Continuing our series of best online college by state rankings, we have examined all online colleges in Georgia and chosen to showcase the top 20 schools, based on the methodology stated below.
For this Top 20 online college ranking, we scored each of the colleges and universities that are located in Georgia that offer distance learning students a selection of entirely online and fully asynchronous academic programs.
To rank each these online colleges, we have used two significant percentage rates as our ranking criteria. There is some correlation present between these two ranks, but that does not necessarily mean one emphatically caused the other. These two rates are the schools’ individual Freshmen Retention Rates and their Graduation Rates. We ranked the Top 20 Best Online Colleges in Georgia to hopefully provide some help to students that want to obtain a degree from a Georgia-based school but require the flexibility that an online and asynchronous program provides.
Georgia was named after King George II of Great Britain and was the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, which was done so on January 2, 1788. Georgia is home to nearly 70 public colleges, universities and technical colleges in addition to more than 45 different private institutions of higher learning. Among Georgia’s various public universities is the flagship research university, the University of Georgia, which is the oldest public university in the United States. The University System of Georgia is the presiding government body over public education in the state. The University System of Georgia is comprised of 29 member institutions, and the System is governed by the Georgia Board of Regents.
The HOPE Scholarship (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) which was created in 1993 under the supervision of the then-Governor of Georgia Zell Miller is the state’s unique scholarship and grant program. The HOPE Scholarship is funded entirely with revenue that is generated solely from the sales of Georgia Lottery tickets. The Scholarship is administered by the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC).
The Scholarship is available to all Georgia residents who have graduated from high school or earned a General Educational Development certificate. The scholarship is entirely merit-based, and it dictates that student recipients must maintain a 3.2 or greater grade point average and that they attend a public college or university that is located in the state to stay eligible to receive the grant stipend.
We have scored all of the schools located in Georgia that offer online academic programs based on the ranking criteria of:
- 50%: Freshmen Retention Rates and;
- 50%: Graduation Rates
To gather the information that was required to rank each of these schools, we used each of the school’s websites whenever possible. In cases where a school did not provide the information that was required by us, we used the databases of both U.S. News and World Report and of National Center for Education Statistics.
In cases where two or more schools were tied for a spot in this Top 20, we utilized the alphabetical ordering of their names as our designated tie-breaking criteria. We chose these two ranking criteria because when both rates are taken into account, they help to shed light on how well a school performs overall.
We also referred to our ranking of the top 100 best online colleges during our research for this college ranking.
Top 20 Online Colleges in Georgia
20: Valdosta State University
With online and asynchronous programs such as an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) in Physical Education with a Major in Coaching Pedagogy degree program, a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Accomplished Teaching with a Major in Curriculum and Instruction degree program, a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Criminal Justice degree program, a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certificate program and a Non-Profit Management certificate program in addition to many others, all of which are available for distance learning students to choose from, Valdosta State University is a provider of a myriad of highly flexible academic programs which span across numerous areas-of-study.
Valdosta State University (which is commonly referred to as Valdosta State or simply as VSU) is a public research university and is one of the four comprehensive university member institutions that compose the University System of Georgia education system. Valdosta State is located in Valdosta, Georgia and was originally established by William Stanley West (a Democratic United States Senator) in 1906 as the South Georgia State Normal College. The college’s name would be changed in 1922 to the Georgia State Woman’s College. In 1950, the name was changed yet again, this time to Valdosta State College. Finally, in 1993, the college would undergo a final name change, this time to its present-day name of Valdosta State University.
These various name changes all occurred to accurately and concisely convey what type of educational institute that the college was operating as at various times in its history. Today, Valdosta State is organized into five different colleges, the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of the Arts; the Langdale College of Business Administration; the James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services and; the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Through these, the university offers its more than 12,000 total enrolled students a selection consisting of 56 undergraduate degree programs and over 40 graduate degree programs in addition to the numerous available certifications and endorsements.
Not including the five programs that were mentioned at the beginning of this rank, Valdosta State offers an additional 49 academic programs online. This provides the university’s distance learning students with a significant amount of flexibility in when and where they complete their coursework and a lot of flexibility in regards to the number of programs from which to choose.
School’s Website: https://www.valdosta.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 70.0%
Graduation Rate: 36.0%
Final Score: 106.0/200
19: Brenau University
Brenau University is a private and not-for-profit liberal arts university which is located in Gainesville, Georgia. Brenau University was originally established in 1878 as a women’s only school. The founders of Brenau University originally intended the school to be a Baptist-affiliated seminary school for women, but the school never actually maintained a religious affiliation.
