Best Colleges in Georgia

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The state of Georgia is home to more than 50 colleges and universities, including 30 schools under the University System of Georgia (USG), and 23 schools within the state’s technical college system. With such a variety of programs and specialty training available, exploring postsecondary education options in Georgia can be overwhelming. To start, it’s best to simplify the process and look at a few common measures. Prospective college students typically weigh a few important factors, including location, affordability and program length when comparing schools.

Our proprietary algorithm draws information directly from official federal education databases and then weighs the key performance indicators students value when they’re examining colleges. For our state rankings, we account for the additional metric of student loan default percentages, as we understand how important it is for students to repay their debts upon graduation. We have applied our rigorous methodology to the latest education data to rank the best colleges in Georgia, including the top four-year and two-year schools.

2016 Online Education Trends Report: Learn how online programs are changing the face of higher education.

Georgia’s four-year institutions offer diverse programs spanning traditional, technical and liberal arts disciplines. The state is nationally recognized for its polytechnic programs and prestigious HBCU institutions. Popular study tracks, particularly at the flagship University of Georgia and other large universities, incorporate research, agriculture and business-based majors. Many schools operate multiple campus locations throughout the state.

Georgians who have completed a four-year degree program hold a distinct advantage over competitors in the workforce. Four-year degree-holders from schools in Georgia typically earn significantly more than high school graduates, with post-college salaries exceeding the national average. In Georgia, all public colleges and universities within the USG are at least partially supported by the state legislature and each student in the system is eligible for the HOPE Scholarship. If you’re interested in attending school in the state, check out our list of top colleges in Georgia as part of your research.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1

Georgia Tech

 3/581.54%Atlanta, GA

campus-georgia-tech

Located in Atlanta, the Georgia Institute of Technology is a research university with more than 100 centers focused on interdisciplinary research. The school enrolls 21,500 undergraduate and graduate students who can choose from dozens of nationally renowned degree programs offered through the university's colleges of Design, Computing, Engineering, Sciences, the Scheller College of Business, or the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.

The school's core research areas include bioengineering and bioscience, energy and sustainable infrastructure, renewable bioproducts, robotics, and more. GA Tech provides a balanced campus experience for students, with intercollegiate and intramural sports teams, campus traditions, and around 400 student organizations. Several students also participate in community service activities outside of the classroom.

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2

University of Georgia

 3/584.62%Athens, GA

campus_University_of_Georgia

UGA is a land-grant and sea-grant university and the oldest and most diversified higher education institution in the state. Located in Athens, the campus is a small city in itself, with a student body of more than 35,000 students. The university focuses on continuing education and public service, preparing students to serve their community.

Typical of such a large and comprehensive university, UGA presents learners with a wealth of choices, including 25 baccalaureate degrees in more than 140 fields, 34 master’s degrees in 130 fields, four doctoral degrees in 98 areas, and professional degrees in law, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine.

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3

Emory University

 5/588.92%Atlanta, GA

campus-Emory-University

Among the oldest private colleges in Georgia (and the nation) Emory is a doctoral university based in Atlanta’s Druid Hills neighborhood. The school is known internationally for its liberal arts, graduate, and professional schools and especially for its health care curriculum. Of the 14,000 students who attend, about half are undergrads and half are pursuing graduate degrees and professional education.

With seven major hospitals, Emory’s health care system is the largest in Georgia, and the school is among the top-ranked research institutions in the world. The school produces several Rhodes and Fulbright scholars, and is often referred to as a “Southern Ivy.”

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4

Georgia College & State University

 2/561.26%Milledgeville, GA

campus_georgia_college_and_state_university

Known simply as Georgia College, GCSU is the state’s designated public liberal arts university offering 37 undergraduate degrees and more than 25 graduate programs. The main campus is in Milledgeville, about two hours from Atlanta; two additional campuses are in Macon and Robins Air Force Base.

