Since 2005, The University of Alabama Online, formerly known as Bama by Distance, has established its role as a leading provider of online education, bringing the UA experience virtually to students across Alabama — and around the world.
This fall, UA Online reached a new milestone with a University record-setting enrollment of 6,135 students in distance learning programs. First-time undergraduate enrollment in distance learning programs increased 59% while online graduate enrollment increased 15%.
This continued success and growth are in part due to UA Online continually expanding its academic offerings and resources but also to its commitment to students since day one.
“Affordable, flexible and legendary — that’s our pitch,” Dr. Megan Welborn, assistant director of UA Online recruitment, said.
“We don’t charge out-of-state tuition. It’s a flat rate either at the undergraduate or graduate level. We are flexible. Most of our programs are asynchronous, so students can log in and complete the coursework on their own time. We are also legendary. Everything The University of Alabama has to offer on-campus, we try to offer online and will be there for our students to help them succeed.”
Through UA Online, students can choose from more than 80 academic programs at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels as well as certifications in specialty fields. The University of Alabama has 11 programs ranked in the U.S. News and World Report 2021 Best Online Program Rankings — including No. 10 in Best Online Master’s in Engineering Programs for Veterans and No. 8 in Best Online Master’s in Education Programs for Veterans.
“It’s the same degree, but different delivery,” Welborn said. “So the degree that a University of Alabama Online student is receiving is going to be the same degree as our on-campus student, the same access to the same faculty, access to the same advisers, the same support system. We offer our students as much as we can, from scholarship assistance to athletic tickets and more virtually.”
Housed under the College of Continuing Studies, UA Online offers a wide range of programs through the University’s colleges and schools, which allows distance students to learn from faculty and staff who are dedicated to their fields. Many on-campus faculty and staff will also teach online courses, but recently several departments have hired faculty just for distance learning.
UA Online uses the same admissions processes and criteria as UA’s on-campus programs, meaning each student who is accepted would’ve been accepted on campus as well. There are more than 40 scholarships awarded per semester in addition to other grants that provide financial assistance.
“We want to continue to grow. We want to continue to help The University of Alabama grow,” Welborn said. “We understand that enrollment is so important for this University and for this state and for our state economy. Many people want to attend school but don’t know where to start. This is our way of saying, ‘This has always been your dream, and we can still make it happen.’ If you can’t come to us, we’ll bring The University of Alabama to you.”