Online Colleges in Georgia

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Thanks to online learning options, students no longer need to live in Georgia to attend a college or university in the state. Online learning also gives students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations.

Online programs may feature a variety of formats. For example, some programs offer synchronous courses, which require set meeting times, while others feature asynchronous courses, which do not require real-time meetings. Additionally, some programs allow students to move through coursework at their own pace, offering maximum flexibility.

When researching online bachelor’s degrees, learners should consider factors like cost, accreditation status, and curriculum. Most colleges and universities offer this information on their websites, but prospective students can also contact admissions departments to learn more.

This guide ranks the best online bachelor’s degrees in Georgia. Prospective students can also explore other important information, including the cost of pursuing a bachelor’s degree online and potential scholarship opportunities.

Top 10 Online Colleges in Georgia

Rank School Location
1 Mercer University Macon, GA
2 University of Georgia Athens, GA
3 Piedmont College Demorest, GA
4 Columbus State University Columbus, GA
5 Shorter University Rome, GA
6 Georgia Southwestern State University Americus, GA
7 LaGrange College LaGrange, GA
8 Clayton State University Morrow, GA
9 Emory University Atlanta, GA
10 Brenau University Gainesville, GA
Advertisement is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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2020 Online Colleges in Georgia

In compiling this list of the best online colleges in Georgia, our analysts employed a comprehensive methodology emphasizing affordability, quality, and reputation. All of the schools on this list hold full accreditation, and we considered both qualitative and quantitative factors in ranking these institutions.

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?

  1. Mercer University

    Macon, GA



    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



    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



    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



    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



    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



    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



    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



    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



    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



    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.

Online Colleges in Georgia Overview

Students earning a bachelor’s degree online benefit from the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. Additionally, many programs extend in-state tuition discounts to all online students, regardless of where they live. Plus, online students often save on many of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as housing and commuting costs.

Earning an online degree from a Georgia school can also benefit individuals who need state licensure to practice in Georgia after graduation. Most schools design their programs to meet licensing requirements in the state where they are based.

Colleges and universities usually offer support services and resources to online learners, like writing centers, academic advising, and scholarly article databases. Some colleges and universities also offer 24/7 IT help desks to support online learners.

Why Choose Georgia for Online Higher Education?

The following list outlines several benefits of attending college in Georgia:

  • Low Cost of Living: Georgia features a low cost of living, making it easier for graduates with bachelor’s degrees to earn comfortable wages.
  • High Median Wage for All Occupations: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual wage for all occupations in Georgia is $49,620, which pairs well with the state’s low cost of living.
  • Low, Steady Unemployment Rate: From November 2019 to February 2020, the unemployment rate in Georgia was just 3.1%. Although the state experienced a spike in unemployment in April 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching 11.9%, it’s still lower than the national average of 14.7%.
  • High Need for Postsecondary Graduates: Recent data from the American Community Survey reveals that in 2015, Georgia produced fewer postsecondary graduates than needed, indicating a high demand for graduates with an online bachelor’s degree.
  • Multiple State Colleges: Georgia currently hosts 28 state-funded schools. Earning a bachelor’s degree online from a state school typically costs less than earning one at a private college or university.

Cost of Attending an Online College in Georgia

According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, a public, four-year institution costs $7,010, on average, for in-state students and $21,377 for out-of-state students. However, attending college online can lower these numbers even further. For instance, online students can avoid many of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as housing and commuting costs.

In-state tuition

$7,010 – public, four-year institution
$2,895 – public, two-year institution

Out-of-state tuition

$21,377 – public, four-year institution
$7,958 – public, two-year institution

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

What to Expect From Tuition and Fees

The cost of attending college varies by school, but many schools offer tuition discounts to online students. For example, the University of Georgia offers in-state tuition rates to all online students regardless of where they live.

Some Georgia schools also waive certain fees for online learners. For example, most colleges and universities do not require online students to pay campus activity or maintenance fees. Online students can also save on moving, housing, and parking costs. However, online learners must still reserve funds for educational materials, like textbooks and computers.

Consider this snapshot of online tuition rates at several major Georgia schools for the 2018-19 academic year:

Accreditation for an Online College in Georgia

Students should always research a school’s accreditation status before committing to a program. Accreditation indicates that a school meets high standards with respect to factors like faculty qualifications, student learning outcomes, and academic rigor. Schools may earn regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two.

The U.S. Department of Education oversees regional accrediting bodies, which accredit schools based on where the school is located. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is the approved regional accrediting body for Georgia schools.

Programs within a school can also earn accreditation. For example, business programs can earn accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Similarly, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation offers accreditation for education programs. The U.S. Department of Education offers a searchable database of all accredited colleges, universities, and programs.

Online programs can also earn accreditation. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission oversees accreditation for online programs in the United States.

