Alabama Student Loans
According to the Alabama Commission on Higher education, the state includes the following types of institutions of higher education:
- Community colleges
- State colleges and universities
- Private colleges and universities
- Technical colleges
According to College Stats, there are at least 90 schools offering coursework in higher education. Of course, the criteria for admission vary at each school. According to U.S. News, the following schools are among the most competitive in terms of acceptance:
- Concordia College: Situated in Selma, the college accepts 32.57% of applicants; that’s about one in three students.
- Oakwood University: Located in Huntsville, the university admits 34.35% of hopefuls; that’s about one out of every three applicants.
- Tuskegee University: Found in Tuskegee, the school has an acceptance rate of 41.36%, which is a little more than two out of every five students who apply.
- Stillman College: Located in Tuscaloosa, approximately two out of every applicants will be successful as the college has an acceptance rate of 40.95%.
As Together We Teach Reports, the top five largest cities by population in Alabama are:
Students who are drawn to a more metropolitan setting can therefore consider schools in these population-dense areas, which include the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama State University (Montgomery), University of South Alabama (Mobile), University of Alabama in Huntsville, and the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa). Each of these cities has more than one college or university from which to choose. While the best practice is not to pick a college in terms of geography alone (unless it’s necessary), this factor is always an important consideration, and it’s great that Alabama cities offer a range of options.
It is always important to keep in mind during the college selection process that most public state schools assess higher tuition rates for out-of-state residents. However, student who pay in-state tuition will still want to consider which schools offer the best value. According to College Calc, the top five Alabama schools with the lowest in-state tuition rates for Alabama residents are:
- Huntsville Bible College
- Columbia Southern University (Orange Beach)
- Alabama A & M University (Normal)
- University of North Alabama (Florence)
- Selma University
According to Pay Scale, the following five schools of higher learning offer the best value for students who pay out-of-state tuition (Note: in the context of this list, the best value means the best return on investment, in terms of employment prospects and other criteria, for educational dollars spent):
- University of Alabama at Huntsville
- Auburn University (in Auburn)
- University of Alabama – Main Campus (Tuscaloosa)
- University of South Alabama (Mobile)
- Troy University (in Troy)
The college selection process is one of the most important and exciting steps to entering college. For students who have selected their short list of schools to apply to, a major concern will likely be how to pay for school. The best practice is to get up to speed on all forms of available federal aid. As a rule of thumb, students will want to exhaust all forms of free or gift aid, such as grants and scholarships. The next option is loans, with a general preference for federal loans as they tend to offer the lowest interest rates and most favorable repayment terms.
- Borrow only what you need (KHEAA’s Loan Repayment Calculator is a helpful tool).
- Check employment rates and salary prospects for your intended course of study.
- Student loans can only be borrowed to directly pay for tuition and the costs associated with attendance, like room and board.
- After graduation, a student’s repayment history will impact (positively or negatively) his credit report and rating.
There is a lot of advice in circulation about how to make the best decisions about borrowing. A helpful rule of thumb is to keep the total amount borrowed as low as possible between all lending sources; however, there is no one-size-fits-all advice for paying for college. The best practice is to be informed about the reality of borrowing and make a smart decision.