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Best Online Colleges in Georgia (GA)

Many colleges in Georgia now offer a multitude of online degree and program options. Explore the top 25 schools in Georgia with online programs along with their costs, what they involve and the types of financial aid available for online students.

Top 25 Georgia Colleges with Online Programs

When deciding on an online program in Georgia, students should look at factors such as cost, flexibility, accreditation and faculty. 25 of the best colleges in Georgia with online programs are listed below.

1. Georgia Southern University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Statesboro, GA $6,356 90%

Georgia Southern University offers more than 50 online and hybrid programs for undergraduates and graduates. Students can choose from subjects such as education, business, healthcare and computer science. Tuition varies by program, with undergraduate students paying less than $200 per credit hour and most graduate students having a tuition rate of around $350 per credit hour. Georgia Southern University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC) and offers several school-specific scholarships to incoming students.

2. Kennesaw State University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Kennesaw, GA $6,347 91%

Kennesaw State University is accredited by SACSCOC and is a member of the Southern Regional Education Board. Undergraduate online students have a tuition rate of $206 per credit hour while graduate students pay $383 per credit hour. Online undergraduate students can pursue bachelor's degrees or certificates in areas such as geography, business administration, information technology and psychology. Kennesaw State University's online graduate options include master's degree programs in business, policy management and education, and a doctoral program in education.

3. University of Georgia

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Athens, GA $11,830 97%

The University of Georgia was started in 1785 and is said to be the birthplace of public higher education in the United States. The school is accredited by SACSCOC and boasted a 95.3% retention rate for first-time students in the 2017-2018 school year. Undergraduate students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Special Education online, with a tuition rate of $4,895 per semester (in-state). Graduate students have a tuition rate of $629 to $984, depending on their chosen program and regardless of their state of residency. Online graduate options include programs in nutrition, pharmacy, education, business & technology, financial planning and media writing.

4. Georgia College & State University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Milledgeville, GA $9,346 96%

Georgia College & State University was originally established in 1889 as a public college for women, providing programs such as those in business and education. The school is accredited by SACSCOC and has programmatic accreditation from several other organizations. The school offers online graduate programs in criminal justice, public administration, education, business, nursing and more. The cost of online program tuition can vary by degree but ranges from $4,066 to $6,770 per year.

5. Shorter University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Rome, GA $22,370 100%

Shorter University offers undergraduate and graduate programs 100% online through 8-week courses. The college is accredited by SACSCOC and has online tuition rates of $360 (undergraduate) or $515 (graduate) per credit hour. Associate's degree programs are available in business, general studies, sport management, Christian studies, human services and criminal justice. Bachelor's degree options include programs in criminal justice, human services, business, Christian studies, sport management and interdisciplinary studies. Graduate students can pursue a degree in business, accounting, sport management, healthcare management, management or human services nonprofit management.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 Valdosta State University Valdosta, GA $6,410 90%
7 Brenau University Gainesville, GA $29,050 98%
8 University of West Georgia Carrollton, GA $6,288 94%
9 Middle Georgia State University Macon, GA $3,924 90%
10 Herzing University-Atlanta Atlanta, GA $14,000 88%
11 University of North Georgia Dahlonega, GA $4,692 86%
12 Mercer University Macon, GA $36,894 100%
13 Albany State University Albany, GA $5,735 94%
14 Georgia State University Atlanta, GA $9,112 92%
15 Augusta University Augusta, GA $8,604 91%
16 Toccoa Falls College Toccoa Falls, GA $22,744 88%
17 Truett McConnell University Cleveland, GA $20,230 98%
18 Columbus State University Columbus, GA $6,134 92%
19 Life University Marietta, GA $12,696 96%
20 Georgia Southwestern State University Americus, GA $5,381 94%
21 College of Coastal Georgia Brunswick, GA $4,696 84%
22 Clayton State University Morrow, GA $5,419 94%
23 Reinhardt University Waleska, GA $23,300 100%
24 Brewton-Parker College Mount Vernon, GA $18,240 99%
25 Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus Atlanta, GA $12,424 79%

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

All table data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition reflects the 2018-2019 school year for undergraduate students

Choosing the Right Online College Program in Georgia

There are several factors that you should consider when choosing an online college program in Georgia, many of which are discussed below.

