Bessemer, Alabama (AL) Colleges and Universities
While there are no schools located in Bessemer, AL, itself, there are many schools located within a 25-mile radius. Read about the top schools in several categories, including most program variety and highest graduation rates, to find the school for you.
School Ranking Overview
Aspiring college students residing in and around Bessemer, AL, who want to stay local can choose from a few nearby postsecondary institutions, including beauty schools, 4-year universities and community colleges. This article, however, is only concerned with the more traditional public and private non-profit universities and colleges near Bessemer, allowing the average student to determine if any might fit their educational goals. We compare and contrast these schools, then the top three of the bunch are ranked in the following categories:
- Most Program Variety
- Lowest Net Price
- Highest Graduation Rate
- Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Most Program Variety
A school with extensive program variety provides more options for indecisive students than colleges with a narrower academic focus. Bessemer's proximity to Birmingham gives residents numerous academic options.
1 - University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is attended by nearly 18,000 students and offers around 110 different undergraduate and graduate programs. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that nursing was easily the most popular program at the school among 2011-12 graduates, with 323 master's recipients and 306 bachelor's recipients earning their degrees in that field. Other popular programs included a doctoral program in medicine, a master's program in business administration, and bachelor's programs in psychology, biology, and speech communication.
2 - Samford University
A private, not-for-profit university also located in Birmingham, Samford University has about 84 different academic programs available for study. NCES findings show that the two most popular programs among graduates during the 2011-12 school year were the university's doctoral programs in law and pharmacy, with 163 and 129 graduates, respectively. The university also offers programs in nursing, business, graphic design, journalism, and history, among many other fields.
3 - Birmingham Southern College
Another private, not-for-profit school, Birmingham Southern College offers 59 different bachelor's programs. Popular programs among 2011-12 graduates included business administration, biology, psychology, English literature, and accounting. Programs are available in diverse fields, such as voice and opera, religious studies, Asian studies, and natural resources conservation.
Lowest Net Price
The NCES approximates the cost of attending most colleges in the country by subtracting the amount of financial aid students received during one school year from the total expenses accrued that same school year. The three schools listed below are all ranked according to the NCES's net prices for the 2011-12 school year.
1 - Lawson State Community College - Birmingham Campus
The Birmingham campus of Lawson State Community College was the most cost-effective school in the area in 2011-12, with students paying a net price of $7,168. Interestingly, the net price of attending Lawson State has risen dramatically in the past few years - the cost was estimated at $4,896 in 2009-10 - yet not enough to overturn the school's rank in this area. Ninety-five percent of incoming students in the 2011-12 school year received financial aid, largely through federal and Pell grants. The average amount of grant or scholarship aid was $5,171.
2 - Jefferson State Community College
Another two-year public school found in Birmingham, Jefferson State Community College had a net price of $8,565 in 2011-12. Fifteen percent of incoming students received scholarships from the school, and 31% of first-year students received student loan aid. In total, 50% of the undergraduate students at Jefferson State in 2011-12 received some sort of financial aid, with the average amount being $3,420.
3 - University of Montevallo
The University of Montevallo is a four-year, public university located twenty miles to the south of Bessemer; students paid $13,002 to attend in 2011-12. That price represents a sharp increase over the school's 2009-10 net price of $9,708. Sixty-four percent of incoming students received scholarships from the school, and 88% received some sort of financial aid; the average amount of grant or scholarship aid received was $6,670 for first-year students.
Highest Graduation Rate
Graduation rates and retention rates can be useful indicators of how satisfied students are with their college. The rankings below are based upon the NCES's six-year graduation rate for students who began studying in the fall of 2006.
1 - Samford University
Seventy-one percent of Samford students graduated within six years, and 51% graduated within four years. Though these are the highest rates in the area, Samford students who began studying in the fall of 2004 actually graduated at higher rates (73% within six years and 54% within four). The school's retention rate was 87% for full-time students and 100% for part-time students between 2011-12.
2 - Birmingham Southern College
Sixty-six percent of students at Birmingham Southern graduated within six years, and 56% graduated within four years. Eighty-one percent of first-time students in the 2011-12 school year returned to Birmingham Southern for their second year of studies.
3 - University of Alabama at Birmingham
Forty-eight percent of UAB students who started in the fall of 2006 graduated within six years, and 25% within four years. An additional 29% transferred to another college or university within six years. Eighty percent of first-time, full-time students beginning their studies in the fall of 2011 returned for the fall of 2012, as did 61% of part-time students.
Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Along with class-size statistics, student-faculty ratios can be useful measures of how much individual attention students are receiving from faculty members at a given institution of higher learning. The three following schools all have student-faculty ratios below 16:1.
1 - Samford University
The 2012 student-faculty ratio at Samford was 11:1. In the fall of 2012, the school employed 301 full-time faculty members and 186 part-time faculty members, according to the NCES. The 2012 U.S. News & World Report notes that 67% of the classes at Samford contained fewer than 20 students, and just 2.3% had 50 or more.
2 - Birmingham Southern College
Birmingham Southern had a student-faculty ratio of 13:1 in 2012. The NCES reports that this small Methodist school had 84 full-time faculty members and 43 part-time instructors for its student population of 1,231 in the fall of 2012. According to the 2012 U.S. News & World Report, 0.7% of classes at Birmingham Southern consisted of 50 or more students; 64.9% had fewer than 20.
3 - Miles College
The student-faculty ratio at Miles College, a private, not-for-profit school located in the Birmingham suburb of Fairfield, was 15:1 in 2012. According to the NCES, the school employed 100 full-time instructors and 31 part-time faculty members during the 2012-13 school year. In that same year, the school had a student population of nearly 1,670 undergraduates.
Bessemer, AL, Area Schools at a Glance
|School Name||Location||School Type||Degrees Offered||Area Ranking|
|Birmingham Southern College||Birmingham, AL (9.5 miles from Bessemer)||4-year, private, not-for-profit||Bachelor's degrees|| 2nd Highest Graduation Rate,|
2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
3rd Most Program Variety
|Jefferson State Community College||Birmingham, AL (21.8 miles from Bessemer)||2-year, public||Less-than-one-year and one- to two-year certificates; associate's degrees||2nd Lowest Net Price|
|Lawson State Community College - Birmingham Campus||Birmingham, AL (4.6 miles from Bessemer)||2-year, public||Less-than-one-year and one- to two-year certificates; associate's degrees||Lowest Net Price|
|Miles College||Fairfield, AL (5.1 miles from Bessemer)||4-year, private, not-for-profit||Bachelor's degrees||3rd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio|
|Samford University||Birmingham, AL (9.9 miles from Bessemer)||4-year, private, not-for-profit||One- to two-year and post-master's certificates; bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees|| Highest Graduation Rate,|
Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
2nd Most Program Variety
|University of Alabama at Birmingham||Birmingham, AL (10.7 miles from Bessemer)||4-year, public||One- to two-year, two- to four-year, postbaccalaureate, and post-master's certificates; bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees|| Most Program Variety,|
3rd Highest Graduation Rate
|University of Montevallo||Montevallo, AL (20.7 miles from Bessemer)||4-year, public||Bachelor's and master's degrees; post-master's certificates||3rd Lowest Net Price|
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