Huntsville, Alabama (AL) Colleges and Universities

There are over 10 schools within the Huntsville Area. Read about the schools with most program variety, highest graduation rates, lowest student-faculty ratios and lowest costs to find the school for you.

School Ranking Overview

The schools located in Huntsville and its surrounding area offer a unique variety of learning experiences. Students can choose among 2-year schools that offer associate's degrees and certificates, as well as private and public 4-year institutions. The information in this article can help students find the right school to meet their needs. Read about how these colleges and universities compare with one another based on:

  • Most Program Variety
  • Lowest Net Price
  • Highest Graduation Rate
  • Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Most Program Variety

A university with a wider variety of programs offered will likely offer more opportunities for students unsure of their majors than a college with a narrower focus. The colleges in the Huntsville area that have the most program variety are as follows.

1 - Oakwood University

Located about 11 miles away from downtown Huntsville, Oakwood University is a private not-for-profit university attended by around 2,000 students; it offers about 83 different programs in bachelor's and various post-graduate fields. There is no single program that is significantly more popular at Oakwood than any other; according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 311 out of the 346 degrees conferred during the 2011-12 school year were bachelor's degrees, but no single program had more than 27 degree recipients. Biology, nursing, theological studies, non-profit management, elementary education, pre-physical therapy training and general liberal arts studies were the leading degree programs at Oakwood that year.

2 - John C. Calhoun State Community College

John C. Calhoun State Community College can be found 23 miles to the west of Huntsville in Tanner, where the college offers approximately 74 different certificate and associate's degree programs. According to NCES, more than half the students who earned associate's degrees at the 2-year school in 2011-12 earned them in general liberal arts studies that are intended to meet the prerequisites for transferring to a 4-year institution. Nursing, EMT paramedic and manufacturing engineering were the three other programs at the school that had a high number of degrees conferred that year.

3 - Alabama A&M University

Attended by close to 5,000 students, Alabama A&M University has around 67 programs in undergraduate and graduate fields at its Normal campus about four miles to the north of Huntsville. NCES states that business administration is the leading bachelor's program at the school, followed by biology, electrical engineering, psychology, mechanical engineering and political science. Meanwhile, social work, business administration and secondary education were the most popular master's programs among A&M degree recipients in 2011-12.

Lowest Net Price

NCES computes a statistic called net price, which takes into consideration the amount of financial aid the average student receives at a given institution and then subtracts that from the total price of attending that school. All net prices below are provided by NCES and are from the 2010-11 school year, unless otherwise noted.

1 - J F Drake State Community and Technical College

J F Drake State Community and Technical College, a two-year public school located in Huntsville, had a net price of $1,921, easily the best in the area. This is mainly due to the large amount of financial aid the average students receives at the college. Full-time beginning students received financial aid 94% of the time, with the average amount of aid received being $5,855 (mainly coming through federal grants). Tuition for in-state residents in 2012-13 was $3,192.

2 - John C. Calhoun State Community College

The net price of attending John C. Calhoun in 2010-11 was $5,239 - up from the $4,378 it cost in 2009-10, but down from the $5,310 needed to attend in 2008-09. Incoming students in 2010-11 received financial aid 75% of the time (again, mainly from federal grants). The average incoming student at Calhoun received $4,481 in aid that year.

3 - Alabama A&M University

Alabama A&M students paid an net amount of $7,792 on average to attend the school in 2010-11. Tuition for in-state students was $5,800 (that number has since increased to $7,182 in 2012-13) and 96% of incoming students received some sort of financial aid. Federal grant money was awarded 75% of the time and A&M itself awarded scholarship money to students 33% of the time - all in all, the average incoming student received $7,571 in aid.

Highest Graduation Rate

It can be helpful to look at a school's graduation and retention rates when considering whether to attend or not because those statistics can provide insight into how well a college is satisfying its students' academic and social needs. NCES keeps track of graduation rates through numbering the percentage of students who graduate from a school within 150% of the 'normal time' it would take to complete their degree program. The graduation rates below are all for students who began college in the fall of 2005, unless otherwise noted.

1 - University of Alabama in Huntsville

The Huntsville campus of the University of Alabama hosts about 7,600 students and has a graduation rate of 45%. That percentage drops to 14% when the criteria is changed to the percentage of students who graduated within four years. An additional 35% of students transferred out of Alabama-Huntsville within six years of beginning classes.

2 - Oakwood University

The latest graduation rate at Oakwood University is 35%, down from the 40% of 2003-04 incoming students who graduated within six years. Men graduated within six years 27% of the time, compared to 41% of women. First-time, full-time students who began studying at Oakwood in 2010-11 returned to the university for the 2011-12 school year 74% of the time.

3 - Alabama A&M University

At Alabama A&M, students who began studying in the 2005-06 school year graduated within six years 32% of the time. Just 11% of students graduated within four years. Full-time students who began at the school in 2010-11 returned the next year 64% of the time, but part-time students did the same only 10% of the time.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratios

Student-faculty ratios indicate the number of faculty members are on a given college campus; class size statistics indicate how many students individuals can expect to be in their average class. Three colleges in Huntsville have student-faculty ratios of 15:1 or lower.

1 - Huntsville Bible College

A very small private Christian college attended by 79 people in Huntsville, Huntsville Bible College has a student-faculty ratio of 10:1. The university's website lists 13 different current faculty members, all of which hold master's degrees and 8 of which hold doctoral degrees. The college offers a certificate program in Biblical studies and a bachelor's program in theological studies.

2 - Oakwood University

The student-faculty ratio at Oakwood is currently 14:1. US News & World Report statistics state that 54.4% of classes have fewer than 20 students, 42.5% have between 20 and 49 students and 3.1% have 50 or more students. Among Oakwood faculty members, 54.7% of full-time instructors are male and 52.2% of part-time instructors are female.

3 - University of Alabama in Huntsville

Alabama-Huntsville's current student-faculty ratio is 15:1. Nearly half the classes at the university have between 20 and 49 students in them (49.7%, to be exact); 11.3% of classes have 50 or more students and 39.0% of classes have fewer than 20 students. Nearly 63% of full-time instructors and 59% of part-time instructors at Alabama-Huntsville are male.

Huntsville Area Schools at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Programs Offered Area Ranking
Alabama A&M University Normal, AL 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; post-master's certificates 3rd Most Program Variety,
3rd Lowest Net Price,
3rd Highest Graduation Rate
Huntsville Bible College Huntsville, AL 4-year, private not-for-profit One-year certificates; associate's and bachelor's degrees Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
J F Drake State Community and Technical College Huntsville, AL 2-year, public Less-than-one-year and one-year certificates; associate's degrees Lowest Net Price
John C Calhoun State Community College Tanner, AL 2-year, public Less-than-one-year and one-year certificates; associate's degrees 2nd Most Program Variety,
2nd Lowest Net Price
Oakwood University Huntsville, AL 4-year, private not-for-profit Associate's degrees; bachelor's and master's degrees; postbaccalaureate certificates Most Program Variety,
2nd Highest Graduation Rate,
2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
University of Alabama in Huntsville Huntsville, AL 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; postbaccalaureate and post-master's certificates Highest Graduation Rate,
3rd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

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