In 1900, H. J. Pearce–an American psychologist–purchased the institution from the original founders and renamed it to Brenau College. Brenau is a linguistic blend formed from the German word brennen, “to burn,” and the Latin word aurum, which means “gold.” In the late 1960’s, Brenau College began offering evening and weekend classes to both men and women through all of their academic divisions, not including the Women’s College classes which still operated as women’s only courses. In 1992 the college’s name was changed to Brenau University. Brenau University began its first online courses in 2002 and, today, the university offers 16 fully online and asynchronous courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Some of these available courses that distance learning students can choose from include a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree program with four available concentrations (Business Administration Core, Accounting, Human Resources Management and Marketing), a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Organizational Leadership degree program, a Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) degree program, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program with five concentrations available (Management, Accounting, Healthcare Management, Project Management and Insurance Management) and a Master of Science (M.S.) in Applied Gerontology degree program among others.
School’s Website: https://www.brenau.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 59.0%
Graduation Rate: 48.0%
Final Score: 107.0/200
18: Georgia Southwestern State University
Georgia Southwestern State University — which is commonly referred to simply as GSW — is a public research university and a member of the University System of Georgia. GSW is located in Americus, Georgia and was originally established in 1906 as the Third District Agricultural and Mechanical School.
In 1926, the Georgia General Assembly granted the Third District Agricultural and Mechanical School a charter that authorized it to transform into a two-year college and which allowed the school to change its name to the Third District Agricultural and Normal College. In 1932, the school joined the University System of Georgia and changed its name yet again, this time to Georgia Southwestern College. Georgia Southwestern College would finally become known as Georgia Southwestern State University in 1992.
Today, Georgia Southwestern State University offers to its more than 2,500 total enrolled students a wide-variety of undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs and professional certification programs; many of which are available in an online and asynchronous format. Some of the online programs are available through various partnerships with other local colleges and universities. The online programs that are available are: a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Criminal Justice degree program, a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Management degree program, a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Accounting degree program, a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Human Resource Management degree program, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Computer Information Systems (CIS) degree program, a Computer Information Systems (CIS) graduate certificate program, a Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) degree program, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program and a Master of Science in Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP).
School’s Website: https://gsw.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 74.0%
Graduation Rate: 33.0%
Final Score: 107.0/200
17: Ogeechee Technical College
Ogeechee Technical College is a public two-year technical college which is located in Statesboro, Georgia and which was originally established in 1987 as the Ogeechee Technical Institute. Senator Joe Kennedy — a Georgia State Senator for the Fourth District — was instrumental in the creation of the school.
In 1989, Ogeechee Technical Institute became responsible for Adult Literacy throughout its service area (which includes the counties of Bulloch, Evans, Screven and the surrounding smaller counties). Ogeechee Technical Institute changed its name to its present-day name of Ogeechee Technical College in 2000. Ogeechee Technical College has a variety of online and fully asynchronous academic programs from which distance learning students can choose. These programs include undergraduate degree-granting programs, certification programs, and stand-alone for-credit academic courses.
Some of the different areas-of-study that these programs span include Accounting, Business Technology, Computer Information Systems (CIS), Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Care and Education, Health Information Management Technology, Hotel / Restaurant / Tourism Management, Marketing Management, Medical Assisting and Radiologic Technology. Some of the available stand-alone for-credit courses include Structure and Function of the Human Body, Interpersonal Relations and Professional Development, Anatomy and Physiology I and Introductory Psychology among many others.
These for-credit courses can be used to complete the requirements for a degree program at any college or university that accepts credits from Ogeechee Technical College, which allows students to complete their core classes through a potentially more affordable college. This provides them with added flexibility and a better return-on-investment (ROI) than they might otherwise have. Several programs at Ogeechee Technical College have been accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education (CCOE).
These accredited programs are Dental Assisting; Diagnostic Medical Sonography; Funeral Service Education; Health Information Technology; Medical Assisting; Opticianry; Pharmacy Technician; Radiologic Technology; Surgical Technology; Tumor Registry Specialist and; the Veterinary Technology programs.
School’s Website: http://www.ogeecheetech.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 63.0%
Graduation Rate: 45.0%
Final Score: 108.0/200
16: Piedmont College
Originally known as the J.S. Green Collegiate Institute when it was originally established in 1897, and later known as Green College (from 1899 to 1902), Piedmont College is a private and not-for-profit comprehensive liberal arts college. Piedmont College is a United Church of Christ- and National Association of Congregational Christian Churches-affiliated institution which operates a campus in Demorest, Georgia and another school in Athens, Georgia.
Piedmont College is academically organized into four schools: the School of Arts and Sciences; the School of Education; the Harry W. Walker School of Business and; the R.H. Daniel School of Nursing & Health Sciences. It is through these schools that more than 3,000 students can enroll in a variety of undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs or professional certificate-granting programs which span across many areas-of-study including Education, Information Technology, Business and Healthcare among others.
Piedmont College’s Harry W. Walker School of Business received national accreditation in November of 2007 from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) for both the undergraduate and graduate business programs which are offered at both the college’s Demorest and Athens campuses. The Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration (BBA) program offers students a selection of concentrations in Accounting, Finance, General Business, Management, and in Marketing. It is clear that Piedmont College strives to provide their students with flexibility and affordability in their academic careers.
All courses offered through one of the four academic divisions that comprise Piedmont College are taught by dedicated, qualified and caring faculty members.
