Top 20 Best Online Colleges in Alabama

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Online Schools in Alabama - online colleges in alabama

Continuing our series of best online colleges by state rankings, we have examined all online Alabama colleges and universities. We’re featuring the top 20 online schools based on the methodology you’ll find below.

If you’re considering an online degree in Alabama, you’ve come to the right place. Such programs can get you started on a new and exciting career! They can also ensure you advance in your current role. This article will explore the 20 best online colleges in Alabama. We’ll give you a comprehensive list of institutions. And all of them provide high-quality online education. Whether you’re interested in business, arts, sciences, or any other field, these online colleges in Alabama are the best. 

Top Reasons To Look Into Online Colleges in Alabama

There are many high-quality and affordable online colleges in Alabama. The best schools in Alabama are regionally accredited. Typically, it’s through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. SACSCOC accreditation ensures that a college meets strict academic standards.

Are Online Colleges Accredited?

Accreditation applies to online colleges as well. And only the best Alabama online schools are accredited. Online Alabama college and university accreditation is vital. It allows students to apply for financial aid. And it ensures they can transfer their credits to another institution. Prospective students considering accredited online colleges in Alabama can be assured a top-notch education. So when pursuing an online degree, always look for accreditation.


Online colleges offer flexible learning options. Most allow online learners to work at their own pace. And generally, you can complete your coursework from anywhere with internet access. Some online schools in Alabama even have their own apps. These often allow online learners to access assignments from their phones! 

Flexibility is the number one reason prospective students consider attending an online college. Are you already working full-time, or have family commitments and responsibilities? This can make attending a traditional college more difficult. Online college programs allow students to earn a degree around their own schedules.


Online colleges in Alabama often have lower tuition rates than other states. In some cases, out-of-state students are eligible for in-state tuition. Plus, you’ll save money on housing, transportation, and other costs. 

Additionally, there are many ways for online learners to get financial assistance. Accredited online colleges offer financial aid, scholarships, grants, and more. And many online colleges offer payment plans as well. Prospective students looking for an affordable online school should consider an online Alabama college. 

Personalized learning

Online colleges offer personalized learning experiences. Online learners can gain hands-on experience by participating in internships in their own regions. And they work with their advisors to plan research projects in their communities. Although they are taking online classes, they still receive individualized attention from instructors.

Career Advancement

Pursuing a degree at an online college in Alabama can help prospective students advance their careers. Students learn the skills and knowledge they need to begin or change jobs. And specialized learning allows them to move into roles with more responsibility and higher pay. 

Only 24.4% of people in Alabama have an undergraduate degree. So college graduates have an advantage when pursuing careers in their chosen fields. 

Top 20 Best Online Colleges in Alabama

CollegeUndergraduateIn-State Tuition
20Samford University$36,725
19University of Mobile$25,880
18Tuskegee University$22,614
17Spring Hill College$21,732
16Birmingham – Southern College$21,250
15Remington College – Mobile Campus$20,393
14Oakwood University$20,040
13University of Montevallo$13,710
12Auburn University$12,176
11The University of Alabama$11,940
10University of Alabama in Huntsville$11,878
9University of West Alabama$10,990
8University of Alabama at Birmingham$8,832
7Jacksonville State University$11,952
6University of North Alabama$11,220
5Troy University$9,312
4University of South Alabama$9,116
3Amridge University$9,000
2Athens State University$7,230
1Snead State Community College$5,408

Methodology for the Top Online Colleges in Alabama

We looked at all Alabama schools offering online degree programs. We also consulted our own ranking of the Top 100 Best Online Colleges when assessing these schools. We then ranked them according to their undergraduate in-state tuition rates. To find this information, we utilized the NCES database. In cases where two or more schools were tied, we used the alphabetical ordering of their names as the designated tie-breaker. 

The schools are ordered from highest to lowest scores. All of the programs have been accredited by nationally recognized accreditation boards. And each college has been verified as a non-profit institution. Please note that the cost for out-of-state and graduate students may differ. 