Founded as a teaching school, GCSU offers 40 majors, and still boasts a strong education degree program. Business and health sciences are also well known. Notable alumni include writer and essayist Flannery O’Connor, whose collection of original work is stored in the school’s archives.

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5

Georgia Southern University

 2/551.32%Statesboro, GA

campus-georgia-southern-university

GSU calls itself “Georgia’s large-scale, small feel, research university,” as it is the biggest and most comprehensive institution of higher learning south of Atlanta. More than 20,000 students attend the Statesboro-based school to pursue one of 124 degree programs, both baccalaureate- and graduate-level.

GSU enjoys national rankings for its business, nurse practitioner, and writing programs, and its graduate offerings are also always considered among the nation’s best.

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6

Wesleyan College

 3/547.62%Macon, GA

Based in Macon, Wesleyan is a private liberal arts women’s school, the oldest of the prestigious Seven Sisters of the South. The school is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, and is now considered a historical landmark by the church. About 700 women attend Wesleyan, and they enjoy a 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

The school offers undergrad degrees in 31 majors and also boasts eight pre-professional degrees. It also partners with Georgia Institute of Technology to provide a dual-degree engineering program.

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7

Georgia State University

 2/553.34%Atlanta, GA

Georgia State is among the largest universities in the University System of Georgia, boasting more than 32,000 students. Founded in 1913, it’s one of the state’s Big Four public research colleges. The school is located in the heart of downtown Atlanta and has a $1.4 billion impact on the city’s economy.

The university provides students with a wealth of degree options, including 250 undergraduate and graduate programs in more than 100 fields of study. Georgia State has relationships with many of the Fortune 500 companies in Atlanta, making for great internship opportunities. It’s also famed for its diversity.

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8

Agnes Scott College

 5/573.33%Decatur, GA

Named after the mother of the school’s primary benefactor, Colonel George Washington Scott, ASC is a private liberal arts women’s college in the metro Atlanta suburb of Decatur attended by about 900 students. The school is one of the Seven Sisters of the South and offers 34 undergraduate majors. It retains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church.

“Scotties” participate in the school’s SUMMIT program, a unique liberal arts immersion with a core curriculum focusing on global learning and leadership. In recent years, ASC has ranked highly in quality of life and in its production of Fulbright scholars.

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9

Spelman College

 4/574.07%Atlanta, GA

Spelman was one of the first black women’s schools to be founded in the country. Located in Atlanta, it has an enrollment of about 2,200 students, about 30% of whom are from Georgia, and confers baccalaureate arts and science degrees.

Spelman is noted for having one of the highest graduation rates in the country. In 2012, the school canceled its athletic programs, channeling the financial savings into a wellness program. Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker and activist Maria Wright Edelman are among the school’s dozens of famous alumni.

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10

Berry College

 4/561.61%Mount Berry, GA

Based in Rome, Berry College has a unique claim to fame -- it boasts the largest contiguous campus in the world. At 27,000 acres, the private, liberal arts school is the size of a town. The campus is so distinctive it has served as the backdrop for a number of films, including Sweet Home Alabama and Remember the Titans.

Berry is part of the Annapolis Group, a non-profit alliance of “leading national independent liberal arts colleges,” and offers its 2,000 students dozens of undergraduate degree programs and graduate studies, most notably in business and education.

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11

University of West Georgia

 2/5N/ANewnan, GA

UWG is one of the few universities in the nation to offer residential programs for high-school juniors and seniors. Known for its psychology, education, business, and nursing departments, the Carrollton-based public school is part of the University System of Georgia and has been named among the top schools in the Southeast consistently for the last decade. It offers degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-grad levels.

Two-thirds of the 11,000 students are full-time. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and musician Zac Brown are alumni.

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12

Clayton State University

 2/532.98%Morrow, GA

With five lakes and sprawling woodlands on its 192 acres, CSU is only 20 minutes from Atlanta and the school’s Morrow location. Clayton has been recognized nationally for having the most diverse student body among baccalaureate-level colleges in the South. It’s also been ranked as an outstanding regional public university.

