Georgia (GA): Colleges and Universities

There are more than 100 public and private not-for-profit colleges and universities in Georgia. Read an overview of the schools with the most program variety, lowest net price, highest graduation rate and lowest student-faculty ratio and find out which school is the right one for you.

School Ranking Overview

Prospective students looking for an education in the south could easily find themselves a home (and school!) in Georgia. Georgia has hundreds of colleges and universities to pick from. These schools run the gamut from four-year public universities with nearly 35,000 students to smaller two-year technical colleges with under 2,000 students. There's a lot of schools, and lot to consider, and this article will help by ranking several Georgia schools in the following categories:

  • Most Program Variety
  • Lowest Net Price
  • Highest Graduation Rate
  • Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Most Program Variety

Prospective college students who haven't yet plotted their career path - as well as graduate students who might still be seeking their specialty area - might look for a school with a variety of programs from which to choose. The three Georgia schools featured below offer programs in dozens of different fields of study at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

1 - University of Georgia

Offering approximately 180 fields of study to its nearly 35,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens has significantly more program variety than any other school in the state. In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked a number of UGA's undergraduate business programs, including insurance, real estate and management, among the top 10 in the nation. On the graduate level, the university was honored with a #1 ranking for its technical/vocational education program, and its student counseling and personnel services and secondary teaching programs were ranked second and third, respectively, among the county's best education programs. UGA also earned a #63 ranking as a top national university and was named the nation's 21st best public school.

2 - Georgia State University

Among its nearly 100 fields of study for undergraduate and graduate students, Georgia State University in Atlanta features several top 10 undergrad business programs, including insurance, management information systems and real estate, based on 2013 U.S. News & World Report rankings. The school also boasts top 10 graduate programs in public finance and budgeting, information systems and healthcare law. General psychology was the most popular undergraduate major for 2012 graduates of Georgia State, followed by business administration and management and accounting.

3 - Emory University

Emory University offers more than 90 programs to undergraduate and graduate students at its Atlanta campus. Ranked as the 20th best university in the country by U.S. News & World Report in 2013, Emory is home to a number of individual top 20 programs, including its undergraduate programs in marketing, finance and management. In addition to its part-time and executive MBA programs, top 20-ranked graduate programs at this university include African history, behavioral neuroscience, clinical psychology, nurse midwife, pediatric nurse practitioner, physical therapy, physician assistant, public health and social psychology.

Lowest Net Price

The average net price for a college or university is determined by subtracting the amount of government or institutional financial aid a student receives from the total cost of attendance. According to figures from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the Georgia community colleges featured below each had a net cost below $2,250 for the 2010-2011 academic year.

1 - Middle Georgia Technical College

With an average net price of just $142 for in-state students for 2010-2011, Middle Georgia Technical College in Warner Robins is the state's most affordable option for a postsecondary education. As of the 2012-2013 academic year, in-state students at this school paid an estimated $2,200 in tuition and fees, while their out-of-state counterparts paid $4,120, according to NCES figures. That same year, off-campus room and board for Middle Georgia Tech students was estimated at $7,800. For 2010-2011, NCES reported that 84% of students received grant and/or scholarship aid, with an average package of $5,002.

2 - Central Georgia Technical College

Another affordable option for in-state students, Central Georgia Technical College in Macon had an average net price of $1,531 in 2010-2011. As of the 2012-2013 academic year, NCES reported that tuition and fees at Central Georgia Tech were an estimated $2,250 for in-state students and $4,170 for out-of-state students, while off-campus room and board for all students was an estimated $2,000 per year. The 94% of Central Georgia Tech students who were awarded grants and/or scholarships in 2010-2011 saw an average aid package of $5,651.

3 - Southeastern Technical College

While costs at many schools are trending upward, Southeastern Technical College in Vidalia lowered costs for its nearly 2,000 students for the 2012-2013 academic year. According to NCES figures, in-state students at this school paid an estimated $2,262 in tuition and fees in 2012-2013, a more than 9% decrease from 2011-2012 costs. Out-of-state students paid around 16% less than the previous academic year, with tuition and fees of $4,182 for 2012-2013. Living expenses in the area also dropped significantly, with the estimated cost for off-campus housing falling from $6,638 in 2011-2012 to $5,501 in 2012-2013. As of the 2010-2011 academic year, the average net price for in-state Southeastern Technical students was $2,225.

