Study ranks top universities in Alabama

In a’s recent study, UNA ranked the second best  university in Alabama.

Although Troy University ranked the highest, UNA received higher overall ratings than SEC powerhouses University of Alabama and Auburn University. 

UNA Vice President for Advancement Deborah Shaw said she is proud of the university for competing with larger schools in the state.

“We’re thrilled to receive this local and national recognition,” Shaw said. “It’s even more special when you realize how high we were ranked on this state list, against much larger institutions. 

This high ranking for UNA is a result of improved facts and numbers for the school in recent years.

The retention rate of students at UNA was up to 75.8 percent in 2014 and over 57,000 students have graduated from the university, according to

These are not the only factors that weighed into the formulation of the rankings. Creators of the survey for also factored college expenses, number of online classes, test requirements and array of degrees.

Like most universities, UNA does have test requirements upon admittance. But what sets the school apart from others is the financial assistance offered to students based on their ACT scores and GPA’s.

UNA offers both the Vanguard and Leadership scholarships, which are automatic when a student sends in their information for the application process.

Approximately one-third of UNA students receive financial assistance which makes the school the fourth most affordable in the state, according to

UNA also offers over 140 majors which factored into its high ranking on the list. Among the most popular degrees is the nursing program. 

Shaw said UNA is marketing and raising more philanthropic dollars than ever before and people are noticing these efforts.

“We have some really amazing and cutting edge academic programs at (UNA), both digitally and in the classroom,” Shaw said. “More and more students are realizing this.”

Sophomore Baylee Caldwell is a student in UNA’s nursing program. She said she loves the size of the classes.

“I like that the class sizes aren’t too big,” Caldwell said. “It keeps the campus personal.”

In the 2016-17 school year, the freshman class was bigger than ever before at UNA. But the student-teacher ratio remains 17 to one.

Both Caldwell and Shaw agree that in addition to being one of the most well rounded schools in Alabama, it is also a beautiful campus.

“We provide an amazing education in a gorgeous setting,” Shaw said.

To view the complete list of top ten schools in Alabama, go to