteeing exemplary quality and integrity of academic programs.
Institutions participate in NC-SARA voluntarily. While non-participation does not necessarily reflect poorly on the quality or trustworthiness of a given school or program, some education experts would argue that you should favor participating institutions when considering your options.
Tuition rates are ultimately program- and institution-based. Ask someone from a prospective program about what rates apply to you specifically as a potential member of a specific program.
These resources will help you navigate your options as you research the top online schools in Georgia. Remember: these are general resources, and you should always perform independent research on the colleges that interest you.
Each school maintains its own tuition policies, making it impossible to offer a universally applicable answer to this question. However, from a general standpoint, online colleges in Georgia tend to cost the same (or less) as attending traditional classes. This is particularly true of public colleges.
As you assess costs, remember that studying online also allows you to avoid some mandatory fees that only apply to on-campus students. You also avoid the need to relocate, which can save significant amounts of money over the course of a four-year degree. Flexible online course structures also make it easy to schedule your schoolwork around part-time or full-time employment, which further alleviates your financial burden and improves the cost-effectiveness of taking part in an online degree.
For specifics, refer to the fee tables listed on each school's official website.
According to statistics compiled for the 2018-19 academic year, the two Georgia colleges with the highest numbers of transfer students were Kennesaw State University and Georgia State University. While the sizable student bodies of these two schools partially explains the trend, their generous transfer credit policies also attract many new students.
At Kennesaw State University, incoming transfer students must possess a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 on all coursework to obtain advanced standing. Georgia State University's transfer credit policies permit students to earn recognition for up to 12 credit-hours of D-grade coursework in addition to its already generous allowances.
As the state's flagship higher education system, the University of Georgia also merits mention for transfer students. At the University of Georgia, incoming transfer students require at least 60 credit-hours of qualifying coursework with a cumulative GPA of 2.8 or higher. You can learn more by visiting the FAQ on the University of Georgia's page for transfer students.
Beyond these general guidelines, refer to the specific transfer credit policies of each school under your consideration. Seek out your information on the school's own website, rather than relying on third-party sources.
According to the General Educational Development (GED) Testing Service, more than 60% of recent high school graduates with a GED go on to enroll in college. The GED Testing Service also states that more than 97% of American employers and higher education institutions recognize the validity of the GED when considering new applicants. Instead of looking at your high school grades, colleges will instead consider the score you earned on your GED test.
However, keep in mind that you may be required to take additional entrance examinations, depending on the admissions policies in place at the school of your choice. For instance, if you do not have ACT or SAT scores, you may need to take these tests as part of your application process. If you have any questions, refer them to the admissions department of the school you want to attend.
In general, accredited online colleges in Georgia feature semester-based or term-based start dates that occur every few months. Larger schools with sizable on-campus student bodies tend to align their online program start dates with their on-campus program start dates. This supports scheduling logistics and makes it easier for the school to assign regular faculty members to teach online classes, thus ensuring that all students enjoy parity in the quality of their education.
Many well-regarded online universities in Georgia employ alternative scheduling models. Some such models apply to most or all of the school's online programs, while others offer a limited number of programs with flexible start dates and accelerated schedules that allow students to begin their coursework shortly after acceptance. Consult each online school's scheduling policy as part of your due diligence in the application process.
By and large, schools and programs with relatively large numbers of students enrolled in online classes tend to offer flexible start dates or shorter terms that facilitate the ongoing integration of incoming students. A school's scheduling policy does not reflect its quality, and many highly reputable schools and programs use these alternative models.
Millions of American college students begin their searches for educational financing by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). College applicants use the FAFSA to confirm their eligibility for federal, state, institutional, and private forms of financial aid, including federal student loans, Pell Grants, state-based grant programs, school-based scholarships, and private scholarships.
As of November 2018, 134 Georgia colleges accept FAFSA. While not all of these colleges offer online programs, many of them do. Use the Federal School Code Search featured on the FAFSA website to search for the Georgia colleges under your consideration. Most FAFSA-supported funding sources make no distinction between online and traditional in-class study, so long as the school you attend holds accreditation from an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). You can confirm any Georgia institution's status using the ED's accreditation database.
In the early 2010s, a loosely aligned collective of higher education institutions around the world launched a program to make low-cost online education more accessible. The initiative eventually became known as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). Hundreds of universities from dozens of different countries take part by offering internet-based students free access to thousands of MOOCs.
MOOCs deliver unbeatable value for online schools in Georgia. Two leading institutions participate in the initiative: the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), and the University of Georgia system
Georgia Tech's MOOC offerings allow students to sign up and begin their studies anytime. The school allows MOOC coursework to count toward a verified certificate, should you choose to pursue one. Meanwhile, the University of Georgia system joined the MOOC program in 2013 as part of a partnership undertaken by 10 of America's leading public universities. However, neither school offers students the opportunity to earn credit for MOOC coursework as part of a degree program. Instead of acting as a means of earning cheap online degrees in Georgia, MOOCs mainly serve as personal enrichment classes, primarily for adult learners.
Georgia schools that offer both traditional in-class and online learning options typically maintain separate systems and platforms for dedicated use by internet-based students. For example, the University of Georgia system uses UGA Online, a comprehensive web portal to the institution's extensive catalog of online degree options. Many Georgia-based public and private universities maintain similar systems, with direct access links usually located on the school's main web page.
If you cannot immediately locate a particular school's system for online degree programs and classes, try using the site-specific search feature on the institution's home page. Use a general, all-encompassing search term like "online programs" or "online degrees," then navigate the results for relevant links. Alternately, you can try adding a similar search term as a modifier to the school's name in your preferred web-based search engine.
Students in need of financial aid should consider Pell Grants as their first option, as these federally sponsored subsidies do not require repayment. However, only students in undergraduate programs who have not yet earned a bachelor's degree qualify for these grants. If these limitations affect your eligibility, or if you plan to pursue an advanced degree, seeking scholarships specific to Georgia-based schools serves as a good backup plan.
For example, consider these five scholarships:
Open to high school seniors, GED holders, and students currently enrolled in undergraduate studies at an accredited Georgia college, the Constitutional Officers Association of Georgia (COAG) scholarship provides financial aid to students in law enforcement, government, law, business, political science, accounting, and finance programs.
Scholarship Amount: $1,500View Details
To qualify for a Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant, applicants must attend a participating private college in Georgia, have Georgia residency, hold U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status, and pursue an undergraduate degree program on a full-time basis. Awards contribute funds for tuition fees and other eligible expenses.
Scholarship Amount: $1,350View Details
To qualify for this scholarship, applicants must be high school seniors in Georgia and plan to attend a Georgia-based college or university. Eligibility requirements also include extensive high school coursework in English, history, social sciences, algebra, biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as a minimum cumulative average of 85% and an SAT score of at least 1300.
Scholarship Amount: $500 to $1,000View Details
Residents of Georgia and Alabama qualify for this scholarship, offered by the ARRL National Association for Amateur Radio. Recipients must hold an active amateur radio license of any class, attend a Georgia-based or Alabama-based college or university, and major in degree programs related to electronics, communications, or radio broadcasting.
Scholarship Amount: $1,000View Details
Georgia residents can apply for this scholarship if they hold U.S. citizenship or legal resident status and currently attend or will attend a Georgia-based public college as an education major. Applicants must also demonstrate financial need and a commitment to a future career in an education-related field.
Scholarship Amount: $1,000View Details
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