Leaders & Laggards

A State-by-State Report Card on Public Postsecondary Education

Alabama

Student Access & Success

Alabama’s four-year institutions perform poorly in credentials produced per 100 full-time equivalent undergraduates, contributing to the state’s below average performance. Both the state’s four- and two- year institutions are below the national medians for completion and retention rates.

Efficiency & Cost-Effectiveness

Alabama’s four- and two-year costs per completion ($77,113 and $67,165, respectively) contribute to the state’s below average performance. The state receives middling rankings for state and local funding per completion for both sectors ($48,074 for four-years and $40,956 for two-years).

Meeting Labor Market Demand

The median wage of an Alabama bachelor’s degree holder is approximately $20,000 (or 70%) more than the median wage of a high school graduate; the overall unemployment rate for a bachelor’s degree holder is 5 percentage points lower. The median wage of an associate’s degree holder is approximately $10,200 (or 36%) more than the median wage of a high school graduate; the overall unemployment rate is about 4 percentage points lower.

Transparency & Accountability

Alabama’s consumer information site and public accountability report contain limited information on student outcomes. The state neither tracks student labor market outcomes, nor does it measure student learning in any systematic way.

Policy Environment

Alabama’s “Forging Strategic Alliances” plan does not provide hard targets for state goals, although the state aims to improve system efficiency. The state does not have outcomes-based funding. While the articulation policy allows students to transfer individual courses, the Alabama Articulation and General Studies Committee ruled that common course numbering was not needed.

Innovation

Alabama receives a low grade for its support for online learning, with an online portal for four University of Alabama institutions but little for community colleges. Regarding approving new vendors, Alabama has an average financial burden but a highly onerous approval process.

Report Card

Compare with

Four-Year Institutions

AL Nat'l
Student Access & Success D
Percentage of Pell Grant Recipients 34.9 30.8
Retention Rate 76.3 77.9
Completion Rate 47.4 54.5
Completions per 100 FTE Students 18.3 19.7
Risk-Adjusted Completion Points (5-point Scale) 3
Complete College America
Efficiency & Cost-Effectiveness D
Cost Per Completion $77,113 $68,140
State and Local Funding Per Completion $48,074 $41,198
State, Local, and Tuition Funding Per Completion $84,936 $76,932
Cost Per Completion and Public Funding Combined Measure (5-point scale) 2
Meeting Labor Market Demand A
BA vs. HS Wage Gap (Overall) $20,024 $17,881
BA vs. HS Wage Ratio (Overall) 169.6 156.0
BA vs. HS Wage Gap (25–34) $15,000 $12,703
BA vs. HS Wage Ratio (25–34) 162.5 149.9
BA vs. HS Unemployment Gap (Overall) 4.9 4.0
BA vs. HS Unemployment Ratio (Overall) 2.3 2.1
BA vs. HS Unemployment Gap (25–34) 9.3 7.1
BA vs. HS Unemployment Ratio (25–34) 3.5 2.9
Transparency & Accountability F
Transparency—Public Accountability (5-point Scale) 1
Transparency—Consumer Information (3-point Scale) 0
Does the State Report Labor Market Outcomes? false
Labor Market Outcomes (4-point Scale) 0
Does the State Report Student Learning Outcomes? false
Student Learning Outcomes (3-point Scale) 0

Two-Year Institutions

AL Nat'l
Student Access & Success C
Percentage of Pell Grant Recipients 64.0 46.9
Retention Rate 55.7 58.6
Completion Rate 19.3 20.5
Completions Per 100 FTE Undergraduates 13.8 16.8
Risk-Adjusted Completion Points (5-point Scale) 3
Efficiency & Cost-Effectiveness D
Cost Per Completion $67,165 $57,210
State and Local Funding Per Completion $40,956 $35,476
State, Local, and Tuition Funding Per Completion $54,883 $52,512
Cost Per Completion and Public Funding Combined MeasureCombined Measure (5-point Scale) 2
Meeting Labor Market Demand A
AA vs. HS Wage Gap (Overall) $10,233 $8,545
AA vs. HS Wage Ratio (Overall) 135.6 126.1
AA vs. HS Wage Gap (25–34) $7,900 $6,595
AA vs. HS Wage Ratio (25–34) 132.9 125.0
AA vs. HS Unemployment Gap (Overall) 4.0 2.7
AA vs. HS Unemployment Ratio (Overall) 1.9 1.5
AA vs. HS Unemployment Gap (25–34) 8.1 4.9
AA vs. HS Unemployment Ratio (25–34) 2.6 1.84
Transparency & Accountability F
Transparency—Public Accountability (5-point Scale) 2
Transparency—Consumer Information (3-point Scale) 0
Does the State Report Labor Market Outcomes? false
Labor Market Outcomes (4-point Scale) 0
Does the State Report Student Learning Outcomes? false
Student Learning Outcomes (3-point Scale) 0

State

AL Nat'l
Policy Environment D
State Goals (6-point Scale) 3
Does the State Have Outcomes-Based Funding? false
Four-Year Outcomes-Based Funding (3-point Scale) 0
Two-Years Outcomes-Based Funding (3-point Scale) 0
Does the State Have a Credit Transfer Policy? true
Credit Transfer Policy (5-point Scale) 2
Innovation: Openness to Providers F
Numerical Openness to New Providers Grade 51%
Regulatory Jurisdiction 40%
Financial Burden 73%
Approval Process Burden 40%
Innovation: Online Learning D
Numerical Online Learning Grade 28.6
Online Learning Score (7-point Scale) 2

State Facts at a Glance

  • Number of Public Four-Year Institutions 14
  • Number of Public Two-Year Institutions 19
  • Number of Students Served by Public Four-Year Institutions 112,902
  • Number of Students Served by Public Two-Year Institutions 79,903
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