|Headquarters||Atlanta, Georgia, United States|
|26 public colleges and universities, with a combined endowment of approx. $4.5 billion|
|Teresa MacCartney (Interim)|
The University System of Georgia (USG) is the government agency that includes 26 public institutions of higher learning in the U.S. state of Georgia. The system is governed by the Georgia Board of Regents. It sets goals and dictates general policy to educational institutions as well as administering the Public Library Service of the state which includes 58 public library systems. The USG also dispenses public funds (allocated by the state's legislature) to the institutions but not the lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship. The USG is the sixth largest university system in the United States by total student enrollment, with 333,507 students in 26 public institutions. USG institutions are divided into four categories: research universities, regional comprehensive universities, state universities, and state colleges.
The system designates four institutions as "research universities": Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Georgia, Augusta University, and Georgia State University.[note 1] The University of Georgia is the state and system's flagship university, the state's oldest institution of higher learning, and one of the state's two land-grant universities. After its 2016 merger with Georgia Perimeter College, Georgia State University became the largest institution of higher learning in the USG, with over fifty thousand students. University of North Georgia is the state's designated military school. There are three historically black schools housed within the USG: Savannah State University, Albany State University, and the state's second land-grant university, Fort Valley State University.
In 2012, all USG institutions combined had a $14.1 billion economic impact on the state of Georgia. Georgia Tech in Atlanta and University of Georgia in nearby Athens had the largest impacts on their regional economies: $2.6 billion and 20,869 jobs at Georgia Tech and $2.2 billion and 22,196 jobs at the University of Georgia. Georgia State University's central campus in Atlanta had a $1.6 billion economic impact with 13,736 jobs; given its merger with Perimeter College, with an economic impact of $600 million, Georgia State's overall economic impact on the Atlanta metro area is $2.2 billion.
The University System of Georgia was created with the passage of the Reorganization Act of 1931 by the Georgia General Assembly in 1931. The Reorganization Act created a Board of Regents to oversee the state's colleges and universities and the 26 boards of trustees that had provided oversight over the various institutions before passage of the act. The Board of Regents officially took office on January 1, 1932, and consisted of eleven members to be appointed by the Governor of Georgia pending approval from the Georgia Senate. The Governor held an ex officio position on the Board. The regents were to elect a chairman and select a secretary. One regent was appointed from each of Georgia's ten congressional districts and the eleventh member was chosen at large.
Governor Richard Russell Jr.'s initial appointees included Cason Jewell Callaway, Sr., Martha Berry, Richard Russell Sr. (the governor's father), George C. Woodruff, William Dickson Anderson, Sr. (1873–1957), Egbert Erle Cocke, Sr. (1895–1977) and Philip Robert Weltner, Sr. (1887–1981). Anderson was elected chairman, Weltner vice-chairman and Cocke was appointed as the secretary/treasurer. Prior to the Reorganization Act, Georgia university chief executives held the title of chancellor; however, after the Act, University heads were given the title of president and a new chancellor position was created. The USG chancellor was selected and overseen by the board. At the request of the regents, Charles Snelling, the presiding head of the University of Georgia (UGA), stepped down from his position at UGA to become the initial chancellor of the entire system.
The 1932 Annual Report for the Board stated outstanding debts of $1,074,415. Over the next few years the USG endeavored to transform the state's institutions of higher learning, reorganizing schools, merging and closing others and transforming course offerings and curriculum.
In 2011, Chancellor Hank Huckaby recommended four consolidations among eight institutions, which would be implemented in 2013. The same year, the Board of Regents adopted six "Principles for Consolidation", which has led to multiple consolidations in the subsequent years. As of 2018, these consolidations have decreased the number of USG colleges and universities from 35 to 26.
|Former Institutions||Successor Institution||Date Effective||Ref.|
|Gainesville State College||University of North Georgia||January 8, 2013|||
|North Georgia College and State University|
|Augusta State University||Georgia Regents University
(now Augusta University)
|January 8, 2013|||
|Georgia Health Sciences University|
|Waycross College||South Georgia State College||January 8, 2013|||
|South Georgia College|
|Macon State College||Middle Georgia State College
(now Middle Georgia State University)
|January 8, 2013|||
|Middle Georgia College|
|Kennesaw State University||Kennesaw State University||January 1, 2015|||
|Southern Polytechnic State University|
|Georgia State University||Georgia State University||January 6, 2016|||
|Georgia Perimeter College|
|Albany State University||Albany State University||January 1, 2017|||
|Darton State College|
|Armstrong State University||Georgia Southern University||January 1, 2018|||
|Georgia Southern University|
|Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College||Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College||January 1, 2018|||
|Bainbridge State College|
Additionally, the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography was aligned with the University of Georgia, which became effective July 1, 2013.
In Fall 2018, the university system saw enrollment reach an all-time high of 328,712 students enrolled across the system's 26 colleges and universities. On March 6, 2019, an Atlanta court upheld a USG policy barring unauthorized immigrants from attending Georgia State, Georgia Tech, and the University of Georgia. In regards to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the USG decided against making wearing face coverings mandatory for the Fall 2020 semester before deciding to mandate them.
The Georgia Research Alliance is an Atlanta, Georgia-based nonprofit organization that coordinates research efforts between Georgia's public and private sectors. While GRA receives a state appropriation for investment in university-based research opportunities, its operations are funded through foundation and industry contributions. In its first 19 years, GRA leveraged $525 million in state funding into $2.6 billion of additional federal and private investment.
In 2007, GRA coalesced the strengths of several universities into a focused research effort built around new types of vaccines and therapeutics.