The school is noted for having a student body of slightly older learners -- the median age of the 7,100 pupils here is 29. Clayton’s Spivey Hall is among the nation’s premier chamber music venues.

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13

Piedmont College

 4/550.49%Demorest, GA

Piedmont’s two campuses offer very different experiences to its 2,200 students. The main campus in Demorest offers a pastoral setting surrounded by state parks and foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, where most students live on campus. The Athens location is a quintessential college town set in the heart of the state’s sixth largest city, and it is largely a commuter campus.

Piedmont is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and offers more than 50 undergraduate degree programs, graduate programs in education, nursing, and business, and a doctoral program in education. It’s considered one of the up-and-comers among colleges in the state.

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14

Covenant College

 4/556.55%Lookout Mountain, GA

Covenant was founded in Pasadena, California in 1955 as part of the Bible Presbyterian Church, and moved to Lookout, GA 10 years later. The private liberal arts school retains an affiliation with the evangelical wing of the Presbyterian Church and still “exists to explore and express the preeminence of Jesus Christ in all things.”

The campus has exceptional views of the Smoky Mountains from its perch atop Lookout Mountain. Most popular majors among the 1,000 students here are English, history, education, business, and psychology, and the school enjoys a reputation not just among Georgia colleges but among schools nationwide.

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15

Augusta University

 1/530.3%Augusta, GA

Formerly known a Georgia Regents University, Augusta University changed its name in 2015. The public research school is part of the University System of Georgia colleges and set in the heart of the state’s second-largest city. Its business and nursing schools are highly regarded nationwide. It’s also home to the only dental school in Georgia and the Augusta University Medical Center.

Attended by about 9,000 students, Augusta offers a full slate of degree programs, from the undergraduate to the doctoral levels. The school has satellite campuses in Albany, Rome, Savannah, and Athens.

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16

Mercer University

 5/562.6%Macon, GA

Mercer is the oldest private university in Georgia and consistently ranks among the top 10% of colleges nationwide. Founded by Baptists in 1833, the Macon-based school has shed any official religious affiliation but still remains rooted in the traditions of volunteerism and public service.

Though it has the broad base of programs of a larger university, Mercer feels like a small liberal arts college. Noted programs include business, law, and medicine. The school has a vigorous online arm and learning centers in several towns to better serve area residents.

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17

Kennesaw State University

 2/542.63%Kennesaw, GA

Kennesaw enrolls more than 33,000 learners -- a student body that exceeds the population of the city it in which it sits. In 2015, Kennesaw merged with Southern Polytechnic State University, making the school even more massive.

Kennesaw offers a vast array of degree choices, including more than 150 undergraduate and graduate degrees and a growing doctoral program. Its business and engineering programs are nationally ranked and math, science, nursing, architecture, and education are also particularly strong.

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18

Young Harris College

 4/546.19%Young Harris, GA

Founded in 1886 by a circuit-riding Methodist minister, YHC is a small, private, liberal arts school with a leafy campus in the tiny northern city of Young Harris in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It maintains a Methodist affiliation, and its student body of 1,200 numbers about twice the population of the city. For much of its life, YHC has been a junior college, but in 2008 it won the right to begin granting bachelor’s degrees.

Young Harris enjoys a reputation for its affordability. Country music icons Ronnie Milsap and Trisha Yearwood are both alumni.

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19

Middle Georgia State College

 1/513.79%Macon, GA

MGSU was created in 2013 with the merger of Middle Georgia State College and Middle Georgia College. The school offers classes on five different campuses, the largest one in Macon hosting about half of the 8,000 students. Students can select from 17 bachelor’s programs, 34 associate degree programs, and 18 certificate programs; almost a quarter of the student body pursues a degree in health care, and its business program is the second most popular.

Part of the University System of Georgia colleges, MGSU has the only state-funded aviation school in the state. It’s also known for its residential program for high school students.

