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Guide to Online Colleges in Alabama

COLLEGE FINDER

Article Sources

Sources :

  • Alabama Department of Education, Accessed November 2018, https://www.alsde.edu/
  • Program Accreditation, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Accessed November 2018, https://www.columbiasouthern.edu/about-csu/accreditation-licensure
  • Accreditation & State Authorization, Columbia Southern University, Accessed November 2018, https://www.columbiasouthern.edu/about-csu/accreditation-licensure
  • Apollo 11-First Men on the Moon, Space.com, http://www.space.com/16758-apollo-11-first-moon-landing.html
  • About ACCS, Alabama Community College System, https://www.accs.cc/index.cfm/about-accs/
  • Facts and Figures, University of Alabama, https://www.ua.edu/about/
  • About AAICU, Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, http://www.aaicu.net/facts.html
  • About ASU, Alabama State University, http://www.alasu.edu/about-asu/index.aspx
  • Fast Facts, Auburn University, http://www.auburn.edu/main/welcome/factsandfigures.html
  • May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates-Alabama, Occupational Employment Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_al.htm
  • QuickFacts, Alabama, U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/01
  • Community Facts-Alabama, U.S. Census Bureau, http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml
  • Vulcan State Park, Birmingham, http://visitvulcan.com/about/vulcans-story/
  • Twickenham Historical District, http://alabama.travel/places-to-go/twickenham-historic-district-and-guided-walking-tour
  • Battleship Memorial Park, Mobile, http://www.ussalabama.com/
  • Distance Learning, Gadsden State Community College, http://www.gadsdenstate.edu/elearning/distance-learning
  • Drake State Online Service, J.F. Drake Community and Technical College, http://www.dstc.cc.al.us/drake_online_services.aspx
  • Internet Classes, Central Alabama Community College, http://www.cacc.edu/programs-online-page/
  • Online Learning, Enterprise State Community College, https://www.escc.edu/index.php/online-learning/instructions
  • Distance Education, Jefferson State Community College, http://www.jeffersonstate.edu/programs/distance-education/
  • Academic Programs, Huntsville Bible College, http://huntsvillebiblecollege.org/academics/academic-programs/
  • Online Degree Programs, Columbia Southern University, http://www.columbiasouthern.edu/online-degree
  • Online Degree Programs, Athens State University, http://www.athens.edu/online/
  • About Amridge, Amridge University, http://www.amridgeuniversity.edu/about/
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, http://www.sacscoc.org/
  • Distance Education Accrediting Commission, http://www.deac.org/
  • Online Programs and Courses, University of North Alabama, https://www.una.edu/distance/Online%20Programs-Courses.html
  • Birmingham clearly economic heart of metro, state, Alabama Newscenter, http://alabamanewscenter.com/2016/05/19/tomberlins-take-birmingham-still-clearly-economic-heart-metro-state/
  • Industry, Birmingham Business Alliance, https://birminghambusinessalliance.com/economic-development/economic-development-data/industry/
  • Community Facts, Birmingham, U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/EDU635214/0107000
  • Birmingham City, Alabama, U.S. Census Bureau, http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml
  • Primary Industry Targets, Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, http://www.hsvchamber.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=96&Itemid=272
  • QuickFacts, Huntsville Alabama, U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/EDU635214/0137000,0107000
  • Community Facts, Huntsville, U.S. Census Bureau, http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml#
  • Industry Clusters, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, http://mobilechamber.com/economic-development/doing-business-in-mobile/industry-clusters/
  • May 2015 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates-Mobile, Occupational Employment Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_33660.htm
  • QuickFacts, Mobile City, U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/EDU635214/0150000,0137000,0107000
  • University of Alabama, US News & World Report, Accessed September 2016, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/university-of-alabama-1051/paying
  • Alabama, Institute for College Access and Success, Accessed September 2016, http://ticas.org/posd/map-state-data-2015#overlay=posd/state_data/2015/al
  • CollegeCounts Scholarship, Treasury Department Alabama, Accessed September 2016, http://treasury.alabama.gov/collegecounts-scholarship/
  • Linly Heflin Scholarship, Linly Heflin Unit, Accessed September 2016, http://www.linlyheflin.org/scholarship-information/
  • Alabama Student Aid, KHEAA-Alabama, Accessed September 2016, http://www.alstudentaid.com/pdf/pubs/al/ahe/ahestate.pdf
  • Alabama State Assistance Program, Alabama Commission on Higher Education, Accessed September 2016, http://www.ache.alabama.gov/Content/Departments/StudentAsst/StudentAsst.aspx
  • HCU - Heritage Christian University, Accessed April 2018, http://www.hcu.edu/
  • Jacksonville State University, Accessed April 2018, http://www.jsu.edu/
  • University of Mobile, Accessed April 2018, https://umobile.edu/
  • Out-of-state students fueling enrollment growth at the University of Alabama, Kelvin Reynolds, April 16, 2018, WBRC, Accessed November 2018, http://www.wbrc.com/story/37969666/out-of-state-students-fueling-enrollment-growth-at-the-university-of-alabama/
  • Out-of-State Merit Scholarships for 2019-2020, The University of Alabama, Accessed November 2018, https://scholarships.ua.edu/types/out-of-state.php
  • Alabama Code 16-64-4, Accessed November 2018, https://www.lawserver.com/law/state/alabama/al-code/alabama_code_title_16_chapter_64.
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Whether you live in one of the state's larger cities, like Birmingham or Mobile, or in a more rural area, pursuing a degree at an online college in Alabama can give you the chance to better your future while allowing you to continue to work or tend to other obligations. You can take classes on a full- or part-time basis and complete an associate, bachelor's, or master's degree program from a location that's convenient for you.

