College degrees are quickly becoming the new high school diploma, as in the minimum credential required to get even the most basic, entry-level job. But with rising college costs, where you choose to get that degree from can make a big difference.
Which begs the question: where can you stretch your dollars the furthest to get the most bang for your buck at Alabama colleges? New York City financial technology company SmartAsset determined a Huntsville college that’s the greatest value in Alabama in 2016.
SmartAsset looked at five factors to determine the best value colleges and universities: tuition, student living costs, scholarship and grant offerings, retention rate, and starting salary. To capture the true cost of attending a school, the rankings included tuition (using in-state tuition for public schools where applicable), student living costs (including room and board, books, supplies, transportation and other personal expenses), and the average scholarships and grants offered to students of the school.
UAH ranked no.1 in 2016 because graduates land the highest average starting salary in the state ($53,000) for a tuition of $9,192, which is offset by an average of $6,800 in scholarships and grants. Graduates of Auburn, which fell to second this year, earn average starting salaries of $48,300 for in-state tuition of $9,852.
Here’s a look at the top 10 best-value colleges in Alabama in 2016: