Although it was a rainy day when I visited the University of Alabama last week, the campus was absolutely beautiful and I confirmed that there is a great deal more to Alabama than football. 49% of it's 30,000 undergraduates are from in-state with 46% coming from outside the state of Alabama and 5% from other countries. Several things make Bama appealing to out of state students: affordable tuition, generous scholarships, and the educational opportunities that a major research university offers. A few take aways from my recent visit:
- Over 600 National Merit Scholars are enrolled at the university. (One of the largest numbers in the country among public colleges.) Scholars receive the value of tuition for up to five years of undergraduate and graduate studies, a $3500 per year stipend for four years, a $2000 grant for summer research or international study, one year of housing, and an iPad.
- 86% of freshman return for sophomore year.
- Degrees are offered in over 200 fields of study including a five-year STEM/MBA program.
- The university has produced 15 Rhodes Scholars, 14 Truman Scholars, 41 Goldwater Scholars, and currently has eight graduates who have accepted Fulbright Scholarships for 2014-2015.
- Freshmen have the opportunity to be a part of a learning community which are groups of 12-15 peers focused on a similar intellectual interest.
- 25% of freshman are in the Honors Program.
- The campus boast the largest Starbucks in the country.
- And I must include a bit about football: Sophomores, juniors and seniors are guaranteed tickets to all seven home games and freshman to three or four. Roll Tide.