Georgia was the last formed of the 13 original colonies but the first to start its own college. Indeed, earning its state-sponsored charter in 1785, the University of Georgia in Athens remains the oldest public university in the United States. The venerable school calls itself the birthplace of the American system of higher education. Considering how long Georgia has been cranking out college graduates, it isn’t surprising that the Peach State is home to 57 public colleges and universities as well as an additional 36 non-profit private institutions.
This wealth of options is highlighted by the highly selective and profoundly well-regarded Emory University. Founded in 1836, the private research university is ranked as the 20th best school overall according to U.S. News & World Report. Located in convenient proximity to the Atlanta metropolitan area, Emory’s lush campus serves more than 14,000 students. Accepting only a quarter of all applicants, Emory is the cream of Georgia’s college system.
At just 2100 students, the Atlanta-based Morehouse College is just as venerable. Established in 1867, both in the shadow of the Civil War and the light of abolition, Morehouse was established to serve the postsecondary aspirations of black students. Though the school is racially all-inclusive today, it is ranked second nationwide among historically black colleges. It also holds the distinction of being one of only three remaining men’s-only liberal arts colleges in the United States.
Other options abound of course. Georgia not only offers a variety of educational opportunities, but it also provides a relatively cost effective spectrum of opportunities. Though the national average for tuition at a four-year public college is a bit over $8,000, Georgia’s annual average for in-state students is closer to $6,300. Additionally, all Georgia residents graduating from high school with a 3.2 GPA or better are eligible for assistance through the state-lottery funded HOPE Scholarship.
Students in Georgia have also taken advantage of the state’s two-year and community college programs. The state saw a 25.1% graduation rate among 2-year students in 2010 as compared to a national average of 20.4%.
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