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20

Columbus State University

 2/532.41%Columbus, GA

A midsize member of the University System of Georgia colleges, CSU is known for its business, nursing, education, drama, and arts programs. Located in the city of Columbus, the school offers 46 undergrad and 42 graduate degrees as well as a doctorate in education.

CSU is known for its integration into city life, especially since the RiverPark Campus was built. The state-of-the-art facility houses the arts departments and welcomes the public to its performing arts venues. The school also features an environmental learning center, the Coca Cola Science Space Center, and the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians.

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21

Albany State University

 2/539.62%Albany, GA

One of three historically black schools in George, ASU was founded in 1903 as the Albany Bible and Manual Training Institution. The school has long been home to a strong teaching program, and early childhood education remains one of its most popular majors. Other notable departments among its 30 undergraduate and six advanced degree programs are business, criminal justice, and psychology.

ASU enjoys a national ranking among regional universities. Activist Shirley Sherrod is among the school’s famous alumni.

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22

Oglethorpe University

 5/551.23%Atlanta, GA

Oglethorpe’s beautiful 100-acre campus of Gothic architecture sits in Brookhaven, an inner suburb of Atlanta. The private liberal arts school requires its 1,150 students complete The Core, a sequenced curriculum of courses designed to challenge perceptions and evoke questions, prior to graduation. More than 60 programs of study are offered with the most popular being biology, business, and psychology.

OU believes in student involvement and has more than 300 internships and 22 study abroad partners. The campus is also home to the Crypt of Civilization, the most complete time capsule ever created, according to the Guinness Book of World records.

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23

Valdosta State University

 2/539.13%Valdosta, GA

One of three regional universities in the University System of Georgia colleges, Valdosta takes its name from the southern city in which its located. The school is a large, comprehensive university with more than 100 majors, 11,000 students, and research opportunities for not just graduate-level learners but undergrads as well. Degrees are offered from the associate to the doctoral level.

Student activities and Greek life are important parts of the Valdosta experience—more than 200 recognized clubs are available to join and more than 10% of the population is in a frat or sorority.

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24

Reinhardt University

 3/537.5%Waleska, GA

Reinhardt is small liberal arts school set on a 500-acre campus in the city of Waleska, about 45 minutes northwest of Atlanta. Founded by Confederate army captain Augustus M. Reinhardt, the school has had an affiliation with the Methodist Church from its earliest days. Reinhardt has undergone many changes over the years—from a secondary school to a military institution to a junior college to the university it is today—but has long been noted for teaching educators.

Today, RU’s 1,300 students can select from 43 fields of study, from the undergraduate to graduate level. Newt Gingrich was once adjunct faculty.

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25

Emmanuel College

 3/564.17%Boston, MA

Georgia’s Emmanuel is a private liberal arts institution affiliated with the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. About 800 students attend the school, outnumbering the residents of its home base in Franklin Springs. The school’s mission is to “prepare students to become Christlike disciples,” and it offers 30 areas of study, conferring bachelor’s and associate degrees in education, arts and sciences, business, and Christian ministries.

The faculty student ratio is 15:1, and accreditation is through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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26

Georgia Southwestern State University

 2/532.06%Americus, GA

Part of the University System of Georgia colleges, GSW was founded in 1906 as an agricultural and mechanical school in the small city of Americus. In the 1920s, it morphed into a teaching school, and today still has a very competitive education department. Other programs of note include business, accounting, psychology, and nursing. The school’s 2,700 students have their pick of dozens of programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter both attended GSW, and part of the campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Georgia is home to several campuses under the banner of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), as well as many community colleges specializing in military and fine arts programs. These schools provide training to help students secure employment in the local workforce after graduation.