School’s Website: https://www.piedmont.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 63.0%
Graduation Rate: 45.0%
Final Score: 108.0/200
15: Albany State University
With online and asynchronous programs which span all academic levels (undergraduate, graduate and certification) and which cover numerous different areas-of-study, Albany State University is a provider of highly flexible and comprehensive academic programs. Some of the available online programs include: an Associate of Science in Health Information Technology degree program, an Associate of Applied Science in Histotechnology degree program, an Associate of Applied Science in Legal Assistant / Paralegal degree program, an Associate of Science in Medical Laboratory Technology degree program, a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership degree program, an Addiction Counseling certification program, an Advanced Management certification program, a Computed Tomography certification program, a Computer Technology certification program and a Criminal Justice Management certification program among others.
Additionally ASU (as Albany State University is commonly referred to as) offers distance learning students a selection of Advising Pathway programs, which are designed to provide students with the foundation needed to pursue a four-year degree at a different institution. These Advising Pathway programs include a Biological Science Advising Pathway program, a Business Administration Advising Pathway program, a Criminal Justice Advising Pathway program, a Liberal Arts Advising Pathway program and a Psychology Advising Pathway program in addition to many others.
Albany State University is located in Albany, Georgia. Albany State University is a Historically Black University (HBCU) which was originally founded in the year 1903. The school is presently one of the 47 total member institutions that are represented by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which is a fund that is named for the United States Supreme Court’s first African-American Justice, Thurgood Marshall. The fund champions higher education at public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) but is not affiliated with any of the privately-operated HBCUs in the nation.
School’s Website: https://www.asurams.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 78.0%
Graduation Rate: 31.0%
Final Score: 109.0/200
14: University of West Georgia
The University of West Georgia is a public doctoral-granting research university which is located in Carrollton, Georgia approximately 45-miles west of the outskirts of Atlanta. The University of West Georgia was originally established in 1906 as the Fourth District Agricultural and Mechanical School in response to the area’s need for a “…more realistic educational program for rural youth” aged 13 to 21.
The site of the original institution was the Bonner Plantation. In 1933 the school’s name was changed to the West Georgia College, and it became a two-year degree-granting institution. The year of 1957 saw the college become a four-year institute and undergo a name change to its present-day name of the University of West Georgia. Four years after this change, James E. Boyd became the President of West Georgia College in 1961 after the previous college president, William H. Row (who had held the position of president a mere nine months), died due to complications from a heart attack.
Boyd is arguably most well known for peacefully integrating the college’s campus without waiting for a court order forcing him to do so. He did this when he invited a young black woman (by the name of Lillian Williams) to attend the college in 1963; Lillian Williams would eventually earn two degrees in the area of Education from West Georgia College and would also earn the college’s very highest honor–the Founder’s Award–in 1985. President James Boyd dramatically expanded the college overall during his tenure. There were around 1,090 total enrolled students upon his arrival and approximately 5,500 students at the time of his departure. Additionally, there were two degrees and five programs available at the beginning of his tenure, and by the 1969 ó 1970 school year, there were seven degrees and 45 programs which were available.
Today, West Georgia offers its students a selection of undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and certification programs through the six academic divisions into which the school is divided. These divisions are the College of Arts and Humanities; the College of Social Sciences; the College of Science and Mathematics; the Richards College of Business; the College of Education; the School of Nursing and; the Honors College. UWG (as the university is commonly known as) also offers a wide selection of online and asynchronous academic programs, such as a Bachelor of Science with a Major in Criminology degree program, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) degree program, a Bachelor of Science with a Major in Organizational Leadership degree program, a Bachelor of Science with a Major in Political Science degree program and a Bachelor of Science with a Major in Sociology degree program among others. UWG also offers a variety of Blended academic programs (mixing Online and Face-to-Face Courses) in various areas-of-study, such as a Bachelor of Business Administration with a Major in Accounting degree program (the BBA program has a variety of other concentrations available as well, such as Marketing and Real Estate Management) and a Bachelor of Science with a Major in Sociology degree program with a variety of other core concentrations available.
School’s Website: https://www.westga.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 72.0%
Graduation Rate: 39.0%
Final Score: 111.0/200
13: LaGrange College
LaGrange College is a private, not-for-profit liberal arts college which offers a variety of online and asynchronous programs, such as a Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) degree program, a Master’s in Strength and Conditioning degree program, a Master’s in Philanthropy and Development degree program, an Aging Studies undergraduate certification program and a Business Essentials undergraduate certification program in addition to many stand-alone for-credit courses which span across numerous different areas-of-study.
LaGrange College was originally established in 1831 as a women’s only educational institution and LaGrange is the oldest private college that is located in the State of Georgia. The school’s campus is located in LaGrange, Georgia and is classified as having a Suburban-located campus.
LaGrange College has been ranked in a Top 10 ranking as being a top 10 “Best Value” college among Southern region colleges which were ranked by U.S. News and World Report in 2012. Additionally, the college is an award-winner in the area of campus sustainability; something the college is continually striving to improve.