Here's a closer look at online college opportunities in the Alabama.

  • While 25 schools offer associate degree programs, there are 29 with bachelor's degree programs, and 26 allow student to earn master's degrees.
  • 26 schools are public and 15 schools are private, including one sport-specific school, one all-female school, six faith-based schools, and three historically black colleges and universities.
  • The most online degree programs can be found at Columbia Southern University, Troy University, and University of West Alabama.
  • Many online colleges in Alabama offer programs focused on topics such as marketing, psychology, and elementary education.

Since Alabama is part of the Academic Common Market, students in Southern states including Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia can receive in-state tuition if they attend an online college in Alabama.

Read on to see the best online colleges in Alabama, as well as the most affordable ones. You can also learn about Alabama-specific scholarships and grants and other financial aid opportunities that may help you save money on your education.

What Makes a Good Online College?

OnlineColleges.com has compiled multiple rankings on the best online schools in Alabama. The schools that appear in our rankings were chosen based on carefully selected criteria. All of these schools are accredited by bodies such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). For more information on accreditation, see our page "What Is College Accreditation?" For more state-specific information, visit the Alabama Department of Education.

Our rankings are designed to assist students in finding the right online college for them by utilizing many different data points. Through our rankings, students can learn about the number of online programs offered, average in-state tuition and graduation rate of each school we have deemed the best in Alabama. Visit the "What Makes a Good Online College?" section on our "About Us" page to understand why we believe these factors are important for students pursuing an online degree.

Best Online Colleges in Alabama for 2018-19

With all the online schools in Alabama available to choose from, how is an online student to select the best choice? We're here to help shorten your search by ranking the best online colleges in Alabama, using data from the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) analyzed with our unique methodology. For more details on our methodology, see the bottom of this page. For a ranking you can modify with your own criteria, see our Top Colleges Tool.

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Methodology
1

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$8,328
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.
55%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
31
School Type
4-year

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a comprehensive urban university formed by the merging of the Birmingham Extension Center and the University of Alabama Medical Center. As of 2018, it has the honor of being the only public, four-year degree granting university in Alabama's largest metropolitan area, and is also the largest research institution in the Yellowhammer State.

The university offers a variety of online bachelor's and master's degree programs in areas of study such as health care management, accounting, RN-to-BSN nursing and marketing. Online students can also benefit from UAB's online resources -- including help with technology, degree planning and financial aid via the school's dedicated counselors -- without having to step foot on-campus.

