Why Choose a Public College or University in Georgia?
There are 26 public colleges and universities in Georgia, including popular flagships like the University of Georgia and Georgia State University. Students also flock to big public schools like Kennesaw State University and Georgia Institute of Technology‘s main campus.
Georgia enrolled nearly 341,000 students across its public colleges and universities in fall 2021. Enrollment increased at research universities across Georgia’s public university system in 2021. The best public schools in Georgia offer benefits for students, including sprawling campuses, various extracurriculars, and federal financial aid packages.
Georgia also participates in the Academic Common Market under the Southern Regional Education Board. This partnership enables students attending public four-year colleges in Georgia to matriculate in programs at other institutions in participating southern states. Students can also enjoy in-state tuition rates for qualifying Georgia programs.
Many students pursue the traditional college experience by enrolling in a public college or university. While private colleges may suit learners seeking out an unusual major or more insulated environment, public institutions in Georgia provide comprehensive academic programs, competitive athletics, and various social clubs and community activities.
Pros and Cons of Attending a Public College or University in Georgia
State-run public four-year colleges in Georgia receive federal funding, which means maximum federal financial aid for students.
Public colleges and universities tend to offer more diverse academic programs than private colleges.
Large public colleges can provide more student-engagement and employment opportunities, including Greek life and work-study jobs on campus.
Limited access to instructors can hinder a student’s ability to understand the material and implement feedback.
Large class sizes mean students face more competition to register for classes each semester and receive less face time with instructors.
Large campuses can be challenging to navigate, and student housing may be hard to come by.
Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Colleges and Universities in Georgia
The primary difference between nonprofit and for-profit colleges and universities is that nonprofits receive federal and state funding and therefore do not rely on self-generated income to operate, while for-profits do. Nonprofits can afford to charge lower tuition and extend federal financial aid opportunities to their students. For-profit schools require donations, endowments, and grants to operate.
Most public four-year colleges in Georgia are nonprofit. All of Georgia’s 17 for-profit colleges are private. Private schools typically charge higher tuition rates than public nonprofit colleges and universities. Private school students may qualify for non-federal financial aid such as merit scholarships. However, many of these students also resort to loans to offset high tuition costs, resulting in more student debt.
How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Public College or University in Georgia?
The average cost of attending a public four-year college in Georgia was $18,554 in 2019-2020, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This figure includes $7,457 in required in-state tuition and fees and $11,097 for room and board. Out-of-state students attending a public four-year institution in Georgia spent $23,167 in tuition and fees that year.
By comparison, attending a four-year private institution in Georgia cost $42,802 in 2019-2020. This amount exceeds the cost of Georgia’s most expensive public university, Georgia Tech, with annual tuition of $29,498 for state residents in 2022-2023. Georgia’s least expensive public institution is Central Georgia Technical College, which charges as little as $100 per credit in select programs as of 2021-2022.
Students should consider how other factors such as residency status, online or in-person enrollment, and financial aid requirements might affect the cost of attendance.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Public Colleges and Universities in Georgia
How many public colleges and universities are there in Georgia?
The public university system in Georgia has 26 schools. This count includes four comprehensive universities, four research universities, nine state colleges, and nine state universities.
Georgia is known for its diverse programs, especially popular majors like technology, agriculture, and the liberal arts. Big public schools like the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Georgia State University offer the most comprehensive and diverse programs.
What is the most expensive public college or university in Georgia?
The most expensive public institution in Georgia is Georgia Tech. The school charges undergraduate tuition of $29,498 for Georgia residents for the 2022-2023 academic year. Out-of-state students can pay upwards of $50,000 per year.
Other expensive public colleges and universities include the University of Georgia ($27,946) and Georgia State University ($12,076) as of March 2022.Public four-year institutions may offer generous federal financial aid packages, which students can pair with merit-based scholarships and grants. Students who reside in Georgia can also benefit from in-state tuition.
What is the least expensive public college or university in Georgia?
Central Georgia Technical College is the least expensive public college or university in Georgia, charging only $100 per credit for some programs. Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College also offers more affordable tuition, charging in-state students $4,206 per year as of March 2022.
Most public colleges and universities require undergraduate students to submit the FAFSA as part of the admissions process. The FAFSA determines a student’s financial aid eligibility. Students can also pursue additional savings by enrolling in online programs, renting textbooks, and applying for merit scholarships.
What is the biggest public college or university in Georgia?
Georgia State University enrolls more than 52,000 students, making it the largest public university in the state. Kennesaw State University enrolls the second-largest number of students, at nearly 43,000. Georgia Tech is the state’s third-largest public institution, with an enrollment of nearly 40,000 students. Public colleges and universities in Georgia saw minor declines in enrollment for fall 2021 but fared well compared to other states.
Is a public college or university right for me?
Many factors affect a student’s decision to attend a public college or university. While many students look to public schools to provide a traditional college experience, others may prefer the smaller environment of a private program. Public colleges and universities can offer federal financial aid and in-state tuition rates not available at most private schools.
Attending a public school can also benefit students seeking a variety of diverse academic programs and enrollment options. Additionally, public colleges and universities in Georgia offer bustling campuses with many student engagement opportunities through social clubs, team sports, and student leadership.