Highest Graduation Rate

The overall graduation rate for a school includes the number of students who completed their studies in 150% of 'normal time' (for example, four years is the 'normal time' for a bachelor's program, so the overall graduation rate reflects the number of students who graduated in six years). Based on NCES figures for full-time students who began their studies in 2005, the following 4-year Georgia schools had graduation rates of at least 79% in 2011.

1 - Emory University

With an overall graduation rate of 88%, Emory University has the highest graduation rate of any postsecondary school in the state. Among graduates, 82% finished their bachelor's program in four years, while 90% had completed their degree within six years. Emory also has a high retention rate, with 96% percent of its Fall 2010 freshmen returning for their sophomore year.

2 - University of Georgia

According to NCES statistics, 84% of UGA students who began college in Fall 2005 graduated within normal time, while 6% of those freshmen transferred to another university. The 4-year graduation rate for these students was 54%, with 82% having graduated within six years. UGA also does a good job of retaining students, with 94% of full-time and 83% of part-time 2010 beginning undergraduates returning to the university for a second year.

3 - Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus

Located in Atlanta, Georgia Institute of Technology, more commonly known as Georgia Tech, boasts a 79% overall graduation rate for Fall 2005 freshmen. The school's 4-year graduation rate is just 31%, according to NCES figures, but that figure jumps significantly, with 79% of students completing their schooling within six years. Among Georgia Tech's Fall 2010 freshmen, 95% of full-time and 83% of part-time students returned in Fall 2011.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Students who want the opportunity to be a big fish in a little pond might opt for a school with a low student-faculty ratio. The private Georgia schools listed below had student-faculty ratios of 10:1 or less as of Fall 2011, based on NCES figures.

1 - Emory University

With a student-faculty ratio of 7:1, Emory University is one of the state's best options for students seeking small average class sizes. The university has nearly 3,100 full-time and 650 part-time faculty members and 1,300 part-time graduate assistants, around 600 of whom teach classes. According to U.S. News & World Report, more than 65% of classes at Emory have less than 20 students.

2 - LaGrange College

At LaGrange College in LaGrange, nearly 83% of classes have less than 20 students, based on statistics from U.S. News & World Report. As of Fall 2011, the school had 73 full-time and 52 part-time faculty members, with an overall student-faculty ratio of 9:1, according to NCES. LaGrange College does not use graduate teaching assistants.

3 - Young Harris College

As at LaGrange College, classes at Young Harris College in Young Harris are taught only by full- or part-time faculty members. In Fall 2011, the school employed 68 full-time and 26 part-time instructors, for a student-faculty ratio of 10:1, based on NCES stats. The college reports that its average class size is 17 students.

Georgia Schools At A Glance

School Name Location School Type Degrees Offered Area Ranking
Central Georgia Technical College Macon, GA 2-year, public Less than 1-year, 1- to 2-year, and 2- to 4-year certificates; associate's degrees 2nd Lowest Net Price
Emory University Atlanta, GA 4-year, private not-for-profit Associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees; postbaccalaureate and post-master's certificates Highest Graduation Rate,
Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
3rd Most Program Variety
Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus Atlanta, GA 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees 3rd Highest Graduation Rate
Georgia State University Atlanta, GA 4-year, public Less than 1-year certificates; bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees; postbaccalaureate and post-master's certificates 2nd Most Program Variety
LaGrange College LaGrange, GA 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's and master's degrees; post-master's certificates 2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Middle Georgia Technical College Warner Robins, GA 2-year, public Less than 1-year, 1- to 2-year, and 2- to 4-year certificates; associate's degrees Lowest Net Price
Southeastern Technical College Vidalia, GA 2-year, public Less than 1-year, 1- to 2-year, and 2- to 4-year certificates; associate's degrees 3rd Lowest Net Price
University of Georgia Athens, GA 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees; post-master's certificates Most Program Variety,
2nd Highest Graduation Rate
Young Harris College Young Harris, GA 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's degrees 3rd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

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