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Four Alabama universities ranked among ‘smartest public colleges in America’

College isn’t supposed to be just about football, but with two dominant teams in the Yellowhammer State, it’s easy to overlook other aspects of college—like the actual learning part.

Alabamians have another reason to be proud of their state universities: Auburn University, University of Alabama, University of Alabama-Birmingham and the University of Alabama-Huntsville made the list of the 104 smartest public colleges in America.

To compile the list, Business Insider worked with Jonathan Wai, a Duke University Talent Identification Program researcher, and looked at standardized test scores from each university.

“ACT scores were translated into SAT scores (math + verbal)…so that all schools could be compared using one metric,” writes Wai and Jenna Goudreau for Business Insider. “Then, an average of the 25th and 75th percentile was computed.”

Here’s how each school ranked:


University of Alabama



With college tuition increasing and a national student debt crisis looming, most people can’t afford private schools. But with these four universities ranked among the top public colleges in the nation, Alabamians have a chance to get more bang for their buck when it comes to education.

The average cost of attending a private school is $30,500.

Using these statistics, the biggest cost-to-ranking leap is from UAB to UAH. A student can attend UAB, which is 27 places higher in the ranking than UAH, for only pay about $122 more.