Common Online Bachelor’s Courses

  • Math: Most online bachelor’s programs include a math course to fulfill general education requirements. This class teaches algebraic and arithmetic basics and prepares learners to succeed in advanced math courses. Some foundational math classes teach students how to calculate percentages and use equations for practical purposes, like calculating interest on a loan.
  • English: This course helps learners enhance their writing composition skills. Students learn how to effectively convey thoughts and ideas in writing. This class also covers basic grammar skills. Students typically culminate the course with a term paper. Often, instructors let students choose a paper topic that relates to their major.
  • Biology: Most general education requirements feature a science course, like biology. This life science course offers a survey of biological principles that apply to living organisms. Learners study parts of cells and how organisms have adapted to their environments over time. This class usually requires a lab component.
  • History: History students learn about significant past events. Some college history classes focus on history in one geographical location and/or era, like pre-World War II in the United States. Most instructors teach this course in a lecture-based format and require textbook readings.
  • Political Science: In a political science course, learners examine topics like the functions of the three branches of the U.S. government, the Constitution, and the importance of the electoral college. Some political science courses also teach students about international governments.

FAQ Georgia’s Online Schools

Do Online Credits Cost More or Less in Georgia?

The price of online credits varies by school, but online credits at state schools typically cost less than online credits at private schools. According to a 2019-20 survey, Georgia ranks as the 13th most affordable state to attend college in. This data reveals that Georgia’s average cost of tuition and fees is $8,720 for in-state students and $24,650 for out-of-state students.

For reference, Vermont ranks as the most expensive state with an average yearly cost of $17,470 for in-state students and $41,640 for out-of-state students. Wyoming is the most affordable, averaging $5,580 for in-state students and $18,150 for out-of-state students.

Which Georgia Schools Accept the Most Transfer Credits?

Kennesaw State University and Georgia State University allow students to transfer up to 30 credits from accredited institutions. Georgia State University requires a minimum 2.5 GPA for transfer credits, while Kennesaw State University requires a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Learners should contact their prospective school’s admissions department to learn more about specific transfer requirements, such as which credits meet degree requirements and which credits transfer as electives.

Will Any Online Colleges in Georgia Accept a GED?

Most colleges in Georgia accept the GED in lieu of a high school diploma, but applicants typically need a GED College Ready score, which is 165 or above.

GED graduates who earn a score of 175 or more earn the GED College Ready + Credit award. These individuals may qualify for up to 10 college credits, but not every school participates in this program.

How Many Academic Terms Per Year Do Online Colleges in Georgia Offer?

Most online colleges in Georgia offer two terms per year with an optional summer term. Students who want to complete their degrees quickly should consider taking classes during the summer term.

On average, online bachelor’s degrees require 120 credits and take four years of full-time study to complete. However, some schools offer accelerated programs that allow students to graduate faster.

Which Online Colleges Will Accept the FAFSA in Georgia?

Prospective students can access updated information about which colleges accept funds from the FAFSA through the Federal Code Search. As of May 2020, 130 schools in Georgia accept FAFSA funds.

Students whose guardians claim them as dependents must use their guardian’s tax information to complete the form. The FAFSA determines students’ eligibility for federal financial aid. Attending an online school that accepts these funds can reduce out-of-pocket tuition costs.

Are There Any Free Online Classes I Can Take from Georgia Colleges?

The University System of Georgia offers Massive Open Online Courses that students can take for free, but these and other free courses typically do not afford students college credit.

The Technical College System of Georgia offers information about the HOPE Career Grant, which provides free tuition for students earning a degree in a high-need field, like early childhood care and education. However, many of these programs only offer an associate degree.

How Can I Find the Online Program Options at Georgia Colleges?

Most Georgia colleges list available online programs on their websites. Some schools offer a separate website for their online campus. For example, the University of West Georgia directs prospective online learners to a website that exclusively features online programs.

When researching online programs, individuals should pay attention to any in-person requirements. For example, some schools may require online students to complete proctored tests, while others might require an annual in-person weekend intensive or student orientation.

Students having trouble navigating a college or university’s website and locating online information can contact the school’s admissions department for help.

Georgia Scholarships and Grants

Students can help offset the cost of their education by applying for scholarships and grants, which, unlike loans, do not require repayment. The following list outlines several scholarships and grants for students pursuing an online bachelor’s degree in Georgia.

  1. Constitutional Officers Association of Georgia Scholarship
    Who Can Apply: The Constitutional Officers Association of Georgia awards this scholarship to students attending an accredited school in Georgia. Students majoring in finance, government, law, law enforcement, business, or political science may apply.
  2. Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant Program
    Who Can Apply: Students attending an accredited college or university in Georgia majoring in nutrition, agriculture, environmental science, horticulture, biology, or agribusiness may apply. The application requires transcripts and three reference letters from college faculty. Recipients must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA and full-time enrollment.
    Scholarship Amount:$1,350
  3. Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Scholarship
    Who Can Apply: Students attending an accredited college or university in Georgia majoring in nutrition, agriculture, environmental science, horticulture, biology, or agribusiness may apply. The application requires transcripts and three reference letters from college faculty. Recipients must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA and full-time enrollment.
  4. Greenhouse Scholars Program
    Who Can Apply: Georgia residents with financial need can apply for this award. Applicants must possess at least a 3.5 GPA and demonstrate leadership skills.
  5. Zell Miller Scholarship
    Who Can Apply: The Georgia Student Finance Commission provides this scholarship to Georgia residents with a minimum 3.7 high school GPA and a minimum SAT score of 1200 or ACT score of 26. The recipient must maintain a minimum 3.3 GPA at an approved Georgia college or university.

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