Higher education is valuable everywhere, but particularly so in Georgia, where the number of jobs requiring a degree exceeds the supply of college graduates. As of 2011, only 34% of adults in Georgia held an associate’s degree or higher; the state estimates that 61% of local jobs will require a degree by 2020. The TCSG prioritizes several intensive outreach initiatives designed to expand student opportunities and enrich the local economy, including the Quick Start workforce training program.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, graduates from top two-year schools in Georgia stand to earn a higher salary than adults without college experience. Georgia sponsors several initiatives to increase college enrollment and develop an educated workforce in the state. Georgia’s Higher Education Completion Plan, for example, was born out of a partnership between the USG and the TCSG. The goal is to increase job opportunities for Georgians by facilitating greater access to college certificate and degree programs. If you’re interested in a junior college program, check out our list of the best two-year schools in Georgia.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1

Southeastern Technical College

 1/536.67%Vidalia, GA

campus-southeastern-technical-college

STC was founded in 1963 to serve citizens of 20 Georgia counties -- one of the largest areas ever to be served by any two-year college in the state. Today, the school educates thousands of students across the southeastern part of the state, providing courses in more than two-dozen academic areas, from accounting to welding.

Besides granting two-year degrees and certifications, STC also has a well known continuing education and economic development program designed to offer business and industry training opportunities to its service areas. Students take an assessment test, the ACT COMPASS, to place them on the right track.

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2

Southwest Georgia Technical College

 1/532.18%Thomasville, GA

campus-southwest-georgia-technical-college

Based in Thomasville, SRTC serves a large part of southwest Georgia, providing educational opportunities to residents of seven counties with centers in Cairo, Camilla, Ashburn, Sylvester, Tifton, and Moultrie. The school is part of the Technical System of Georgia colleges, and is accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees and technical certificates.

More than 150 programs are offered through the school, and credits from the general education core curriculum are guaranteed to transfer to all University System of Georgia schools and any private university in the state.

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3

Oconee Fall Line Technical College

 1/525%Sandersville, GA

campus-oconee-fall-line-technical-college

Oconee stresses a hands-on approach to learning. Students get a classroom education in such fields as business technology and respiratory care, and can apply the knowledge they gain in vocational classes and the work environment. If an employer feels that the skills of an Oconee graduate are wanting, the school will retrain them at no cost—a unique feature of Oconee.

Courses are taught at eight campuses across central and eastern Georgia, including the main north and south campuses, a transportation center, and Jefferson County High School.

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4

Lanier Technical College

 1/523.03%Oakwood, GA

campus-lanier-technical-college

A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, Lanier provides vocational education and career-advancement opportunities to a seven-county area from its main campus in Oakwood. The school offers two-year degrees, certification, and professional development in more than three dozen fields of study from five campuses.

Lanier has an excellent job placement rate, with 94% of graduates landing jobs in their field. While the school awards degrees in areas from business to motorsports vehicle technology, its healthcare training programs are particularly strong, with degrees in surgical, medical lab, and radiologic technology, as well as nursing, paramedicine, and dental hygiene.

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5

Southern Regional Technical College

 1/531.03%Moultrie, GA

campus-southern-regional-technical-college

Based in the small city of Moultrie, Southern Regional Technical College offers its 2,000 students two-year degrees, certification, and continuing education in more than 50 fields of study. The school is accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia.

Programs are grouped into four primary divisions: allied health, business and computing, technical and industry, and economic development. The school has standard vocational offerings along with unique fields such as neuromuscular therapy, public works civil technician, and distribution and material management.

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6

South Georgia Technical College

 1/538.25%Americus, GA

SGTC has a unique history. The school’s Americus campus began as an Air Force training facility during World I. Today, the institution serves as a residential junior college, with an additional campus in Cordele, serving a student population of about 3,500.

The school provides two-year degrees and certification in dozens of fields. Programs of particular note include early childcare, nursing, criminal justice, culinary arts, and marketing. Other disciplines include a police academy and, of course, aviation and avionics. Students can join in several on-campus activities, as the school boasts a varsity basketball team, virtual NASCAR, and a fully stocked fish pond.

