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Online Colleges in Alabama

Most Affordable Online Colleges
Top Alabama Cities
   Page Contents

Apollo 11, the rocket that launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida and brought man to the Moon, was built in Alabama. The many colleges and universities in the state of Alabama have also been launching the dreams of students for hundreds of years.

Many students get their start through one of Alabama's community colleges. The Alabama Community College system features 25 comprehensive community and technical colleges, as well as five junior military colleges and the Marion Military Institute. Each year, more than 100,000 students enroll in credit courses, the system reports.

The University of Alabama system offers more than 80 undergraduate degree programs at its 12 schools and colleges. There also are more than 150 master's degree paths to study at the universities. Alabama State University, a historically black college located in Montgomery, offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Auburn University in Auburn is one of the state's leading public universities and serves more than 27,000 students each year.

The Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities represents 14 independent colleges across the state and boasts an annual enrollment of more than 24,000 students. The state also is home to numerous Christian and theological colleges. For instance, Samford University is perhaps the most recognized private Christian university in Alabama.

The chart below shows the total number of degree-granting institutions in Alabama where students can earn online degrees:

Degree LevelNumber of Online ProgramsNumber of Colleges
Associate5916
Bachelor's14021
Master's13321

Alabama was home to 4.85 million people in 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. Just over 23 percent of the state's population had earned a bachelor's degree or higher, the bureau adds. Alabama residents with bachelor's degrees took home median annual salaries of just under $48,000 in 2014. On the other hand, residents with graduate and professional degrees earned median salaries of just under $56,000 annually in 2014, according to Census Bureau data. More than 1.88 million people were employed in Alabama in May of 2015 at median annual wages of $31,553, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports.

Most Affordable Online Colleges in Alabama

Alabama has many affordable online colleges. Below are the top two- and four-year colleges in Alabama based on tuition costs. Schools reported cost data to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, part of the National Center for Education Statistics. Any ties were broken by the school with the higher overall score from OnlineColleges.com’s Top Colleges tool.

To see rankings of quality online colleges in Alabama based on other factors, use our Top Colleges search tool.

Most Affordable Two-Year Online Colleges in Alabama

Many students choose to get their educational journey started at one of the state's two-year community colleges before transferring to a four-year university. Community and technical colleges can be a good choice for many students because of their typically lower tuition costs. Below are the most affordable online community colleges in Alabama.

1

Gadsden State Community College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$2,712
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
37.7%
Institution Type
Public

About

Gadsden State serves students from its campuses in Gadsden and additional sites in Anniston and Centre. The college offers a variety of online and hybrid classes for students as they work toward completing their associate degrees. Online classes include study in accounting, art appreciation, human anatomy and physiology, business, statistics, and many more of the core classes that students need to fulfill their degree requirements. In cases where students cannot take tests at a Gadsden State campus or learning facility, they may be required to take a proctored exam at an approved site. Gadsden uses Blackboard as its online content delivery system.

School Website: 
GO
2

J. F. Drake State Community and Technical College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$2,712
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
16.29%
Institution Type
Public

About

Drake State is a two-year college that focuses on vocational, technical and career training. Students typically graduate with an Associate of Technology degree, aiming to immediately enter the workforce. Although students must complete many of their degree requirements on campus due to the hand-on nature of their studies, many core classes can be completed online. Drake State uses Blackboard as its online content delivery system.

School Website: 
GO
3

Central Alabama Community College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$3,085
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
29.55%
Institution Type
Public

About

Central Alabama Community College offers dozens of online classes for students working toward their associate degrees. However, online students must complete at least two on-campus graded activities, the college reports. Students unable to complete the on-campus requirement may use a professional proctoring service to satisfy the requirement. New students also must complete an online orientation program.

The college uses Moodle for its online content management platform. Students can complete many of their core requirements and electives online, such as communications, sociology, psychology, political science, ethics, English and many more subjects.

School Website: 
GO
4

Enterprise State Community College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$3,164
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
26.36%
Institution Type
Public

About

Enterprise State serves Alabama residents from its campus locations in Albertville, Andalusia, Enterprise, Fort Rucker, Mobile and Ozark, as well as from web-based classes. Like many other community colleges in Alabama, Enterprise State Community College students can complete many of their undergraduate degree requirements through online classes, but students also have to attend one of Enterprise State's campus locations to fully satisfy degree requirements. Online students can choose from classes in English, math, history, science and art or music appreciation. The college uses Moodle for its online content management system and Proctor U for students who need to take proctored exams.

School Website: 
GO
5

Jefferson State Community College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$3,390
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
34.24%
Institution Type
Public

About

Jefferson State has campus locations in Jefferson, Chilton, Shelby and St. Claire counties. Many of Jefferson State's 8,800 annual students choose to enroll in online classes as they work toward completing their associate degrees. Students can choose from full web-based classes, or hybrid/blended courses that require regular on-campus attendance. However, even some of the fully online classes offered at Jefferson State still require minor on-campus participation, the college notes. Online students can choose from a wide range of study topics, including astronomy, biology, chemistry, child development, information systems, computer logic and programming, and many others.