Ranking the Top Online Colleges in Alabama

#20 Samford University

Homewood, Alabama

Samford University is a prestigious private Christian university. It was founded in 1841 as Howard College and is one of the oldest universities in Alabama. The university is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist Convention. It maintains its Christian heritage in its educational philosophy. SU offers a wide range of academic programs. They cover disciplines such as arts, law, business, education, health professions, divinity, and more. This diverse array of programs attracts students with varying interests and career goals.

Samford’s recognized reputation for academic success is available through innovative online learning. The university is proactive about expanding its Christian purpose to online learners. Co-curricular spiritual growth opportunities are incorporated into many of the online classes. Graduate online degree programs are offered in nursing, business, legal studies, and education. SU also offers two online bachelor’s degrees.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $36,725

#19 University of Mobile

Prichard, Alabama

The University of Mobile is a private university located in Mobile, Alabama, USA. It is one of the top Christian colleges in Mobile. It was founded in 1961 by the Alabama Baptist Convention. The school maintains its Christian values and principles in its educational approach. Its mission emphasizes the integration of faith and learning, providing a holistic education.

UM provides a variety of online undergraduate and graduate programs in various fields. Online programs include degrees in Business Administration, Psychology, Criminal Justice, and Nursing. Master’s degrees in Education, Nursing, and Business Administration are also offered. Despite the online format, students still receive personalized support from experienced faculty members. Professors engage with students through virtual discussions, emails, and online office hours. Students also have access to online academic resources and support services. These include tutoring and technical assistance.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $25,880

#18 Tuskegee University

Tuskegee, Alabama

Tuskegee University is a private, not-for-profit, Historically Black University (HBCU). It was originally established in 1881 by Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft. The campus is designated as the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site by the National Park Service. It is the only college in the United States that is listed as a National Historic Site as a whole. 

TU offers 40 Bachelor’s degrees, 17 Master’s degrees, and a five-year accredited degree program in architecture. The university also offers four Doctoral degrees and numerous professional certification programs. Many of these offered degree programs are also available in an online and asynchronous format. TU’s online degrees are built on a strong academic foundation that can take students anywhere in the globe.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $22,614

#17 Spring Hill College

Mobile, Alabama

Spring Hill College is a private, not-for-profit college. It is Roman Catholic Jesuit-affiliated. It was established in 1830 by Reverend Michael Portier, the Bishop of Mobile at the time. It was the first Catholic college to be founded in the southern region of the United States and is the fifth-oldest such institution in the nation. SHU emphasizes an education that fosters critical thinking, service to others, and a commitment to social justice. These principles are integrated into the college’s academic programs and campus life.

Spring Hill College offers “flexible, convenient, and affordable online programs”. The online classes are unique and engaging. They use video, interactive activities, learning evaluations, and simulation technologies. Nine bachelor’s, six master’s, and three graduate certificates are offered online. SHU also offers an online RN to BSN nursing program. Students have access to enrollment counselors, advisers, financial aid specialists, and tech help.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $21,732

#16 Birmingham – Southern College

Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham–Southern College is a private four-year, not-for-profit college. It was established in 1856 and is one of the oldest colleges in Alabama. Initially known as Southern University, it had a Methodist affiliation. The school played a significant role in educating leaders in the region. BSC boasts a 77% retention rate for first-time students pursuing bachelor’s degrees. The college was highlighted in Reader’s Digest as being the country’s top liberal arts college in the area of safety preparedness. BSC is a modest institution with less than 1,500 students from 35 states and more than 16 countries worldwide. Due to its tiny size, the student-to-faculty ratio is exceptionally low, providing for a more customized education.

Birmingham – South College offers various bachelor’s degrees online year-round. This means students can continue taking online courses during the summer to get their degree faster. Bachelor’s degrees are offered in Arts, Fine Arts, Musical Arts, and Science. Some courses are fully online, while others are hybrid. On-campus visits may be required depending on the program of your choice. 

