Alabama Online Colleges & Universities – Top Online Schools for 2014

AC Online: Ranking the Most Affordable Online Colleges in Alabama

The state of Alabama, known as the heart of Dixie, is also the heart of online learning opportunities. Alabama boasts a multitude of four-year colleges offering full online degree programs. Distance learning courses range in degree levels and admission requirements, but they all offer unparalleled flexibility. This list compiles the best online schools in Alabama, which provide the ability to earn degrees that are just as coveted as those earned via on-campus learning. With affordability being paramount, these Alabama online schools are sorted from lowest tuition to highest.

Click here to see our methodology.

Athens State University

300 N Beaty St, Athens, Alabama 35611

Athens State University offers a variety of fully online bachelor's degrees and certificates to students within several subject areas, with several online degree options available in business. Other degree options may offer distance-learning options, but still require online college students to take some courses on campus. Athens State is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


University of North Alabama

One Harrison Plaza, Florence, Alabama 35632-0001

The University of North Alabama offers single undergraduate and graduate courses online as well bachelor's and master's degrees that are offered fully online through its distance learning programming. The school utilizes Angel, its online course management system, for student instruction, and is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


University of South Alabama

307 N University Blvd, Mobile, Alabama 36688-0002

The University of South Alabama offers online college around the clock through its "USAOnline" program. At the undergraduate level, some junior and senior classes of bachelor's degrees are offered online, and graduate level degrees that are offered fully online include education specialist and master's degrees. The university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


University of Alabama at Birmingham

Administration Bldg Suite 1070, Birmingham, Alabama 35294-0110

The University of Alabama at Birmingham, aka "UAB Online," offers bachelor's degrees, including minors, as well as master's and doctoral degrees entirely online. The university also offers a diverse number of academic certificates, and a few professional certificates, completely through distance learning. UAB Online is accredited through the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


Troy University

University Avenue, Troy, Alabama 36082-0001

Troy University's distance-learning program, aka "eTROY", offers students a variety of online college degree options at the associate, bachelor's, and master's levels. All eTROY degree programs are accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Many e-courses include Blackboard software, live chat and videoconferencing technology to facilitate communication and material delivery.


Alabama A & M University

4900 Meridian Street, Normal, Alabama 35762

Students in Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (AAMU) online programs receive instruction from the same faculty that teach in AAMU's classrooms. Long-distance learners can pursue baccalaureate, master's, educational specialist, and doctoral degrees online with access to resources that include an online college bookstore and technical support for Blackboard and email platforms. Courses focus on preparation for real-world employment experiences.


University of West Alabama

Station One, Livingston, Alabama 35470

Students at the University of West Alabama can pursue fully online college learning at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree levels. Accreditation is by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Courses are offered online through Blackboard, and available in eight-week sessions five times a year. Additional software and hardware programs ensure secure online proctoring of exams.


Auburn University at Montgomery

7440 East Drive, Montgomery, Alabama 36117-3596

Auburn University at Montgomery, or "AUM Online," offers bachelor's, master's, doctoral and education specialist degrees through its distance learning programming. Students take their e-courses using Blackboard, an online content management system, and can find online college learning support services available. The university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Jacksonville State University

700 Pelham Road North, Jacksonville, Alabama 36265

Jackson State University offers bachelor's, master's, education specialist, and doctoral degrees online through its distance learning program. Students can also pursue graduate certificates online or take single courses for degrees when available. The online college uses a Blackboard online course management system and is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


University of Alabama at Huntsville

301 Sparkman Dr, Huntsville, Alabama 35899

The University of Alabama in Huntsville offers online degree options at the bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels. The university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Online college coursework is offered either through Angel, the university's online course management tool, or through class capture technology, synchronous chat and presentation tools, and videoconferencing.


