Alabama Colleges & Universities

Sir Francis Bacon said knowledge is power. Today more than ever knowledge is earning power. Attending one of the colleges in Alabama can put that earning power to work for you.

Alabama Colleges: Knowledge (and a Degree) Equals Power: A good education costs money--but it pays you back. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, education pays in more than one way. First, the more advanced the degree you hold, the stronger your earning power. In 2009, high school graduates made median weekly earnings of $626. Those graduates holding doctoral degrees made median weekly earnings of $1,532. Quite a difference. In addition, high school graduates faced 9.7 percent unemployment, while employees with doctorates had 2.5 percent unemployment and those with a master's faced 3.9 percent. Attending one of the colleges in Alabama to earn a degree is a smart move--knowledge is (earning) power.

Invest in Your Future at one of the Alabama Colleges: Earning a degree is an investment in your future. If you choose to attend one of the Alabama schools, you need to be aware of the costs involved. According to the Alabama State Treasury, choosing to enroll in one of the schools in Alabama with the intent of taking a four-year course you'll be looking at costs of $37,317 for the 2011-2012 year. Total costs for a college education at one of the Alabama schools can run from just over $8000 at Southern Union Community College for tuition and fees, room and board, books, transportation, and miscellaneous and personal expenses. At Birmingham Southern College, a four-year liberal arts college, total costs may range over $30,000.

Living in Alabama While Attending Alabama Schools: If you choose to attend one of the colleges in Alabama, you'll be attending a school in a state with a population of 4,708,708, according to the U.S. Census 2009 population estimate.

Alabama's population is rich and diverse, largely white, black and Hispanic, with a percentage of Asian and Pacific Islanders. The population and diversity of your school will depend on which of the Alabama colleges you choose. Alabama A&M University in Normal has a total of just over 5300 students. Alabama State University in Montgomery has a student body of 5600. Athens State University has some 3500 students.

Alabama itself offers everything from mountainous regions to ocean beaches and plenty to do in your time off--hiking, biking, fishing, rock climbing or just hanging out at the beach. A single family home in Alabama carries a median price tag of $124,200 based on first quarter 2010 reports, and personal income per capita is $38,611.

Working in Alabama: Over 1,863,600 people work in Alabama. Mean annual wage estimates for all occupations run $37,500, in line with the per capita personal income.

The employment outlook is good in Alabama if you choose among the "Hot 40" demand occupations listed by the state. Just a sampling of some of the major careers growing quickly in Alabama include:

  • • Aerospace engineers (mean annual salary $92,940; average annual job openings 160)
  • • Computer software engineers (mean annual salary $73,940; average annual job openings 230)
  • • Management analysts (mean annual salary $83,260; average annual job openings 345)
  • • Pharmacists (mean annual salary $101,140; average annual job openings 180)

Don't let finances keep you from attending one of the schools in Alabama. Federal student aid consists of grants, loans, and work-study opportunities and the Alabama Commission on Higher Education offers state-based tuition solutions.

The writer Emily Kerr is a Northern Nevada freelance writer who writes about education. Her background is in journalism, and she writes about her passions.

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