University of Alabama scholarships – Roll Tide!

by Grace

The University of Alabama awards merit scholarships to about 25% of its incoming freshman class, including the full-ride offered to National Merit and National Achievement finalists.  It’s a sweet deal that pays full tuition, housing, a laptop computer, $1,000 per year cash and a $2,000 allowance for research or international study.  Other generous scholarships pay full and partial tuition to students with high SAT and ACT scores.

For many students from the Northeast and other parts of the country, the thought of attending school in the Deep South is a strong disincentive for even initial consideration of these generous scholarships.  Beyond the location, a high-achieving student may have other objections to UA.  Concerns about size, intellectual climate, diversity, conservative atmosphere, strong Greek presence,  and heavy football culture are often mentioned.

Most students cannot be “talked into” a particular college, certainly not by their parents.  But if parents want (or need) their children to consider colleges that offer significant merit aid, they should investigate UA more closely and even think about visiting.  There are many stories of previously unenthusiastic students won over by the positive experience of visiting UA.  Keep in mind that students who are part of the UA Honors College benefit from  close association with hundreds of NMFs and other high-achieving scholars.  It’s clear that a rigorous intellectual experience for its top students is a priority for this school.

I’m not trying to push Bama as the perfect college for all students.  But I know that the alternative of paying $100,000 or more to attend a full pay school would be a hardship for many families.

Some quick facts from the school website:

The University of Alabama ranked 6th in the nation among public universities in the enrollment of National Merit Scholars in the 2010 freshman class.

The University of Alabama ranked among the top 50 public universities in the nation for the 10th consecutive year in U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings, fall 2010.

Of the 30,232 undergraduate, professional, and graduate students enrolled at UA in the fall semester of 2010,

  • 67% come from Alabama
  • 31% come from elsewhere in the United States
  • 3% are international students from 72 countries
  • 27% of our undergraduates belong to sororities or fraternities
  • 53% are women
  • 12% are African-American
  • 2% are Hispanic-American
  • 1% are Asian-American

12 Responses to “University of Alabama scholarships – Roll Tide!”

  1. Given state budget problems, I wonder how much longer that would continue.

    Culture really matters when you choose a school away from home because it is hard to escape. One of my good friends from high school was talked into going to UConn by her parents, who were alums. She was miserable – it is largely a rural Monday to Thursday school, with almost nothing to do on weekends. She dropped out after a year. If your kid is miserable at a school because of culture clash, then everyone’s time is wasted. University of Alabama is an extreme sort of school. The stats above are suspect because they are rolling grad students together with undergrads. I am sure they have a huge grad enrollment, and those students will push up the out of state, non-Greek percentages. But what is it like at the undergrad level?It could work for kids who are jocks, have a romantic view of the South, or for certain kids who are just socially oblivious. I would be leery, though, for my own kids, and would be more likely to send them to SUNY.


  2. I hope you’re keeping track of all of these! You should start an index on your site (maybe a tab on the top). I KNOW I’m going to want to come back and find these in a year.


  3. What is your take on the increasing numbers of Americans who choose to attend foreign universities to save money? This article is from 2008, but I have seen more recent articles on this phenomenon.
    I know SO many people who have sent their kids to McGill (in particular) or the University of Edinburgh in recent years to save money. From my vantage point, it seems to be a trend.


  4. Those stats are actually very close to the ones for first-year students, with only 58% of frosh coming from AL. This might be related to the school’s recent push to attract NMSF-types.


  5. I find the whole topic of “right fit” so interesting and perplexing, having observed so many kids transfer out of their first-choice schools. Also, I’m a firm believer in the idea that college should be a place to experience more diversity of all types, but that idea can clash with the reality that a student might do better at a college where he does not experience a strong culture clash.

    I think many different kinds of kids would like UA, including some that are more socially adventurous, and I mean that in a good way! One person’s “extreme” could be another person’s “normal”.


  6. Great idea, Debbie! I’ll start tracking these in some way.


  7. Not only to save money, but from what I understand those students with high test scores but other less stellar credentials might stand a better chance of admittance at some of these schools. From what I remember, test scores and interviews are the main ways they assess applicants.

    We looked at McGill, and I know at least one local kid attending. I think foreign schools are a great alternative, although they may seem quite “extreme” to some. 😉 One thing that is a consideration is the strength of some of these schools’ reputation and/or network for employment opportunities in the US. That may come into play when comparing them to US schools.


  8. Grace! Thanks so much for posting this. Interestingly enough, University of Alabama also has a strong classical ballet program. This could be a good fit for my studious ballerina.


  9. DOES sound interesting, Lisa!


  10. Wow. Good job in putting all of those data up there. I’m sure that students (and parents) will find this article helpful as summer’s almost ending.


  11. Good article! We are linking to this great content on our website.
    Keep up the great writing.



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