The University of Alabama

739 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487-0166

Distance learning through The University of Alabama, or "Bama by Distance," gives students the opportunity to pursue online college degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree levels. Some classes are entirely online while others are offered through a video streaming format. The school is accredited through the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


Auburn University

Auburn, Alabama, Auburn University, Alabama 36849

Auburn University offers online college courses at the undergraduate level and a broad range of master's degrees, as well as educational specialist degrees, entirely online. Graduate level certificates are also available is a variety of fields, and learning may either be synchronous or asynchronous. Auburn University is accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Amridge University

1200 Taylor Rd, Montgomery, Alabama 36117-3553

Amridge University offers all of its degrees and instruction entirely online. Students access their instruction using the Blackboard online college course management system, and can find bachelor's, master's, and doctoral level degrees online in areas like business, general studies, human services, and theology. The university is accredited through the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


Heritage Christian University

3625 Helton Dr, Florence, Alabama 35630-9977

At Heritage Christian University, students can find online associate, bachelor's and master's degrees in biblical studies as well as a distance-learning master's of ministry degree. The online college uses the Populi course management system for online learning, and has accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education.


Judson College

302 Bibb St, Marion, Alabama 36756

Judson College offers Bachelor's of Science, Bachelor's of Arts, and Bachelor's of Ministry degrees that are available entirely online to its students. Online college majors and minors are offered in subjects such as business administration, criminal justice, English, history, religion, psychology, and many others fields. The school is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Approach to Online Learning

How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

At Judson College, most distance learning students receive individualized instruction from professors with a customized curriculum in an accommodating learning environment. A simpler way to describe this is to say that most of our Distance Learning classes are taught in a "one-on-one" learning environment. Moreover, our dedicated staff at the Distance Learning Office contacts each individual student on a regular basis in order to monitor their learning progress, and provide support and encouragement.

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

I think the personalized nature of our program is what makes it top-notch, and this is shown in a number of ways:

First, our rolling admissions policy means that a student can begin courses at any time. Should a student decide to enroll in college in September, he or she does not have to wait until the following January or August, but can begin immediately.

Secondly, I would say that while though our program costs a little more than other schools, students gets more value out of the program because of the unique way of teaching and the support they receive. How many schools have a professor with degrees from Stanford and Harvard to teach students individually to meet their learning needs? How many schools have a Director of Distance Learning who contacts students regularly and to personally help them resolve issues -- whether the issues are related to technology or academic advising? That is the value we provide to our students at Judson College.

Finally, since most of our courses are taught one-on-one, Distance Learning students at Judson do not have to dwell on learning materials which they have already mastered. Because they are not constrained by the cohort model at all times, they are allowed to concentrate on the areas in which they need further study, or, often, move on quickly to new learning materials and gain new skills. This establishes momentum in a course and, in the end, often leads to a faster path to graduation.

Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

We have recently upgraded to a new course management system, and we would like to continue to see all of our professors and students continue to utilize all aspects of this course management system. At the same that we are emphasizing "staying current" technologically speaking, we shall continue to have individual student care and support as our top emphasis. Technology has been a help, not a hindrance (the webcam and the subsequent ability to have individualized video chats with our students is but one example), but it is but a means to an end -- and our end (or goal) at Judson is to care for each individual student and to see that she (or he, in the Distance Learning program) is learning and progressing.


Faulkner University

5345 Atlanta Hwy, Montgomery, Alabama 36109-3378

Faulkner University, a Christian school, provides several degree programs fully online across the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Online college programs are available at an accelerated schedule to allow students to more quickly work toward degree completion. The school is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Finding an Affordable Higher Education in Alabama

Alabama is a great state in the southeastern part of the United States, and it has a long and rich history. The state has a number of institutions for higher learning, but only about 22% of the people who graduate from high school go on to receive a bachelor’s degree or higher. Only 7.7 percent receive an advanced degree. Still, this is higher than it was twenty years ago. Many people want to have a chance to get an education so they can receive a better job and better their lives, but finding a great school can be hard. However, thanks to affordable online colleges in Alabama, things are getting easier.

Pursuing a Degree in Alabama

In Alabama, many high school graduates decide that they want to pursue further education at a college. They have 75 Title IV degree granting institutions in the state, which is slightly below the average for the nation. Students who choose to continue their education right after high school, or those who go back to school later, will have a number of different types of classes and training that they will be able to receive through these schools.

