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Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Atlanta, GA

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Great Value Colleges - Top Online Degrees in Atlanta

The top colleges for an online degree in Atlanta, GA, are some of the most popular, and for good reason. These are the schools providing both pre-service and in-service professionals with the chance to complete an affordable degree in their chosen field that is flexible enough to fit into their lives. They are also some of the best colleges to earn a degree from in the state, making it important to create a ranking that showcases the institutions to pay attention to in the future.

On-campus programs are great for many pre-service professionals, but online degrees are perfect for those looking for a degree that enables them to work while learning. These schools listed below offer flexible study options, a variety of different degrees, and small class sizes. Any one of these colleges will be beneficial for a busy student still working towards their career goals.

Methodology

This ranking required a great deal of research, which began with the National Center for Education Statistics and its College Navigator database. Using the site, a list was generated from searching for online programs in Atlanta, GA; all schools are within a 100-mile radius from the city. From there, each school’s website was researched in order to come up with the following factors, including:

Types of online degree options available (associate, bachelor, master’s, doctorate): 1 point per degree level.

Cost per credit hour for an undergraduate degree:
Under $250 – 4 points
$251 – $350 – 3 points
$351 – $450 – 2 points
Over $451 per credit hour – 1 point

Regional Accreditation:
Present – 1 point

Student to faculty ratio:
10:1 or less – 3 points
11:1 to 15:1 – 2 points
Greater than 15:1 – 1 point

The 10 schools that are ranked here were chosen based on the number of points their programs accrued.

10. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, Georgia

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Atlanta, GA
Georgia Institute of Technology offers multiple master’s degrees online.

Website

One of the best online programs available in the state comes from the Georgia Institute of Technology. The school not only offers students the chance to earn a master’s degree at a low cost, but it also provides open online courses that are free and publicly available to people all over the world. The school focuses on science and technology, providing students with backgrounds in engineering, computer science, physics and other STEM-related programs a chance to go back to school with little interruption to their lifestyle. Students will love that the school has a low student to teacher ratio, offer open exam periods, and asynchronous courses, making it a great choice for graduate students.

Types of Degrees Available:
Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $170
Student to Faculty Ratio: 22:1
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Total Points: 7

9. Atlanta Metropolitan State College

Atlanta, Georgia

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Atlanta, GA
The Atlanta Metropolitan State College offers a variety of associate’s and bachelor’s degrees online.

Website

Atlanta Metropolitan State College is one of the top colleges for an online degree in Atlanta, GA. This school offers accredited programs at the associate’s and bachelor’s levels, giving students the freedom to choose their own career paths. With small class sizes and a commitment to ensuring that the same professors who teach on-campus courses are the same that teach online programs, students will be in good hands. There are a variety of programs available at this school, including teaching, social work, business administration and more; certificates are also available for students who are not yet ready to commit to a degree program.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s, Bachelor’s
Cost per credit hour: $125
Student to Faculty Ratio: N/A
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Total Points: 7

8. Emory University

Atlanta, Georgia

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Atlanta, GA
Emory University offers online both asynchronous and synchronous coursework.

Website

Students who are looking for online bachelor’s programs will be interested in Emory University. This institution offers students the chance to earn a variety of online degrees at all levels of education. Students receive a world-class education complete with online tutoring, small class sizes, asynchronous and synchronous coursework, and an online staff dedicated to helping them complete their degrees. From a bachelor’s degree in medical imaging to completing a master’s degree in business law, this is a great school for professionals ready to complete their education.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $2,137
Student to Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Total Points: 8

7. Point University

West Point, Georgia

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Atlanta, GA
Point University offers over 30 programs online.