School Website: 
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Most Affordable Four-Year Online Colleges in Alabama

Earning a bachelor's or higher degree can open many doors in the workplace that otherwise might be closed. These are the top most-affordable four-year colleges and universities in Alabama.

1

Huntsville Bible College

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$3,600
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
14.49%
Institution Type
Private

About

Huntsville Bible College, a small biblical college that's a member of the Alabama Community College System, offers three degree programs. Students can earn an Associate of Arts in Christian ministries with concentrations in child development, information technology, Christian education, mission and evangelism, or pastoral ministry. Huntsville Bible College also offers a Bachelor of Arts degree path in the same concentrations, as well as social work and business management. Lastly, student can earn a master's of ministry degree. Huntsville Bible College offers many online classes, but students are expected to attend on-campus classes as well to satisfy degree requirements.

School Website: 
GO
2

Columbia Southern University

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$5,040
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
100%
Institution Type
Private

About

Columbia Southern University in Orange Beach prides itself on a 20-year history of online education. Students can choose from six different fully online associate degrees, including study in business, criminal justice, fire science, health information, and others. The college offers 11 fully online bachelor's degree paths, including study in business administration, criminal justice, fire administration, healthcare administration, organizational leadership, and many other prominent fields. There are seven different master's degree programs from which to choose, including study in public administration, criminal justice administration and public health, to name a few.

School Website: 
GO
3

Athens State University

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$5,370
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
87.98%
Institution Type
Public

About

Athens State has a wealth of different options for students interested in fully online degrees, especially for business majors. The university's college of business offers 10 different online bachelor degree programs, including study in accounting, acquisition and contract management, human resources, management, and logistics and supply chain management. The college also offers an online master's degree program in global logistics and supply chain management. Athens State's college of education offers four online bachelor's degree paths, and its college of arts and sciences offers an online bachelor's in religion and an online master's in religious studies.

School Website: 
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4

University of North Alabama

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$5,856
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
38.81%
Institution Type
Public

About

Students who attend the University of North Alabama campus in Florence can choose from many different online classes as they complete their degrees. Students also can choose from 12 different fully online degree paths, including bachelor's degrees in science, history or political science, interdisciplinary studies, sociology or nursing. The University of North Alabama also offers fully online master's degree programs in criminal justice, education, family studies, nursing and business administration. All online coursework is produced by University of North Alabama staff. The university uses Canvas as its online content management and delivery system.

School Website: 
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5

Amridge University

Accredited
 
Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$6,000
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
100%
Institution Type
Private

About

Amridge University may be a small Christian college with a main campus in Montgomery, but this school has a long history of providing online education to its students dating back to 1993. In fact, the college reports that distance education is the primary delivery system for all its educational programs. Amridge offers a variety of degree pathways, including bachelor's degree programs in Biblical studies, criminal justice, management, ministry, human resources and human development. The university also offers master's degree programs in marriage and family therapy, Old and New Testament studies, Christian ministry, ministerial leadership, and counseling, to name a few. Amridge uses the Blackboard content management system for its online offerings.

School Website: 
GO

College Accreditation in Alabama

Nothing is more important when looking at prospective colleges than choosing an institution that's been properly accredited. Accreditation ensures that students' hard-earned degrees are valid because educational programs have met pre-determined quality standards.

In Alabama, as well as 11 other Southern states, the main accrediting body for colleges and universities is the following:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

However, some nationally recognized schools in the state are accredited through the accrediting body listed below.

  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)

There also are many small private religious colleges in Alabama. Some are accredited through this accreditation agency:

  • Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE)

Lastly, some classes with rich online offerings are accredited through the following:

  • Distance Education Accrediting Commission

Students concerned about how their institution is accredited can check online with the Department of Education to see which accrediting body accredits their school.

School Interviews

College life in Alabama is more than just championship football. In the interviews that follow, some of the leading educators in the state provide insight into the benefits and positive experiences about attending online college in Alabama.

 Dr. Craig Edelbrock
Once a student has determined that online is right for them, finding a quality academic program and affordable tuition is of upmost importance.

Dr. Craig Edelbrock

Dean of the College of Continuing Studies

University of Alabama

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at your school?

For nearly a century, Bama By Distance has enabled nontraditional adult students to earn a degree from The University of Alabama. The development of online programs over the course of many years has allowed more students to obtain the same high-quality instruction as our on-campus students receive from some of the same great faculty. Although online courses demand a high level of commitment, this option gives UA students the convenience of learning on their own time and the flexibility of earning a degree while balancing family, career and education. In order to offer them the best student experience, our distance students follow the same process as on-campus students, and are offered the same resources as campus students, such as IT Support, Academic Advising, access to UA's libraries, the Writing Center, and the University's Career Center. The University of Alabama offers 12 undergraduate degree programs online, 25 graduate degree programs online and 9 blended or distance programs.