The college maintains a United Methodist Church affiliation and, as such, the college offers some various opportunities for students, faculty and staff members to celebrate their spiritual life and to explore God’s intention for each’s life through intellectual, social and spiritual growth. To accommodate this, the college employs two ministers to help students, faculty, and staff to deepen their understanding of their faith and to provide them with opportunities for inquiry.
School’s Website: http://www.lagrange.edu/index.html
Freshman Retention Rate: 67.0%
Graduation Rate: 46.0%
Final Score: 113.0/200
12: Toccoa Falls College
Distance learning students will be able to enroll into one of the following online and asynchronous academic programs: an Associate of Science in Criminal Justice degree program, an Associate of Arts in General Studies degree program, an Associate of Arts in Business Administration degree program, a Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies degree program, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree program, a Bachelor of Science in Counseling Psychology degree program, a Bachelor of Science in General Studies degree program, a Bachelor of Science in Ministry Leadership degree program, a Bachelor of Science in Non-Profit Business Administration degree program, a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership degree program, a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management degree program, a Bachelor of Science in Youth Ministries degree program, a Biblical Studies certification program and a Cross-Cultural Studies certification program at Toccoa Falls College.
Toccoa Falls College is a fully accredited, private and not-for-profit Christian-affiliated liberal arts college. Toccoa Falls College–which is commonly referred to simply as TFC–was originally established in 1907 by R. A. Forrest in the community of Golden Valley, North Carolina, as the Golden Valley Institute. In October of 1911, R. A. Forrest relocated the school from Golden Valley, North Carolina to an area near Toccoa, Georgia, to have the institute located near a mainline railroad.
Toccoa Falls, which is located on the college’s campus, is a waterfall that features an 186-foot vertical drop. Toccoa Falls stands as one of the tallest free falling waterfalls in the eastern region of the United States. The waterfall is known locally as “The Falls.” The Falls were purchased in 1907 as part of the campus of Toccoa Falls College and stands today as the single most distinguishing landmark of the college.
School’s Website: http://www.tfc.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 66.0%
Graduation Rate: 47.0%
Final Score: 113.0/200
11: Kennesaw State University
KSU — as Kennesaw State University is commonly referred to as — is a public research university which is located in Kennesaw, Georgia. Kennesaw State University was originally established in 1963 as the Kennesaw Junior College. The college’s name would be changed to Kennesaw College in 1976, to Kennesaw State College in 1988 and finally to its present-day name of Kennesaw State University in 1996.
These various name changes occurred to better reflect the type of institution that the school was at those times; from a junior college to a two-year collegiate institution to a four-year university. The university is divided into thirteen colleges (the College of the Arts; the Coles College of Business; the University College; the College of Science and Mathematics; the Bagwell College of Education; the WellStar College of Health and Human Services; the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; the Graduate College; the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology; the College of Computing and Software Engineering; the Honors College; the College of Continuing and Professional Education and; the College of Architecture and Construction Management.
It is through these thirteen academic divisions that KSU provides more than 37,000 total enrolled students with a broad selection of various educational programs which span across different areas-of-study. Many of these educational programs are also available in an online and fully asynchronous format and are taught by the same dedicated academic faculty members as the school’s on-campus counterparts.
One of the more popular online programs that are available is Kennesaw State University’s Bachelor of Business Administration in Information Security and Assurance (BBA-ISA) degree program. KSU is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance as recognized by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The university’s campus is home to a well-known 350,000-pound sculpture. This sculpture, which is entitled “Spaceship Earth”, was commissioned by the Maxwell Family Foundation in memory of the late environmentalist David Brower (founder of various environmental organizations, such as the John Muir Institute for Environmental Studies; Friends of the Earth; the League of Conservation Voters; Earth Island Institute; North Cascades Conservation Council and; Fate of the Earth Conferences among others) and was created by Finnish-American artist Eino.
School’s Website: http://www.kennesaw.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 78.0%
Graduation Rate: 42.0%
Final Score: 120.0/200
10: Young Harris College
Young Harris College is a private, not-for-profit and United Methodist Church-affiliated four-year liberal arts college which is located in Young Harris, Georgia. YHC (which is what the college is often referred to as for simplicity sake) was originally established in 1886 by Reverend Artemas Lester, a Methodist minister who wanted to provide the residents of the Appalachian Mountains with a comprehensive education.
The institution was formerly known as the McTyeire Institute and was named for the small village where the school was located. The institution struggled financially for the first year until Young Loftin Gerdine Harris (1812 – April 28, 1894), an Elbert County, Georgia-native and Athens, Georgia-based judge and philanthropist, donated the money that was desperately needed to keep the school open at the time. The school and the surrounding town was later renamed in 1895 to Young Harris, to honor the school’s benefactor.
Today, Young Harris College offers to its students — both traditional on-campus students and distance learning students — a variety of academic programs from which to choose. Both the traditional face-to-face on-campus programs and the online and asynchronous distance learning programs are taught by the same experienced and dedicated faculty, ensuring that the quality of the education that YHC provides is consistent across the board.
