The Gulf Coast state of Alabama may have one of the smallest portions of shoreline among its neighbors along the Gulf of Mexico, but it nonetheless shares the Gulf Coast spirit of its neighbors. Alabama has a wonderful climate year round with warm, humid summers and comfortable, cool winters that are the envy of many northern “snow birds.” College students seeking a warm atmosphere in which to attend school should consider one of the many Alabama colleges for their higher learning needs.
Alabama is home to 75 degree granting institutions that are spread throughout the state. The state offers a wide variety of schools including publicly funded large institutions, privately funded schools, community and junior colleges, and religious seminaries. A general breakdown of the colleges available in Alabama is listed below:
- There are 47 publicly funded institutions in Alabama
- 18 of the 47 public institutions are four year colleges or universities
- 29 of the 47 public institutions are two year colleges or universities
- There are 28 privately funded institutions in Alabama
- 17 of the 28 private institutions are four year colleges or universities
- 11 of the 28 private institutions are two year colleges or universities
There are five Alabama colleges with enrollment greater than 10,000 students (as of 2005), all of which are publicly funded universities or colleges. The top three Alabama colleges have enrollments of 25,955, 25,544, and 24,137. It is not coincidence that these schools are also the most well known Alabama colleges outside of the Gulf Coast region.
A more accurate breakdown of Alabama colleges shows a wide variety of institutions available for students to enroll in. Some of the most important facts about Alabama colleges are listed below:
- Of the state’s 28 privately funded institutions, only three have no affiliation with a religious group
- The remaining 25 schools are affiliated with the following religions: Adventist (1), Baptist (4), Catholic (1), Church of Christ (4), Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (1), Interdenominational (2), Lutheran (1), Methodist (2), and Presbyterian (1).
- The lone for-profit private institution has three campus locations
- There are only two medical schools in Alabama
- There are three accredited law schools in Alabama and two unaccredited
The 75 degree granting Alabama colleges are spread throughout the state in a variety of cities. Alabama’s largest cities contain the vast majority of Alabama colleges, but there are some important campus locations outside of the state’s largest cities. The largest cities in Alabama include the following (in order):
- Birmingham (230,650)
- Montgomery (201,998)
- Mobile (198,915)
- Huntsville (176,645)
- Tuscaloosa (93,215)
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama and when the larger metro area is taken into consideration the population of Birmingham rises to 1.2 million. The city is home to nine college and university campus locations including one of the largest public universities and one of the largest community colleges in the state. Three private colleges call Birmingham home as do three of the five law schools in Alabama.
Montgomery is the second largest city and serves as the state capital of Alabama. The Montgomery metropolitan area has a population of 469,268 and is home to many great Alabama colleges. The capital city is home to six total college campus locations, three public universities and three private colleges or universities. Of the major public university campus locations in Montgomery, two of three are satellite campuses whose main location is in another city in Alabama. Montgomery is also home to the United States Air Force’s Maxwell Air Force Base which houses four colleges used by the military.
Located down near the Gulf of Mexico, on Mobile Bay is the city of Mobile. With a population of 399,843 in the metro area, Mobile is one of the largest cities in Alabama and is home to several college campus locations. Three main college campuses are located in Mobile, one community college, one public institution, and one private institution. There are three other campus locations in Mobile that are satellite locations for larger institutions located in other cities within Alabama.
Huntsville is the northernmost large city in Alabama with a metropolitan area population of 395,645. The city is home to four main college campus locations, two private and two public. Huntsville is also home to 11 other satellite campus locations for Alabama colleges whose main location is in another city within the state.
With a population of 210,839 in the Tuscaloosa metropolitan area, this college town lacks the massive population and campus collection of its four big city competitors; but the city is nonetheless home to some of the most important colleges and universities in Alabama. Among the resident colleges in Tuscaloosa are the following:
- Alabama’s main publicly funded university. It is the state’s second largest by enrollment and largest in terms of campus size.
- The state’s second largest (by enrollment) community college
- One of the most well known historically black colleges in the South
Alabama has a lot to offer to prospective students in terms of educational options. The selection of colleges and universities available in Alabama range from large, public universities to small, private colleges and community college locations; meaning there is something for everyone. There are also religiously-based private schools and even two religious seminaries in the state.
Individuals considering Alabama colleges will find a warm and inviting atmosphere awaiting them in a region where the term “Southern Hospitality” still means a lot to the locals. With warm weather year round, students will find plenty to do with their free time from studies; whether they are outdoor enthusiasts interested in fishing and hunting or looking for a relaxing day on the beach, students will find everything they are looking for in Alabama.