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Northwest Georgia College and University Options

There are nearly 40 non-profit colleges in the northwest part of Georgia. See how the four largest schools in the region stack up against each other to find the school for you.

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School Ranking Overview

There are many postsecondary schools in the northwest Georgia area, particularly in and immediately around Atlanta. This article looks at the traditional colleges that offer a variety of areas of study and operate as public institutions or non-profit private schools. Of those types of schools, the largest four are compared to one another so that the top three can be ranked in each of these narrow categories:

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

Most Program Variety

One benefit of traditional schools is the variety of departments and disciplines they offer, which can be an advantage for anyone seeking a broad experience. This variety is especially helpful for undecided students who may want to switch majors without switching schools. Of the four largest colleges in the area, these three offer the most programs:

1. Georgia State University

This large public school in Atlanta offers roughly 120 programs, putting it in the number one slot for variety. Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees are available at Georgia State, in addition to graduate-level certificates.

2. Kennesaw State University

Located in Kennesaw, this school has about 70 programs available. Kennesaw State University is a 4-year public school that offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees along with certificates at the graduate level.

3. Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus

The flagship campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology, located in Atlanta, has more than 60 programs to offer at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels.

Lowest Net Price

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) tracks statistics for schools that include a net price, which takes into account the total cost of full-time attendance (tuition, room, board, books and fees) but then subtracts the average financial aid awarded by the school. When available, in-district or in-state tuition rates are used. The following colleges were the most affordable of the compared schools based on the net price figures for 2012-2013.

1. Georgia Perimeter College

Georgia Perimeter College, or GPC, is a 2-year public school in Decatur. This community college has a substantially lower net price of $6,268 based on in-district tuition rates, putting it well into first place in terms of affordability.

2. Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus

The net price at the Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, was $11,864, the second-lowest cost of the compared schools.

3. Georgia State University

The third-best large school for affordability was Georgia State University, where the net price was reportedly $15,131.

Highest Graduation Rate

A third basis of comparison when researching colleges can be the school's rate of success in terms of the percentage of students who graduate within 150% of the time normally needed for their degree. All three of the schools that landed in the top three spots for this category are 4-year colleges, and the figures used are based on students who enrolled full-time for the first time in 2007 to pursue a bachelor's degree. A retention rate figure is also provided, which shows what percentage of a school's full-time 2012 freshman class returned for a sophomore year in 2013.

1. Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus

The 82% graduation rate at this school was substantially higher than the other compared schools. Additionally, the NCES reported a 96% retention rate for Georgia Institute of Technology students.

2. Georgia State University

The graduation rate at this university was 53%, the second-best of the largest schools in the region. The retention rate was 82%.

3. Kennesaw State University

Finally, a graduation rate of 43% and a retention rate of 76% were both third-best for this category.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Students who hope to interact one-on-one with professors through small class sizes, class participation, office hours and hands-on experiences will want to pay attention to the number of faculty members as compared to the number of students. The following student-faculty ratios were the lowest among the schools covered in this article; figures are from the NCES and reflect the 2013-14 academic year.

1. Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus

This school had a student-faculty ratio of 17:1 for its 21,000 or so students. Roughly 1,000 full-time and 200 part-time instructional faculty members were on staff at Georgia Tech.

2. Georgia Perimeter College

The 21,000 or so students at GPC experienced a student-faculty ratio of 20:1, based on a staff of about 460 full-time and 440 part-time instructional faculty members.

3. Kennesaw State University

Finally, Kennesaw State had a student-faculty ratio of 21:1. Roughly 700 full-time and 700 part-time instructional faculty members were employed here to teach the 25,000 or so students.

Largest Northwest Georgia Colleges at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Programs Offered Area Ranking
Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus Atlanta, GA 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees #1 in Graduation Rate, #1 in Student-Faculty Ratio, #2 in Net Price, #3 in Program Variety
Georgia Perimeter College Decatur, GA 2-year, public Certificates and associate degrees #1 in Net Price, #2 in Student-Faculty Ratio
Georgia State University Atlanta, GA 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; graduate certificates #1 in Program Variety, #2 in Graduation Rate, #3 in Net Price
Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; undergraduate and graduate certificates #2 in Program Variety, #3 in Graduation Rate, #3 in Student-Faculty Ratio
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