Famous Young Harris College alumni include former Georgia governors E. D. Rivers and U.S. Senator Zell Miller; Waffle House founder Tom Forkner; state Supreme Court Chief Justice William Henry Duckworth; State Senator J. Ebb Duncan and; State Representative Hank Huckaby among others.
The large impact that Young Harris College has had on the State of Georgia’s economy, politics and society over the years is fairly surprising if you consider the fact that Young Harris College is such a small and rural institution. Young Harris College has approximately 1,100 total enrolled students and about 70 academic faculty members.
School’s Website: http://www.yhc.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 74.0%
Graduation Rate: 51.0%
Final Score: 125.0/200
9: Georgia Southern University
GA Southern–which is what Georgia Southern University is commonly referred to as–provides its distance learning students with a variety of online and asynchronous programs, such as: a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program, a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching with a Special Education Concentration degree program, a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Early Childhood Education degree program, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Kinesiology with a Couching Education Concentration degree program, a Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) degree program, a Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance graduate certification program and a Applied Economics graduate certification program among many others.
Georgia Southern University is a public land-grant research university which was originally established in 1906 and is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Doctoral Research University with a Very High Research Activity rating. It was originally known as the First District Agricultural and Mechanical School. Later names that the institute has been known as are: the Georgia Normal School (1924 to 1929); the South Georgia Teacher’s College (1929 to 1959) and; Georgia Southern College (from 1959 to 1990 when its name was changed to the present-day name of Georgia Southern University).
Georgia Southern is located in Statesboro, Georgia. Georgia Southern University is a member institution of the University System of Georgia educational system, and the University is the largest center of higher education located in the southern half of the State of Georgia.
On January 11, 2017, President Jaimie Hebert announced that Georgia Southern would consolidate with Armstrong State University (established in 1935 and located in Savanna, Georgia) as part of the ongoing campus consolidations which have been recommended by the University System of Georgia academic system’s Chancellor, Steve Wrigley.
School’s Website: http://www.georgiasouthern.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 82.0%
Graduation Rate: 50.0%
Final Score: 132.0/200
8: Georgia State University, Atlanta
Georgia State University is a public research university which is located in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The school is commonly referred to as Georgia State, GA State or simply as GSU. Originally founded in 1913, GSU is one of the University System of Georgia’s four research universities.
The university is also the largest institution of higher education member institution in the entire University System of Georgia based on student body size, with a student population that is more than more than 53,000 total enrolled students.
The university is composed of ten different academic schools, institutions and colleges: the J. Mack Robinson College of Business; the College of Law; the Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions; the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies; the College of Arts and Sciences; the Honors College; the School of Public Health; the College of Education; the Institute for Biomedical Sciences and; Perimeter College.
Students accepted to Perimeter College, however, only have access to campuses which are associated specifically with that college and not the main campus, whereas this is not true for students that were accepted at one of the other 12 academic divisions. As such, a Perimeter College student must apply for acceptance to the main downtown campus for access to the bachelor’s degrees which are offered there.
GSU offers to its enrolled students–both traditional on-campus students and distance learning students–a wide variety of undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs and professional certification programs, with some of the available online and asynchronous academic programs including: Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Mathematics Education degree program, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Educational Research degree program, a English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) graduate certification program and a Reading Endorsement graduate certification program among others. These programs are offered through Georgia ONmyLINE (GOML). GOML is a comprehensive database of online programs and courses that are offered through the 29 fully accredited member institutions that compose the University System of Georgia. GSU offers one online program directly to distance learning students. This program is a Master of Science (M.S.) in Instructional Technology degree program which is offered entirely through Georgia State University’s Learning Technologies Division and is fully independent of the Georgia ONmyLINE database.
School’s Website: http://www.gsu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 80.0%
Graduation Rate: 54.0%
Final Score: 134.0/200
7: Georgia College and State University
Georgia College and State University — which is commonly referred to simply as GCSU for simplicity sake — is a public liberal arts university that is located in Milledgeville, Georgia. Georgia College and State University was originally established in 1889.
Georgia College and State University is a member of the 24 member-institution University System of Georgia. Georgia College and State University was originally chartered as the Georgia Normal and Industrial College. The college’s primary academic focus at the time was largely vocational, and its core goal was to prepare young women for a career in teaching or for one of the several industrial-oriented careers in the area that were in need of skilled workers at the time.
In 1917, Georgia Normal and Industrial College was authorized by the Georgia Board of Regents to grant degrees to eligible students upon successful completion of an academic program. The first of these degrees was awarded in 1921. In 1922, the institution’s name was changed to Georgia State College for Women. The University has been a unit of the University System of Georgia since it was formed in 1932. In 1961, the name was changed again, this time to the Women’s College of Georgia. The institution became coeducational in 1967, and the name was changed yet again, this time to Georgia College at Milledgeville. The name was shortened to Georgia College in 1971 and, in 1996, the Georgia Board of Regents approved a final name change; this time to its present-day name of Georgia College and State University.