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7

College of Coastal Georgia

 1/515.47%Brunswick, GA

Founded in 1961, CCGA is among the newest state colleges in Georgia. Based in the beautiful seaside town of Brunswick, in Georgia’s famed Golden Isles resort area, the school is an undergraduate college in the University System of Georgia and now confers both two- and four-year degrees.

CCGA takes full advantage of its location, sponsoring hikes and trips to area beaches and parks. It also partners with a variety of organizations including the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, the Southeast Georgia Health System, and the National Law Enforcement Training Center, to offer additional opportunities to its 3,500 students.

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8

North Georgia Technical College

 1/526.72%Clarkesville, GA

NGTC was one of the first two-year colleges in Georgia, and celebrated its 100th birthday in 2007. Through its main campus in Clarksville, a 45,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in Currahee, and a campus overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains in Blairsville, the school offers courses in 17 areas of study. These include criminal justice, business, computer technology, culinary arts, early childhood, photography, environmental science, and cosmetology. The school’s horticulture program has earned distinction nationally.

NGTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and is accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

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9

Ogeechee Technical College

 1/534.92%Statesboro, GA

OTC is based in Statesboro and was established in 1986 by the Georgia General Assembly as a public, two-year institution. Since its first courses in nursing, the school has steadily expanded, and in 2000, began to see dramatic enrollment growth thanks to unique courses offerings such as funeral service education, forensic science tech, and opticianry.

Agribusiness, culinary arts, veterinary technology, geographical information systems technology, and hotel, restaurant, and tourism management round out the curriculum. A law enforcement academy followed in 2008. In 2011, Ogeechee was named the Technical College of the Year for the State of Georgia.

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10

Albany Technical College

 1/531.63%Albany, GA

Albany Tech has more than 5,000 students in its 50+ programs, most of them full-time. Based in the city of Albany, the school provides vocational education and two-year degrees to a seven county area with learning centers in each county. It’s one of the only two-year colleges in Georgia to have a full-service career development center on campus, and one of the few to still offer education in the “trades,” like carpentry, plumbing, and masonry.

All 15 students in the school’s 2014 paramedicine program scored 100% on the National Registry Certification Exam. Notable alumni include American Idol winner Phillip Phillips.

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11

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College

 1/519.51%Valdosta, GA

WGTC’s 5,500 students enjoy a wealth of degree options. With a main campus in Valdosta, four other campuses, and satellite learning centers in each of the 11 counties it serves, the school features more than 100 fields of study in four main departments: technical and industrial, allied health, business and computer science, and professional services.

The school’s largest enrollment is in allied health, and in 2016 it will open a new state-of-the-art facility in Douglas for its Allied Health and Public Safety departments. In 2010, the school was named college of the year among all technical colleges in Georgia.

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12

Andrew College

 3/517.2%Cuthbert, GA

Andrew College has a rich history as one of the oldest schools in the state. The institution was taken over by the Confederacy in 1864 to serve wounded soldiers as Hood Hospital. Later, it became Andrews Female College, only transitioning to its status today as a private, co-ed, junior college in 1956. It was founded as a Methodist school and still retains an affiliation with the Methodist church.

Around 350 students are enrolled, offering an intimate learning environment and low student-to-teacher ratio. The school offers more than 40 areas of study and its curriculum parallels that offered by most four-year colleges.

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13

Darton State College

 1/513.83%Albany, GA

Darton has a unique feature right in the center of its campus: the Center for Adventure-Based Leadership, which attracts Fortune 500 companies to visit and train on the climbing towers at the Albany-based school.

With a full slate of traditional academic programs, Darton also focuses on campus life and offers more than 30 organizations and service clubs, 11 nationally regarded sports teams, and strong programs in art, dance, theater, and music. Many of its 5,500 students come right from Dougherty County.

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14

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

 1/516.18%Tifton, GA

Part of the 29-member University System of Georgia, ABAC was named after a signer of the US Constitution and the first president of the University of Georgia. Founded in 1908 as a junior college, the school now offers its 3,000 students both associate and bachelor’s degrees. While its nursing program enjoys the largest enrollment, ABAC still has deep roots in agriculture, natural resources, and rural studies.

