Alabama is home to 74 higher-education campuses, including 14 public, four-year universities; the 25 schools that make up the Alabama Community College System (ACCS); and several technical colleges. Alabama’s higher education network is supplemented with 15 private, non-profit universities and colleges. Online students can take advantage of individual courses, as well as full degree programs that are available through ACCS, the public university system and several private institutions. Alabama is a new entry on the K-12 level, with 51,809 students served through online supplemental course enrollments in the 2013-14 year. Two virtual high schools, the Florence City Virtual School and the Baldwin County Digital Renaissance High School, opened as pilot programs in 2013.
Alabama is currently testing the waters with online K-12 schools, including two pilot high schools launched in 2013, and two additional schools – Pine County Virtual High School and Mobile County Public School System Envision Virtual School – scheduled to open in 2015. Alabama currently offers supplemental learning online for students in grades 6-12, but none for K-5 as of yet. In 2008, Alabama established an online learning requirement for K-12 students, only the second state in the nation to do so. Almost all K-12 online courses in Alabama are completed through the ACCESS Distance Learning system, and students can also take online courses for community college credit.
Web-based courses and degree programs are available at many of Alabama’s four-year public universities, private universities, community colleges and technical colleges. Because these schools are accountable to the Alabama Commission of Higher Education, they are fully accredited. Some of the online schools in Alabama include The University of Alabama, Alabama State University, Auburn University at Montgomery and Lawson State Community College at Birmingham. There are also several for-profit, private institutions that offer online courses, certificates and degrees. However, these institutions are not governed by the Alabama Commission of Higher Education.
There are 25 comprehensive community colleges in the Alabama Community College System (ACCS), which is governed by the State Board of Education. The ACCS includes the Marion Military Institute, one of just five junior military colleges in the nation, as well as a workforce development initiative called the Alabama Technology Network (ATN). The ACCS serves roughly 300,000 students every year, including 100,000 credit course enrollees.
The ACCS has demonstrated a committed to accessibility. Campuses are spread across the state, conveniently accessible from virtually anywhere in Alabama. The ACCS also offers open enrollment, low tuition and a range of programs and services that remove barriers to entering college and the workplace.
Alabama also has three public technical colleges: Ingram State Technical College (ING), Reid State Technical College (REI) and Trenholm State Technical College (TRE).
Aside from Alabama’s extensive public, state-run education network, there are also 15 private colleges, universities and academies in the state. These institutions have their own governing bodies and are not accountable to the State Department of Education. From small religious schools to athletic academies, private colleges in Alabama offer prospective students even greater educational diversity.
There are 14 public four-year universities in Alabama, all of which offer reduced tuition for in-state residents. Known for excellence in academics and athletics, Alabama’s large four-year institutions are highly coveted destination schools for students across the country. These schools include Alabama A&M University, Alabama State University, Athens State University, Auburn University, Auburn University at Montgomery, Jacksonville State University, The University of Alabama, Troy University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Alabama in Huntsville, University of Montevallo, University of North Alabama, University of South Alabama and University of West Alabama.
Alabama’s private universities are equally dedicated to providing a quality education to their students. The private institutions in the state are Ambridge University, Birmingham Southern College, Concordia College, Faulkner University, Huntingdon College, Judson College, Miles College, Oakwood University, Samford University, Spring Hill College, Stillman College, Talladega College, Tuskegee University, United States Sports Academy and University of Mobile.
Whether students enroll in a public or private university, they get the tools they need to be successful in their chosen careers. Online schools in Alabama, as well as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, prepare students to work in a number of fields, including the biggest industries in the state. Alabama’s diverse economy includes top business sectors such as aerospace, automotive, biotech, chemical and steel.
University of Alabama (Bama by Distance)
The University of Alabama is the largest university in the state and the flagship school in the public university system. Its groundbreaking distance learning program, Bama by Distance, allows students to earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral-level degrees online.
Bama by Distance is specifically designed for adult learners who have been out of high school for a few years. The students in these programs earn the same degrees as their on-campus counterparts. Students pay a flat, hourly tuition rate and are not subject to in-state or out-of-state tuition fees, no matter where they live. Federal financial aid is available, as are scholarships through the College of Continuing Studies.
Bama by Distance offers individual courses, as well as full degree programs, with special divisions for active military and veterans. For those pursuing full degrees, Bama by Distance has nearly a dozen options, including arts and sciences, commerce and business administration, communication and information sciences, education, engineering, high school programs, human environmental sciences, law, nursing and social work.
For more information, visit Bama by Distance’s online program page at http://bamabydistance.ua.edu.