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges  

Tuition: $21,250

#15 Remington College – Mobile Campus

Mobile, Alabama

Remington College-Mobile Campus is a private not-for-profit institution. It is a member of the 16-institution Remington College group. With locations across nine states, Mobile serves as the Alabama location. The oldest location in the system is the former Spencer Business College, founded in 1940, in Lafayette, Louisiana. The student-faculty ratio at Remington College is 12-to-1. This means that students get personalized attention and assistance. The school has an open admissions policy enabling everyone to attend. 

Remington offers an excellent online program. They offer bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice and organization management. Four Associate’s degrees are also available online. The virtual classrooms ensure flexibility and convenience for students from all walks of life. Experienced faculty members engage students through interactive virtual sessions. This fosters a supportive learning environment. RC’s online programs encourage active participation and personal growth. 

Accreditation: Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

Tuition: $20,393

#14 Oakwood University

Huntsville, Alabama

Oakwood University is a private not-for-profit Historically Black University. It is Seventh-day Adventist Church-affiliated. The school was originally established in 1896 as Oakwood Industrial School. Over the years, OU has built a reputation for academic excellence and community involvement. Its graduates go on to make significant contributions to medicine, education, music, and business. Today, the university serves more than 2,000 degree-seeking students. OU maintains a strong relationship with the adjacent U.S. Space & Rocket Center. This partnership allows students to gain hands-on experience and internships with NASA. OU is a preferred choice for students interested in pursuing careers in space-related fields.

The online programs at OU allow learners to access course materials and lectures at their own pace. This provides a conducive environment for personalized learning. The school offers a variety of online programs across different disciplines. This includes areas like business administration, education, healthcare, and theology. The university aims to create engaging and collaborative learning environments. Online students use virtual classrooms and real-time interactions with professors and peers.  

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $20,040

#13 University of Montevallo

Montevallo, Alabama

The University of Montevallo is the only public four-year liberal arts university in Alabama. It is a member institution of the prestigious Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. The school was originally founded in 1896 as the Alabama Girls’ Industrial School. In 1969, the school became co-educational and was renamed the University of Montevallo.UM boasts a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio and a 73% retention rate.

Online learning at UM offers the same high-quality classroom experience. However, distance education gives students the flexibility to tailor to their schedules. UM offers undergraduate courses and graduate programs fully online. Some courses are asynchronous while others are synchronous. With virtual classrooms and other online technologies, students interact with professors and classmates. This promotes a collaborative and participatory learning environment. 

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $13,710

#12 Auburn University

Auburn, Alabama

Auburn University was originally established in 1856 as the East Alabama Male College. Under the Morrill Land Act, AU became the state’s first land-grant institution in 1872. In 1892, it went on to become the area’s first four-year coeducational school. Today, AU is one of Alabama’s largest universities based on enrollment and is one of only two public flagship campuses in the state. The university enrolls over 25,000 undergraduate students.

AU currently consists of thirteen schools and colleges. Through these schools and colleges, Auburn provides a myriad of accolade-winning degree programs. Many of them are available in an online and asynchronous format. They are taught by the same highly-qualified and dedicated academic faculty as on-campus students. AU also offers personal enrichment programs online.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $12,176

#11 The University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

The University of Alabama is a public sea-grant and space-grant research university. It was established in 1820 by the General Assembly of Alabama and was named “The University of the State of Alabama.” UA is the oldest and the largest public research university in the state of Alabama. It enrolls more than 37,000 students. The only state-sponsored law school in Alabama is at UA. The university’s accolades are due to the high-quality education that UA provides its students. Degree programs are offered in a total of 117 different areas-of-study 

“Let your computer be your campus” with AU’s numerous online degrees. A degree obtained through the University of Alabama Online is the same as one obtained on campus. Over 90 innovative online degrees and certificate programs are offered at AU. University of Alabama online degrees can be completed on your own schedule from any location. US News & World Report rated AU As the Best Online Program for 13 of their degrees. From certificates to doctoral degrees, AU Online is one of the best online colleges in Alabama.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $11,940

#10 University of Alabama in Huntsville 

Huntsville, Alabama

The University of Alabama in Huntsville is a public space-grant research university. It was established in 1950 as the University of Alabama Huntsville Center. It was an extension of the University of Alabama. Today, UAH offers 83 degree-granting academic programs to more than 8,000 total enrolled students. The school is classified as a “high research activity” institution by the CCIHE. The university’s location in Rocket City places it at the heart of aerospace research and development. UAH collaborates with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and other space organizations. This provides students with unique research and internship opportunities. 

