2022 Top Public Colleges and Universities in Alabama

Public colleges and universities are often the most affordable option for students pursuing higher education, but it’s not just affordability that makes these institutions attractive. Public institutions also rank highly among the best colleges and universities in many states, Alabama included.

Public colleges and universities receive state and federal funding. Although they generally have larger class sizes than private institutions, they also tend to offer a wide variety of academic programs, diverse student bodies, and prestigious research opportunities.

2022 Best Public Colleges and Universities in Alabama

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Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

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    Avg Tuition per YearTuition is the price you pay to attend classes. Tuition varies by school, and does not include costs associated with room and board, books, school supplies, meal plans, or transportation.

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    #1

    Auburn University

    Auburn, AL

    Graduation Rate

    79%

    Enrollment

    30,737

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $10080

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $30240

    Auburn University, which enrolls students in programs from its Auburn, Alabama campus. The college offers a variety of degree-granting programs and courses. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help students meet their professional goals. At the institution, students typically complete an associate degree in two years, a bachelor's degree in four years, a master's degree in 1-2 years, or a doctoral degree in 3-7 years. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. This makes it easier to enroll. The admissions staff can provide more information on the process. Students at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. Auburn University has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #2

    University of Alabama at Birmingham

    Birmingham, AL

    Graduation Rate

    61%

    Enrollment

    22,563

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $8568

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $20400

    University of Alabama at Birmingham grants degrees as a public institution from its location in Birmingham, Alabama. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or a bachelor's degree. The institution charges an average per-credit fee of 488. Enrollees at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. At the institution, 96% of students receive financial aid and 47% take out loans. Students earn their bachelor's degree from the school at a rate of 61%. The admission rate is 81% for prospective students. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements and start dates. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #3

    Athens State University

    Athens, AL

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    2,867

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $6180

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $12360

    Athens State University, which operates a campus in Athens, Alabama, often ranks as a top school. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. The school's academic and technical tracks help students meet diverse career goals. Completing a program can take anywhere from a few months to seven years depending on degree or certificate type and whether the student chooses part-time or full-time enrollment. Applicants may qualify for a test score waiver. Students may find it easier to apply without a test score requirement. The admissions department can help prospective students determine the next steps. At the accredited institution, enrollees also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #4

    Northeast Alabama Community College

    Rainsville, AL

    Graduation Rate

    47%

    Enrollment

    2,530

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3990

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7980

    Northeast Alabama Community College, located in Rainsville, Alabama, offers 54 programs for degree-seekers. The institution's programs offer a rigorous course of study. The school boasts a 16-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. According to the institution, 92% of students receive some form of financial aid. The school reports a 47% graduation rate. Graduates often benefit from hands-on experience, which makes them more competitive candidates on the job market. The school's admission rate is currently unknown. Some programs offer test-optional admission policies. Prospective students can contact the admission department for more information about applying.

    #5

    J F Ingram State Technical College

    Deatsville, AL

    Graduation Rate

    21%

    Enrollment

    399

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4788

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $4788

    Located in Deatsville, Alabama, J F Ingram State Technical College offers multiple programs as a public institution. Students leave the school with credentials that prepare them for the workplace. Learners benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. The school boasts several programs that appear in national rankings. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Degree-seekers at this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Students receive $2281 in aid on average, lowering the average tuition cost after aid to $3731. The school offers both academic and technical programs. Based on their major, students take essential courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. J F Ingram State Technical College holds accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education, an independent accrediting body.

    #6

    University of Alabama in Huntsville

    Huntsville, AL

    Graduation Rate

    57%

    Enrollment

    9,999

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $9730

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $22126

    A public institution, University of Alabama in Huntsville enrolls students from its campus in Huntsville, Alabama. Degree-seekers take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or a bachelor's degree. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited institution, learners qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. A total of 96% of students receive financial aid and 39% take out loans at the institution. The public institution reports a graduation rate of 57%. The admission rate for new students is 77%. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #7

    Jacksonville State University

    Jacksonville, AL

    Graduation Rate

    46%

    Enrollment

    9,238

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $9720

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $19440

    Jacksonville State University grants degrees as a public institution from its location in Jacksonville, Alabama. Learners study with experts in many different fields. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, degree-seekers qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. A total of 99% of students receive financial aid and 67% take out loans at the institution. Students earn their bachelor's degree from the school at a rate of 46%. The admission rate for prospective students is 64%. Prospective applicants can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying. Jacksonville State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #8

    The University of Alabama

    Tuscaloosa, AL

    Graduation Rate

    72%

    Enrollment

    37,840

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $10780

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $30250

    The University of Alabama, which enrolls students in programs from its Tuscaloosa, Alabama campus. Students choose from multiple degree-granting programs and courses. The school's academic and technical tracks help students meet diverse career goals. Typically, it takes students two years to complete an associate degree, four years to complete a bachelor's degree, 1-2 years for a master's degree, or 3-7 years for a doctoral degree. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. These policies make it easier to apply. The admissions department can help applicants determine the next steps. Students at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #9

    University of Montevallo

    Montevallo, AL

    Graduation Rate

    54%

    Enrollment

    2,600

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $12090

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $25110

    From its campus in Montevallo, Alabama, University of Montevallo awards degrees and certificates as a top school. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help students meet their professional goals. Enrollees earn their degree or certificate in as little time as a few months or as much time as seven years depending on program type and enrollment status. Some programs may offer test-optional admission policies. This makes it easier to enroll. The admissions department can provide more information on the process. Learners also use financial aid to pay for their college degree or certificate. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #10

    George C Wallace State Community College-Hanceville

    Hanceville, AL

    Graduation Rate

    45%

    Enrollment

    4,763

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3990

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7980

    From its Hanceville, Alabama campus, George C Wallace State Community College-Hanceville enrolls students in 86 programs. The institution's top-ranked programs offer a rigorous course of study. The school reports a student-to-faculty ratio of 17-to-1. The institution reports that of its total enrollees, 80% receive financial aid. The school reports a 45% graduation rate. Real-world experience helps candidates stand out on the job market. The school's admission rate is unavailable. Some programs waive the test score requirement for qualified applicants. Contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements.

    #11

    Snead State Community College

    Boaz, AL

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    2,006

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4256

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8512

    Located in Alabama, Snead State Community College enrolls students in 30 programs. Degree-seekers benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The school reports a 20-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. According to the the school's reports, 88% of its students receive financial assistance. The public institution reports a 50% graduation rate. The institution understands that hands-on experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Prospective applicants can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying.

    #12

    George C Wallace Community College-Dothan

    Dothan, AL

    Graduation Rate

    29%

    Enrollment

    3,681

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3990

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7980

    George C Wallace Community College-Dothan, located in Dothan, Alabama, enrolls students as a public institution. The college offers academic and technical programs to help learners reach their educational goals. Students complete courses and experiential learning opportunities to bolster their knowledge. Some programs may let applicants apply without submitting test scores. These policies make it easier to enroll. Learners benefit from support services, which include tutoring and career counseling. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs such as the Pell Grant. George C Wallace Community College-Dothan holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #13

    John C Calhoun State Community College

    Tanner, AL

    Graduation Rate

    29%

    Enrollment

    8,278

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3990

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7980

    Located in Alabama, John C Calhoun State Community College offers 38 academic programs. The institution offers top-ranked programs that provide a rigorous course of study. According to the school, the student-to-faculty ratio stands at 21-to-1. The institution reports that of its total enrollees, 80% receive financial aid. The school reports a graduation rate of 29%. Graduates often benefit from hands-on experience, which makes them more competitive candidates on the job market. The school's admission rate is currently unknown. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. Applicants can reach out to the admissions office to learn more about enrolling.

    #14

    University of West Alabama

    Livingston, AL

    Graduation Rate

    40%

    Enrollment

    5,734

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $9100

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $18200

    From its campus in Livingston, Alabama, University of West Alabama enrolls students as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps students reach their professional goals. During a bachelor's degree, enrollees take lower-division and upper-division coursework. Enrollees also complete general education credits. Upper-division credits typically focus on advanced concepts within a major. The school supports learners with tutoring and career services. The school charges an average of 410 per credit. Learners at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid programs such as the Pell Grant. University of West Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #15

    University of South Alabama

    Mobile, AL

    Graduation Rate

    45%

    Enrollment

    14,224

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $7896

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $15792

    From its campus in Mobile, Alabama, University of South Alabama awards degrees as a top school. Enrollees choose from multiple degree-granting programs. The programs offer academic and technical tracks to help students meet their career goals. Enrollees can earn an associate degree in two years, a bachelor's degree in four years, a master's degree in 1-2 years, or a doctoral degree in 3-7 years. Some programs provide a test-optional admission option. Applicants may find it easier to enroll without a test score requirement. The admissions department can help prospective students complete their application. Students also use financial aid to pay for their college degree. University of South Alabama has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #16

    George C Wallace State Community College-Selma

    Selma, AL

    Graduation Rate

    34%

    Enrollment

    1,316

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3990

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7980

    From its campus in Selma, Alabama, George C Wallace State Community College-Selma grants college degrees as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their educational goals. Students complete coursework to prepare them for advanced roles. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. A test score waiver makes it easier to apply. Learners benefit from support services like tutoring and career counseling. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Learners at this accredited school also qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. George C Wallace State Community College-Selma holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #17

    Lurleen B Wallace Community College

    Andalusia, AL

    Graduation Rate

    33%

    Enrollment

    1,666

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3990

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7980

    From its Andalusia, Alabama campus, Lurleen B Wallace Community College offers 34 program options for students. Students choose from rigorous, top-ranked programs at the school. The school boasts a 16-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. A total of 97% of students receive some form of financial aid. The school reports a 33% graduation rate. The institution understands that real-world experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. The school's admission rate is currently unknown. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements.

    #18

    University of North Alabama

    Florence, AL

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    8,086

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $9600

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $19200

    From its Florence, Alabama campus, University of North Alabama enrolls students in 107 programs. Learners enroll in top-ranked programs that offer a rigorous course of study. The school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 15-to-1. According to the institution, 96% of students receive some form of financial aid. The public institution reports a graduation rate of 50%. The institution understands that real-world experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. The admission rate for incoming students is 83%. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. Admissions advisors can provide more information about application requirements and start dates.

    #19

    Bevill State Community College

    Jasper, AL

    Graduation Rate

    31%

    Enrollment

    3,204

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4256

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8512

    Located in Jasper, Alabama, Bevill State Community College grants degrees as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their career goals. The institution offers coursework that gives students the chance to gain relevant knowledge and skills. Some programs may let applicants apply without submitting test scores. This makes it easier to enroll. The school supports learners with tutoring and career services. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Learners at the accredited school can pay for their educational costs with federal student aid programs. Bevill State Community College holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #20

    Shelton State Community College

    Tuscaloosa, AL

    Graduation Rate

    15%

    Enrollment

    3,743

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3990

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7980

    Shelton State Community College enrolls students at its Tuscaloosa, Alabama campus as a public institution. Enrollees take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. Students who complete a technical or academic program may enter the workforce. The school's cost per credit is unknown. Students can fund their education with financial aid such as federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The institution reports that 70% of students receive financial aid and 0% take out loans. The institution reports a graduation rate of 15%. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Prospective applicants can contact the admissions office for more information about applying. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #21

    Reid State Technical College

    Evergreen, AL

    Graduation Rate

    29%

    Enrollment

    279

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3990

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7980

    A public institution located in Evergreen, Alabama, Reid State Technical College enrolls students in several programs. The school offers accredited programs that prepare students for a successful career. The programs offer an academically rigorous course of study at an affordable price. The school's programs appear in national rankings. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers at this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Students receive an average aid award of $7123, lowering the average tuition cost after aid to $1893. The institution offers both academic and technical programs. Depending on their program, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The school is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education, an independent accrediting body.

    #22

    Enterprise State Community College

    Enterprise, AL

    Graduation Rate

    26%

    Enrollment

    1,808

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3990

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7980

    Located in Enterprise, Alabama, Enterprise State Community College is a public institution that offers multiple programs. Students complete programs that prepare them for careers and professional advancement. Learners benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Students can enroll in nationally ranked programs. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. The school reports that students receive an average aid award of $5072, making the average tuition cost after aid $4401. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the school. Based on their major, students take foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Enterprise State Community College holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #23

    Troy University

    Troy, AL

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    16,497

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $7800

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $15600

    Located in Alabama, Troy University offers 100 programs for students. Students enroll in top-ranked programs that offer a rigorous course of study. According to the institution, the student-to-faculty ratio stands at 18-to-1. At the institution, 94% of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid. The school reports a graduation rate of 50%. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps graduates on the job market. Degree-seekers benefit from internships, research opportunities, and other forms of service learning. Prospective learners can expect admission rates of 92%. Some programs offer test-optional admission policies.

    #24

    Southern Union State Community College

    Wadley, AL

    Graduation Rate

    24%

    Enrollment

    3,950

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3990

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8850

    Southern Union State Community College, which is often listed among the best schools, operates from its main campus in Wadley, Alabama. The institution's faculty brings expertise in multiple fields. The school's academic and technical tracks help students meet diverse career goals. Depending on the program, students can spend anywhere from a few months up to as many as seven years earning their degree or certificate. Some programs may operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. A waiver makes it easier to enroll. The admissions department can help prospective students complete their application. Degree-seekers at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. Southern Union State Community College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #25

    Gadsden State Community College

    Gadsden, AL

    Graduation Rate

    27%

    Enrollment

    3,993

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4096

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8352

    Gadsden State Community College enrolls students at its Gadsden, Alabama campus as a public institution. Degree-seekers take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for a successful career. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. At the accredited school, enrollees qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The institution reports that 85% of learners receive financial aid, while 0% take out loans. The public institution reports a 27% graduation rate. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. Gadsden State Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #26

    Chattahoochee Valley Community College

    Phenix City, AL

    Graduation Rate

    22%

    Enrollment

    1,399

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3990

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7980

    From its campus in Phenix City, Alabama, Chattahoochee Valley Community College enrolls learners in 36 programs. The institution offers top-ranked programs that provide a rigorous course of study. The school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 13-to-1. According to the institution, 96% of enrollees receive some form of financial aid. The school reports a 22% graduation rate. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps students enter the workforce. The school's admission rate is unavailable. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Prospective students can contact the admissions office for more information about applying.

    #27

    Bishop State Community College

    Mobile, AL

    Graduation Rate

    21%

    Enrollment

    2,176

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3990

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7980

    From its campus in Mobile, Alabama, Bishop State Community College enrolls students in 36 programs. Degree-seekers benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The student-to-faculty ratio at the institution is 14-to-1. The institution reports that 91% of students receive some form of financial aid. The school reports a graduation rate of 21%. The institution understands that hands-on experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Some programs let applicants apply without submitting test scores. Applicants can reach out to the admissions office to learn more about enrolling.

    #28

    Central Alabama Community College

    Alexander City, AL

    Graduation Rate

    19%

    Enrollment

    1,546

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3990

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7920

    From its campus in Alexander City, Alabama, Central Alabama Community College grants college degrees as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their educational goals. Students prepare for a successful career by completing degree- or certificate-specific coursework. Applicants may qualify for a standardized test score waiver. These policies make it easier to enroll. Learners benefit from support services, which include tutoring and career counseling. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. The accredited school qualifies for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Central Alabama Community College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #29

    Marion Military Institute

    Marion, AL

    Graduation Rate

    41%

    Enrollment

    401

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $6000

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $12000

    From its campus in Marion, Alabama, Marion Military Institute enrolls students in 2 programs. Students enjoy rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 14-to-1. According to the the school's reports, 98% of its students receive financial assistance. The school reports a graduation rate of 41%. Students should explore how workplace experience makes them more competitive employee candidates. The admission rate is 58% for hopeful students. Some programs let applicants apply without submitting test scores. Prospective students can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying.

    #30

    Lawson State Community College

    Birmingham, AL

    Graduation Rate

    21%

    Enrollment

    2,823

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3990

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7980

    From its campus in Birmingham, Alabama, Lawson State Community College educates college students as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, this school can help learners reach their educational goals. Students gain knowledge and skill specific to their field by completing their program's coursework requirements. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. A waiver makes it easier to apply. Learners receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. Learners at this accredited school also qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Lawson State Community College has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    Why Choose a Public College or University in Alabama?

    Choosing a college is one of the most critical decisions in a person’s life. In Alabama, there are many top public and private colleges and universities to choose from.

    A public college or university education provides many benefits, including an enriching campus experience with many activities and cocurricular programs from which to choose. Public colleges and universities typically charge less tuition than private schools, making public education a more accessible and affordable option for many students.

    However, some students might not thrive at a public college or university. Some learners need or want more attention and personalized advising from instructors, which they can more easily access at a private school with smaller class sizes.

    According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), students in Alabama can choose between 19 public four-year colleges and universities. The state of Alabama also belongs to the Academic Common Market and has a regional reciprocity agreement with other Southern states, which offer comparable tuition rates. According to a 2022 National Student Clearinghouse Research Center survey, over 60% of Alabama college students in the fall 2015 cohort completed their degrees within six years.

    Pros and Cons of Attending a Public College or University in Alabama

    Pros

    • Check Circle
      Students at public colleges and universities in Alabama tend to pay less tuition than private school attendees.
    • Check Circle
      Public schools typically offer more degree programs and majors.
    • Check Circle
      Students usually gain more access to research facilities and opportunities.
    • Check Circle
      Public colleges and universities typically offer more cocurricular activities and programs, contributing to more enriched higher education experiences.

    Cons

    • X Circle
      Students do not get as much access to scholarships and federal grants as private school learners.
    • X Circle
      Larger class sizes can mean getting less attention from instructors and student services staff.
    • X Circle
      Students who do not thrive in independent learning environments might prefer private college settings.
    • X Circle
      Private institutions often enroll more diverse students, including individuals from other countries.

    Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Colleges and Universities in Alabama

    All public colleges and universities are nonprofit institutions. Private institutions may be nonprofit or for-profit. Nonprofit schools obtain their funding from tuition, state and federal governments, endowments, and donations. They primarily serve to educate the public, with boards of trustees and education administrators typically undertaking their management.

    In contrast, private for-profit schools exist to make money for their shareholders and investors. They receive their funding primarily from tuition and fees. Graduates of these schools generally experience lower employment rates than students from nonprofit institutions.

    These schools also do not typically hold accreditation, creating challenges for students who want to transfer credit hours to other institutions. According to NCES, 21 private, for-profit schools exist in the state of Alabama.

    How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Public College or University in Alabama?

    According to NCES, in-state students at public four-year institutions in Alabama paid an average of about $10,320 in tuition and fees during the 2019-2020 academic year. Out-of-state tuition at the same schools averaged roughly $26,520 during the same year. NCES also reports that room averaged $5,700 and board, $4,470.

    According to NCES, in 2021-2022, in-state students paid about $26,420 for tuition, fees, room, and board at Auburn University, one of Alabama’s most expensive public institutions. In contrast, one of the least costly schools for in-state students the same year was Auburn University at Montgomery, which charged $16,230 for tuition, room, and board.

    Although public school students typically save money on tuition, they still need to consider other college-related expenses, such as student services, on-campus healthcare, technology, books, and supplies.

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    Frequently Asked Questions About Public Colleges and Universities in Alabama

    How many public colleges and universities are there in Alabama?

    The state of Alabama hosts 19 public four-year colleges and universities, which enrolled over 170,000 students during the 2020-2021 academic year, according to the Alabama Commission on Higher Education.

    According to NCES, the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa is one of the biggest schools in the state, with an undergraduate student body of more than 31,000. This school ranks highly in the nation among other public institutions, along with Auburn University, Jacksonville State University, and Troy University.

    What is the most expensive public college or university in Alabama?

    Auburn University is one of the most expensive schools in Alabama. In-state students pay over $26,000 each year in tuition, room, and board. Although public higher education typically costs less than private institutions, it is often still a significant investment.

    College has become increasingly expensive in the last several decades. Rising tuition, growing administrative costs, and state and federal funding decreases have contributed to theseincreased costs.

    What is the least expensive public college or university in Alabama?

    Auburn University at Montgomery is one of the least expensive public universities in Alabama, costing a total of $16,228 each year in tuition, room, and board.

    Because they receive federal and state funds, endowments, and private donations, several public four-year colleges can offer many students an affordable education. Individuals can apply for scholarships, financial aid, and other programs to defray the cost of higher education.

    What is the biggest public college or university in Alabama?

    Among the big public schools in the state, the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa boasts the largest enrollment, with more than 31,000 full-time undergraduate students.

    This school was founded in 1831 as Alabama’s flagship university. As the oldest public four-year institution in the state, the University of Alabama consists of 12 colleges and schools and offers more than 70 undergraduate programs.

    Is a public college or university right for me?

    A publiccollege or university education can be an affordable and viable option for many students, especially individuals who cannot afford to go to a private institution. In addition to lower tuition and other costs, public schools tend to offer more majors and degree programs, which might suit students who are unsure about their academic and career goals.

    Also, many of the best public schools in Alabama provide ample cocurricular activities and groups that students can join to enhance their college experiences.