Auburn University (Auburn Online)
With more than 20,000 enrollees, Auburn University is one of the largest public online schools in Alabama. Auburn Online caters to a wide range of educational needs and student goals by offering not only undergrad and graduate programs, but also professional credit programs, such as training and certification courses. For those who want to learn a new skill or hobby, Auburn Online also offers personal enrichment programs, ranging from crafts to financial planning. Unique and comprehensive degree programs are available through their seven different colleges: agriculture, business, education, engineering, human sciences, liberal arts, and science and mathematics. Offerings for graduates have many of the same focuses, but also include architecture, design and construction.
Auburn University’s Biggio Center for Advanced Education works full-time to promote and enhance Auburn’s distance learning program. A unique and separate entity, the Biggio Center is a resource for students and one of the nation’s top academic development centers.
Calhoun Community College
John C. Calhoun Community College is the largest online school in Alabama’s vast community college network, offering more than 80 Web-based courses as well as a number of degrees and certificates, including associate degrees in general studies and business administration and certificates in software applications. In addition to offering full certificate and degree programs, Calhoun’s distance learning program allows students to accumulate credits that can be transferred to a four-year college or university.
Students have the option to take both Web-based courses and hybrid courses, in which the student receives a majority of education online, supplemented by some courses at a physical campus. Both hybrid and web-only courses cost the same as traditional, on-campus courses at Calhoun. Financial aid, loans, grants, scholarships and veterans’ aid may all be applied to tuition. Available courses include business, computer systems, technologies, nursing, health, fine arts, language and literature, social sciences, math and natural sciences.
Visit Calhoun’s distance learning website at http://www.calhoun.edu/distance_learning.aspx.
Alabama State University
Alabama State University is a historically African-American school that offers online classes through the learning management system Blackboard. This allows students to complete assignments and attend classes without ever entering a classroom.
Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus
Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus is among several online schools in Alabama that participate in the Electronic Campus program. Electronic Campus is a network established by the Southern Regional Education Board, which promotes distance learning at colleges and universities throughout the Southern United States.
Best for Future Service Members
Alabama may be the heart of Dixie, but it’s also home to many colleges and degree tracks with ROTC programs. Students who prioritize service to their country will find many four-year degree granting, non-profit institutions, including two ROTC programs. Whether the students chooses ROTC for the Army, Navy or Air Force, service opportunities are available while completing an undergraduate or graduate degree. Below are some online schools in Alabama that offer economical education opportunities to service-minded students.
|Tuition||City||ROTC - Army||ROTC - Navy||ROTC - Air Force|
|Auburn University||$7,872||Auburn University||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|University of South Alabama||$6,360||Mobile||Yes||No||Yes|
|University of Alabama at Birmingham||$6,798||Birmingham||Yes||No||Yes|
|Auburn University at Montgomery||$7,500||Montgomery||Yes||No||Yes|
|University of Montevallo||$8,790||Montevallo||Yes||No||Yes|
|The University of Alabama||$9,200||Tuscaloosa||Yes||No||Yes|
|University of Mobile||$17,110||Mobile||Yes||No||Yes|
Best for Personal Attention
If you’re looking for high-quality colleges and universities in the South, look no further than Alabama. Some online schools in Alabama feature a number of degree programs, while others focus on a specific field. No matter what their scholarly interest, students are typically seeking a strong, personalized education without overcrowding. The following Alabama colleges enroll more than 5,000 students, but have average classroom sizes of fewer than 20 students per instructor. These non-profit, four-year schools boast the best student-teacher ratios in the state.
|University of North Alabama||20 to 1||7,260||$5,328||Public||Florence|
|Jacksonville State University||20 to 1||9,671||$7,950||Public||Jacksonville|
|Alabama A & M University||19 to 1||4,582||$5,592||Public||Normal|
|Troy University||19 to 1||25,182||$5,976||Public||Troy|
|The University of Alabama||19 to 1||28,718||$9,200||Public||Tuscaloosa|
|Stillman College||18 to 1||1,201||$13,548||Private not-for-profit||Tuscaloosa|
|University of Alabama at Birmingham||18 to 1||12,962||$6,798||Public||Birmingham|
|Auburn University||18 to 1||21,429||$7,872||Public||Auburn University|
|University of West Alabama||17 to 1||2,454||$6,170||Public||Livingston|
