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Online and On-Campus Colleges in ALABAMA

Article Sources
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2015-16, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
  • The University of Alabama System, Accessed April 2017, http://uasystem.edu/
  • Transferring, Alabama Commission on Higher Education, Accessed April 2017, http://www.ache.state.al.us/Content/StudentsParents/Transferring.aspx
  • The AAICU 2-to-4 Transfer Program, Alabama Community College System, Accessed April 2017, https://www.accs.cc/index.cfm/academics/aaicu-2-to-4-transfer-program/
  • Student Financial Assistance, Alabama Commission on Higher Education, Accessed April 2017, http://www.ache.state.al.us/Content/Departments/StudentAsst/StudentAsst.aspx
  • Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.
  • By the Numbers, The University of Alabama, Accessed April 2018, https://www.ua.edu/about/bythenumbers
  • Quick Facts, Auburn University, Accessed April 2018, https://www.auburn.edu/main/welcome/factsandfigures.html
  • UAB History, The University of Alabama in Birmingham, Accessed April 2018, http://library.uab.edu/locations/archives/uab-history
  • A Tradition of Excellence, Samford University, Accessed April 2018, https://www.samford.edu/programs/
  • About UAH, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Accessed April 2018, https://www.uah.edu/about
  • General Information, University of North Alabama, Accessed April 2018, https://www.una.edu/about/index.html
  • USA: A Brief History, University of South Alabama, Accessed April 2018, http://www.southalabama.edu/aboutusa/historyofusa.html
  • JSU At a Glance, Jacksonville State University, Accessed April 2018, http://www.southalabama.edu/aboutusa/historyofusa.html
  • Welcome to the Office of Admissions, Troy University, Accessed April 2018, https://www.troy.edu/admissions/
  • University of Mobile at a Glance, University of Mobile, Accessed April 2018, https://umobile.edu/about/at-a-glance/
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In Alabama, dozens of private and public institutions offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in addition to vocational training. As for online Alabama degrees, students will find distance education programs are available at almost all the state's big-name colleges and universities.

The public higher education system includes community colleges and technical schools for those who need vocational training or want to earn an associate degree. Graduates from those programs may go immediately into the workforce or transfer their credits toward a bachelor's degree at an Alabama college or university. The 2-to-4 Transfer Program and STARS system are two ways students can seamlessly move between public two-year and four-year institutions.

Among four-year colleges and universities, The University of Alabama System is most prominent. It includes three separate universities as well as a health system and enrolls more than 65,500 students annually. Other universities may stand alone or have a flagship campus with satellite locations.

Best 4-Year Colleges in Alabama

To find the best universities in Alabama, Schools.com ran the state's accredited colleges through an analysis that looked at factors such tuition, graduation rates and online degree programs. Whether you are looking for online colleges or a traditional, campus experience, the following are ten top Alabama schools worth considering. When you're done here, be sure to see our rankings for the best community colleges in Alabama, too.
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Methodology
1The University of Alabama+
ADMISSION RATE
53%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
30

The flagship campus of The University of Alabama System is located in Tuscaloosa. It has a reputation for excellence and attracts top tier applicants from across the country. Its 2017 freshman class included 134 National Merit Finalists, and they joined dozens of Fulbright, Goldwater, Truman and Rhodes Scholars already on campus.

UA opened its doors in 1831 and is the oldest public university in the state. The university includes 13 colleges and schools including a School of Law, School of Social Work and Honors College.

On campus, students can participate in more than 500 organizations and clubs. However, those interested in online courses will find them at The University of Alabama as well. The school has several online degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Additional Info
2Auburn University+
ADMISSION RATE
81%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
26

As one of the most recognizable names in higher education in the South, Auburn University is built on a tradition of academic excellence. Founded in 1856 as the East Alabama Male College, the university has undergone several transformations to become the institution it is today.

It currently has 15 colleges and schools offering more than 140 degree programs. Students can select from diverse fields of study such as engineering, forestry and veterinary medicine. Nine out of ten faculty members have the highest level of education possible in their field.

Auburn enrolled nearly 30,000 students during the 2017-2018 school year. Those studying on the school's campus can choose from more than 300 clubs and organizations, and the university provides study abroad opportunities and online programs as well.

Additional Info
3University of Alabama at Birmingham+
ADMISSION RATE
58%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$30
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
19

The University of Alabama at Birmingham ranked solidly across virtually all metrics used to determine the top colleges in Alabama. It's known as an affordable school that is generous with financial aid. It also helps students succeed by offering a variety of support services.

While the University of Alabama at Birmingham was once an extension center of The University of Alabama, it is now a comprehensive world-class institution in its own right. It can trace its roots to 1859, and it became an independent university in 1969. Today, students can enroll in programs through 11 colleges and schools at UAB.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is also one of the best online colleges for Alabama. It has a dozen online bachelor's degrees and many more online graduate programs.

