Alabama’s Best Private Colleges & Universities of 2021

Private colleges, unlike large public institutions, can be a great option for students wanting a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Here is our list of the best private colleges in Alabama.

Alabama’s Best Private Colleges & Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Alabama

The 54 colleges and universities in Alabama allow students to pursue associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in many fields all over the state. Some of the most notable degree areas include law, nursing, biology, history, engineering, and religious studies.

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Students hoping to obtain a four-year degree at a larger university can attend one of the two largest — as well as rivalry — schools, the University of Alabama and Auburn University. Both schools’ tuition is about $11,000, though the University of Alabama’s student population, at nearly 36,000 students, is larger than Auburn’s. Students also have the option of attending one of Alabama’s 18 private higher education institutes, many of which have religious affiliations. Tuition costs and student populations range greatly among these schools, from $36,000 to $4,000 and nearly 15,000 students to less than 100, letting students factor in their budget with their class size demands.

Additionally, students who need more flexibility can take advantage of the satellite campuses, like at the University of North Alabama, or the 70 online degree programs offered at the University of Alabama, to easily obtain their degrees. For more information on higher education in Alabama, check out some of the state’s top programs and their corresponding career paths.

For die-hard football fans and lovers of sweet tea, obtaining a higher education degree in Alabama can seem like an obvious choice. The Yellowhammer State, however, is also home to a unique mixture of coastal, mountainous, and swamp environments, making it a great choice for students who love soaking up the outdoors.

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What are Alabama’s Colleges & Universities?


Alabama’s Best Overall

What is a public college? And what is the difference between a private and public college?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models — one is a private company with private funding; the other is owned by the state and receives both state and federal funding to operate. If you’re weighing the pros and cons of private vs. public college, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a four-year degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a four-year public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually.

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This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer four-year undergraduate degrees. We’ve identified 14 private universities in Alabama that satisfy the following three conditions:

  1. It must be a private, non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.

How do we determine Alabama's best private colleges and universities?

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Find out more about our ranking methodology here.

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10 Best Private Colleges & Universities in Alabama

  1. #1

    Tuskegee University

    #452 institution's historical influence
    #338 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    989/20

    Tuskegee, AL

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    What is Tuskegee University known for?

    Tuskegee University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Birmingham–Southern College

    #2535 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/25

    Birmingham, AL

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    What is Birmingham–Southern College known for?

    Birmingham–Southern College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Medical
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

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  3. #3

    Samford University

    #754 institution's historical influence
    #912 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/26

    Birmingham, AL

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    What is Samford University known for?

    Samford University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Education
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  4. #4

    Huntingdon College

    #2064 institution's historical influence
    #1018 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Acceptance

    54%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1107/20

    Montgomery, AL

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    What is Huntingdon College known for?

    Huntingdon College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Education
    • History
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    Spring Hill College

    #2394 institution's historical influence
    #506 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    54%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1112/22

    Mobile, AL

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    What is Spring Hill College known for?

    Spring Hill College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  6. #6

    Oakwood University

    #2752 institution's historical influence
    #960 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    980/19

    Huntsville, AL

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    What is Oakwood University known for?

    Oakwood University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • History
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Nursing
    • Biology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #7

    Talladega College

    #2673 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    1K

    Talladega, AL

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    What is Talladega College known for?

    Talladega College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    Judson College

    #4536 institution's historical influence
    #1432 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    <1K

    Marion, AL

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    What is Judson College known for?

    Judson College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Literature
    • History
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Religious Studies
    • Medical
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    University of Mobile

    #7008 institution's historical influence
    #864 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/23

    Mobile, AL

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    What is University of Mobile known for?

    University of Mobile’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Education
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    Faulkner University

    #2628 institution's historical influence
    #1032 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    27%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/20

    Montgomery, AL

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    What is Faulkner University known for?

    Faulkner University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • History
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Criminal Justice
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

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Photo By Skegeepedia - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0