Aug 20, 2017


Located in the southeastern region of the U.S., Alabama is 23rd most populous state in the country. The state is commonly referred to as ‘the Heart of the Dixie’, the Yellowhammer state (after the state bird), and the ‘cotton state’. Alabama’s major metropolitan areas include Birmingham, Hunstville, Mobile, Columbus, Tuscaloosa, and the state capital, Montgomery.


The state offers several educational options, including public universities, community colleges, and private institutions. The Alabama Community College System has almost 30 community and technical colleges around the state. Many of these institutions offer online programs. There were 209,885 undergraduate students enrolled at Alabama public institutions in 2013, of which 169,256 were from within the state, according to the Alabama Commission on Higher Education. Nearly two-thirds of all students were enrolled at 4-year colleges. A third of all students did not receive any financial aid. The number of students attending independent colleges and universities was estimated at 24,000. According to the 2014 U.S. News & World Report, Alabama has two universities ranked in the top 100 colleges in America – the University of Alabama and Auburn University.

Top Reasons to Study in Alabama

  • The weather: Alabama boasts some of the highest summer temperatures in the US and relatively mild winters, which makes it a great place to live for those who love the outdoors. Hunting, fishing, camping, cycling and rafting are some of the popular pastimes in the state. In 2014, Huntsville, Alabama was ranked 31st among America’s best places to live.
  • Employment Prospects: The major industries in the state include automotive, finance, manufacturing, aerospace, mineral extraction, healthcare, education, retail and technology. Alabama’s largest employers include Redstone Arsenal, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Maxwell Air Force Base, the State of Alabama. The state is home to NASA’s George C. Marshall Space Flight Center and boasts a vibrant automotive manufacturing industry. Alabama ranks fourth in the country for vehicle exports with companies like Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota, located in the state. Regions Financial Corporation (ranked 447 on the 2014 Fortune 500 list) is headquartered in the state.

State Financial Aid and Scholarships

The Office of Student Assistance is responsible for administering the following state-sponsored student financial aid programs:

  • Alabama Student Assistance Program (ASAP) - this is a need-based, state/federal grant ranging from $300 to $5,000 per academic year. Eligible students are undergraduate students who are Alabama residents attending eligible Alabama institutions. Nearly 80 Alabama institutions participate in the program. To apply please submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the federal government.
  • Alabama Student Grant Program - This grant is available only to students at an eligible independent Alabama college or university. This is not a need based program. Grant amounts vary from year-to-year based on the availability of funds, but cannot exceed $1,200 per academic year.

Additional information about these and other assistance programs, including special programs for veterans, the military, national guard, and police is available here.  Also, click here for a useful summary of all the programs and eligibility criteria. 

Featured Colleges and Universities

Below are some of the popular colleges in the state. You can also use our college finder search tool  to find the right college for you based on your preferred area of study.


College Popular Majors Type of Institution Enrollment
University of West Alabama Commerce,Economics,Psychology Public >10,000 Request Info
Auburn Univeristy at Montgomery Biology,Business,Education Public >10,000 Request Info
University of North Alabama Business,Interdisciplinary Studies,Visual/Performance Arts Public >10,000 Request Info
University of Alabama at Birmingham Business,Communications,Health Public >10,000 Request Info
University of South Alabama Business Administration,Nursing,Psychology Public >10,000 Request Info
Troy University Business,Foreign Languages,Social Sciences Public >10,000 Request Info
Auburn University Biomedical Sciences,Finance,Psychology Public >10,000 Request Info
University of Alabama Business,Engineering,Health Public >10,000 Request Info

For a full list of accredited colleges and universities in Alabama, contact the Alabama Commission on Higher Education.

References and Useful Links