Additional Info
4Samford University+
ADMISSION RATE
91%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
6

With a campus in Birmingham, Samford University is another of the best Alabama universities. The school was founded in 1841 by the Alabama Baptist State Convention and was initially called Howard College. Today, it is an accredited Christian institution that features personalized instruction across a variety of fields.

Samford University includes 11 colleges and schools and offers professional education options through the Cumberland School of Law, Beeson Divinity School and McWhorter School of Pharmacy. Online degree programs are available as well.

Students at Samford benefit from a low student-faculty ratio and small class sizes. Courses are taught by faculty, rather than teaching assistants. There is also ample opportunity to take part in undergraduate research, internships and other programs that provide hands-on experience prior to graduation.

Additional Info
5University of Alabama in Huntsville+
ADMISSION RATE
76%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$30
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
14

The University of Alabama System has another of the top schools in Alabama with this entry on the list. The University of Alabama in Huntsville is considered one of the nation's premier research universities, and its campus is home to 16 high-tech research labs and centers.

Originally formed as an extension center for The University of Alabama in 1949, the school became an autonomous institution in 1969. Today, it has eight colleges along with a graduate school. Both fully online and hybrid programs are available for distance learners.

UAH is known for being an affordable education option. It notes that many of its graduates go on to earn higher than average starting and mid-career salaries as compared to graduates of other schools in the state.

Additional Info
6University of North Alabama+
ADMISSION RATE
56%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$35
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
13

The University of North Alabama is another affordable option for students in the state. UNA says its tuition rates are among the lowest in Alabama and that a third of students receive institutional aid or an endowed scholarship from the university.

Established in 1830, the University of North Alabama is the oldest public, four-year institution in Alabama. Today, it has four colleges: arts and sciences, education and human services, business and nursing. Combined, they offer more than 140 majors and concentrations.

On-campus students take classes in Florence, but the university is also a good option for those wishing to earn an online bachelor's degree in Alabama. Its distance learning program includes a number of undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Additional Info
7University of South Alabama+
ADMISSION RATE
81%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$35
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
13

In Mobile, the University of South Alabama provides an affordable education to a student body of more than 15,500. USA has a focus on research and academic excellence in addition to offering plenty of extracurricular options.

The school, known simply as South to many people, was founded in 1963 and has more than 100 majors from which students can choose. Its location along the Gulf Coast has leant itself well to research partnerships with firms working in the areas of marine science, environmental science and the region's growing aerospace industry.

As one of the best schools in Alabama, South offers education opportunities in both the liberal arts and professional fields such as medicine. The university is a charter member of the Sun Belt Conference and has 17 Division I sports teams.

Additional Info
8Jacksonville State University+
ADMISSION RATE
53%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$35
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
21

Jacksonville State University likes to say it has the friendliest campus in the South. That vibrant sense of community, as well as affordable tuition and diverse degree programs, help make JSU one of the best colleges in Alabama.

The university was founded in 1883 and has grown to enroll more than 8,500 students. Nearly 80 percent of those enrolled receive financial aid, and the university distributes more than $80 million in scholarships, loans, grants and campus employments. Students can choose from more than 45 degree programs spanning the undergraduate and graduate levels.

On its Jacksonville campus, the university maintains six academic schools. There are also five academic support units to help students succeed in their studies. They offer services such as academic advising, tutoring and other learning assistance.

Additional Info
9Troy University+
ADMISSION RATE
91%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$30
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
34

With a campus in Troy, this university gets high marks for being affordable and offering a wide range of degree choices. Troy University is also notable for offering a flexible learning environment, including access to online degrees.

Founded in 1887 as a school to train teachers, Troy University has since grown and expanded to now offer more than 170 academic majors and minors. It provides a number of educational services that are specialized to unique student populations such as adult learners, military members and those who were homeschooled.

Part of what makes Troy University one of the best Alabama colleges is its affordable tuition rate. The school also offers dual enrollment and accelerated track degree programs that may expedite graduation and further reduce costs.

Additional Info
10University of Mobile+
ADMISSION RATE
62%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$25
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
5

The University of Mobile is another of the top schools in Alabama. The private, Christian institution is focused on providing Christ-centered education in nearly 50 areas of study. It is notable for small class sizes and the fact that 99 percent of its freshman class receive financial aid.

The university was founded at the request of the Mobile Baptist Association and began as Mobile College in 1961. The school became the University of Mobile in 1993. Today, it includes eight schools and colleges that offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Part of what makes the University of Mobile unique is its Focus Fridays. Classes are only held on Monday-Thursday to allow students the opportunity explore other interests on the last day of the school week.

Additional Info

Most Popular Degree Programs in Alabama

There are dozens of degree programs available to students at Alabama's four-year colleges and universities. However, these are the ones that have proven most popular in recent years.