At that point, in addition to the school’s last name change, the Georgia Board of Regents dictated that the newly evolved four-year university adopt a new core academic mission; to officially serve as the State of Georgia’s designated Public Liberal Arts University. Georgia College and State University offers to its more than 6,200 total enrolled students a myriad of academic programs which span all of the academic levels (undergraduate, graduate and professional certification programs) and which span across varying areas-of-study Education, Healthcare, and Computer Information Systems.
Many of the offered academic programs are additionally available to distance learning students in an online and completely asynchronous format, such as the university’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree program, their Master of Logistics and Supply Chain Management (MLSCM) degree program and their English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) certification program among others. Additionally, GCSU offers a selection of online programs which, upon successful program completion, will provide students with a high school diploma and with a solid foundation in one of many different offered Skilled Labor and Technical Trade jobs; these programs provide students after graduation with an increase to their overall hireability within their chosen career path. These programs include: a High School Diploma With Certified Protection Officer Training program, a High School Diploma With Commercial Driving Training program, a High School Diploma with Food and Hospitality Training program, a High School Diploma with Retail Customer Service Skills Training program and a High School Diploma With General Career Preparation program among others.
Each of these high school diploma-granting programs cost $1,295 USD at the time of publication for this Top 20, which is a very reasonable price for being able to obtain such a strong edge over other job applicants.
School’s Website: http://www.gcsu.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 86.0%
Graduation Rate: 60.0%
Final Score: 146.0/200
6: Berry College
Berry College is a private, not-for-profit four-year liberal arts college which maintains a strong Christian-affiliation and which has the primary goal of providing their more than 2,200 total enrolled students with a Christ-centric education which will serve to reinforce and reaffirm the Christian values within them.
Berry College was originally established in 1902 by Martha McChesney Berry (October 7, 1865 – February 27, 1942), who was a Jackson County, Alabama-native educator and humanitarian. Berry College boasts the largest contiguous campus in the entire world, which is located in Mount Berry, Floyd County, Georgia. Floyd County is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and Berry College’s campus sits approximately 4-miles northwest of the nearby the city of Rome, Georgia.
The college’s campus consists of vast stretches of fields, numerous forested areas and Lavender Mountain which, by being 1,701-feet above sea level at its peak, is the highest mountain located in Floyd County. Berry College’s campus is more than more than 27,000 total acres (approximately 10,926.5-hectares) in size. Berry College offers to both traditional on-campus students and to distance learning students a selection of various undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs and certificate-granting programs which span across numerous areas-of-study and which are all taught by the same experienced and dedicated faculty members, regardless of what format is chosen.
Berry College is a participating member institution of the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus (SREB). The SREB certifies that the online programs and courses it approves are in full compliance with the comprehensive set of guidelines, which are collectively known as the Principles of Good Practice, that the group has established for schools to follow. The following states participate in the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus Electronic Campus reciprocity agreement: Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and the State of West Virginia.
Berry College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and is a member institution of the Annapolis Group. Annapolis Group is an organization that boasts more than 120 liberal arts colleges nationwide as members and which encourages these 120 member institutions to work together in a cohesive and selfless manner to promote a greater understanding of the core tenets that a provider of a quality liberal arts education should have at the heart of their academics.
The education providers that strive towards completing this goal attempt to do so through many different group collaborations and through conducting various comprehensive independent research. Additionally, these members often share a myriad of resources (mainly those that are accessible online) with each other.
School’s Website: http://www.berry.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 83.0%
Graduation Rate: 64.0%
Final Score: 147.0/200
5: Mercer University
With a variety of online programs available, such as a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Homeland Security and Emergency Management degree program, a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology degree program, a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Criminal Justice Leadership degree program, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program and an English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) graduate certification program among many others, Mercer University is a reputable provider of numerous high-quality academic programs; many of which are available in an online and fully asynchronous format in addition to the traditional on-campus format.
In total, Mercer University offers to distance learning students a selection of five undergraduate programs, nine graduate programs, and five different Education endorsement programs. There are also many more programs provided by the university that are taught in a Hybrid program format (Hybrid programs blend Face-to-Face courses and lectures with independent online study and coursework). This tandem format provides students the opportunity to attend their classes in a more traditional way, but that still require some of the added flexibility that only online courses provide.
Regardless of which online-focused format students choose (fully online or Hybrid), Mercer University’s various online academic program counterparts afford students with the same level of quality that the traditional on-campus programs offer. This is likely because all of the programs that are offered–both online and on-campus–are taught by the same devoted, experienced and caring academic faculty members. All of the university’s academic programs span across numerous different areas-of-study and are offered to the university’s more than 8,500 total enrolled students.
The myriad of educational programs at Mercer University are all offered through the 12 different academic divisions into which the university is organized. These are the College of Liberal Arts; the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics; the School of Engineering; the Tift College of Education; the Townsend School of Music; the Penfield College (also known as the College of Continuing and Professional Studies); the Walter F. George School of Law; the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology; the School of Medicine; the College of Pharmacy; the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing and; the College of Health Professions.
