Best Public Colleges in Alabama 2022

Public colleges and universities account for almost 75 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. The best public colleges in Alabama provide broad access to reputable degree programs, affordable tuition, and sprawling educational communities.

Best Public Colleges in Alabama 2022

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. If flexibility is what you need, Alabama has over 20 colleges and universities offering online degree programs.

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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.


What are Alabama’s Colleges & Universities?


Alabama’s Best Overall

What is the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, 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 bachelor’s 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. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

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This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 14 public universities in Alabama. To be included in our list of the best public colleges in Alabama, shcools must receive direct funding from the state, be fully accredited, and offer a broad range of bachelor’s degress.

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

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! 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 in their fields of study.

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

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

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Best Public Colleges in Alabama 2022

  1. #2

    Auburn University

    Auburn , AL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/28

    What is Auburn University known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Economics
    • Business
    • History
    • Earth Sciences
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    19K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1227/25

    What is University of Alabama at Birmingham known for?

    University of Alabama at Birmingham’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • Philosophy
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Anthropology
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1363/28

    What is University of Alabama in Huntsville known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Physics
    • Nursing
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1125/23

    What is University of South Alabama known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Anthropology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Earth Sciences
    • Engineering
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #6

    Jacksonville State University

    Jacksonville , AL

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/21

    What is Jacksonville State University known for?

    Jacksonville State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • History
    • Economics
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #7

    Troy University

    Troy , AL

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1010/21

    What is Troy University known for?

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

    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #8

    Alabama State University

    Montgomery , AL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    99%

    Graduation

    32%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    950/17

    What is Alabama State University known for?

    Alabama State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Political Science
    • Social Work
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Biology
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #9

    Auburn University at Montgomery

    Montgomery , AL

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/21

    What is Auburn University at Montgomery known for?

    Auburn University at Montgomery’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #10

    University of North Alabama

    Florence , AL

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1097/23

    What is University of North Alabama known for?

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

    • Nursing
    • History
    • Communications
    • Engineering
    • Social Work
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #11

    Alabama A&M University

    Normal , AL

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    29%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    925/17

    What is Alabama A&M University known for?

    Alabama A&M University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #12

    University of Montevallo

    Montevallo , AL

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/22

    What is University of Montevallo known for?

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

    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Social Work
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Communications
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #13

    University of West Alabama

    Livingston , AL

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    940/20

    What is University of West Alabama known for?

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

    • Earth Sciences
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Nursing
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Economics
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #14

    Athens State University

    Athens , AL

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Student body

    2K

    What is Athens State University known for?

    Athens State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • History
    • Business
    • Religious Studies
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

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Alabama’s Best Public College in Your Area of Interest

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. Auburn University
  2. University of Alabama
  3. University of Alabama at Birmingham
  4. University of Alabama in Huntsville
  5. University of Montevallo
  6. Jacksonville State University
  7. University of South Alabama
  8. Alabama A&M University
  9. Troy University
  10. University of North Alabama

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