Online Colleges in Georgia

2019's Top Online Programs

Georgia boasts a growing economy, a low cost of living, and multiple careers reporting high job growth. Fortune 500 companies such as Home Depot, UPS, Coca-Cola, and Delta Airlines bring high-paying job opportunities to the state. Georgia also boasts strong growth in healthcare and other sectors. However, more than 65% of jobs in Georgia will require a postsecondary education by 2020. Earning a college degree helps Georgians advance their careers and earn higher salaries.

In Georgia, several fields offer lucrative salaries and advancement opportunities, including healthcare, business, and education. Attending one of the many online colleges in Georgia that are accredited regionally or nationally prepares graduates for in-demand careers in the state. Georgia college students also benefit from some of the highest state grant funding for undergraduates. The HOPE program, for example, has awarded $10 billion in funding since 1993. Our list of online colleges in Georgia includes top-ranking institutions that offer an affordable path to a degree.

Job Outlook for Students With College Degrees in Georgia

Georgia professionals benefit from a low unemployment rate and salaries close to the national average. In 2018, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Georgia's economy represented the country's ninth-best economy, thanks to adding more than 67,000 jobs in 2017. Many of these job openings came in fields that require a bachelor's degree, as the Georgia Department of Labor (DOL) highlighted in its list of the state's hottest careers. For example, the DOL projects that the fastest-growing job on its list, general and operations manager, will add nearly 9,000 new positions each year. General and operations managers earn an average salary of more than $115,000 a year.

Across the country, professionals with a college degree enjoy a significantly lower unemployment rate compared to people without a degree. In January 2017, for example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a national unemployment rate of 4.3%. The unemployment rate for college graduates remained at a much lower 2.5%. While Georgia wages lag slightly behind the national average, the state's cost of living remains below the national average. Georgians also benefit from below-average house prices.

Unemployment Rate, October 2018

Georgia 3.6%
United States 3.8%

Source: BLS

Annual Mean Wage, May 2017

Georgia $47,200
United States $50,620

Source: BLS

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Cost of Online Colleges in Georgia

The cost of attending an online college in Georgia varies depending on the program, the institution, and the student's enrollment status. Online college courses in Georgia may cost less than taking the same course on campus, depending on the school. The University of Georgia (UGA) provides a tuition discount for out-of-state students in online classes by charging them the same rate as in-state students. Online students in Georgia save money on commuting, transportation, and room-and-board costs compared to on-campus students. However, some online courses charge technology fees or distance learning fees for online students. For instance, UGA charges $597 per semester in student fees in addition to the online tuition fees.

Georgia college students pay tuition rates close to the national average at public two-year institutions, as the following chart demonstrates. Undergraduates at Georgia's public four-year institutions save more than $1,600 a year on tuition compared to the national average, making Georgia one of the more affordable states to earn a bachelor's degree. In addition, Georgia offers more financial aid opportunities in the form of grants and scholarships than nearly any state, helping Georgia students afford their undergraduate degree.

Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2018-19

  Public Two-Year Public Four-Year
Georgia $3,810 $8,580
U.S. Average $3,660 $10,230

Source: The College Board

In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition in Georgia

Prospective students may receive tuition discounts based on their residency status. Georgia residents attending one of the state's 26 public colleges and universities pay a lower tuition rate than out-of-state students. Public institutions offer tuition discounts for state residents because they receive funding through the state legislature. Compared to out-of-state students, Georgia residents pay, on average, over $16,000 less in tuition at public schools. Choosing a Georgia public college can thus save students a significant amount.

Georgia's public colleges and universities charge $8,580 per year in tuition, which is lower than the national average of $10,230. Online students may benefit from discounts for out-of-state students. For example, UGA charges a flat online tuition rate for Georgia residents and nonresidents for most of its online programs. Prospective online students should research tuition discounts for out-of-state students enrolled in online college courses in Georgia.