The school’s 516-acre Tifton campus is home to the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village. The music program at the school is nationally known.

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15

Athens Technical College

 1/527.24%Athens, GA

Athens is one of the most famous college towns in Georgia. Athens Tech’s 10,000 students can pursue more than 130 associate degrees and vocational certifications in business, health, manufacturing, and technical fields. Three additional campuses and an array of learning centers across 10 counties complement the main campus.

The student body hails from more than 10 countries, 12 states, and 90 counties in Georgia, and continues to grow—attendance has increased by 133% over the past dozen years.

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16

Gordon State College

 1/512.95%Barnesville, GA

Gordon State is located in Barnesville, the center of the state, and began as a two-room school house in 1832. For much of its history it was a military school. Today, it confers both bachelor’s and associate degrees and has particularly strong programs in nursing, the liberal arts, elementary education, and English.

The school’s campus sprawls across 235 acres and includes a state-of-the-art nursing and allied health facility. A new 56,000-square-foot Student Recreation and Activity Center is scheduled to open in 2016.

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17

Central Georgia Technical College

 1/518.52%Warner Robins, GA

Part of the Technical College System of Georgia, CGTC serves 11 counties in the central part of the state and has an enrollment of about 12,000. The school’s main campus is in Warner Robins, with additional campuses in Macon, Milledgeville, and five learning centers in the surrounding area. The school provides more than 39 associate degree programs and 124 technical certificates, including fields such as aerospace.

Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, CGTC is known for its excellent placement rate, and has helped over 95% of graduates land jobs.

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18

Georgia Highlands College

 1/56.81%Rome, GA

Georgia Highlands sits on the northwest hills of the state, with a main campus in Rome and satellite centers in Cartersville, Marieta, Dallas, and Douglasville. A non-residential school of 5,300 students, GHC is part of the University System of Georgia colleges. Though its curriculum is largely built around associate degrees and technical certificates—with more than 40 programs to choose from—the school does offer bachelor’s in nursing and dental hygiene degrees.

The school only admits students with a 2.0 high school grade point average or better. The campus has a thriving athletic scene, with teams in men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, and softball.

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19

Dalton State College

 1/515.52%Dalton, GA

Founded as a junior college in 1963, Dalton State now has more students enrolled in baccalaureate programs than in associate degree programs. About 5,000 students attend the school, with a small percentage of them living on campus in the small town of Dalton, 30 miles south of Chattanooga.

Dalton has five main schools: business, education, liberal arts, science, and health professions, with the latter enjoying the most enrollment. The most popular major is nursing, followed by biology, early childhood education, and business.

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20

Augusta Technical College

 1/533.86%Augusta, GA

Augusta Tech serves the second-largest metro area in Georgia behind Atlanta. Campuses are located in the city of Augusta and in Grovestown, Thompson, and Waynesboro. ATC offers its 6,000 students more than 100 programs of study from which to choose, including such unique fields as nuclear engineering technology and residential wiring. Business and nursing have proven to be the most popular fields among degree-earners in recent years.

The majority of students at ATC make it to a campus for class, but online, web-enhanced, and hybrid classes have become increasingly popular.

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21

Georgia Northwestern Technical College

 1/520.6%Rome, GA

"Education for work" is the motto at GNTC, the largest college in Georgia’s northwest corner. With more than 200 associate degree, technical certification, and continuing education programs, that’s what the school delivers. The school brings opportunity to nine counties with its five campuses.

More than 8,200 students pursue credits annually, and an additional 8,000 adults take courses for continuing education and business training. GNTC is one of the largest educators for the healthcare industry among all colleges in Georgia.

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22

West Georgia Technical College

 1/515.3%Waco, GA

Third-largest of all the technical colleges in Georgia, WGTC offers more than 115 programs of study, conferring associate degrees, technical certification, and diplomas to students from seven counties and beyond. The school has expanded from its Waco base with a series of mergers and now has centers in Carroll, Coweta, Douglas, Haralson, Heard, Meriwether, and Troup counties.