|University of Montevallo||17 to 1||2,785||$8,790||Public||Montevallo|
|Athens State University||17 to 1||4,690||$4,590||Public||Athens|
|Alabama State University||17 to 1||5,541||$6,312||Public||Montgomery|
|Auburn University at Montgomery||16 to 1||5,424||$7,500||Public||Montgomery|
|Selma University||15 to 1||610||$5,640||Private not-for-profit||Selma|
|Faulkner University||15 to 1||3,637||$15,730||Private not-for-profit||Montgomery|
|University of Alabama in Huntsville||15 to 1||6,983||$8,794||Public||Huntsville|
|Southeastern Bible College||14 to 1||211||$11,700||Private not-for-profit||Birmingham|
|United States Sports Academy||14 to 1||233||$11,880||Private not-for-profit||Daphne|
|Huntingdon College||14 to 1||1,339||$19,988||Private not-for-profit||Montgomery|
|Miles College||14 to 1||1,967||$10,224||Private not-for-profit||Fairfield|
|Oakwood University||14 to 1||2,130||$14,530||Private not-for-profit||Huntsville|
|Birmingham Southern College||13 to 1||1,354||$29,600||Private not-for-profit||Birmingham|
|Spring Hill College||13 to 1||1,488||$27,670||Private not-for-profit||Mobile|
|University of Mobile||13 to 1||1,781||$17,110||Private not-for-profit||Mobile|
|Talladega College||12 to 1||939||$10,175||Private not-for-profit||Talladega|
|Tuskegee University||12 to 1||2,721||$18,100||Private not-for-profit||Tuskegee|
|Amridge University||11 to 1||522||$7,380||Private not-for-profit||Montgomery|
|Samford University||11 to 1||3,096||$24,570||Private not-for-profit||Birmingham|
|Huntsville Bible College||10 to 1||131||$3,120||Private not-for-profit||Huntsville|
|Judson College||9 to 1||388||$14,200||Private not-for-profit||Marion|
|Heritage Christian University||4 to 1||82||$8,952||Private not-for-profit||Florence|
Best for Women in Technology
Many online schools in Alabama work hard at creating an educational environment where women in the technology and engineering fields can flourish. We’ve compiled the very best of these programs and listed them below. These are colleges where women earning technology degrees can learn in classrooms with the same gender ratio as the rest of the campus body. Some of these Alabama colleges further ensure female students’ success by offering mentorships, all-women residence halls and centers dedicated to women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the best Alabama colleges for women to earn their technology and engineering degrees.
|TUITION + FEES||CITY||WOMEN IN TECH DEGREES AWARDED||TOTAL ENROLLMENT||TYPE|
|Auburn University||$9,446||Auburn University||203||21,286||Public|
|University of Alabama at Birmingham||$6,798||Birmingham||126||11,664||Public|
|University of Alabama in Huntsville||$8,794||Huntsville||87||4,997||Public|
|The University of Alabama||$9,200||Tuscaloosa||87||27,295||Public|
|University of West Alabama||$7,320||Livingston||82||4,637||Public|
|University of South Alabama||$6,660||Mobile||51||11,372||Public|
|Alabama A & M University||$7,182||Normal||30||4,235||Public|
|Tuskegee University||$18,900||Tuskegee||22||3,060||Private Not for Profit|
|Jacksonville State University||$6,360||Jacksonville||15||6,423||Public|
|Samford University||$25,150||Birmingham||11||4,280||Private Not for Profit|
|Alabama State University||$7,932||Montgomery||7||4,600||Public|
|Oakwood University||$15,414||Huntsville||6||1,846||Private Not for Profit|
|Athens State University||N/A||Athens||6||1,518||Public|
Best Fighting for Families
Alabama values the health of families, and this can be seen in the state’s exceptional college programs dedicated to this branch of social work. Online schools in Alabama prepare graduates to assist in mental health facilities, schools, hospitals and anywhere children and families receive professional care. This training involves the very best in fieldwork, classes, clinical settings and experiential learning. Scholarship and fellowship assistance make these comprehensive programs affordable pursuits. In comparing Alabama colleges, we’ve looked at rankings, reputation, academic opportunities and other advantages and posted the results in the list below. These highlighted programs are the leading social work programs in Alabama for those interested in helping families.
|CITY||SOCIAL DEGREES AWARDED||WOMEN||MEN||TUITION & FEES||TOTAL ENROLLMENT|
|The University of Alabama||Tuscaloosa||262||237||25||$9,200||27,295|
|Jacksonville State University||Jacksonville||139||87||52||$6,360||6,423|
|University of Alabama at Birmingham||Birmingham||95||71||24||$6,798||11,664|
|Alabama A & M University||Normal||72||67||5||$7,182||4,235|
|Auburn University||Auburn University||65||45||20||$9,446||21,286|
|Alabama State University||Montgomery||62||50||12||$7,932||4,600|
|University of North Alabama||Florence||47||37||10||$6,528||5,313|
|University of Montevallo||Montevallo||35||24||11||$9,280||2,445|
|University of South Alabama||Mobile||35||29||6||$6,660||11,372|
|University of West Alabama||Livingston||12||9||3||$7,320||4,637|
|University of Alabama in Huntsville||Huntsville||9||9||$8,794||4,997|
|Athens State University||Athens||8||7||1||N/A||1,518|
|University of Mobile||Mobile||7||5||2||$18,080||1,357|
|Auburn University at Montgomery||Montgomery||5||5||$8,150||3,264|