Mercer is also home to four different libraries and the Mercer Engineering Research Center (MERC), which is a research center that holds extensive research agreements with both Robins Air Force Base and the United States Department of Defense, as well as with a variety of privately owned parties.
School’s Website: http://www.mercer.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 87.0%
Graduation Rate: 61.0%
Final Score: 148.0/200
4: Savannah College of Art and Design
The Savannah College of Art and Design (which is commonly referred to simply as SCAD) is a private, not-for-profit and fully accredited art college which is located in Savannah, Georgia. In addition to the college’s central Savannah campus, SCAD maintains satellite campuses in Atlanta, Georgia; Hong Kong, China and; Lacoste, France. Savannah College of Art and Design was originally established in 1978 to provide the surrounding communities with college degree programs that were not previously available in southeast Georgia and to create a specialized professional art college which would eventually attract numerous students from throughout the United States and from around the world.
SCAD’s birth was brought about by the efforts of Richard G. Rowan, Paula S. Wallace, May L. Poetter and Paul E. Poetter. Richard G. Rowan and Paula S. Wallace were married during this time, and May L. Poetter and Paul E. Poetter are Paula Wallace’s parents. This means that SCAD was originally a family-run and owned institution, which is comparatively a fairly unique and interesting fact to be attributed to an institute of higher learning.
Richard G. Rowan served as the first President of the college and would serve the college in that position until April 2000, when Savannah College of Art and Design’s Board of Trustees promoted him to Chancellor. Paula Wallace took over Richard G. Rowan’s position as the college’s President in 2000 and is still the present-day President. Rowan ultimately stepped down as the head of the institute and left SCAD when he resigned in 2001 for unknown reasons.
Today, SCAD offers to its more than 12,000 total enrolled students a selection of both online and asynchronous academic programs and a selection of traditional on-campus academic programs. Some of the available online programs include: a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Advertising degree program, a Master of Arts (M.A.) or a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Animation degree program, a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Business Design and Arts Leadership degree program, a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Design Management degree program and a Master of Arts (M.A.) or a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Fashion degree program. SCAD offers additional 21-degree programs (at the undergraduate and graduate levels) which span across an additional 11 different art-related programs of study. These academic programs and the academic programs which are taught on-campus are all offered through the eight schools, colleges, and divisions into which SCAD is organized. These are the School of Building Arts; the School of Communication Arts; the School of Design; the School of Fashion; the School of Entertainment Arts; the School of Digital Media; the School of Foundation Studies; the School of Fine Arts and; the School of Liberal Arts.
SCAD is fully accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), which is the United States Department of Education- and Center of Higher Education Accreditation approved regional accrediting body which services the southern region of the United States. The college has also been granted various programmatic accreditations from accrediting bodies such as the school’s Professional Master in Architecture (M.Arch.) degree program which is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (which is the sole accrediting agency that is authorized to accredit professional degree programs in architecture in the United States; commonly referred to simply as NAAB) and the school’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A) in Interior Design, which is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (which is a CHEA-approved accrediting body; commonly referred to simply as CIDA), for example.
School’s Website: https://www.scad.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 85.0%
Graduation Rate: 67.0%
Final Score: 152.0/200
3: University of Georgia
The University of Georgia (which is commonly referred to simply as UGA) is a public land-grant, sea-grant, sun-grant and space-grant research university which is located in Athens, Georgia. UGA is known as the birthplace of the American system of public higher education, as it was originally established as the United States’ first state-chartered university in 1785.
The university’s historic North Campus is listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places as a designated historic district. The university was originally known as the Franklin College, having been named in honor of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin College remained the sole college until 1859 when the University Board of Trustees reorganized the University and created three additional colleges.
These additional colleges were specifically focused on the areas of Law, Applied Mathematics, Civil Engineering, and Agriculture. Franklin College is now called the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and is one of the seventeen schools and colleges into which UGA is presently organized. Through these seventeen academic divisions, UGA offers numerous different programs at all academic levels (graduate, undergraduate, and professional certification) and which are available both in online and on-campus formats.
Some of the available online and asynchronous programs include: a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) degree program, a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Special Education degree program, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Avian Health and Medicine degree program and a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Psychology, Applied Cognition and Development degree program among others.
Aside from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, other well-known academic divisions of the University of Georgia include the Daniel B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources; the C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business and; the Eugene P. Odum School of Ecology. The University of Georgia is highly regarded for its various academic programs relating to Biology, the Natural Sciences and–in particular–ecology. Many of these highly comprehensive and respected programs are offered through the Odum School of Ecology and the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.
