These are the best colleges in Alabama, according to a new 2019 ranking

University of West Alabama graduation
University of West Alabama graduation [Photo via University of West Alabama on Facebook]

In a fierce global economy, a college degree can help secure employment and keep you ahead of the competition. And though success ultimately rests on students’ own determination and performance, the quality of the schools they choose can certainly have an impact.

Which is why with the first “early decision” college-application deadline looming on Nov. 1 and tuition costs having more than doubled since the 1980s, personal-finance website WalletHub on Monday released its 2019’s Best College & University Rankings.

In its 2019 roundup, WalletHub compared nearly 1,000 higher-education institutions in the U.S. based on 30 key measures grouped into seven categories, such as Student Selectivity, Cost & Financing and Career Outcomes. The data set ranges from student-faculty ratio to graduation rate to post-attendance median salary.

Recognizing the challenge of predicting future outcomes, WalletHub’s Best Colleges ranking also analyzes post-attendance metrics — the student-loan default rate and the share of former students out-earning high school graduates, for instance — to show the value of the education students can expect to receive beyond their undergraduate studies.

Top 10 colleges and universities in Alabama

1 University of West Alabama 6 Auburn University
2 University of Montevallo 7 Samford University
3 University of Alabama 8 Spring Hill College
4 University of Alabama-Huntsville 9 University of North Alabama
5 Birmingham-Southern College 10 Jacksonville State University

With that in mind, here’s a closer look at the top three Alabama schools and how each performed in certain metrics:

School snapshot: University of West Alabama (1 = best; 12 = average; 23 = worst)

  • 1st: Admission Rate
  • 5th: Net Cost
  • 4th: Student-Faculty Ratio
  • 5th: On-Campus Crime
  • 1st: Gender & Racial Diversity
  • 17th: Graduation Rate
  • 11th: Post-Attendance Median Salary

School snapshot: University of Montevallo (1 = best; 12 = average; 23 = worst)

  • 13th: Admission Rate
  • 11th: Net Cost
  • 6th: Student-Faculty Ratio
  • 7th: On-Campus Crime
  • 13th: Gender & Racial Diversity
  • 8th: Graduation Rate
  • 17th: Post-Attendance Median Salary

School snapshot: University of Alabama (1 = best; 12 = average; 23 = worst)

  • 9th: Admission Rate
  • 20th: Net Cost
  • 23rd: Student-Faculty Ratio
  • 9th: On-Campus Crime
  • 15th: Gender & Racial Diversity
  • 3rd: Graduation Rate
  • 6th: Post-Attendance Median Salary

Here’s a look at how Alabama schools compared to the rest of the country:

Source: WalletHub