2

University of Alabama

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$10,780
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.
30%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
30
School Type
4-year

Students from around the globe have the ability to pursue online degree programs from Alabama's flagship university, the University of Alabama. Online, video conferencing, weekend, evening and non-degree programs are made available through the university's online learning portal, Bama by Distance. Examples of UA's programming include the nursing-oriented RN-to-BSN bridge program; the bachelor's in commerce and business administration; and the master's in journalism.

Assistance is available in many different forms at UA. Workshops and tutorials are offered through the Center for Academic Success; online collections can be accessed through UA's multiple libraries; and the Technical Support team can answer questions about Blackboard Learn and technical issues by phone or by email, to name just a few of UA's online resources.

3

Troy University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$8,692
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.
49%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
47
School Type
4-year

Troy University is a public four-year school with a network of campuses throughout the state of Alabama. The school's online degree programs include accounting, social work, marketing, an accelerated dual-enrollment program designed for high school students, and more.

While online students complete their coursework via TROY Online and the school's online learning platform of choice -- Canvas -- they can also benefit from one-on-one help via chat, video chat, message boards and group discussion. The online branch of the university's "TROY for Troops" initiative is also available to support military students and veterans.

4

Auburn University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$10,968
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.
21%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
26
School Type
4-year

Auburn University is a comprehensive land, sea and space grant institution that is older than the Civil War. It is the oldest coeducational four-year university in Alabama, and it is affiliated with the Methodist church.

Through Auburn Online, students can pursue a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in areas of study such as accounting, education, agriculture and business administration. While some of these degree programs can be completed entirely online, Auburn University also offers several hybrid programs that merge both on-campus and online instruction, presenting their students with even more options for their education.

5

University of West Alabama

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$9,204
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.
53%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
28
School Type
4-year

To support their student body, the University of West Alabama boasts a variety of on-campus, online and hybrid degree programs, creating many options for its learners. The university's online degree programs focus on studies in business, teaching, psychology and counseling.

Online courses at UWA are offered through the online platform Blackboard, and tests can be delivered through RPNow Online Proctoring. UWA uses the Blackboard learning management system, and maintains a "Technical Resources for Online Students" section to help their online students become familiar with the system. In addition, the school's many dedicated online advisors can help students map out their educational paths and make academic decisions.

6

University of North Alabama

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$8,480
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.
51%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
17
School Type
4-year

The University of North Alabama is a regional, state-assisted university that is well known for its lion mascot. In fact, the University of North Alabama is so in love with their mascot that there are two living lions on its physical campus! You can see them for yourself through the LionCam on the UNA website.

The university offers a selection of online programs through the Canvas learning management system, covering subjects such as sociology, education and history. If students experience difficulty during their time online at UNA, multiple resources are available for support, from the educational help of Collier Library and the UNA Writing Center, to the University Advising Services and the Office of Student Financial Services.

7

Heritage Christian University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$11,232
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.
71%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
4
School Type
4-year

Originally called Mars Hill Academy, Heritage Christian University was founded in 1871 to educate ministers in the Florence, Alabama area. As technology has evolved, students are no longer confined to the walls of the campus; HCU's online programs allow students to earn associate, bachelor's and master's degrees anywhere they can find an internet connection.

Most courses at HCU are digitally recorded, and there may also be supplemental materials such as video presentations, paper materials, and slide shows that can be reviewed at any time. Although undergraduate students can complete their programs completely online, graduate students may be required to visit campus at least twice to satisfy certain graduate student requirements.

Accreditation:

  • Association for Biblical Higher Education

Location:

3625 Helton Dr.,
Florence, AL 35630
 
8

University of South Alabama

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$7,812
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.
45%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
13
School Type
4-year

Students who choose online learning at the University of South Alabama may benefit not only from the USA Online selection of online programs -- in interesting subjects such as instructional design or educational media -- but also from the live help desk chat, online tutorials and dedicated student advisors.

