Spotlight on Shelby County: Higher Education

University of Montevallo.

University of Montevallo
Founded in 1896, the University of Montevallo is located south of Birmingham in the city of Montevallo. The campus features white columns, expansive lawns, brick walkways and stately oaks, and is considered one of the most beautiful college campuses in the South.  

As the only small public liberal arts university in Alabama, the University of Montevallo has the charm of a private school experience but provides the value of a state-supported institution. Here,
students learn in an educational environment that boasts an average student-to-faculty ratio of 14-to-1. 

Students choose from more than 35 degree programs and more than 75 majors and concentrations, with many opportunities for conducting undergraduate research under full-time faculty mentors.

UM fields 21 NCAA Division II athletic teams that compete in the Gulf South Conference. Unique to Montevallo is its 100-year-old homecoming tradition, College Night. 

The University of Montevallo campus was designed by the architects behind New York’s Central Park.

For the past 12 years, UM has been named the top Alabama public regional university in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” rankings. The 2021 rankings also show UM as the best value out of all regional universities in the state. 

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And for the ninth consecutive year, UM has been recognized as one of the nation’s Colleges of Distinction, one of only two public higher education institutions in the state to achieve the honor.

New to the campus are the Center for the Arts and the Michael E. Stephens College of Business, both of which opened in late 2020. And the Carmichael Library recently received a $50,000 grant to make its offerings more accessible to remote uses.

In addition, Montevallo has frozen its tuition for the third consecutive year.

Jefferson State Community College – Shelby Hoover campus Jefferson State, with four campuses and 12,000 students, is the largest community college in central Alabama. It serves students in Shelby, Jefferson, St. Clair and Chilton counties.

Jefferson State generates a tremendous economic boost for central Alabama, adding an estimated $515 million to the economy of the four-county service area.

Approximately 60% of Jefferson State students transfer to a four-year university. Jefferson State offers more than 120 transfer programs and numerous articulation agreements with four-year universities to help students transfer with ease. 

A respiratory therapist graduates Jefferson State.

Over the next 10 years, seven out of 10 jobs will require up to an associate degree. Jefferson State offers more than 33 career programs and several certificate programs to help fill this demand. From culinary arts and computer information systems to veterinary nursing and manufacturing technology, Jefferson State has programs for in-demand jobs. 

About one-fourth of Jefferson State students are enrolled in health programs. With more than 250 nursing graduates each year, Jefferson State is the leading producer of nursing graduates with
associate degrees in Alabama. 

The college also delivers non-credit workforce training in career programs that can be completed in as little as six weeks. These “fast-track” programs prepare students for immediate employment in jobs like welding, IT, web development, certified nursing assistant, medical assistant and pharmacy technician.

Jefferson State is a leader in dual enrollment. Each year, more than 2,200 high school students earn college credit there while still in high school. 

Jefferson State offers award-winning student groups, organizations, honor societies, professional organizations and athletics, as well as festivities like student formals and homecoming.

This year, the Shelby-Hoover Welding Center accepted its first students. The city of Hoover donated land for the program and Shelby County provided workforce development funds.

The school’s first respiratory therapy program students graduated in 2019.

Also, Jefferson State added cross country, golf and esports teams for men and women.

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