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Online and On-Campus Colleges in ALABAMA

Article Sources
  • 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/
  • Admissions, Troy University, Accessed April 2017, http://www.troy.edu/admissions/
  • University of North Alabama, Accessed April 2017, https://www.una.edu/
  • About UAB, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Accessed April 2017, http://www.uab.edu/home/about
  • Did You Know? The University of Alabama, Accessed April 2017, https://www.ua.edu/about/quickfacts
  • About USA, University of South Alabama, Accessed April 2017, http://southalabama.edu/aboutusa/index.html
  • About, Columbia Southern University, April 2017, http://www.columbiasouthern.edu/about-csu
  • Quick Facts, Auburn University, Accessed April 2017, http://www.auburn.edu/main/welcome/factsandfigures.html
  • History, The University of Alabama at Huntsville, Accessed April 2017, http://www.uah.edu/about/history
  • SC Technical College System, Accessed April 2017, http://www.sctechsystem.com/
  • About AUM, Auburn University at Montgomery, Accessed April 2017, http://www.aum.edu/about
  • History, University of West Alabama, Accessed April 2017, http://www.uwa.edu/History_of_UWA.aspx
  • 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.
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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

There are many ways to evaluate colleges and universities. For this ranking, a methodology was used that looked at costs, program availability and student support services among other things. Here are the 10 best four-year colleges, including the best online colleges for Alabama.
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Methodology
1 Troy University+
ADMISSION RATE
91%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$30
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
34

With a campus in Troy, the number one school in Alabama gets high marks for being affordable and offering a wide range of degree choices. The public institution is also notable for offering a flexible learning environment that includes night, weekend and online classes.

Troy University was founded in 1887 as a school to train teachers. It has since grown and expanded to now offer more than 170 academic majors and minors. The school is ranked seventh in the state for the number of programs available and fourth in the state for how many are offered via distance education.

What's more, the school is an affordable choice. The sticker price for tuition and fees at Troy University ranks as the fifth lowest in Alabama. Once financial aid is factored in, the university ranks second for its low average net price.

Additional Info
2University 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. Out of 30 institutions surveyed, the school ranks fourth for the low sticker price of its tuition and fees. As for average net price, the University of North Alabama ranks third best in the state. Those low prices may help keep students out of debt, and the university ranks fifth best in the state when it comes to the median debt carried by its graduates.

Established in 1830, the university is the oldest public, four-year institution in Alabama. Today, its registered nursing program is among its most popular offerings. However, that is only one of more than 140 majors and concentrations available at the University of North Alabama.

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 degrees.

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 earned solid scores across virtually all metrics. Its tuition and fees rank third best in the state, and it's also generous with financial aid. For institutional grant aid, as a percentage of tuition and fees, the University of Alabama at Birmingham ranks fifth. It ranks eighth in the state for its retention rate and fourth for its graduation rate.

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. Students can enroll in programs through 11 colleges and schools within the university.

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. Two-thirds of students were enrolled in at least one distance education program in 2015.

Additional Info
4The 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 and enrolled more than 37,000 undergraduate and graduate students in 2015. It has the second highest number of academic programs in the state and ranks third for the number of those available through distance education. The University of Alabama is also notable for having the third highest graduation rate in the state.

Although tuition for The University of Alabama is higher than other schools on this list, no other institution is quite so generous with its financial aid. The university ranks first in the state for the amount of institutional grant aid it awards, when calculated as a percentage of the school's tuition and fees.

Students will also find the school offers some flexible learning options with night, weekend and online courses available. Some may even be able to gain credit for certain life experiences.

Additional Info
5University 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 16,000. 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.

Among other reasons, the University of South Alabama lands in the number five spot on this list because of its affordable tuition. The school ranks second in the state for the low sticker price of its tuition and fees. It also lands in the top 10 spot for the price of its books and supplies, the average net price for low-income students and the amount of institutional grant aid awarded.

Additional Info
6Columbia Southern University+
ADMISSION RATE
Open
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
50

Those looking for online Alabama degrees will find them at Columbia Southern University. The school is a fully online college that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates. It is one of the state's relatively new institutions of higher learning and was founded in 1993.

In addition to being one of the best online colleges for Alabama, CSU is the most affordable. The university ranks first in the state for the low sticker price of its tuition and fees. Students may also be able to walk away from the university with their degree and relatively little debt. CSU ranks first in the state for the low median debt carried by its graduates.

Columbia Southern University is a private institution. It includes three colleges: arts and sciences, business and safety and emergency services. Although it doesn't have a traditional campus, the university is based in Orange Beach.

Additional Info
7Auburn 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 has built a reputation of excellence. Founded in 1856 as the East Alabama Male College, the university has undergone several transformations to become the institution it is today. It has 15 colleges and schools offering more than 140 majors. Of these, biomedical studies was the most popular degree granted in 2015.