In addition to these resources, the university has partnered with several other educational providers to expand their offerings for their students. Between the online certificate programs of Career Step, the thousands of courses of ed2go, and the workforce education of JER Online, students are likely to find what they need at the University of South Alabama.

9

Jacksonville State University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$8,166
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.
65%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
21
School Type
4-year

As of June 2018, Jacksonville State University is the only college in the United States with NCAA national titles for men's baseball and basketball. Their athletics team isn't the only team JSU pays attention to, however. The Online@JSU team is a group of instructional designers and technical specialists who are "focused on supporting all aspects of online education" for JSU distance learners.

Online students can enroll in bachelor's or master's degree programs through Online@JSU, which delivers coursework through the Blackboard Learn course management system. Technical support is available 24 hours a day, and direct support for Blackboard Learn, Examity, Voice Thread and more is available for students who need it.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College

Location:

700 Pelham Road North,
Jacksonville, AL 36265
 
10

University of Mobile

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$22,210
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.
52%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
8
School Type
4-year

In January 2015, the University of Mobile offered its first bachelor's degree program that could be completed entirely online: a Bachelor of Science in marketplace ministry. Since that time, the school has increased its online degree offerings, which are available through the Alabama College for Professional and Continuing Studies. As a result, UMobile students are able to complete online programs on both the graduate and undergraduate level. Students enrolled in these programs can take their courses during convenient eight-week sessions with multiple start dates throughout the year.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Location:

5735 College Parkway Drive,
Mobile, AL 36613
 

Affordable Online Colleges in Alabama for 2018

Below are some of the most economical two- and four-year colleges in Alabama based on tuition costs. Tuition cost data was obtained from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, part of the National Center for Education Statistics.

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

  • School Type - 2 Years
  • School Type - 4 Years
  • COLLEGE NAMETUITION & FEES/YEAR
    Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
    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.
    NUMBER OF ONLINE PROGRAMS OFFERED
    Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
    SCHOOL WEBSITE
    Gadsden State Community College$3,60045%10gadsdenstate.edu
    George C Wallace State Community College-Hanceville$3,72644%11wallacestate.edu
    George C Wallace State Community College-Selma$4,14051%3wccs.edu
    Shelton State Community College$4,18929%2sheltonstate.edu
    Northwest-Shoals Community College$4,41127%3nwscc.edu
  • COLLEGE NAMETUITION & FEES/YEAR
    Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
    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.
    NUMBER OF ONLINE PROGRAMS OFFERED
    Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
    SCHOOL WEBSITE
    Columbia Southern University$5,415100%51columbiasouthern.edu
    Amridge University$6,900100%21amridgeuniversity.edu
    University of South Alabama$7,81245%13southalabama.edu
    Auburn University at Montgomery$8,02039%11aum.edu
    Jacksonville State University$8,16665%21jsu.edu

Financial Aid in Alabama

For the many thousands of students who choose to enroll in a program of study at an Alabama college or university, there are several opportunities for financial aid. That includes both need-based grants and merit-based scholarships.

For instance, in 2016, 42 percent of full-time undergraduates at the University of Alabama received some need-based financial aid, with an average award of $13,714 (U.S. News & World Report). That kind of impact is why it’s important to take advantage of as many financial aid opportunities as possible.

What grants and scholarships are available in Alabama?

Below are some of the many prominent scholarships and grants that may be available for students attending Alabama schools.

If you're looking for more information on how to apply for financial aid, check out our Ultimate Guide to Grants and our Ultimate Guide to Scholarships.

1.Alabama National Guard Educational Assistance
Type : Grant
Criteria:
Applicant must be a member of the Alabama National Guard attending an Alabama postsecondary institution.
Award Amount
$1,000
Application Deadline
September 16
Renewable
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
2.Alabama G.I. Dependents' Scholarship
Type : Scholarship
Criteria:
Applicant must be the dependent of a disabled veteran (child or stepchild under age 26) or spouse or non-remarried widow(er) who is enrolled in a state-supported institution in Alabama. The veteran must have honorably served at least 90 days of continuous active federal military service, be rated 20% or more disabled due to service-connected disabilities or have held the qualifying rating at the time of death, or be a former prisoner of war, declared missing in action, or have died as the result of a service-connected disability or in the line of duty while on active duty. The veteran must have been a permanent civilian resident of the state of Alabama for at least one year immediately prior to initial entry into active military service or any subsequent period of military service in which a break in service occurred and civilian residency was established. Dependents of permanently disabled service-connected veterans rated at 100% may also qualify after the veteran has established at least five years of permanent residency in Alabama.
Award Amount
$1,150
Application Deadline
Open
Renewable
Renewable for 12 quarters or eight semesters.
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
3.Abrams (Larry G. and Sharon W.) Annual
Type : Scholarship
Criteria:
Applicants must be entering freshmen at Jacksonville State University. Students must be U.S. citizens and Alabama residents for at least 10 years and graduated from an Alabama High School. Applicants must be active members of Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham. Students must have an ACT score of 20 or higher or a SAT of 950 or higher as well as a grade point average of 2.5 or above. Applicants must have financial need.
Award Amount
N/A
Application Deadline
N/A
Renewable
No
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
Yes
Application URL
4.David R. and Sue Belcher
Type : Scholarship
Criteria:
Applicants must be full-time undergraduate or graduate students at Jacksonville State University. Students must be U.S. Citizens and have graduated from a school system in Alabama.
Award Amount
N/A
Application Deadline
March 1
Renewable
No
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
Yes
Application URL

Student Loans in Alabama

Alabama's financial aid support is mainly focused on scholarships and grants, and therefore, it does not offer any state-sponsored loan programs. However, students are encouraged to fill out the FAFSA to qualify for federal student loan programs.

Learn more about student loans with our Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Alabama

For more details on some of Alabama's financial aid options, learn more through these organizations' websites:

Costs for Out-of-State Students in Alabama

While tuition costs are often cheaper for in-state students, many colleges and universities in Alabama work hard to attract students from across the country.

The University of Alabama, for instance, has dozens of recruiters that it sends across the nation, and the school is reportedly generous in offering scholarship assistance to out-of-state students. As a result, nearly 60 percent of its undergraduate students in 2018 were from outside the state.

If you're relocating to Alabama for a job or live just across the state lines, you may be worried about having to pay out-of-state tuition rates. Typically, students are required to live in Alabama for 12 months before becoming eligible for the lower in-state rates. However, there are some exceptions. For example, Alabama schools might waive non-resident rates for:

  • Military members, their spouses and dependents
  • Certain students enrolled in programs through the Academic Common Market
  • Students who live out of state but reside within 50 miles of a campus

Some Alabama colleges and universities offer merit scholarships that more than close the gap between in-state and out-of-state tuition rates. At the University of Alabama, these scholarships range in value from $6,000 per year to full rides that cover $26,000 a year in tuition as well as room and board for one year and additional stipends.

Before assuming you can't afford the non-resident rates, talk to your preferred school's admissions office about possible financial aid. You can also check out these resources that may be helpful for out-of-state students.

 
Article Sources
Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we generated a list of colleges and universities that met the following criteria:

  • Level of institution is either "Four or more years" or "At least 2 but less than 4 years"
  • Data is reported for all 11 ranking variables listed in the Methodology section
  • At least 1 percent of students are taking at least some of the classes via distance education
  • "Number of programs offered via distance education" was an integer greater than 0

We ranked the resulting 1,813 colleges on 11 criteria, using provisional 2016-17 data from IPEDS:

  1. Number of programs offered via distance education
  2. Ratio of students participating fully or partially in DE to Total Enrollment
  3. Average in-state tuition for undergraduates
  4. Total electronic library collections, including digital books, databases, and media
  5. Graduation rate
  6. Retention rate
  7. The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Guaranteed, Other)
  8. Services (Academic/Career, Placement for Completers)
  9. Credit offerings (Dual, Life, AP, Military)
  10. Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
  11. Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools' tuition amounts are based on 2016-17 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

Methodology Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
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