University System of Georgia

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 344,392 students in 26 public institutions as of 2023.[2] USG institutions are divided into four categories: research universities, regional comprehensive universities, state universities, and state colleges.

University System of Georgia
PurposeEducational oversight
HeadquartersAtlanta, Georgia, United States
26 public colleges and universities, with a combined endowment of approx. $4.5 billion
Sonny Perdue[1]

The system designates four institutions as "research universities": Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Georgia, Augusta University, and Georgia State University.[note 1][3][4] 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.[5][6] After its 2016 merger with Georgia Perimeter College, Georgia State University became the largest institution of higher learning in the USG, with over 50,000 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.[7][8]



Early years


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.[9] 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.[9]

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.[9]

The 1932 Annual Report for the Board stated outstanding debts of $1,074,415.[9] Over the next few years the USG endeavored to transform the state's institutions of higher learning by reorganizing schools, merging and closing others and transforming course offerings and curriculum.

Modern history


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.[10] As of 2018, these consolidations have decreased the number of USG colleges and universities from 35 to 26.[11]

On April 1, 2022, former Georgia Governor and United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue became the system's 14th Chancellor.[1]

Former institutions Successor institution Date effective Ref.
Gainesville State College University of North Georgia January 8, 2013 [12]
North Georgia College and State University
Augusta State University Georgia Regents University
(now Augusta University)
January 8, 2013 [12]
Georgia Health Sciences University
Waycross College South Georgia State College January 8, 2013 [12]
South Georgia College
Macon State College Middle Georgia State College
(now Middle Georgia State University)
January 8, 2013 [12]
Middle Georgia College
Kennesaw State University Kennesaw State University January 1, 2015 [13]
Southern Polytechnic State University
Georgia State University Georgia State University January 6, 2016 [14]
Georgia Perimeter College
Albany State University Albany State University January 1, 2017 [15]
Darton State College
Armstrong State University Georgia Southern University January 1, 2018 [11]
Georgia Southern University
Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College January 1, 2018 [11]
Bainbridge State College

Additionally, the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography was aligned with the University of Georgia, which became effective July 1, 2013.[16]

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.[17] 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.[18] 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[19][20] before deciding to mandate them.[21]

Georgia Research Alliance


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.[22]

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.[citation needed]

GRA's Cancer Initiative

Georgia Cancer Coalition logo

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.

GRA VentureLab

The Georgia Research Alliance set out to help launch companies around Georgian university research results, GRA launched its lead commercialization program, VentureLab, in 2002.[23]

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.[citation needed]

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.[24]

GRA Centers of Research Excellence

Centers of Research Excellence are collaborative and individual efforts that focus on one area of scientific research.[25]

List of institutions

Institution Location Founded USG designation[26] President[27] Current enrollment[28]

(Spring 2024)


(FY 2021)

Campus size as of 2012

(main campus only)

University of Georgia (UGA) Athens 1785 Research University, Flagship University[5][6] Jere W. Morehead 40,790 $1,558,226,395 759 acres (3.07 km2)
Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech or GT) Atlanta 1885 Research University Ángel Cabrera 47,654 $1,510,374,562 400 acres (1.6 km2)
Georgia State University (GSU) Atlanta 1913 Research University M. Brian Blake 46,775 $1,106,026,046 518 acres (2.10 km2)
Augusta University (AU) Augusta 1828 Research University (Medical College) Brooks A. Keel 9,865 $1,054,151,344 485 acres (1.96 km2)
Kennesaw State University (KSU) Kennesaw 1963 Regional Comprehensive University Kathy "Kat" Schwaig 42,818 $563,280,305 384 acres (1.55 km2)
Georgia Southern University (GS) Statesboro 1906 Regional Comprehensive University Kyle L. Marrero 24,212 $455,213,623 700 acres (2.8 km2)
University of West Georgia (UWG) Carrollton 1906 Regional Comprehensive University Brandon Kelly 12,458 $234,539,249 645 acres (2.61 km2)
Valdosta State University (VSU) Valdosta 1906 Regional Comprehensive University Richard Carvajal 9,488 $176,844,807 168 acres (0.68 km2)
University of North Georgia (UNG) Dahlonega 1873 State University Michael P. Shannon 16,723 $258,787,844 630 acres (2.5 km2)
Georgia College & State University (GCSU or Georgia College) Milledgeville 1889 State University Cathy Cox 6,393 $146,309,378 602 acres (2.44 km2)
Columbus State University (CSU) Columbus 1958 State University Stuart Rayfield 7,099 $129,665,352 132 acres (0.53 km2)
Albany State University (ASU) Albany 1903 State University, HBCU Marion Ross Fedrick 6,079 $119,792,815 232 acres (0.94 km2)
Middle Georgia State University (MGA) Macon 1884 State University Christopher Blake 7,612 $110,908,811 167 acres (0.68 km2)
Clayton State University (CSU) Morrow 1969 State University Georj Lewis 5,609 $96,249,315 163 acres (0.66 km2)
Savannah State University (SSU) Savannah 1890 State University, HBCU Cynthia Robinson Alexander (Interim) 2,762 $92,513,032 165 acres (0.67 km2)
Fort Valley State University (FVSU) Fort Valley 1895 State University, HBCU Paul Jones 2,462 $68,289,237 630 acres (2.5 km2)
Georgia Southwestern State University (GSSU) Americus 1906 State University Neal Weaver 3,159 $48,341,923 325 acres (1.32 km2)
Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) Lawrenceville 2005 State College Jann L. Joseph 11,135 $163,116,366 250 acres (1.0 km2)
Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) Tifton 1908 State College Tracy Brundage 3,371 $57,021,063 516 acres (2.09 km2)
Georgia Highlands College (GHC) Rome 1970 State College Mike Hobbs 4,796 $50,687,699 200 acres (0.81 km2)
Dalton State College (DSC) Dalton 1963 State College John M. Fuchko, III (Interim) 4,479 $49,149,588 146 acres (0.59 km2)
Gordon State College (GSC) Barnesville 1852 State College Donald J. Green (Interim) 2,880 $41,856,545 125 acres (0.51 km2)
College of Coastal Georgia (CCG) Brunswick 1961 State College Michelle R. Johnston 2,968 $40,544,120 193 acres (0.78 km2)
East Georgia State College (EGSC) Swainsboro 1973 State College David Schecter 1,538 $31,438,842 227 acres (0.92 km2)
South Georgia State College (SGSC) Douglas 1906 State College Gregory M. Tanner (Interim) 1,697 $29,381,320 190 acres (0.77 km2)
Atlanta Metropolitan State College (AMSC) Atlanta 1974 State College Ingrid Thompson-Sellers 1,563 $26,632,097 79 acres (0.32 km2)