Auburn University ranks first in the state for the number of academic programs it offers. It ranks fifth for the number of distance education options. When it comes to helping students pay for college, the university is sixth in terms of the amount of institutional grant aid it awards as a percentage of its tuition and fees.

However, Auburn may be most notable for its impressive graduation and retention rates, for which the school is ranked second and third respectively.

Additional Info
8University of Alabama in Huntsville+
ADMISSION RATE
76%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$30
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
14

The final university in The University of Alabama System garners the number eight spot on this list of top Alabama schools. 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.

The University of Alabama at Huntsville ranks eighth in the state for its affordable tuition and fees. It is second out of 30 institutions for the amount of institutional grant aid it awards as a percentage of tuition and fees. The school also has a strong graduation rate and ranks sixth in the state for that metric.

Additional Info
9Auburn University at Montgomery+
ADMISSION RATE
77%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
10

Founded in 1967, Auburn University at Montgomery is a public institution serving both traditional and nontraditional students. Younger students may be able to earn credit for dual enrollment or AP classes taken in high school. Older, working adults may find the night, weekend and online courses at AUM make it easier for them to earn their degree.

There are more than 90 fields of study available through the five colleges within Auburn University at Montgomery. Registered nursing was the most popular program for graduates in 2015. Other top choices include business administration, psychology, teaching and accounting.

Auburn University at Montgomery scores high for affordability. It ranks 10th for the price of its tuition and fees and seventh when it comes to the cost of books and supplies. Many students are able to avoid accumulating deep debt while in school, and AUM ranks fourth in Alabama for the low median debt held by its graduates.

Additional Info
10University of West Alabama+
ADMISSION RATE
53%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
30

While the University of West Alabama originally started as a church-affiliated school in 1835, it has since become a regional public university supported by the state. Its more than 4,000 students take classes at the institution's Livingston campus or study online. With more than 50 percent of students enrolled in an online program or course in 2015, the University of West Alabama ranks fifth in the state for its number of distance learners.

The university is another affordable option for Alabama students. It ranks seventh for tuition and fees and sixth for the average net price for low income students. For all other students, the school ranks ninth for average net price.

Degrees are offered through the university's four colleges, two divisions and a graduate school. Physical education teaching and coaching was the most popular degree awarded in 2015. Business administration, accounting and psychology are also in-demand options at the University of West Alabama.

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%500$58,020
Physical Therapist Assistants40.9%1,900$53,910
Physical Therapist Aides36.7%570$27,330
Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Except Emergency Medical Technicians36.5%480$24,980
Home Health Aides35.4%5,060$20,020
Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic35.4%610$43,260
Operations Research Analysts34.7%720$97,080
Physician Assistants34.4%700$97,500
Physical Therapists33.2%2,460$86,130
Nurse Practitioners32.8%2,820$92,130
Athletic Trainers32.7%420$43,810
Fiberglass Laminators and Fabricators32.6%720$32,320
Statisticians32.5%170$63,500
Audiologists31.6%70$70,940
Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic31.1%2,110$36,640
Personal Care Aides30.3%13,230$18,390
Speech-Language Pathologists28.9%1,560$70,680
Aircraft Structure, Surfaces, Rigging, and Systems Assemblers28.9%1,550$51,130
Web Developers28.7%550$58,770
Occupational Therapists28.3%1,080$82,250
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Workers, All Other28%630$33,520
Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics26.8%4,010$28,670
Cartographers and Photogrammetrists26.6%170$59,960
Phlebotomists26.5%2,280$28,780
Team Assemblers26.1%35,410$34,480
Optometrists25.9%550$106,500
Gas Plant Operators25.8%270$66,330
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers25.7%1,100$54,940
Helpers--Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters25.6%340$26,010
Occupational Therapy Aides25.4%110$27,690
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.

 
ASGC Fellowship
Applicant must be a U.S. citizen who is a full-time student with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicant must submit a research proposal related to space and including an extramural research experience at a NASA field center, plan to be involved in ASGC outreach activities, and demonstrate career interests congruent to NASA's aerospace, science, and technology programs. Selection is based upon research proposal, letters of recommendation, resume, standardized test scores, and transcript.
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AWARD AMOUNT

$22,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

March 1

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Award may be renewed for two additional years.

 
Provost Scholarship
Applicant must be an out-of-state resident with a minimum 3.75 GPA and minimum combined SAT Reasoning score of 1400 (composite ACT score of 32).
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

November 15 (Early Action admissions deadline)

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.25 GPA and full-time status.

 
Moody's Mega Math Challenge
Applicant must be a high school junior or senior who is part of a team working to solve an open-ended, applied math-modeling problem focused on a real-word issue in 14 hours. Teams must be comprised of three to five students.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$20,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February 17

 

 

 
President's Non-Resident Scholarship
Applicant must be an incoming freshman student who is not a resident of Utah. Applicant is automatically considered with application for admission.
More

AWARD AMOUNT

$17,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Not Available

RENEWAL CRITERIA

Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.6 GPA.

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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