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Online Schools in Alabama

There are a variety of extra amenities a college can offer that may make or break the college experience, and schools in Alabama have many special qualifications that set them apart from the competition. Some students may want to find a college that offers 24/7 technical support like Jacksonville State University, while student-veterans may look for schools with highly-touted military benefits like the University of South Alabama. But before researching these specifics, there are some basic standards a great college needs to meet in order to be considered one of the best places to receive an online education in Alabama.

This guide covers important information for prospective Alabama students, including financing options, online learning opportunities, and student resources.

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Best Online Schools in Alabama

  1. Jefferson State Community College

    Birmingham, AL



  2. Wallace State Community College

    Hanceville, AL



  3. Calhoun Community College

    Tanner, AL



  4. Bevill State Community College

    Jasper, AL



  5. Gadsden State Community College

    Gadsden, AL



  6. Wallace Community College Selma

    Selma, AL



  7. Snead State Community College

    Boaz, AL



  8. Shelton State Community College

    Tuscaloosa, AL



How Much More Do College Grads in Alabama Make?

Postsecondary degree graduates typically qualify for more jobs and earn higher salaries than professionals without a postsecondary degree. Across the country, wages increase with the level of education, according to the BLS.

Annual Nationwide Salaries for Levels of Education
Degree LevelAverage Tuition
Less than High School$28,756
High School (GED)$$37,960

Source: BLS

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City Spotlight: Colleges in Alabama

Tuscaloosa, AL

Home to the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa enjoys its academic reputation almost as much as the winning record of its football team, the Crimson Tide. In addition to UA's Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration, the city also hosts a historically black college with a rich past. To round out the diverse opportunities for students, Tuscaloosa is known for one of the state's largest community colleges, which has been honored for its contributions to the arts.

Known as the “capstone” of Alabama's public school system, the University of Alabama provides options for bachelor's, master's or doctoral degrees, as well as a degrees in law and education. This public research university reports that it consistently ranks among the nation's leading schools, as shown in the table below. UA students can take advantage of opportunities that may not be found elsewhere in Alabama, including doctoral degrees in anthropology, library and information studies, and metallurgical engineering, as well as the state's only public law school. Outside of academics and athletics, UA students have a tradition of community service

Colleges and Universities in Tuscaloosa

The University of Alabama33,681$8,600Public
Stillman College1,145$13,026Not For Profit (Private)
Shelton State Community College9,728$3,210Public

Paying for Online College in Alabama: Tuition and Financial Aid

Higher education costs represent one of the biggest concerns for students. State and federal funding still sit lower than pre-2008 levels, with Alabama ranking as one of the lowest-funded states in the country. However, students can take advantage of a variety of financial aid opportunities to help fund their education. The following tables outline how Alabama's public and private tuition rates compare to national averages.

Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Public Colleges and Universities
Tuition TypeAverage Tuition
In-State Tuition$9,827
Out-of-State Tuition$24,939
National Avg.$9,037

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Private Colleges and Universities
Tuition TypeAverage Tuition
In-State Tuition$16,321
Out-of-State TuitionN/A
National Avg.$30,731

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Cost Considerations for Online Students in Alabama

Attending a college or university comes with costs beyond tuition. The following list outlines the additional expenses that prospective students should consider when weighing the overall cost of a degree.

1. Textbook Fees

Depending on the program, textbooks, and other course materials may require a significant financial investment. While online programs often reduce these costs through the use of digital books, students should still research average textbook costs prior to enrolling.

2. Technology Fees

Technology fees vary by program, which may include new technology, software access, and program administration fees.

3. Distance Education Fees

Though many programs offer discounts for online learners, some programs include distance education fees to cover the costs of online course administration.

4. Residency Costs

Students should research the residency costs and discounts of prospective programs. Some programs offer tuition discounts to in-state students, while others allow all online students to pay in-state tuition rates, regardless of where they live.

5. Travel Costs

Distance students should consider travel costs associated with any on-campus requirements, such as residencies and clinicals, when weighing programs.

Qualifying for In-State Tuition in Alabama

According to ACHE, Alabama higher education students can receive in-state tuition if they live within 50 miles of a state campus. However, some programs allow all online students to pay in-state tuition rates regardless of where they live. Since many schools feature unique residency requirements, students should research the requirements of each prospective school.

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Paying for College in Alabama: Scholarships and Financial Aid

Alabama students benefit from a variety of financial aid opportunities, such as scholarships, grants, and loans. Grants and scholarships are among the most attractive opportunities as, unlike loans, they do not require repayment. The following lists outline several scholarship and grant opportunities for Alabama students.

The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in Alabama

Students should consider accreditation status when researching prospective schools. Accreditation expands employment, education, and financial aid opportunities and indicates that a school meets high academic standards.

Online College and Adult Education in Alabama

Online learning allows students to attend top programs across the country without relocating. Additionally, the flexibility of an online format lets students balance their studies with work and family obligations. Online students may also receive tuition discounts, such as access to in-state tuition rates regardless of where they live.

By the Numbers: Adult Education in Alabama

Since 2012, the percentage of online students has steadily risen.

Approximately 37% of Alabama students take at least one online course.

19% of Alabama students pursue online degrees compared to the national average of 10%.

Source: Online Learning Survey

Adult Education Programs for Alabama Students

  • Alabama Community College System:
     The Alabama Community College System allows nontraditional learners to obtain an online GED certification or high school diploma and job training.
  • Ready to Work: 
    Ready to Work enables nontraditional students to obtain certification that demonstrates they possess the skills and training needed to excel in the workforce. Several participating state institutions allow students to complete some of this training online.
  • Bama by Distance:
     Through Bama by Distance, students can take online courses from the University of Alabama. Many of the courses and programs feature asynchronous formats, allowing students to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations.

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Online College Resources for Alabama Students

Students considering or attending online schools in Alabama can take advantage of several resources. The following resources offer information on topics like financial aid opportunities, career training, and program requirements.

  • Alabama Community College System: 
    This site provides information on state colleges and programs, including adult education, career training, and financial aid opportunities. Visitors can also find information about obtaining GED credentials and the application requirements for specific programs.
  • Alabama Commission on Higher Education: 
    In addition to learning about general higher education initiatives in the state, visitors to this site can find information on open education in Alabama, special programs, and financial aid opportunities.
  • Alabama State University Division of Extended Learning: 
    Through this resource, prospective students can find information on application requirements for various online programs, online program availability, and student support services.
  • Bama by Distance:
     This resource offers general information about online learning in Alabama, such as financial aid opportunities and admission requirements. Visitors can also learn about online programs and course availability.
  • Alabama State Department of Education: 
    The Alabama State Department of Education provides information on distance education initiatives and programs in the state.

According to a state report by the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, approximately 62% of Alabama jobs will require some form of postsecondary education by 2020. Though the state's educational attainment numbers lag behind the demand, the job market remains strong. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Alabama saw among the nation's largest job increases and unemployment decreases between 2018 and 2019. These statistics indicate abundant opportunities for Alabama residents with a postsecondary degree.

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Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.

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