UAH offers a range of online degrees for undergraduate and graduate students. These programs cover various fields of study. They include engineering, business, nursing, information systems, education, and more. UAH-Online students can earn a degree without the need to attend classes on campus. This allows for increased flexibility and convenience. The university strives to ensure its distance education is the same high quality as its on-campus programs.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $11,878

#9 University of West Alabama

Livingston, Alabama

The University of West Alabama is a public research university. The school was established by Scots-Irish Presbyterians in 1835 as the Livingston Female Academy. It underwent a handful of name changes throughout its more than 180-year-long history. The university became UWA in 1995. 

UWA is recognized as a pioneer in online education. It has been offering online degrees for over two decades. The school’s online programs offer an unparalleled educational experience. Over 70 bachelor, master, doctoral, and certificate programs are offered online. Courses are offered in an asynchronous format. This means that students can take courses on their schedule. The online programs are administered by teachers with real-world expertise and advanced degrees. From business to psychology to teaching, UWA offers flexible online learning for everyone. 

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $10,990

#8 University of Alabama at Birmingham 

Birmingham, Alabama

University of Alabama at Birmingham is a public research university. It was established in 1936 as the Birmingham Extension Center. It was an academic extension center for the University of Alabama–Tuscaloosa Campus. UAB comprises 11 colleges, schools, and divisions. These schools offer over 51 Bachelor’s programs, 46 Master’s programs, and 36 Doctoral programs. Many of these can be completed as online degrees. 18,000 students are enrolled at UAB. The university’s retention rate is 74% for first-time students pursuing bachelor’s degrees.

UAB-Online programs follow the same curriculum as on-campus classes. They are taught by the same highly regarded instructors. Associate, bachelor’s, and graduate degrees are offered fully online. Several online certificates are also offered. UAB was recognized as a 2021 IDG CIO 100 award winner for its unique COVID-19 pandemic response technology solutions. And the school is considered one of the best online IT schools in the state. All of the online programs use cutting-edge technology. They are designed specifically for synchronous online learning. This allows instructors and students to interact in real time.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $8,832

#7 Jacksonville State University

Jacksonville, Alabama

Jacksonville State University is a public liberal arts university. It was established in 1883 as the Jacksonville State Normal School. It was renamed Jacksonville State College in 1957 before being renamed to its present-day name in 1967. Today, JSU enrolls over 9,000 students. The university is renowned for its Marine Science Research Institute. It focuses on cutting-edge research in marine life, coastal ecosystems, and environmental conservation. 

JSU offers a myriad of online degrees. 12 bachelor’s degrees and 48 graduate programs are offered. These programs cover fields such as business administration and nursing. And it is also one of the top online colleges for education. Students can also pursue include emergency management, criminal justice, and more. Students can earn degrees entirely online without the need to attend classes on campus. In addition to degree programs, JSU offers online professional development and certificate programs. These short-term online courses allow individuals to acquire new skills or enhance their expertise. This makes them valuable in the current job market.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $11,952

#6 University of North Alabama

Florence, Alabama

The University of North Alabama is a public research university. It is the state’s fourth-oldest four-year public university and one of the oldest universities in the US. The school was established in 1830 as LaGrange College. It underwent several name changes before becoming the University of North Alabama in 1974. The retention rate for first-time students pursuing a bachelor’s degree is an impressive 76%.