Average Tuition and Fees, 2018-19

  Public Two-Year In-State Public Four-Year Out-of-State
Georgia $8,580 $25,160
U.S. Average $10,230 $26,290

Source: The College Board

Financial Aid in Georgia

Georgia students benefit from one of the highest state grant aid per undergraduate in the country. Only South Carolina offers more financial support to undergraduate students. The Georgia Student Finance Commission manages the state's scholarship, grant, and loan programs, including the HOPE program. The program includes merit-based scholarships, grants that offer tuition assistance, and career grants for students in high-demand fields. Since 1993, the program has awarded more than $10 billion in financial assistance for college students.

Georgia's financial aid programs include the Tuition Equalization Grant, which helps undergraduates afford private college tuition, and service-cancelable loans for students studying engineering, STEM majors, or those preparing for public service positions. Georgia also offers the Georgia Military College State Service Scholarship, which funds students attending Georgia military college online or other colleges.

In addition to state grant aid, Georgia students can apply for federal financial aid. Students attending online colleges in Georgia that are accredited regionally qualify for grants, loans, and work study opportunities by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, every year. The FAFSA determines a student's educational expenses and their expected financial contribution to offer a financial aid package.

State Grant Aid per Full-Time Equivalent Undergraduate Student, 2016-17

Georgia $2,030
U.S. Average $820

Source: The College Board

Scholarships and Grants for Georgia College Students

Students attending online colleges in Georgia that are accredited regionally or nationally qualify for multiple scholarship and grant opportunities. These funding opportunities, offered by the state, private organizations, and foundations, can provide thousands of dollars toward a college degree. Online students may qualify for additional scholarships based on their major.


Best Majors for Online Students in Georgia

The best majors for Georgia students offer career paths in diverse, lucrative fields. For example, a business major prepares graduates for careers in management, logistics, accounting, or marketing, while a nursing major can work in multiple areas of healthcare, earning above-average salaries. The Georgia DOL list of hot careers includes dozens of careers with a high job growth rate, above-average wages, and at least 400 openings projected each year until 2026. According to the DOL, the three jobs with the highest projected growth in Georgia by 2026 remain general and operations managers, registered nurses, and elementary school teachers, excluding special education.

Students attending online colleges in Georgia that are accredited regionally can prepare for high-growth careers by choosing versatile, in-demand majors. In addition to the suggested majors listed below, online students can research programs that fit with their interests and career goals.

Business

Business majors become financial managers, business operations specialists, and operations managers. These fields offer high growth and high salaries in Georgia for professionals with a bachelor's degree. Online business programs often let students concentrate in a subfield such as accounting, marketing, or finance, specializing their degree.

Nursing

Students earning a bachelor's degree in nursing can earn a registered nursing license and work in hospitals, doctor's offices, and other medical settings. Georgia will add more than 5,400 registered nursing positions each year according to the Georgia DOL. RNs make more than $65,000 a year on average, and the field offers lucrative opportunities for advancement, including becoming a nurse practitioner.

Education

Georgia reports strong growth in multiple teaching fields, including for kindergarten teachers, elementary teachers, and middle school teachers. The Georgia DOL projects more than 4,600 new elementary teacher positions each year, with an average salary of more than $55,000.

Resources for Online College Students in Georgia

Team Georgia Careers: This site serves as the official career website for the State of Georgia. The Georgia Department of Administrative Services manages the site, which provides applicants with the most up-to-date tools for searching for and applying to job opportunities in state government, taking applicants through the entire process online.

University System of Georgia: The site represents the 26 colleges and universities in the state's public higher education system. It offers information for prospective students and provides resources for online students. These include online and distance education classes, degree options, and application information. Students returning to college after a break can also use the eCore program to complete general education requirements online.

Technical College System of Georgia: Georgia's 22 public technical colleges offer access to higher education with a lower price tag, including 17 tuition-free programs for qualifying students. Students can participate in the Georgia Virtual Technical Connection to take online classes through the state's technical colleges. The site also provides information on transfer agreements with four-year colleges.

Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission: The state commission charged with regulating private colleges in the state, the GNPEC offers student resources on its site. These include a student transcript request form and a student complaints process to file grievances against a college. Prospective students can also access information on colleges and their performance.

Georgia Student Finance Commission: The GSFC administers the state's financial aid programs to help Georgia students earn their degrees. The group runs the HOPE grant, the Zell Miller scholarship, student loan programs, and service-cancelable loans. They also offer financial aid consulting for students.