WGTC provides its undergrads with a flexible schedule, and partners with regional businesses and industry leaders to hone its curriculum and maximize continuing education possibilities.

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23

Savannah Technical College

 1/529.43%Savannah, GA

Set in one of the nation’s most historic cities, Savannah Tech also has five locations in Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty counties providing educational opportunities to military families. More than 150 different learning programs are available to the school’s 4,300 students, including aviation technology, business, public service, health sciences, and industrial tech. STC recently partnered with the Georgia Film Academy to create a curriculum designed to serve the state’s burgeoning film community.

Savannah Tech’s associate degrees, certifications, and diplomas are accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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24

Bainbridge State College

 1/59.33%Bainbridge, GA

Bainbridge State is unique among colleges in the state as it allows residents of Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina to be eligible for in-state tuition. Bainbridge is one of the fastest-growing schools in Georgia, enjoying a 52% jump in enrollment since 2001.

In 2015, BSC began offering its first bachelor’s-level degree in management to complement its slate of 70 associate degree, technical certification, and continuing education programs.

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25

Atlanta Technical College

 1/527.98%Atlanta, GA

AT was the Technical College System of Georgia’s Tech College of the Year in 2012. It’s distinguished among local institutions and has been nationally ranked for several years running. Based in the state’s largest city, the school is non-residential and offers associate degrees, diplomas, and technical certificates to about 5,000 largely part-time students.

More than 90% of its graduates are placed in jobs in their fields, and the school guarantees each and every one -- if graduates are not up to industry standards, they will be retrained at no cost.

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If you’re thinking about applying to one of the best colleges in Georgia, continuing reading to learn more about living in the Peach State.

From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the coastal plains, Georgia boasts a rich history as diverse as its terrain, from its founding as one of the original 13 colonies to the “empire of the south” it is today. The eighth-most populous state, Georgia has historically been home to a large concentration of African-American residents. As of 2011 nearly 60% of newborns in the state were non-white.

As of 2009, Georgia had the thirty-eighth highest per-capita income in the U.S. Residents earn an average personal income of $34,893 a year, more than in most southern states. Over 84.7% of Georgians age 25 and older have at least a high school diploma, which is slightly below the national average. Georgia’s largest universities are located in city centers, including Athens and the capital city, Atlanta.

Below, we’ve highlighted two of the larger regions in Georgia:

Regional Spotlight: North Central Georgia

  • Major Cities: Atlanta, Athens, Marietta
  • Attractions: MLK, Jr. National Historic Site, Georgia Aquarium, Centennial Olympic Park
  • Cost of Living: Atlanta’s Numbeo Cost of Living
  • Popular Schools: Georgia State University, Spelman College, Atlanta Technical College

Regional Spotlight: Central Georgia

  • Major Cities: Macon, Augusta, Columbus
  • Attractions: Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, The Cannonball House, Rotary Park
  • Popular Schools: Central Georgia Technical College, Troy University, Georgia Military College

Residency

Establishing residency allows students access to in-state tuition at public colleges in Georgia. Students 18 or older must show proof of residency; minors must live with a parent or legal guardian with state residency to qualify.

For Minors:

If a student is a minor when applying to college, they must rely on their parents or guardians to claim residence in the state. To prove they live in Georgia, a minor must demonstrate that their parents or guardians live in the state. If the parents are divorced, the student must reside with a parent who lives in Georgia. Minors must begin living with their parent in Georgia before turning 18 and prove their intention to continue living with that parent until the school year begins.

For Adults:

Adults 18 and older must meet specific criteria to claim residence:

  • You must physically reside in Georgia for at least one year prior to declaring residence.
  • You must prove intent to make Georgia your home.
  • You need to prove your financial independence.

Additional Resources for Georgia College Students

College Savings

Education Nonprofits

Higher Education News

Official State Links