In 1962 the Gainesville-Hall County Educational Task Force was established to build support for opening a community college that would support the educational needs of a growing population. With the community’s support, an application for the establishment of a junior college in Gainesville was submitted to the Regents in March of 1964. The application included a guarantee of $2 million in bonding to cover construction costs and funding for the creation of a technical school adjoin the junior college. Two years after the application was accepted by the regents, Gainesville Junior College opened its doors to the first class of students. In 1967, the college held its first classes on the newly built campus. Gainesville Junior College became Gainesville College in 1987 when the Board of Regents gave all junior and community colleges the option to drop "junior” and “community” from their names. In 2003, Gainesville College added a satellite campus in Cumming and Watkinsville. In 2005, the name of the college was changed to Gainesville State College and it was announced that several four-year degree programs would begin in the fall of 2006.
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia announced in 2012 that Gainesville State College would merge with North Georgia College and State University to form the University of North Georgia. The merger took effect in January 2013.