Best Online Colleges in Alabama

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Updated October 24, 2022

Discover accredited online schools in Alabama to choose the right school. Explore college costs and find state-specific scholarships.

AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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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.

Top Online Programs

Best Online Schools in Alabama

#1 Best Online Colleges in Alabama

Jefferson State Community College

  • Birmingham, AL
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Jefferson State Community College is a leader in online education. Delivering 11 online programs in various fields, the school educates 3,404 online enrollees, in addition to those studying on campus in Birmingham. Busy learners who need flexible scheduling options can choose asynchronous online programs to complete coursework around other obligations.

Online enrollees can participate in discussions and receive assistance from professors through the virtual learning platform. While earning their degree, many learners pursue practical learning opportunities to qualify for positions that require professional experience. Career counselors connect learners with resources such as job boards and resume assistance. Mock interviews help students prepare to secure positions in their field after graduation.

When considering the costs of education, applicants can speak with a financial aid counselor to explore funding opportunities. Available funding options include scholarships, grants, fellowships, and federal financial aid. According to the school, 77% of students receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,930
Out-of-state
$7,860
Retention Rate
58%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
8,711
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Online Colleges in Alabama

George C. Wallace State Community College-Hanceville

  • Hanceville, AL
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

George C. Wallace State Community College-Hanceville delivers high-quality academic programs on campus and online. The public institution's 2,357 online students can choose from six online programs, which they can complete from any location. While completing their studies, online learners can live anywhere in the world.

Remote enrollees benefit from a supportive online learning community. Participants connect with colleagues and faculty through a virtual classroom environment and can collaborate on research and other academic opportunities. Learners can take advantage of institutional resources, such as career services, to prepare to secure professional roles in their field.

If they demonstrate financial need, degree-seekers may qualify for federal scholarships, grants, and loans. Financial aid officers help students understand financial aid options, such as scholarships and fellowships. To fund their education, 79% of the school's enrollees receive some type of financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,930
Out-of-state
$7,860
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,985
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Best Online Colleges in Alabama

John C. Calhoun State Community College

  • Tanner, AL
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Learners with busy schedules can access flexible academic options through John C. Calhoun State Community College's online programs. Students based anywhere in the country can enroll in the school's two online programs. At the institution, 4,443 enrollees take classes online, completing their program remotely.

Online students can work with peers on group projects. Through online learning, participants can develop long-lasting connections with colleagues throughout the country. Online students can pursue internships at facilities near their home. Online learners can access institutional resources such as academic advising. To prepare for their job search, students can attend networking events and access career services such as resume assistance.

By submitting the FAFSA, students can determine whether they qualify for federal funding. Learners often benefit from applying to a variety of funding programs, including those offered by private organizations. To help pay for their educational program, 80% of enrollees receive financial aid, according to the institution.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,930
Out-of-state
$7,860
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
9,315
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Best Online Colleges in Alabama

Bevill State Community College

  • Jasper, AL
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus
Bevill State Community College’s top-quality online programs deliver excellent academic preparation for the workforce and further studies. Many of the school's 1,072 online learners save money on transportation and housing costs. Attending the institution online allows students to complete assignments according to their schedule.

Many online classes feature group projects, which require enrollees to communicate virtually with classmates. In addition to completing internships, degree-seekers can bolster their resume by conducting original research. Students can discuss their academic path with departmental advisors, who provide important insights into the field. Learners who are nervous about attending job interviews can participate in mock interviews to prepare for their job search.

Each program features unique costs and expenses. For specific information regarding program costs, applicants can contact an admissions counselor. To pay for school, enrollees can apply for funding based on academic need and merit.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,192
Out-of-state
$8,384
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,787
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Best Online Colleges in Alabama

Gadsden State Community College

  • Gadsden, AL
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Learners with busy schedules can access flexible academic options through Gadsden State Community College's online programs. The school delivers 14 online programs, along with on-campus options in Gadsden. Of the institution's enrollees, 2,334 study in an online format.

Online students receive opportunities to collaborate with classmates. Distance learners can connect with classmates using tools such as videoconferencing. Some students complete original research in collaboration with professors, contributing to their field and gaining practical experience. Online learners also benefit from numerous institutional resources, providing support throughout the duration of their degree. Enrollees can take advantage of career services and networking opportunities to prepare to secure a job after graduation.

Many students apply for financial aid to reduce the financial burden of earning a degree. Learners can also apply for merit-based scholarships and fellowships from private organizations. The institution reports that 80% of all enrollees receive some form of aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,930
Out-of-state
$7,860
Retention Rate
55%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,599
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

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
Associate$44,824
Bachelor's$62,296
Master's$74,568
Doctoral$94,900

Source: BLS

City Spotlight: Colleges in Alabama

Montgomery, AL

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

COLLEGESIZETUITIONTYPE
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. 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. 2

    Technology Fees

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

  3. 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. 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. 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.

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.

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.

Popular Resources

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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AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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