Website

Point University is among the top colleges for an online degree in Atlanta, GA. This school offers students the chance to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree for the fraction of the cost of an on-campus program. There are over 30 programs available that are 100 percent online, including degrees in business, public health, and youth ministry. Students are offered a complete online education experience, including advising sessions, online tutoring, and an online library. Class sizes are small as well, ensuring that everyone gets individualized attention. Students interested in ministry as a career will want to inquire about the school’s bridge program from undergraduate to graduate education.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $395
Student to Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Total Points: 8

6. The University of West Georgia

Carrollton, Georgia

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Atlanta, GA
The  University of West Georgia offers a variety of online accelerated and bridge programs.

Website

Students looking for online master’s programs are taken care of at the University of West Georgia. This school has a vast library of degrees available at all levels of education; certificates and endorsements are also available. Most programs are offered online only, but many are also partially online, providing students with the choice to attend campus when they have the time. This school features a variety of accelerated and bridge programs that will be perfect for professionals who are interested in completing their education. With a low student to faculty ratio along with a variety of options in how a student chooses to study, this is a great place for a professional, regardless of their education level.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $264
Student to Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Total Points: 8

5. Clayton State University

Morrow, Georgia

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Atlanta, GA
Clayton State University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees online.

Website

Clayton State University hosts a variety of online programs close to the heart of Atlanta, GA. This school offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, all aimed at ensuring a student has access to a program that is both affordable and meets the need of their chosen career path. Humanities and STEM subjects are among the most popular, but it is also possible to earn a dual degree with the approval of the school. Students will have access to everything that they need in order to ensure that they graduate on time; services include downloading the software needed for courses for free, a tech-support online service, online tutoring services, and more.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $228
Student to Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Total Points: 8

4. Brenau University

Atlanta, Georgia

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Atlanta, GA
Brenau University offers multiple online degrees.

Website

Online degrees are something that Brenau University takes seriously; this school, located in the middle of Atlanta, GA, offers online associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s programs. Students will be able to learn everything from nonprofit management and business to psychology and elementary education. Other unique programs are also available; the school offers a Master’s in Interior Design along with endorsements for teachers. Students will also find that because the school considers online students to be enrolled full-time, they will be eligible for state and financial aid, cutting down on the cost of completing their degree. Along with class sizes that rarely number more than 10 and sessions that last just seven weeks, students will be well on their way to earning their degree in less time than they thought possible.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $635
Student to Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Total Points: 9

3. Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw, Georgia

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Atlanta, GATop 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Atlanta, GA
Kennesaw State University has a variety of mixed-model programs, fully online degrees, and hybrid options available for students.

Website

Kennesaw State University is often thought as one of the top colleges for an online degree in Atlanta, GA. This school offers learners access to the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus, a full-service online portal that features programs, courses, help in completing career goals, advising, and more. Mixed with the school’s full list of education programs ranging from bachelor’s to doctorate degrees, students will have options to how they complete their degree. This school has a variety of mixed-model programs, fully online degrees, and hybrid options for students who live close to campus. Additionally, classes are capped at 25 students per course, making it easier for students to get the individualized education that they are looking for in a program.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $232
Student to Faculty Ratio: 21:1
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Total Points: 9

2. Georgia State University

Atlanta, Georgia

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Atlanta, GA
Georgia State University offers associate’s, master’s, and doctorate programs online.

Website

Students interested in associate’s online programs will be excited by the offerings by Georgia State University. Along with graduate and doctorate programs, the school confers a variety of online associate’s degrees. Students will find that most of the associate’s programs are pathway programs, meaning that it will enable a student to transfer to a bridge program at another university with college credits and a degree earned. Working professionals who are looking for an online master’s or doctorate will also find a variety of programs available to them; most programs are offered in the STEM and teaching professions, which are in high demand by both students and employers. With a low student to teacher ratio and a suite of online services, this is a great place to begin or end university education.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $121
Student to Faculty Ratio: 23:1
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Total Points: 9

1. Beulah Heights University

Atlanta, Georgia

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Atlanta, GATop 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Atlanta, GA
Beulah Heights University offers online degrees in religious and leadership studies.