UNC distance education platform is known as North Alabama Online. All online degree programs offer the same quality courses, convenience, and faculty as on-campus programs. They are as marketable as an on-campus degree and founded on the same proven quality regardless of modality. North Alabama Online offers fully online degree programs for undergraduates and graduates. Students can take advantage of flexible online office hours as well as one-on-one instructor attention.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $11,220

#5 Troy University

Troy, Alabama

Troy University is a public liberal arts university. It was established in 1887 by an Act of the Alabama Legislature as the Troy State Normal School. It wasn’t until 2005 that the school became Troy University. It has grown to become one of the largest universities in Alabama. TU is recognized as a military-friendly university. It offers various benefits, scholarships, and resources for military students and veterans. The university boasts a 75% retention rate for first-time students pursuing bachelor’s degrees. 

Troy University expands its reach globally through its robust online learning programs. Troy Online offers students a thorough, competitive education that they can complete anywhere. Bachelor’s degree and graduate degree programs are offered across various disciplines. Online students get one-on-one attention from teachers who have real-world expertise. Online courses run 9 weeks, as opposed to the standard 16-week semester.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $9,312

#4 University of South Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

The University of South Alabama is a public research university. It was established in 1963 by an act of the Alabama Legislature as a replacement for the existing extension programs. USA is the only major public institution of higher learning located on the upper Gulf Coast. The university is organized into ten schools and colleges. It is also home to one of Alabama’s state-supported medical schools. This university offers a large selection of bachelor’s degree, graduate degree, and professional certification programs. More than 16,000 students are currently enrolled at USA.

USA Online, the school’s learning management system, is powered by Canvas. This enables staff and students to share and interact in a collaborative learning environment. USA offers a range of online bachelor’s degree and graduate degree programs in various fields of study. These programs cover areas such as nursing, business administration, and education. They also include health sciences, engineering, and more. Students can earn degrees entirely online without the need to attend classes on campus.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $9,116

#3 Amridge University

Montgomery, Alabama

Amridge University is a private, not-for-profit, Churches of Christ-affiliated university. It was originally established in 1967 as the Alabama Christian School of Religion. Historically, Amridge University has operated as a theological seminary. Today, Amridge University offers distance-learning education only. The university has taught in the online education field since 1993. The US Department of Education selected AU as one of the nation’s first 15 participants to pilot Online Education on a large scale. This resulted in a change in federal legislation, allowing more students to pursue distance education.

Amridge University’s mission is: “to prepare men and women for a lifetime of learning, leadership, and service to their professions, society, church, and family, through teaching, learning experiences, and support services”. AU offers associate, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctorate, and Ph.D. programs. Since it is a distance-education-only institution, all courses are fully online.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $9,000

#2 Athen State University

Athens, Alabama

Athen State University was established in 1822. It enrolls just under 3,000 students. This means that class sizes are small and students get more personalized attention. ASU is transfer-friendly. It offers various pathways for the smooth transfer of credits. The aim is to make higher education more accessible for transfer students. ASU is well-known for its teacher education programs. These programs prepare students for careers in K-12 education and other related fields. 

ASU offers a large selection of online programs for flexible learning. Many bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and graduate certificate programs are offered online. Fields include education, religion, business, marketing, humanities, accounting, and more. Athens State’s online programs are designed to provide flexibility for students. They are administered with the same caliber as on-campus programs. 

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $7,230

#1 Snead State Community College

Boaz, Alabama

Snead State Community College is the most affordable online college on our list. It is a state-sponsored community college established in 1898 as Boaz Seminary. Operation and ownership of the school transferred to the state conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church near the end of 1898. The Alabama Community College System purchased the school in 1967. This made it the 15th-member institution in the newly created system. The college has an open admission policy.

Snead State is the Alabama Community College System’s online learning leader. The college began offering online courses in 1999 and has steadily increased its online program since then. Since 2015, online/hybrid courses accounted for more than half of all registrations and credit hours. There are no bachelor’s degree programs. However, Snead offers hundreds of online classes and several associate degrees and certificates. All of them can be completed entirely through online classes or hybrid course options.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $5,408

This concludes our ranking of the best colleges in Alabama with online programs.

OCP Staff

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