GRA Eminent Scholars
GRA Eminent Scholars are top scientists from around the world recruited by the Georgia Research Alliance. For each scholar, GRA invests $750,000 for an endowment, an amount that the research university matches in private funds on a minimum 1-1 basis. Eminent Scholars often bring a research team, significant federal funding and private support for their research. Georgia's investment in GRA Eminent Scholars has yielded more than $1 billion in outside grants and contracts for the state and helped to launch some 35 companies.
GRA's Cancer Initiative
After 10 years as an independent nonprofit organization, the Georgia Cancer Coalition became an initiative of the Georgia Research Alliance on January 18, 2012. The move was part of a larger effort to align Georgia's economic development assets in a more effective way.
The Georgia Research Alliance set out to help launch companies around Georgian university research results, GRA launched its lead commercialization program, VentureLab, in 2002.
GRA also works with established Georgia companies through the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Georgia Centers of Innovation in aerospace, logistics, life sciences, energy, agriculture and advanced manufacturing. The COIs help find technology solutions to industry challenges, in part by connecting companies to leading-edge research at Georgia's universities.
From 2002 to 2010, GRA directed $19 million of state funding into VentureLab. During that time, more than 700 university inventions or discoveries have been evaluated for commercial potential. More than 107 active companies have been formed, which employ more than 650 Georgians. These companies have also attracted $460 million in equity investment and generated $77 million in revenue.
GRA Centers of Research Excellence
Centers of Research Excellence are collaborative and individual efforts that focus on one area of scientific research.
|Institution||Location||Founded||USG Designation||President||Current Enrollment
|Campus size as of 2012
(main campus only)
|University of Georgia (UGA)||Athens
|1785||Research University, Flagship University||Jere W. Morehead||39,147||$1,558,226,395||759 acres (3.07 km2)|
|Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)||Atlanta
|1885||Research University||Ángel Cabrera||39,771||$1,510,374,562||400 acres (1.6 km2)|
|Augusta University||Augusta||1828||Research University (Medical College)||Brooks A. Keel||9,565||$1,054,151,344||485 acres (1.96 km2)|
|Georgia State University (GSU)||Atlanta
|1913||Research University||M. Brian Blake||53,743||$1,106,026,046||518 acres (2.10 km2)|
|Kennesaw State University (KSU)||Kennesaw
|1963||Regional Comprehensive University||Pamela S. Whitten||41,181||$563,280,305||384 acres (1.55 km2)|
|Georgia Southern University (GS)||Statesboro
|1906||Regional Comprehensive University||Kyle L. Marrero||26,949||$455,213,623||700 acres (2.8 km2)|
|University of West Georgia (UWG)||Carrollton
|1906||Regional Comprehensive University||Brandon Kelly||13,419||$234,539,249||645 acres (2.61 km2)|
|Valdosta State University (VSU)||Valdosta||1906||Regional Comprehensive University||Richard Carvajal||12,304||$176,844,807||168 acres (0.68 km2)|
|Albany State University||Albany||1903||State University, HBCU||Everette J. Freeman||6,509||$119,792,815||232 acres (0.94 km2)|
|Clayton State University||Morrow||1969||State University||T. Ramon Stuart||7,052||$96,249,315||163 acres (0.66 km2)|
|Columbus State University||Columbus||1958||State University||Chris Markwood||8,372||$129,665,352||132 acres (0.53 km2)|
|Fort Valley State University||Fort Valley||1895||State University, HBCU||Paul Jones||2,827||$68,289,237||630 acres (2.5 km2)|
|Georgia College & State University (GCSU or Georgia College)||Milledgeville||1889||State University||Cathy Cox||6,873||$146,309,378||602 acres (2.44 km2)|
|Georgia Southwestern State University||Americus||1906||State University||Neal Weaver||3,162||$48,341,923||325 acres (1.32 km2)|
|Middle Georgia State University||Macon
|1884||State University||Christopher Blake||8,404||$110,908,811||167 acres (0.68 km2)|
|Savannah State University||Savannah||1890||State University, HBCU||Cheryl D. Dozier (interim)||3,488||$92,513,032||165 acres (0.67 km2)|
|University of North Georgia||Dahlonega
|1873||State University||Bonita Jacobs||19,793||$258,787,844||630 acres (2.5 km2)|
|Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC)||Tifton
|1908||State College||David C. Bridges||3,990||$57,021,063||516 acres (2.09 km2)|
|Atlanta Metropolitan State College||Atlanta||1974||State College||Gary McGaha||1,704||$26,632,097||79 acres (0.32 km2)|
|College of Coastal Georgia||Brunswick||1961||State College||Gregory F. Aloia||3,457||$40,544,120||193 acres (0.78 km2)|
|Dalton State College||Dalton||1963||State College||John O. Schwenn||4,794||$49,149,588||146 acres (0.59 km2)|
|East Georgia State College||Swainsboro
|1973||State College||David Schecter||2,415||$31,438,842||227 acres (0.92 km2)|
|Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC)||Lawrenceville||2005||State College||Jann L. Joseph||11,627||$163,116,366||250 acres (1.0 km2)|
|Georgia Highlands College||Rome||1970||State College||Donald Green||5,680||$50,687,699||200 acres (0.81 km2)|
|Gordon State College||Barnesville||1852||State College||Kirk Nooks||3,231||$41,856,545||125 acres (0.51 km2)|
|South Georgia State College||Douglas
|1906||State College||Virginia M. Carson||2,028||$29,381,320||190 acres (0.77 km2)|
USG classifies its institutions into four "functional sectors" based on each institution's specific mission and function: