Including satellite campuses, Alabama is dotted with 74 public colleges and universities, providing a rich and diverse academic culture that is supplemented by a range of private institutions. Students, however, don’t have to actually live in Alabama to take advantage of the state’s stellar academic environment. Major additions and advances in online course and degree opportunities have made Alabama — and its nationally coveted network of public learning institutions — a leader in distance learning.
There are 25 comprehensive community colleges in the Alabama Community College System (ACCS), which is governed by the State Board of Education. The ACCS includes the Marion Military Institute — one of just five junior military colleges in the nation — as well as a workforce development initiative called the Alabama Technology Network (ATN). The ACCS serves roughly 300,000 students every year, including 100,000 credit course enrollees.
The ACCS is tasked with providing three primary services:
The ACCS prides itself on its commitment to access. Campuses are spread across the state, conveniently accessible from virtually anywhere in Alabama. The ACCS also offers open enrollment, low-cost tuition and a range of programs and services that remove barriers to entering college and the workplace.
|School||Number of Students|
|John C. Calhoun Community College||11,323|
|Jefferson State Community College||9,460|
|Gadsden State Community College||6,731|
|George C. Wallace State Community College — Hanceville||5,740|
|Shelton State Community College||5,307|
There are 14 public four-year universities in Alabama. All offer reduced tuition for Alabama residents. These include Alabama’s flagship university, the University of Alabama, which consistently ranks as one of the top 50 public universities in the country. Known for both excellence in academics and athletics, Alabama’s large four-year institutions are highly coveted destination schools for students across the country. As the state economy has invested heavily in several key industries — including, but not limited to, aerospace, banking, healthcare and education — the state universities have followed suit by adding focus and curriculum options in those sectors. The state believes that this coordination — along with an added focus on arts and science — prepares Alabama’s public university graduates for workforce entry as well as any other schools in the country.
Alabama’s 14 public four-year universities are:
|School||Number of Students|
|University of Alabama||34,852|
|Auburn University Main Campus||24,864|
|University of Alabama at Birmingham||17,106|
|University of South Alabama||15,311|
Alabama also has three public technical colleges. They are:
Aside from Alabama’s extensive public, state-run education network, there are also 15 private colleges, universities and academies in the state. These institutions are not governed by the State Department of Education, and are under the control of their own governing bodies. From small religious schools to athletic academies, private colleges in Alabama offer prospective students even greater diversity in options for higher education.
The same body that oversees Alabama’s physical public campuses, the Alabama Commission of Higher Education, is also in charge of the state’s vast and expanding online college programs. This provides an extraordinary degree of continuity and accountability throughout Alabama’s expansive distance-learning program. Online courses and degree programs are available at many of Alabama’s community colleges, four-year public universities, private universities and technical colleges. Because they are accountable to the Alabama Commission of Higher Education, they are fully accredited.
Among the state’s many distance-learning programs are:
There are also several for-profit, private institutions located in Alabama that offer online courses, certificates and degrees. These institutions are not, however, under the direction of — or accountable to — the Alabama Commission of Higher Education.
With nearly 5 million residents, Alabama is the heart of the Southeast region of the United States, which is the fastest-growing region in the nation. Alabama’s economy is diverse and scattered, with no one industry dominating the state. The following make up some of the top industry sectors:
Alabama is home to more than three dozen companies on the Inc. 5000 list. These include Connected Logistics and Pinnacle Solutions, which are in the top 100. Twenty-three of Alabama’s businesses have experienced at least 100 percent growth, with many experiencing extraordinary growth of between 200 percent and more than 3,000 percent.
An organization dedicated to promoting and protecting the interests of independent higher education in Alabama. Founded in 1956 to benefit both students and member institutions, the AAICU also oversees scholarship fundraising for all 14 of its member schools.
A website designed for students, teachers, parents and counselors that includes information on higher education, financial aid and career planning. The website was created as part of a grant program that was designed to foster partnerships between federal, state and local governments, as well as philanthropic organizations, to procure grants for lower-income students.
Home of the ACCS — Alabama’s unified network of public, two-year colleges. Here, students and prospective students can find information on the statewide system’s college, training, workforce development and adult education programs.
This private, non-profit organization dedicated to helping Alabama realize its full economic potential through the promotion of industry and private business.
Website for an organization that advocates for the importance of higher education in bettering the lives of the citizens of Alabama. The organization works to locate and organize education advocates, communicate the importance of higher education and promote new education partnerships.
A resource that coordinates academic library resource sharing to enhance education and research. It consists of all of Alabama’s public and private 4-year universities, and non-affiliated institutions may join as non-voting members.
Alabama State Dept. of Education
Homepage for the Alabama school system’s organizing and governing body, the State Department of Education.
A website that provides every student, teacher and citizen in Alabama with essential library and information resources in a single online location. The site’s databases contain periodicals, newspapers, magazines, journals and other research materials.
The nation’s first interstate compact for education, SREB provides a range of services to member states, including Alabama. By pooling resources, the combined pact of states has collective power in numbers and financial resources that would not be attainable by a single state.
The University of AlabamaTuscaloosa, Alabama
Columbia Southern UniversityOrange Beach, Alabama
Troy UniversityTroy, Alabama
Auburn UniversityAuburn University, Alabama
University of Alabama at BirminghamBirmingham, Alabama
John C Calhoun State Community CollegeTanner, Alabama
University of South AlabamaMobile, Alabama
Jefferson State Community CollegeBirmingham, Alabama
Virginia College-BirminghamBirmingham, Alabama
Jacksonville State UniversityJacksonville, Alabama