Q. What advice would you give to students interested in an online degree program?

Students interested in an online degree program are oftentimes intimidated by the many different types of colleges offering degrees by distance. The first thing students should know is that rankings and accreditation matter. The University of Alabama is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and has ranked among the top 50 public universities in the nation for more than a decade. According to U.S. News and World Report's 2014 edition of "Best Grad Schools," the UA School of Law ranked 21st, the School of Library and Information Studies ranked 18th, and the Manderson Online Business master's programs are 12th in the United States. But great education does not have to mean great expense. Once a student has determined that online is right for them, finding a quality academic program and affordable tuition is of upmost importance. The University of Alabama offers affordable tuition to our Distance Learning students regardless of where they live.

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

As online learning evolves, it will be critical for universities to keep pace with new and emerging technologies while transforming the ways in which students learn. Students will want new formats and methods of learning that provide more dynamic, media-rich content. Programs will become more individualized and will put more focus on interaction and peer-to-peer learning while giving students the opportunity to delve into subject areas within a course that most interests them or is most applicable to their career. The University of Alabama seeks to make all students part of the UA family. As our programs continue to grow, we want to build lasting relationships with our distance-learning students and increase their sense of affiliation, regardless of whether they have ever set foot on campus.

Top Cities For Students In Alabama

Online students in Alabama come from all corners of the state -- and Alabama offers just as much variety for potential employment. The following cities offer a wealth of different job, living and working options for online students.

Birmingham-Hoover, AL

Total Population

1,135,534

Median salary for high school grads

$26,837

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$50,142

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

8.1%

Median rent

$582

Economics

Birmingham in Jefferson County is the primary economic center of Alabama, the Birmingham Business Alliance reports. More than 45 percent of workers living in neighboring Blount and St. Clair counties work in Jefferson County, as do roughly one-quarter of workers from Shelby and Walker counties. The Birmingham Business Alliance reports there were more than $1.1 billion of capital investments in the area in 2015. The area’s three core employment sectors are banking and insurance, healthcare services, and logistics and transportation.

Demographics

More than 23 percent of the population ages 25 and over had a minimum of a bachelor's degree in 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. According to Census Bureau data, median annual wages for residents with advanced and professional degrees was just over $50,000 in 2014.

Fun Facts

Vulcan, Birmingham's iconic Roman statue, is the largest cast-iron statue in the world. The statue is 56 feet tall and weighs more than 101,000 pounds. It was created for the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis.

Huntsville, AL

Total Population

430,396

Median salary for high school grads

$26,395

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$56,101

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

10.3%

Median rent

$562

Economics

Huntsville has long been called the "Rocket City" due to its deep ties with aerospace and defense. Redstone Arsenal, a 38,000-acre federal campus, encompasses 72 different organizations and employs more than 41,000 people, the Huntsville/Madison Chamber of Commerce reports. Huntsville and Madison counties are also home to more than a dozen other significant research and industrial parks -- Cummings Research Park has more than 300 businesses and employs nearly 30,000 people, the chamber notes. Other major economic drivers of the region include advanced manufacturing, bioscience and information technology.

Demographics

Due to Huntsville’s high concentration of technology and specialty jobs, almost 40 percent of the population who are over the age of 25 had obtained a bachelor's degree or higher, the U.S. Census Bureau notes. Residents with professional and graduate degrees earned north of $70,000 annually in 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Fun Facts

The Twickenham Historical District in Huntsville is called a living museum for its large amount of pre-civil war homes in Federal, Italianate and classical architecture. Alex Haley, author of the acclaimed novel Roots, formerly taught at Alabama A&M University.

Mobile, AL

Total Population

414,045

Median salary for high school grads

$27,107

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$43,539

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

8.6%

Median rent

$576

Economics

Students who graduate from online colleges in Alabama can find a wealth of potential jobs in Mobile. The city enjoys a varied economy driven by aviation and aerospace, healthcare, high tech, logistics and distribution, maritime, and the oil, gas and steel industries, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce reports. The Greater Mobile area had a workforce just under 170,000 in May of 2015, the BLS reports.

Demographics

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, just over 26 percent of Mobile residents ages 25 and up had earned a bachelor's degree in 2014. Median household income for all residents in 2014 was just under $40,000 annually, the bureau notes, but residents with graduate degrees earned an average of $54,105 per year.

Fun Facts

Mobile's long and colorful heritage is on full display in its many historic districts. Many of the city's cottages and townhouses date back to the 1830s. A hero of the war in the Pacific, the battleship USS Alabama rests at Battleship Memorial Park and is one of the area's top tourist attractions.

 

Sources

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