Georgia Highlands College (GHC), a four-year institution, was founded in 1970 to provide educational opportunities for the physical, intellectual, and cultural development of a diverse population in seven northwest Georgia counties. With the advent of distance learning technologies, specialty programs, off-campus centers and collaborative arrangements, the college has expanded its scope of influence beyond the institution's original geographical area. It now provides six instructional sites in Rome, Cartersville, Marietta, Dallas and Douglasville.
The philosophy of Georgia Highlands College is expressed in the beliefs that education is essential to the intellectual, physical, economic, social, emotional, cultural, and environmental well-being of individuals and society and that education should be geographically and physically accessible and affordable. In support of this philosophy, the college maintains a teaching/learning environment, which promotes inclusiveness and provides educational opportunities, programs, and services of excellence in response to documented needs.
The college has more than doubled its enrollment in the last seven years, and now serves more than 5,700 academic and 5,000 continuing education students annually. As a commuter college, the institution draws from Floyd, Polk, Chattooga, Gordon, Bartow, Cobb, Paulding, Cherokee, Douglas, Carroll and Haralson Counties in Georgia. It also attracts students from eastern Alabama and southeastern Tennessee.
Georgia Highlands' students are enrolled in 48 transfer and career programs leading to two-year associate degrees, many in health-care fields. The most popular majors are nursing, business and education. The nursing program has recently expanded, adding a new cohort in Marietta and enabling the college to graduate 150 license-eligible students each year.
GHC also maintains a cooperative agreement with the University of West Georgia, so that students on the Floyd campus can continue at that site and earn their bachelor's degree in early childhood education from West Georgia.
GHC had an economic impact of more than $110.7 million during FY 2010.