2022 Top Public Colleges and Universities in Georgia

Public colleges and universities are often the most affordable option for students pursuing higher education, but it's not just affordability that makes these institutions attractive. Public institutions also rank highly among the best colleges and universities in many states, Georgia included.

Public colleges and universities receive state and federal funding. Although they generally have larger class sizes than private institutions, they also tend to offer a wide variety of academic programs, diverse student bodies, and prestigious research opportunities.

2022 Best Public Colleges and Universities in Georgia

  1. #1

    Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus

    Atlanta, GA

    Graduation Rate

    90%

    Enrollment

    36,302

    Format

    Online, In person

    Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus awards degrees as a public institution. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or a bachelor's degree. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. At the accredited school, students qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. A total of 69% of students receive financial aid and 24% take out loans at the school. The institution reports a graduation rate of 90%. The admission rate for incoming students is 21%. Contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements. Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  2. #2

    University of Georgia

    Athens, GA

    Graduation Rate

    87%

    Enrollment

    38,920

    Format

    Online, In person

    Located in Athens, Georgia, University of Georgia grants degrees as a public institution. The school's academic and technical programs help learners reach a variety of professional goals. The institution's bachelor's programs incorporate lower-division and upper-division coursework. Undergraduates also complete general education courses. In upper-division classes, degree-seekers learn advanced concepts in their major. Enrollees receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The school's cost per credit is unknown. Learners at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. University of Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

  3. #3

    Kennesaw State University

    Kennesaw, GA

    Graduation Rate

    46%

    Enrollment

    37,807

    Format

    Online, In person

    Kennesaw State University, which enrolls students in programs from its Kennesaw, Georgia campus. The institution offers a variety of degree-granting programs. The school's academic and technical tracks help students meet diverse career goals. At the school, students typically complete an associate degree in two years, a bachelor's degree in four years, a master's degree in 1-2 years, or a doctoral degree in 3-7 years. Some programs may operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. These policies make it easier to enroll. The admissions department can help students complete the application process. Financial aid helps enrollees cover their educational expenses. Kennesaw State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  4. #4

    Georgia Southern University

    Statesboro, GA

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    26,054

    Format

    Online, In person

    From its campus in Statesboro, Georgia, Georgia Southern University grants college degrees as a public institution. The school offers academic and technical programs to help learners reach their educational goals. Bachelor's programs incorporate lower-division and upper-division coursework. The school's 120-credit bachelor's programs also include general education credits. In upper-division classes, degree-seekers learn advanced concepts in their major. The school provides support such as tutoring and career services. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  5. #5

    South Georgia Technical College

    Americus, GA

    Graduation Rate

    63%

    Enrollment

    2,117

    Format

    In person

    From its campus in Americus, Georgia, South Georgia Technical College grants degrees and certificates as a top school. Enrollees take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school offers academic and technical tracks to help students meet a variety of professional goals. Consult the institution's website to find information on the typical timeline for program completion. Some programs may operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. The waiver makes it simpler to enroll. The admissions department provides more information about the application process. At the accredited institution, learners also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. South Georgia Technical College holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  6. #6

    Georgia Military College

    Milledgeville, GA

    Graduation Rate

    28%

    Enrollment

    8,766

    Format

    Online, In person

    From its Georgia campus, Georgia Military College offers 31 academic programs. Learners enroll in top-ranked programs that offer a rigorous course of study. The school reports a 19-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. According to the institution, 92% of students receive some form of financial aid. The public school reports a 28% graduation rate. The institution understands that hands-on experience makes graduates more competitive in the job market. The school's admission rate is currently unknown. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Prospective applicants can contact the admission department for more information about applying.

  7. #7

    Clayton State University

    Morrow, GA

    Graduation Rate

    30%

    Enrollment

    6,879

    Format

    Online, In person

    A public institution located in Morrow, Georgia, Clayton State University enrolls learners in multiple programs. The school offers programs that prepare learners for the workforce. The institution provides academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. The school offers nationally ranked programs in diverse fields. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Students attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Current students receive an average aid award of $7437, making the average tuition cost after aid $10037. The institution offers both academic and technical programs. Depending on their program, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Clayton State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  8. #8

    Georgia Northwestern Technical College

    Rome, GA

    Graduation Rate

    47%

    Enrollment

    6,616

    Format

    Online, In person

    A public institution located in Rome, Georgia, Georgia Northwestern Technical College offers a variety of programs. Students leave the school with experience and credentials that prepare them for the workforce. The institution's affordable programs provide a rigorous course of study. The school's programs appear in national rankings. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. The institution reports that students receive an average aid award of $7328, lowering the average tuition cost after aid to $2539. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the school. Depending on their major, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Georgia Northwestern Technical College has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

  9. #9

    Grady Health System Professional Schools

    Atlanta, GA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    74

    Format

    In person

    Grady Health System Professional Schools is a Georgia-based public school that hosts an assortment of professional training programs. The institution provides students seeking a faster course of study with 3 certificate programs. Students study core topics and receive specialized training. Enrollees complete rigorous curricula to prepare for careers and further studies. Graduates pursue opportunities in related fields upon completing a certificate. Learners can receive federal financial aid at this accredited institution. Prospective students can contact the school's admissions department to learn more about the application process. The school holds accreditation from the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology.