However, many students are finding that they do not want to go the traditional route when they are getting a degree. Thankfully, technology has been able to make quite a difference when it comes to receiving these degrees, and today it is possible to find affordable online colleges in Alabama that enable students to earn any level degree that they might need, from associate’s all the way to a master’s or a doctorate.

Benefits of Choosing Online Classes in Alabama

Why would someone want to choose to go to school online rather than attend a campus and receive a college degree traditionally? Those who choose to go to school online are generally quite busy, and they might not have the time to attend a regular full-time college. Since students are able to attend online classes wherever they have a connection to the web, it can be easier and much more convenient to choose to receive an online education.

Another benefit to choosing an online college is the fact that you will have a wide range of classes from which to select. Just as you would with a traditional college, when you go to school online, you can pursue a career in any area that you might choose, from art to business and much more. Just because someone goes to school on the web does not mean that he or she is going to have limited choices when it comes to the degree he or she receives.

Saving Money with Online Education

The cost is often quite different too. The total tuition and fees for a public two-year in-state school is about $3,131, and for a four-year in state school, it is about $8,655 on average. When you start looking at the out of state schools, the price rises dramatically.

On average, it is more than $21,000 for a public school, and close to $30,000 for a four-year private school. These figures do not account for room and board, either.

Consider just how much student loan debt you would be accruing if you were to attend a traditional school. Instead, you can find online classes that are affordable, without having to worry about paying for room and board. You will still be able to get a great education, and you will still have a degree that is going to help you get a better job after graduation. Best of all, you don’t have to go into steep debt when you do it.

Previous Rankings
AC Online: Ranking the Highest ROI Colleges in Alabama
AC Online: Ranking the Highest ROI Colleges in Alabama

Your investment in a college education involves a decision you cannot afford to take lightly. Selecting the right school that offers a program in your chosen field can make all the difference in lifelong success and career earnings. To help you, we’ve built a list of top colleges in Alabama with low net costs (tuition + fees) that result in career value. Data from National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and the Carnegie Foundation -- combined with's 2013 College Earnings Report -- will give you an exceptional picture of educational ROI. As you examine this list, compare colleges with an eye towards building lifelong success.

Click here to see our methodology.
Alabama Colleges Analyzed: 91
Alabama Colleges Ranked: 17
# College Name City ROI Tuition Type Photo
1 University of Alabama at Huntsville Huntsville $903,500 $8,094 Public (In-State) University-of-Alabama-–-Huntsville-Campus
2 Auburn University Auburn University $776,200 $7,296 Public (In-State)
3 Tuskegee University Tuskegee $726,200 $17,070 Private not-for-profit
4 University of Alabama Tuscaloosa $675,300 $8,600 Public (In-State) University-of-Alabama-–-Huntsville-Campus
5 University of South Alabama Mobile $583,700 $5,904 Public (In-State)
6 Troy University Troy $551,600 $5,640 Public (In-State)
7 Samford University Birmingham $525,200 $23,423 Private not-for-profit Campus 6.10
8 University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham $457,500 $6,264 Public (In-State) University-of-Alabama-–-Birmingham-Campus
9 Spring Hill College Mobile $419,000 $26,360 Private not-for-profit
10 University of West Alabama Livingston $402,600 $5,848 Public (In-State)
11 Birmingham Southern College Birmingham $368,700 $28,250 Private not-for-profit
12 Jacksonville State University (JSU) Jacksonville $244,500 $7,650 Public (In-State)
13 Auburn University - Montgomery Montgomery $223,000 $6,930 Public (In-State)
14 Alabama A&M University (AAMU) Normal $221,300 $5,328 Public (In-State)
15 University of North Alabama (UNA) Florence $183,700 $4,896 Public (In-State)
16 Alabama State University (ASU) Montgomery $83,480 $6,312 Public (In-State)
17 Faulkner University Montgomery $15,190 $14,730 Private not-for-profit