Website

Beulah Heights University is one of the top colleges for an online degree in Atlanta, GA, for students interested in religious and leadership studies. This school is dedicated to the spiritually inclined and offer a select group of degrees that focus on this mission. Students will find that the programs available at this school are offered entirely or partially online; the school also has plans to expand its offerings in the coming years. With one of the lowest student to faculty ratios available in the state, this is a great place for students who are looking for a traditional online program.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $318
Student to Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Accreditation: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRAC)
Total Points: 10

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for an Online Degree?

Online degrees carry the same career options as an on-campus degree; the differences between the degrees lies only with what a student chooses to study and what they choose to study. This means that students can take on nearly every position available if there is an online degree available. The only time that a student would have to take on an on-campus degree would be if they were choosing to go to medical school; this is a professional degree that demands on-hands instruction.

Why Choose an Online Degree Over an On-Campus Degree?

It is up to a student to decide whether to complete an online degree over an on-campus degree; it is difficult to know if it would be a good fit. However, there are several advantages to a virtual degree that do not exist for an on-campus program. Many of them might just be why a professional would choose an online program.

The first is affordability; on average, an online degree costs at least $7,000 less than an on-campus degree when the fees for the duration of the program are taken into consideration. Students often pay less per credit hour in an online program than an on-campus program because they are not paying for campus facilities. Additionally, many schools offer in-state tuition fees or online-only tuition fees for students all over the country, not just in the state. This makes online education enticing for professionals who are looking for affordable programs.

The second is flexibility. Students in online programs can generally choose to learn full-time or part-time; some on-campus programs only take students who are available to study full-time. Courses are also offered on-demand or live, providing working professionals to choose how they learn. Since on-demand courses are available at any time, as well as most programs having smartphone apps that enable students to download lectures and assignments, this frees the professional to study when and how it is most convenient for them.

The third is integration; working professionals can integrate their school schedule with their work schedule, enabling them to continue working full-time and take care of their responsibilities while earning a degree. Employers are often the most supportive of working professionals returning to graduate school because they know online degrees will not interfere with the professional’s other responsibilities. Online programs also usually come with certificates that enable professionals to move upwards in their career before they even graduate.

Online degrees are not for everyone; students must be dedicated and focused, as most of the coursework is done on their own time. Practicums, internships and clinical hours may also be required, depending on their degree, and so they will have to make room for those requirements as well. However, for most of the workforce in America, an online degree is often more useful than attending an on-campus program.

Does it Matter to Employers if a Degree was Earned Online?

It is rare that an employer will ask a qualified candidate if their degree was earned online or on-campus. In fact, many schools do not distinguish between an online degree and an on-campus degree on the diploma itself, eliminating the fear of having employment opportunities taken away from a student.

Employers are fond of online degrees, especially if a professional already has an undergraduate degree and is ready to complete a graduate or doctoral program. This is especially true for professions such as teaching, nursing, psychology, business, and finance. Because online degrees can be earned part-time, a professional continuing their education does not interfere with their professional responsibilities. In fact, many employers will help fund a working student’s education to ensure they have trained appropriately for higher level positions.

The workforce is changing rapidly, especially with all of the advancements in technology. It is becoming harder for working students to complete an on-campus degree and having an online alternative is helping more professionals go back to school. Now that the workforce is more competitive, with so many working students completing graduate education, it is becoming more important to attempt to finish a graduate degree.

There are always exceptions; some employers may not want to give a student who has just graduated with an undergraduate degree a chance. However, these cases are extremely rare and proves that online education is becoming mainstream.

Is Regional Accreditation Important for Online Degrees?

Regional accreditation is important for any program, regardless if it is offered online or on-campus. While it is not a requirement for schools, earning a regionally accredited degree ensures that a student who is hoping to complete a master’s program in the same field in which they have earned an undergraduate degree will be able to attend a program that is of high quality. Some employers, including the United States government, are looking for candidates that have graduated from an accredited program.

Accreditation, especially regional accreditation, is a set standard that is recognized by the United States government. It means that the school has passed a comprehensive review and is found to be in accordance with the Department of Education’s standards for a quality education.

Not all schools have regional accreditation. Some are in review to hold regional accreditation while others are not currently up to standard. However, it is important to note that online degrees are still a relatively new concept, and judging an online program requires different metrics than an on-campus programs.

Students will find that they complete a degree from a regionally accredited school, whether that degree is online or on-campus, they will have earned an accredited diploma. Because most online programs are conferred by schools with campuses, the accreditation carries over to the online degrees.

Is There a Cost Difference to Earning an Online Degree Over an On-Campus Degree?

In many cases, there is a cost difference between an online degree and an on-campus degree. The difference in cost depends on the school and how they have set up their online program structure. Some students will pay traditional tuition rates and fees, but as technology advances, schools are finding a way to lower costs while still maintaining their academic standard.

All schools have a fee known as credit-per-hour; this is the rate that students pay for each credit hour they earn for their degree. Most students will know this as the tuition fee. Credit hours vary based on degree; for example, professional degrees like a nursing degree require laboratories, which cost more than a course in the humanities. Therefore, students are advised to pay attention to the specific credit hour fee for their degree type.

On-campus programs have two credit-per-hour rates; in-state and out-of-state. This designation is reserved for students who have residency in the state in which the school is located and those who are outside of the state. Many states have reciprocal agreements with bordering states, lowering the amount that an out-of-state student would have to pay in order to attend the college.

However, the rules are different for online students. Because online students can be anywhere in the world, including military members who live and work abroad, many schools have decided to implement what is known as an “online flat rate,” which is a credit-per-hour fee that is the same for every student, regardless of residency status. This fee tends to be substantially lower than on-campus fees because online students are not on campus and using the school’s facilities.

Online tuition fees may include a testing fee, which is a fee that students pay to complete their proctored exams at a place and date agreed upon by the student and the department. Online portal fees are also common; since students are using the online portal, this is a maintenance fee that ensures the portal continues to operate normally.

While online programs tend to be substantially more affordable than on-campus fees, not all schools have implemented the online flat rate. Some schools still require that students follow the tuition fee schedule based on the on-campus program. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the student to research the cost of the program on a term basis as well as overall, with adjustments for inflation based on how long it takes to complete the degree.

Are All Online Programs Completely Online?

An online program is defined as a program that is offered mostly or entirely online. However, there are a variety of different types of online programs, which will be addressed here.

A hybrid degree is a program that requires students earn half of their credit hours of coursework on campus while the other half are conferred online. In this case, it is a requirement that students go to the college or campus during the traditional academic year. Since regular campus attendance is required, students will need to live relatively close to the school.

Most programs fall into the low-residency program category. This means that a student may have to take on what is considered a residency; this is when students spend a specific amount of time on campus. In this case, students attend workshops or long weekends on campus, which can be required as much as once a month or once a year. Alternatively, some schools offer students the chance to take immersive courses; these are courses that are offered during the summer for one or two weeks instead of the traditional 16-week term.

An online-only program holds the distinction of not requiring campus visits at all. Students will complete all of their coursework online with supervision from mentors and faculty. In some cases, such as nursing or education programs, they will be required to complete practicums or internships, but these always take place in their community in order to remove the need for on-campus visits. Online doctoral programs are generally offered online but may require one campus visit, at the end of the program, for the oral defense of their dissertation.

Students should note that when looking at online programs, the school’s website will indicate residency requirements. Most programs that are offered entirely online with no residency requirements are generally noted as such. However, it falls to the student to do their research prior to entering a program.

Online degrees in Atlanta, GA, are plentiful, providing students with vast opportunities to grow in their current field as well as make a change in their professional goals. While online programs are not the perfect fit for everyone, students will find that it is far easier to complete a degree online than on a campus. With so many choices for top colleges for an online degree in Atlanta, GA, students will find just what they are looking for in the intuitions in this ranking.

GVC Staff
April 2019

This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Atlanta, Georgia for 2019.