USG designations


USG classifies its institutions into four "functional sectors" based on each institution's specific mission and function:[4][3]

  • Research University: Doctoral-granting institutions classified by the Carnegie Classification as "very high" or "high" research activity (R1 and R2, respectively).[note 1]
  • Regional Comprehensive University: Institutions that offer undergraduate and master's-level degrees with some master's-dominant graduate programs.
  • State University: Institutions that offer associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees with limited, select doctoral programs.
  • State College: Institutions that offer bachelor's and associate degrees with no graduate programs.

See also



  1. ^ a b While other USG institutions may be categorized as "research universities" by the Carnegie Classification or other rankings, USG's internal classification system includes only these four under that label.


  1. ^ a b "Sonny Perdue Named Chancellor of the University System of Georgia". University System of Georgia. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Torres, Kristina. "University System of Georgia Enrollment Hits Record High of 344,392". USG.
  3. ^ a b "USG Facts | Communications | University System of Georgia". Archived from the original on August 6, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Board of Regents Policy Manual | 2.8 Institutional Mission | University System of Georgia". Archived from the original on October 17, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Statement on UGA President Mike Adams". University System of Georgia. Archived from the original on March 14, 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "UGA/GRU Medical Partnership: About". University System of Georgia. Archived from the original on May 12, 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  7. ^ "State's 31 Public Colleges and Universities Have a $14.1 Billion Economic Impact - Newsroom - University System of Georgia". Archived from the original on August 7, 2013. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
  8. ^ "Quick Facts - Perimeter College". Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d Fincher, Cameron (2003). Historical Development of the University System of Georgia: 1932-2002 (2nd ed.). Athens, Georgia: Institute of Higher Education, University of Georgia. p. 3. ISBN 978-1-880647-06-6.
  10. ^ "Serving Our Students and State | Campus Consolidations | University System of Georgia". Archived from the original on March 6, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c "Board of Regents Finalizes Consolidations | Communications | University System of Georgia". Archived from the original on March 6, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d "Board of Regents finalizes consolidations, appoints presidents | Communications | University System of Georgia". Archived from the original on March 6, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  13. ^ "Regents Approve Kennesaw State, Southern Polytechnic Consolidation | Communications | University System of Georgia". Archived from the original on March 6, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  14. ^ "Board of Regents Finalizes Consolidation of Georgia State University and Georgia Perimeter College | Communications | University System of Georgia". Archived from the original on February 17, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  15. ^ "Board of Regents Finalizes Consolidation of Albany State University and Darton State College". Archived from the original on December 14, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  16. ^ "Regents Align Skidaway Institute of Oceanography with UGA | Communications | University System of Georgia". Archived from the original on March 6, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  17. ^ "University System of Georgia enrollment increases to all-time high". WALB. November 8, 2018. Archived from the original on November 8, 2018. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  18. ^ Rankin, Bill; Stirgus, Eric (March 6, 2019). "Atlanta court upholds University System ban on unauthorized immigrants". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on March 13, 2019. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  19. ^ Vasquez, Michael (June 13, 2020). "In Some States This Fall, Masks at Public Colleges Will Be 'Encouraged' but Not Required". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Archived from the original on July 2, 2020. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  20. ^ Kaylor, Lisa (June 29, 2020). "Provost provides guidelines for fall reopening at faculty town hall". Jagwire. Augusta University. Archived from the original on July 4, 2020. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  21. ^ Allison, David (July 6, 2020). "Georgia public universities to require all faculty, staff, students and visitors to wear face coverings". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved July 6, 2020.
  22. ^ "About us". GRA. Archived from the original on May 9, 2013. Retrieved May 6, 2013.
  23. ^ "GRA helps fuel the launch of companies". Georgia Research Alliance. Archived from the original on June 3, 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  24. ^ "VentureLab: A pipeline of opportunity". Georgia Research Alliance. Archived from the original on 4 June 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  25. ^ "Program Inititatives". GRA. Archived from the original on 28 May 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  26. ^ "Board Meeting - May 2013" (PDF). University System of Georgia. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 28, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
  27. ^ "USG Institutions - University System of Georgia". Archived from the original on June 15, 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
  28. ^ "Semester Enrollment Report Spring 2024 2020" (PDF). University System of Georgia. April 4, 2024. Retrieved April 4, 2024.
  29. ^ "University System of Georgia All Budgets For Fiscal Year 2021" (PDF). University System of Georgia. July 1, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 31, 2021. Retrieved January 27, 2021.