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Originally established in 1950 by the Primitive Baptist Church as the Birdwood Junior College, Thomas University has evolved throughout its 60-year history to become a small, private and independent university located in Thomasville, Georgia. The school now offers programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels while maintaining its tradition of providing "dynamic learning environments" and "rigorous intellectual studies" for its students. Thomas University enrolls just over 1,100 students each year and offers a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1, making it an ideal choice for the student who needs a more personalized approach to college instruction. For those looking into online programs, 33 percent of the school's enrollment comprises full-time, online-only students. The school also heavily promotes diversity as one of its driving motives.
Thomas University Accreditation Details
Thomas University holds institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award degrees at the associate, bachelor's and master's levels. In addition to the school's general accreditation, specific programs have been awarded accreditation by their respective accrediting boards as follows:
- The Council on Social Work Education
- The Council on Rehabilitation Education
- The International Assembly of Collegiate Business Education
- The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences
- The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
- The Professional Standards Commission of Georgia
Thomas University Application Requirements
Undergraduate and graduate students follow a similar approach to applying at Thomas University, but it's important to note that some students may not be able to enroll in specific online programs offered through the school. The university's admissions page specifies that the school "may not be able to enroll students from outside Georgia in every online program we offer" due to regulations imposed by certain states. Students who wish to enroll in an online program should contact Thomas University's admissions department to determine if entry will be granted. For first-time undergraduates, the following are required:
- A completed application
- A $35 non-refundable fee
- Official high school transcripts or GED documentation
- Standardized test scores such as the ACT or SAT
- A housing application for first-year students
Freshmen are required to live on campus at Thomas unless they're enrolling in an online program or they meet one of the exemptions allowed by the school. An exemption form should be submitted in place of a housing application in that case. Applicants should send in their application packet to the schools' admissions department, but they can pay the non-refundable fee online.
Graduate students will follow the same process, but they should also submit a resume, a statement outlining their personal and career objectives, and three references from professional or academic colleagues. Students who want to pursue an online program will follow the guidelines for undergraduate or graduate studies depending on the specific program. In addition, applicants can start the application process online through the school's admissions website.
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Tuition and Financial Aid
As with most schools, once a student reaches full-time status, which is usually 12 or more credit hours per semester, the tuition and fee rate caps at a set amount. At Thomas University, full-time undergraduate students pay $8,200 per semester as of the 2015-2016 academic year, and that includes tuition, a matriculation fee and a tech fee. The per-hour rate is $960 for undergraduates. Those who enroll in a graduate program will pay $985 per credit hour.
Private universities typically cost much more than public schools, but financial aid is available regardless. In fact, more than 90 percent of Thomas's students receive some type of financial assistance. Aid can be obtained through loans, grants and scholarships in the form of:
- Federal direct loans
- Federal work-study opportunities
- The Pell Grant
- Student Access Loans
- The Hope Scholarship
- The Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant
- Graduate assistantships
According to the school's website, Thomas University is "among the lowest priced universities in the state of Georgia and the Southeast." The rates outlined above apply to both resident and out-of-state applicants, but active military members and certain other specialty groups receive discounts on tuition only. Students enrolled in some programs will have to pay higher fees, so applicants should check out their specific program to see if it requires additional fees.
For students who need the convenience of an online program in counseling at the undergraduate level, Thomas University offers a Bachelor of Science in Psychology or a Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Studies. Both programs can be completed entirely online, but the psychology program can be completed on campus as well. For the B.S. in psychology, the school seeks to "provide students with a comprehensive background in the basic concepts, theories, findings, and ethical issues in psychology." Students will complete at least 120 hours for the degree. Of the 120-hour requirement, 48 come from core curriculum courses while 72 come from program-specific courses.
The bachelor's degree in rehabilitation studies can be specialized in one of four areas: addictions, criminal justice, gerontology, and school to work transitions. Students will complete 60 core curriculum hours and 60 program-specific hours in courses related to their chosen track. Students who complete the online B.S. in rehabilitation studies will attain what the university calls "Advanced Standing" in the Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program, which is also offered fully online. According to the school's website, rehabilitation counselors have been ranked as one of the "most meaningful jobs in America in an article published by Business Insider."
Counseling continues to grow as a high-demand field, and this school offers students the opportunity to explore several paths for obtaining a counseling degree. Founded as a Christian school, Thomas College is now a nonsectarian college that offers small class sizes, focused instruction and a wide array of academically stimulating programs within a liberal arts framework.