In-Demand Careers in Alabama

Understanding which fields will be hiring in the years to come is an important part of selecting the right major. Here's a look at the jobs that may be hiring the most Alabama college graduates in the near future.

Career TitleProjected Job GrowthTotal EmploymentAnnual Salary
Occupational Therapy Assistants45.7%480$56,610
Physical Therapist Assistants40.9%1,890$55,020
Physical Therapist Aides36.7%830$23,650
Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Except Emergency Medical Technicians36.5%430$24,490
Home Health Aides35.4%4,820$20,730
Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic35.4%470$45,490
Operations Research Analysts34.7%670$93,630
Physician Assistants34.4%720$99,830
Physical Therapists33.2%2,520$88,360
Nurse Practitioners32.8%3,230$94,880
Athletic Trainers32.7%500$43,720
Fiberglass Laminators and Fabricators32.6%430$29,270
Statisticians32.5%180$64,200
Audiologists31.6%90$70,730
Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic31.1%1,590$37,670
Personal Care Aides30.3%13,810$18,660
Speech-Language Pathologists28.9%1,580$71,510
Aircraft Structure, Surfaces, Rigging, and Systems Assemblers28.9%1,410$49,830
Web Developers28.7%600$59,560
Occupational Therapists28.3%1,200$81,390
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Workers, All Other28%630$36,380
Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics26.8%3,920$29,720
Cartographers and Photogrammetrists26.6%170$62,640
Phlebotomists26.5%2,090$29,470
Team Assemblers26.1%--
Optometrists25.9%510$108,000
Gas Plant Operators25.8%290$72,670
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers25.7%1,130$55,750
Helpers--Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters25.6%290$29,100
Occupational Therapy Aides25.4%--
Source: 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Financial Aid and Scholarships in Alabama

Regardless of whether you plan to study on-campus or earn an online bachelor's degree in Alabama, financial aid is available. Many grants and loans come from the federal government, but the state of Alabama offers aid as well. The Alabama Student Assistance Program is a need-based grant while the Alabama Student Grant Program provides money to eligible students enrolled in a participating independent college or university.

 
Alabama National Guard Educational Assistance
Applicant must be a member of the Alabama National Guard attending an Alabama postsecondary institution.
More

MAX. AWARD AMOUNT

$1,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

September 16

 

 

 
Alabama G.I. Dependents' Scholarship
Applicant must be the dependent of a disabled veteran (child or stepchild under age 26) or spouse or non-remarried widow(er) who is enrolled in a state-supported institution in Alabama. The veteran must have honorably served at least 90 days of continuous active federal military service, be rated 20% or more disabled due to service-connected disabilities or have held the qualifying rating at the time of death, or be a former prisoner of war, declared missing in action, or have died as the result of a service-connected disability or in the line of duty while on active duty. The veteran must have been a permanent civilian resident of the state of Alabama for at least one year immediately prior to initial entry into active military service or any subsequent period of military service in which a break in service occurred and civilian residency was established. Dependents of permanently disabled service-connected veterans rated at 100% may also qualify after the veteran has established at least five years of permanent residency in Alabama.
More

MAX. AWARD AMOUNT

$1,150

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Varies

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable for 12 quarters or eight semesters.

 
Abrams (Larry G. and Sharon W.) Annual
Applicants must be entering freshmen at Jacksonville State University. Students must be U.S. citizens and Alabama residents for at least 10 years and graduated from an Alabama High School. Applicants must be active members of Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham. Students must have an ACT score of 20 or higher or a SAT of 950 or higher as well as a grade point average of 2.5 or above. Applicants must have financial need.
More

MAX. AWARD AMOUNT

N/A

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Not Available

 

 

 
David R. and Sue Belcher
Applicants must be full-time undergraduate or graduate students at Jacksonville State University. Students must be U.S. Citizens and have graduated from a school system in Alabama.
More

MAX. AWARD AMOUNT

N/A

APPLICATION DEADLINE

March 1

 

 

Additional Resources

Article Sources
Methodology

To get our list of the best colleges, we ranked 1,649 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. Each school was scored on a 100-point scale, using the most recent data available from government sources. Our data points include:

  • The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The estimated cost of books and supplies, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The average net price for students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • The average net price for low-income students receiving Title IV grant and scholarship aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • The average amount of institutional grant aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduate students as a percentage of in-state tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-15
  • Median debt of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • 3-year student loan repayment rate of graduates, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • No. of degree and certificate programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of students enrolled in any distance education classes, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Average retention rate for full-time and part-time students, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2015-16
  • Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
    • Dual credit
    • Credit for life experience
    • Advanced Placement credit
    • Programs of study that can be completed entirely on weekends or in the evening
    • Remedial services
    • Academic and career counseling
    • Job placement services for graduates
    • Guaranteed tuition plan
    • Tuition payment plan
    • Any other alternative tuition plan
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