  10. #10

    University of West Georgia

    Carrollton, GA

    Graduation Rate

    45%

    Enrollment

    13,238

    Format

    Online, In person

    From its Georgia campus, University of West Georgia offers 83 degree-granting programs. The institution's programs offer a rigorous course of study. The school reports a student-to-faculty ratio of 18-to-1. The institution reports that 94% of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid. The public school reports a 45% graduation rate. The institution understands that hands-on experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. Learners benefit from internships, research opportunities, and other forms of service learning. The admission rate for new students is 59%. Some programs waive the test score requirement for qualified applicants.

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Why Choose a Public College or University in Georgia?

There are 26 public colleges and universities in Georgia, including popular flagships like the University of Georgia and Georgia State University. Students also flock to big public schools like Kennesaw State University and Georgia Institute of Technology's main campus.

Georgia enrolled nearly 341,000 students across its public colleges and universities in fall 2021. Enrollment increased at research universities across Georgia's public university system in 2021. The best public schools in Georgia offer benefits for students, including sprawling campuses, various extracurriculars, and federal financial aid packages.

Georgia also participates in the Academic Common Market under the Southern Regional Education Board. This partnership enables students attending public four-year colleges in Georgia to matriculate in programs at other institutions in participating southern states. Students can also enjoy in-state tuition rates for qualifying Georgia programs.

Many students pursue the traditional college experience by enrolling in a public college or university. While private colleges may suit learners seeking out an unusual major or more insulated environment, public institutions in Georgia provide comprehensive academic programs, competitive athletics, and various social clubs and community activities.

Pros and Cons of Attending a Public College or University in Georgia

Pros

State-run public four-year colleges in Georgia receive federal funding, which means maximum federal financial aid for students.Public colleges and universities tend to offer more diverse academic programs than private colleges.Large public colleges can provide more student-engagement and employment opportunities, including Greek life and work-study jobs on campus.

Cons

Limited access to instructors can hinder a student's ability to understand the material and implement feedback.Large class sizes mean students face more competition to register for classes each semester and receive less face time with instructors.Large campuses can be challenging to navigate, and student housing may be hard to come by.

Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Colleges and Universities in Georgia

The primary difference between nonprofit and for-profit colleges and universities is that nonprofits receive federal and state funding and therefore do not rely on self-generated income to operate, while for-profits do. Nonprofits can afford to charge lower tuition and extend federal financial aid opportunities to their students. For-profit schools require donations, endowments, and grants to operate.

Most public four-year colleges in Georgia are nonprofit. All of Georgia's 17 for-profit colleges are private. Private schools typically charge higher tuition rates than public nonprofit colleges and universities. Private school students may qualify for non-federal financial aid such as merit scholarships. However, many of these students also resort to loans to offset high tuition costs, resulting in more student debt.

How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Public College or University in Georgia?

The average cost of attending a public four-year college in Georgia was $18,554 in 2019-2020, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This figure includes $7,457 in required in-state tuition and fees and $11,097 for room and board. Out-of-state students attending a public four-year institution in Georgia spent $23,167 in tuition and fees that year.

By comparison, attending a four-year private institution in Georgia cost $42,802 in 2019-2020. This amount exceeds the cost of Georgia's most expensive public university, Georgia Tech, with annual tuition of $29,498 for state residents in 2022-2023. Georgia's least expensive public institution is Central Georgia Technical College, which charges as little as $100 per credit in select programs as of 2021-2022.

Students should consider how other factors such as residency status, online or in-person enrollment, and financial aid requirements might affect the cost of attendance.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Public Colleges and Universities in Georgia

How many public colleges and universities are there in Georgia?

The public university system in Georgia has 26 schools. This count includes four comprehensive universities, four research universities, nine state colleges, and nine state universities.

Georgia is known for its diverse programs, especially popular majors like technology, agriculture, and the liberal arts. Big public schools like the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Georgia State University offer the most comprehensive and diverse programs.

What is the most expensive public college or university in Georgia?

The most expensive public institution in Georgia is Georgia Tech. The school charges undergraduate tuition of $29,498 for Georgia residents for the 2022-2023 academic year. Out-of-state students can pay upwards of $50,000 per year.

Other expensive public colleges and universities include the University of Georgia ($27,946) and Georgia State University ($12,076) as of March 2022.Public four-year institutions may offer generous federal financial aid packages, which students can pair with merit-based scholarships and grants. Students who reside in Georgia can also benefit from in-state tuition.

What is the least expensive public college or university in Georgia?

Central Georgia Technical College is the least expensive public college or university in Georgia, charging only $100 per credit for some programs. Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College also offers more affordable tuition, charging in-state students $4,206 per year as of March 2022.

Most public colleges and universities require undergraduate students to submit the FAFSA as part of the admissions process. The FAFSA determines a student's financial aid eligibility. Students can also pursue additional savings by enrolling in online programs, renting textbooks, and applying for merit scholarships.

What is the biggest public college or university in Georgia?

Georgia State University enrolls more than 52,000 students, making it the largest public university in the state. Kennesaw State University enrolls the second-largest number of students, at nearly 43,000. Georgia Tech is the state's third-largest public institution, with an enrollment of nearly 40,000 students. Public colleges and universities in Georgia saw minor declines in enrollment for fall 2021 but fared well compared to other states.

Is a public college or university right for me?

Many factors affect a student's decision to attend a public college or university. While many students look to public schools to provide a traditional college experience, others may prefer the smaller environment of a private program. Public colleges and universities can offer federal financial aid and in-state tuition rates not available at most private schools.

Attending a public school can also benefit students seeking a variety of diverse academic programs and enrollment options. Additionally, public colleges and universities in Georgia offer bustling campuses with many student engagement opportunities through social clubs, team sports, and student leadership.