Accreditation

One of the first things that you should look for in your school choices is accreditation. Institutional accreditation shows that the school meets specific quality criteria and is necessary for qualifying for financial aid. You may also need to attend an accredited program to receive certification, depending on your field of study. For example, nursing and teaching licenses and certifications require you to have attended an accredited program.

Cost

Online program costs can vary significantly based on degree level, prior coursework, program and residency. Ask your school choices for a full list of applicable program costs rather than just tuition. Keep in mind that although cost is important, there are several financial aid options available to online Georgia students.

Prerequisites

While many online programs are available to students with varying backgrounds, it's essential to confirm that your program choices are available to you. Does your program require a high school diploma rather than accepting GEDs, and if you're a graduate student, are you required to take a graduate entrance exam (such as the GMAT or GRE)? What is the GPA requirement?

Faculty

It's helpful to have program faculty with significant experience and expertise in the subjects that they teach, but a major contributor to your success could be their availability. Ask your school and soon-to-be fellow students if faculty address student concerns quickly; doing so can ensure a better online college experience.

Programs Available

Once you've narrowed down your school choices, confirm that they offer your program online. Some schools may list programs as 'distance' or 'online' courses but require some on-campus components. You need to learn what, if any, face-to-face requirements exist within your program and if they'll work with your schedule.

Flexibility

Many schools offer online programs as both part-time and full-time study options, but some schools only offer programs as one or the other. You may want to study full-time, dedicating more time to your studies and finishing sooner, or part-time, working around your other commitments and finishing at a more feasible pace.

Credit Transfer

If you've previously completed any college coursework, you can typically transfer credits into your new program if they meet certain criteria. For example, bachelor's degree programs often accept up to half of the total program requirements with qualifying undergraduate coursework. If you have college credits, ask your school choices what their transfer credit policies are.

How Much is an Online Degree in Georgia?

The total cost of an online degree program in Georgia varies by program and student. Although some programs offer flat-rate fees per credit hour or semester, most programs separate costs into tuition and other applicable program fees. Students who have qualifying transfer credits can reduce their program tuition and other costs. For example, a student who has earned an associate's degree can often cut their bachelor's degree requirements in half. Several costs and cost considerations are discussed in the sections below.

Tuition

Tuition is the main cost associated with an online degree program in Georgia, and can vary by degree, residency and program format. The table below shows an example of tuition rates for different students at one school:

Degree Level Total Credits Program Format ResidencyCost Per Credit Total Program Tuition
Undergraduate 120 On-campus In-state$410 $49,200
Undergraduate 120 On-campus Out-of-state$1,200 $144,000
Undergraduate 120 Online Any $400 $48,000
Graduate 36 On-campus In-state $410 $14,760
Graduate 36 On-campus Out-of-state $1,050 $37,800
Graduate 36 Online Any $620 $22,320

As shown in the table above, many schools offer the same tuition rate for online programs to students living in or out of state. However, some schools still provide a discount to in-state students for their online programs. Also, your school may have the same tuition rate for on-campus and online programs.

Common Program Costs

While tuition accounts for the majority of program costs, students typically have several other fees throughout their program. These fees can add up to several thousand dollars and should be reviewed when choosing a program. Some fees commonly associated with online programs in Georgia are registration fees, technology fees and course materials or supplies fees.

Online vs On-Campus

Online students often bypass some common program fees, such as campus and student services fees. So although some schools may have a higher per-credit tuition rate for online programs than that of their on-campus programs, students are still able to have lower overall program costs because of the decreased number of relevant fees.

Indirect Costs

Outside of costs that are directly associated with online programs, there can be out-of-pocket expenses as well. Programs typically require students to have a computer that meets specific technical requirements and, depending on the program, expensive software might be necessary. Online students also have to make sure they have fast, reliable internet access.

