Colleges in Atlanta: All 11 Schools

Considering colleges in Atlanta? Learn more about the city’s 11 schools, including the cost of college and high-paying jobs in Atlanta.
portrait of Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
Read Full Bio


An award-winning historian and writer, Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D., has published multiple scholarly articles and a book with the University of Chicago Press. She currently works as a writer and consultant. She holds a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern...
Updated on October 20, 2023
Edited by
portrait of Margaret Weinhold
Margaret Weinhold
Read Full Bio


Margaret Weinhold is an associate editor for BestColleges, where she focuses on core content. She is passionate about increasing visibility and accessibility around higher education. Margaret holds a BA in English from the University of Virginia....
Learn more about our editorial process 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.

Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

Take our quiz and we'll do the homework for you! Compare your school matches and apply to your top choice today.

It has the busiest airport in the country, a thriving music scene, and a booming economy. And Atlanta also has some of the best colleges in Georgia.

Choose from an affordable public university, a top-ranked institute of technology, or a world-class private research university. Or attend a smaller college in Georgia’s capital city.

Our resources break down the city’s most popular colleges, your chances of getting in, and possible career paths with a degree from an Atlanta college.

Featured Online Programs

Popular Colleges in Atlanta

It’s hard to narrow down Atlanta’s best colleges. But Georgia Tech, Emory, and Georgia State might be the most popular. Our list includes the biggest and most selective colleges in Atlanta, while also considering academic rigor and reputation.

1. Georgia Institute of Technology

  • Avg. Annual Net Price: $17,402
  • Acceptance Rate: 17%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 45,296

It’s the largest college in Atlanta — and it’s also one of the most selective. Georgia Tech is a top research institution that offers in-person and online degrees. And because it’s a public university, you benefit from affordable tuition rates.

You can study engineering, tech, business, science, or the liberal arts at Georgia Tech. It’s also a great choice for football fans. And Georgia Tech Online offers 10 online master’s degrees and three hybrid options.

2. Emory University

  • Avg. Annual Net Price: $26,680
  • Acceptance Rate: 11%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 14,841

The top-ranked private university in Atlanta, Emory is known for its research, undergraduate education, and charming campus. Choose from over 80 majors and join more than 325 clubs and organizations to find your place at Emory.

The private institution meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for first-generation college students, including undocumented undergrads. Nearly half of undergrads receive need-based or merit aid.

3. Georgia State University

  • Avg. Annual Net Price: $17,589
  • Acceptance Rate: 67%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 36,516

Founded in 1913, Georgia State is a major public research university. You can choose from over 250 bachelor’s programs offered in 100 fields. The school also offers over 150 graduate programs. Enroll on the main campus in the heart of Atlanta or a perimeter campus across the metro area.

You can also enroll at Georgia State Online, which offers more programs in a distance learning format than any other Georgia university.

List of All Colleges in Atlanta

We've created a complete list of all four-year nonprofit universities in Atlanta and the surrounding area. You can use the table below to compare data on student population, average net cost, acceptance rate, and number of applicants.

The following school data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). All data is from 2022. Schools with fewer than 500 undergraduates were not included in this list.

All Colleges in Atlanta
School Total Student Enrollment Avg. Annual Net Price Acceptance Rate Number of Applicants
Agnes Scott College 1,114 $24,305 67% 1,879
Clark Atlanta University 4,000 $30,015 56% 16,153
Clayton State University 5,847 $9,792 56% 2,255
Emory University 14,841 $26,680 11% 33,179
Georgia Gwinnett College 11,030 $10,981 94% 5,626
Georgia Institute of Technology 45,296 $17,402 17% 50,610
Georgia State University 36,516 $17,589 67% 26,050
Life University 2,753 $28,226 98% 448
Morehouse College 2,567 $35,251 60% 5,221
Oglethorpe University 1,491 $20,094 71% 2,816
Spelman College 3,102 $37,085 28% 13,649
Source: NCES

Highest-Paying Jobs in Atlanta

What jobs can you get in Atlanta with a bachelor’s degree? Many of the city’s highest-paying jobs require a college degree. Check out some of the top roles below, based on May 2022 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

  • Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers (Mean Annual Salary: $219,160): Atlanta’s major airport makes it a hub for pilots. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree to qualify for these jobs, plus specialized training. Commercial pilots also report high salaries in Atlanta.
  • Financial Managers (Mean Annual Salary: $174,630): The financial services industry is growing in Atlanta, and that means there are more opportunities for financial analysts and financial managers. To become a financial manager, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree plus experience.
  • Database Architects (Mean Annual Salary: $142,190): There’s a reason Atlanta is called the “Silicon Valley of the South.” If you’ve got a bachelor’s degree and tech skills, you can become a database architect.
  • Actuaries (Mean Annual Salary: $130,890): Draw on statistical skills to calculate risk for insurance and financial companies. Actuaries need a bachelor’s degree to qualify for certification.
  • Chemical Engineers (Mean Annual Salary: $130,090): Engineers report high salaries in Atlanta, with chemical engineers topping the list. To become a chemical engineer, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering or a related field.

What Is the Cost of Living in Atlanta?

A city’s cost of living plays a big role in the total cost of college. More affordable cities can mean fewer loans and less debt. Atlanta’s cost of living is in line with the national average, which makes it much more affordable than similarly sized cities.

You can expect housing expenses to be about 8% higher than the national average in Atlanta. The city’s median rent is $1,475 a month. Utilities are 14% cheaper in Atlanta than the national average, while grocery prices are 7% lower.

Atlanta’s public colleges also report affordable tuition rates to keep expenses low. If you’re attending a private college, make sure to research institutional aid, including grants and scholarships, to limit costs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Colleges in Atlanta

What is the No. 1 college in Atlanta?

Atlanta has several renowned colleges, including Emory University and Georgia Tech. Both universities are also among the most selective in Atlanta, with fewer than 1 in 5 applicants receiving an admission offer. Spelman College, an HBCU, is another top-ranked college in Atlanta.

Is it expensive to go to college in Atlanta?

The cost of Atlanta colleges depends on the school, with net prices ranging from under $10,000 per year to over $30,000 per year. The city is home to several public and private colleges, so tuition rates vary widely. In addition, financial aid affects the net cost of enrolling in an Atlanta college.

What is the hardest college to get into in Atlanta?

The hardest college to get into in Atlanta is Emory, which reports an 11% acceptance rate. More than 33,000 students apply to Emory each year. Atlanta’s other highly selective colleges include Georgia Tech and Spelman. Georgia Tech admits 17% of its more than 50,000 applicants, while Spelman reports a 28% acceptance rate. 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.

Compare Your School Options

View the most relevant schools for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to finding your college home.