The Eugene P. Odum School of Ecology was named after Eugene Pleasants Odum (September 17, 1913 – August 10, 2002); Odum was a world renowned biologist, a member of the Biology Faculty Committee and founder of the original Institute of Ecology at UGA. Eugene Odum is also regarded by many to be the Father of Ecosystem Ecology and he, along with his brother Howard T. Odum (another pioneer of Ecosystem Ecology), wrote the very popular and highly influential Fundamentals of Ecology which was first published in 1953.
School’s Website: http://www.uga.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 95.0%
Graduation Rate: 85.0%
Final Score: 180.0/200
2: Georgia Institute of Technology
The Georgia Institute of Technology (which is commonly referred to as Georgia Tech, Tech or simply as GT) is a public space-grant research university which is located in Atlanta, Georgia. The Georgia Institute of Technology was originally established in 1885 as the Georgia School of Technology and was created as part of the Reconstruction plans to build an industrial economy in the post-Civil War Southern United States.
Initially, the institute only offered a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Today, Georgia Tech is organized into six colleges, the College of Computing; the College of Design; the College of Engineering; the College of Sciences; the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts and; the Scheller College of Business. Through these divisions, GT offers to its more than 27,000 total enrolled students a selection of undergraduate degree-granting programs, graduate degree-granting programs and professional certification program from which to choose.
Many of these offered programs are available to the school’s distance learning students via an online and fully asynchronous format. Some of the available online programs include: a Master of Science (M.S.) in Aerospace Engineering degree program, Master of Science (M.S.) in Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) degree program, Master of Science (M.S.) in Operations Research degree program, Professional Master’s in Applied Systems Engineering (PMASE) degree program and a Professional Master’s in Manufacturing Leadership (PMML) degree program among various other offerings.
Georgia Tech is classified by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as being a Research University with Very High Research Activity rating. GT owns and operates nine different research universities, the oldest of which is a not-for-profit research organization which is known as the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). GTRI provides a variety of sponsored research which covers a myriad of technical specialties, such as Radar; Electro-Optics and; Materials Engineering among many other cutting-edge focuses.
The other eight research institutes are: the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience; the Georgia Tech Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology; the Georgia Tech Strategic Energy Institute; the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems; the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute; the Institute of Paper Science and Technology; the Institute for Materials and; the Institute for People and Technology. Georgia Tech and Emory University have maintained a strong research partnership over the years, and they currently jointly administer the Emory-Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute.
The two institutes (in addition to Peking University; which is a major and highly reputable Chinese research university which is located in Beijing) also administer the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering.
School’s Website: http://www.gatech.edu/
Freshman Retention Rate: 97.0%
Graduation Rate: 85.0%
Final Score: 182.0/200
1: Luther Rice College and Seminary
Luther Rice College and Seminary has taken the top rank in our Top 20 Best Online Schools in Georgia ranking due their incredible Freshman Retention Rate (100%) and their astounding Graduation Rate (100%).
These two rates added together give Luther Rice College and Seminary a perfect score of 200 points out of 200 total possible points. By shedding some light on the college’s history as a provider of higher education, we might be able to uncover the mystery of how they have obtained and maintained these two intrinsically connected yet distinct rates that we utilized to score each of the schools in Georgia that offer students a selection of online academic programs.
Luther Rice College and Seminary (which is commonly referred to simply as Luther Rice) is a private, not-for-profit Southern Baptist-affiliated college and seminary which is located in Lithonia, Georgia. The college was initially founded in 1962 by Robert Gee Witty and was originally located in Jacksonville, Florida. The college was named for Luther Rice (25 March 1783 – 27 September 1836), an educator, missionary and clergyman that spent much of his career raising funds for missions and advocating for the formation of a unified Baptist missionary-sending body, which culminated in the establishment of the Southern Baptist Convention. Luther Rice also raised funds to establish the Columbian College (a comprehensive, coeducational and progressively inclusive college which was founded in 1821 and is now a private research university known as George Washington University and commonly called GWU and GW) in Washington, D.C.
Today, Luther Rice offers to its more than 3,000 total enrolled students a selection of undergraduate, graduate and certification programs to choose from; many of which are available online. Some of the college’s online academic offerings include: a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Religion with a Major in Biblical Studies degree program (with available Minors in Biblical Counseling, Christian Worldview and Ministries), a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Christian Studies degree program, a Master of Divinity degree program, a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Biblical Counseling degree program and a Doctor of Ministry degree program among others.
Luther Rice has been providing distance learning students with a variety of comprehensive, flexible and affordable fully online and asynchronous seminary programs and undergraduate programs for more than a decade. This ensures prospective students can rest assured that the education that they would receive from attending Luther Rice will be a high-quality education that will provide them with a strong foundation upon which they can build their dream career.
Overall, Luther Rice is an excellent institution of higher education that genuinely cares about their students, so it really should come as no surprise that they have been ranked as our top school for this Top 20 Best Online Schools in Georgia ranking. We commend Luther Rice College and Seminary for providing us with a shining example of what an exemplary school looks like.
School’s Website: https://www.lutherrice.edu/index.cms
Freshman Retention Rate: 100.0%
Graduation Rate: 100.0%
Final Score: 200.0/200