Paying for an Online Degree Program in Georgia

Students interested in an online degree program in Georgia should first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is free to use and shows students what types of aid they might qualify for, including loans, grants and work-study programs. Additionally, the FAFSA will send student results to the schools of their choice. Then, as students discuss program options with their school choices, they can find out exactly which types of aid they'll automatically receive through those schools.

Work-Study Programs

Work-study programs are a type of financial aid that may be offered through employers or the government. Government work-study is available at various schools across Georgia and allows students to earn part or all of their program costs by working part-time during their studies. The jobs included in work-study programs vary, but often focus on the area of each student's program.

Student Loans

Student loans are available through government and private agencies, but students should only use private loans after all other avenues have been exhausted. The most common student loans are federal loans, which are income-based and have nationally set interest rates, and some loans offer government-paid interest while students are in school. The main three types of federal loans are direct subsidized, direct unsubsidized and DirectPLUS. Undergraduate students can typically qualify for up to $12,500 per year while graduate students may qualify for up to $20,500 per year in loans.

Loan Repayment

Although not a standard practice, some companies offer student loan repayment bonuses to new and qualifying employees. These include, but aren't limited to, the U.S. Armed Services, Carhartt, Fidelity Investments and Live Nation. The amount of loans paid for students varies with the paying company but may be a monthly amount with a lifetime cap (such as $10,000), an initial sign-on bonus (such as $5,000) or an annual amount (such as $1,200).

Loan Forgiveness

Graduates with qualifying careers in public service or education can have some or all of their loans forgiven. Those working in a qualifying public service role can qualify for loan forgiveness after making 120 qualifying payments (10 years) on their student loans. Graduates who have full-time teaching positions in low-income settings for five or more years can have up to $17,500 of their student loans forgiven.

Grants

There are several grants available at the federal and state level, many of which are listed below. Grants are typically awarded without repayment requirements but may have to be paid back if students withdraw from their programs or receive other types of aid.

  • Federal Grants - Students can qualify for these based on the results of their FAFSA.
    • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
    • Federal Pell Grants
    • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants
  • Private Grants - These grants require students to apply to the issuer to be considered for the award.
    • Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant
    • Georgia Public Safety Memorial Grant
    • Out-of-State Grant
    • HOPE Grant

Scholarships for Online Students in GA

Students can obtain scholarships for their online program through their chosen school, but can also find a multitude of available scholarships through other resources, such as the Georgia Student Finance Commission, or GAfutures. Several scholarships available to online students in Georgia are listed below.

  • Henry L. Bowden Scholarship - $25,240 is awarded to students with outstanding performance in their academic career.
  • Georgia Engineering Foundation Scholarship - $1,000 is awarded to exemplary students who are majoring in engineering.
  • Georgia Future Champions Scholarship - $1,500 is awarded to legal U.S. residents enrolling in a Georgia institution.
  • Georgia M. Hellberg Memorial FFA Scholarship - Up to $5,000 is awarded to strong candidates who are pursuing a career working in soil and water conservation.
  • Georgia Southern Foundation Scholars - Freshman undergraduate students with a qualifying SAT or ACT score can get up to $1,500.

Why Accreditation Matters for Online Programs in Georgia

Students should review their school choices for two types of accreditation: programmatic and institutional. Programmatic accreditation does not apply to all programs and majors but may be necessary for some. For example, students in an online nursing program may need to graduate from an accredited program to qualify for licensure. Depending on career objectives, students should see if programmatic accreditation is necessary. If it is not required, attending an accredited program can still be beneficial because the accreditation shows that a program meets nationally set criteria for curriculum, quality and outcomes.

Although programmatic accreditation might be optional for students, institutional accreditation is typically required. Institutional accreditation shows that the school as a whole has met specific criteria, such as faculty experience and graduation outcomes. Attending an accredited school is necessary to qualify for financial aid, and may provide students with a better educational experience.