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Clark Atlanta University is a small, private university founded in 1988 as a union of Atlanta University and Clark College. Atlanta University was founded in 1865 as the first higher learning institution in the US to offer graduate degree programs to African Americans. Clark College was founded in 1869 as the first four-year college of liberal arts to have a mostly African American student body in the US. CAU is also a part of the Atlanta University Center Consortium and a member of the UNCF. With nearly 4,000 students, the school is the largest in both organizations.

Overview of Clark Atlanta University

With such a long-standing and proud heritage in education, the college continues to break down barriers and produce highly influential leaders that shape every industry in the US. At CAU, students can pursue bachelor’s, master’s, specialist degrees, and doctorates. Over 40 areas of study are available in four primary schools including arts and sciences, business administration, education, and social work.

The leaders and Clark Atlanta University understand the importance of a well-rounded and balanced education to succeed in both the professional and personal lives of students today. As such, programs focus on intense research opportunities, academic honesty, cultural diversity, mutual respect, integrity, innovation, and emerging technologies. Students will also have access to NCAA Division II sports, student leadership roles, career and professional development, religious activities and organizations, volunteering opportunities, and 65 student clubs and organizations.

General Information

School Type Private not-for-profit
Campus Setting City: Large
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 19:1
Graduation Rate 44%
Year Founded 1865

Student Enrollment

Total Students3,920


Undergraduate Student

Male 796
Female 2,522

Graduate Student

Male 144
Female 458

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Male 3,781
Female 12,702


Male 2,080
Female 6,986

Acceptance Rate55%

Male 55%
Female 55%

Enrollment 816

Male 176
Female 640
Application Fee $35
High School GPA Required
High School Rank NA
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Required
Recommendations Required
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline June 1
Common Application Accepted Yes

Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

Because CAU is a private higher learning institution, both in-state and out-of-state students can expect tuition of $23,144 each year. The cost of living expenses and additional education fees typically add up to another $16,000 or so. And for those who wish to explore everything Atlanta and the region has to offer, be sure to budget for these off-campus experiences.

Roughly 97% of students receive financial aid in some form as a way to make the expense of college more affordable. Students will have access to student loans, grants, and scholarships. Both grants and scholarships are available through the school and outside sources. This financial assistance helps to lower the average net price of this education to $27,931.

Average net price 2018-2019
Net Price $27,931
Average Total Aid $10,223
Students Receiving Financial Aid 97%
Room & Board $11,238

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $23,144
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $23,144
  • Books and Supplies - $1,500
  • Room & Board - $11,238
  • Other - $3,312


Despite CAU being a smaller university, it offers a high-quality education with in-demand degree programs that appeal to prominent businesses and organizations across the country. In fact, the business administration school is a top 10 producer of African American professionals in the US. The arts and sciences school has four divisions including social sciences, humanities, communication and arts, and natural science and mathematics. Students can also pursue education degrees in a variety of subjects and grade levels, and the social work school was the first of its kind in Georgia.

As a way to enhance professional development, the university offers a wide range of specialized centers including for innovation and entrepreneurial development, cancer research and therapeutic development, and undergraduate research and creativity. Students can also opt to participate in international programs and honors programs that appeal greatly to hiring employers upon graduation. It’s also possible to continue one’s education with 38 non-degree certificates and graduate degree programs. And to complete a fully engaging and well-rounded college experience, students can become involved in various arts and cultural programs including university media, mass media arts, speech communication, literature, languages, fashion, theater, history, and more.

CAU maintains a solid retention rate of 74% for undergraduate students. The graduation rates of 31% and 44% for four years and six years, respectively, are a bit lower than national averages. It’s possible these lower figures are due to students working while they complete programs or taking courses only part-time. And for the size of the university, they have a higher student to faculty ratio at 19 to 1, which may not provide enough personal attention to assist students having trouble in their courses.

Student Population Total

Student Population 3,920

Evening Classes : No
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Business Majors 126 Total Graduates / 26%
Business Administration and Management, General 111 Graduates
Accounting 14 Graduates
Business/Managerial Economics 1 Graduates
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs 89 Total Graduates / 18%
Radio, Television, and Digital Communication, Other 89 Graduates
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services 55 Total Graduates / 11%
Criminal Justice/Safety Studies 55 Graduates
All Psychology Majors 54 Total Graduates / 11%
Psychology, General 54 Graduates
Visual and Performing Arts 37 Total Graduates / 8%
Fashion/Apparel Design 23 Graduates
Theatre Literature, History and Criticism 8 Graduates
Art/Art Studies, General 3 Graduates
Music, General 3 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 25%

Outcome & Salary

To assist with career development and job placement, the university established an office for career and professional development, as well as dedicated career services for business administration students. The services available to all students include group and individual counseling sessions, cover letter and resume writing assistance, interviewing workshops, developing job search strategies, networking tips and tricks, and more. Students can also find employment opportunities as one completes a degree through this office including co-ops, internships, part-time jobs, summer employment, and career fairs.

The dedicated career services for business administration and MBA candidates offers similar yet slightly different services. Interviews are often held on-campus, as well as information sessions and company presentations. Employers have the option to become partners and sponsors. These partnerships provide students with opportunities to work on real company projects. Many top local, regional, and national employers hire CAU students such as Home Depot, American Express, Sprint, Verizon, Union Pacific, GE, Coca Cola, FedEx, and many others.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $49,500
College Grads Average Salary $63,365
College Grads Mid Career Salary $81,800
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $633,650
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,451,650
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $111,724
10 Year Projected ROI $521,926
20 Year Projected ROI $1,339,926
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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