Best Online Colleges in Texas

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Online learning requires a significant amount of engagement, and school administrators in Texas don’t want students to wait until college to take an innovative approach to their own learning. The Texas High Performance Schools Consortium is backed by the state legislature and consists of 23 school districts. Its mission is to empower students to forge their own paths to success without relying too heavily on standardized tests and rote memorization.

Texas is also a member of the Southern Regional Education board (SREB), which works with colleges, schools and state policymakers to improve education and give students what they want most. When community colleges across the state saw a dip in enrollment, many schools responded by expanding their online offerings. For example, online enrollment at Odessa College increased by 18 percent, according to Donald Wood, Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness.

Students are catching on to the benefits of online learning quickly, but many still attend programs at in-state schools even though geography is no longer a factor. Of course, Texas residents who attend online programs in the state receive more than just reduced tuition; they also get legitimate credentials and a quality education that they completed at their own pace at home.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1LeTourneau University79.054/551.47%Longview, TX

LeTourneau emphasizes a distinct foundation in practical, hands-on learning through its online programs. The school offers more than 30 online degrees and certificates across five academic divisions: aviation & aeronautical science, arts & sciences, business & technology, education, and psychology. Distance students have full access to academic support resources on Canvas and the myLETU student portal. They may also subscribe to podcasts and/or download audio files of LeTourneau chapel services. LeTourneau has been recognized repeatedly as one of the best online colleges in Texas, and named among the best schools in the nation by U.S. News and World Report more than a dozen times. All on-campus and online programs integrate progressive learning styles with a uniquely Christian perspective, one of the historical hallmarks of the university.

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2Texas Tech University74.933/559.08%Lubbock, TX

Texas Tech offers hundreds of online programs through its TTU Worldwide eLearning division headquarters in Lubbock, with six regional sites across Texas to oversee additional hybrid and non-traditional programs. The school offers online degrees and certificates at nearly every level of education, from bachelor's degrees to doctoral degrees and postgraduate certificates. Popular majors include business, psychology, and biology, though the university is historically renowned among online colleges in Texas for its agriculture sciences and natural resources education programs. Online undergraduate students may also customize their degree in integrative or multidisciplinary studies. Distance students looking to support the school's famed Red Raiders team off campus can subscribe to the exclusive digital app, provided by AT&T.

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3Dallas Baptist University73.454/554.6%Dallas, TX

Dallas Baptist is considered among the best online Texas colleges for its diverse selection of academic programs. In addition to offering traditional majors in business and arts and sciences, the school offers a range of degrees and certificates in Christian ministry, education, and leadership. DBU emphasizes faith-based majors and minors throughout its more than 35 bachelor's, master's, and dual-degree options online. Distance students working in Blackboard have full access to a 24-hour help line, as well as separate tech support, specifically staffed for online learning assistance. The school was called Decatur Baptist College when founded at its original site in 1898 as the first two-year higher learning institution in Texas. Since moving to its current southwest Dallas campus location in 1965, DBU has kept its commitment to providing programs in the tradition of Christ-centered service and leadership.

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4University of North Texas72.843/550.2%Denton, TX

Located in the small town of Denton, TX, UNT emphasizes online professional training and degree programs through its tech-savvy Center for Learning Enhancement, Assessment and Redesign (CLEAR). The school offers more than 25 online degrees and certificates across eight academic colleges, including information, education, and public affairs and community service. In addition to having access to academic support tools through Blackboard and the EagleConnect student portal, distance students can utilize an online resume-posting service and exclusive Texas veterans portal through the CLEAR system. UNT was the first in the U.S. to offer an online bachelor's in digital retailing and is among the best online colleges in Texas and the U.S., according to U.S. News and World Report.

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5Texas Woman’s University69.593/543.94%Denton, TX

Texas Woman's University maintains physical campuses in Denton, Houston, and Dallas, and supports more than 20 online and hybrid programs. The school offers online certificates and degrees for undergraduate, graduate, and post-bacc students, as well as PhD candidates in business, education, and general studies. Among the best online Texas colleges for student support, distance students have full access to online school and state resources, including College for All Texans financial services, Texas Veterans Portal, and other consumer sites. TWU offers a secure billing center online for all students to access their student accounts 24/7, make payment plan arrangements, and more. With more than 15,000 students overall, the university is the largest of those primarily for women in the U.S.

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6Texas A&M University – Commerce66.893/551.85%Commerce, TX

Texas A & M University offers online degree programs through its Commerce campus in either online or hybrid online/on-campus formats. The school offers nearly 50 undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate programs in business, science, education, engineering, agriculture, and more. Distance students can access 24/7 tech support for the Pearson Learning Studio platform or other IT issues, as well as seek tutoring, library tools, and other resources provided by the Academic Success Center. The school is recognized among the best online colleges in Texas and nationally for its innovations in higher education, incorporating Web-enhanced technologies and ITV platforms to deliver content remotely through its satellite locations.

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7Southwestern Assemblies of God University66.554/541.03%Waxahachie, TX

From associate to doctoral degrees, SAGU offers one of the largest selections of programs among online colleges in Texas, with more than 70 choices available to traditional and distance students. In addition to majors in business, psychology, and education, the school emphasizes a broad range of ministry programs in divinity, theology, and worship arts. Online students may access a live-stream of chapel services at SAGU. They may also participate online in prayer groups, and make donations from afar to support ongoing Jerusalem Prayer Watch efforts on the SAGU campus in Waxahachie, TX. All online students have access to library resources, career advising, tech support services, and more to support their online learning experience. U.S. News and World Report recently recognized SAGU among the nation's top providers of online bachelor's programs.

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8University of Houston-Victoria65.073/5N/AVictoria, TX

The University of Houston offers 115 online degrees and certificate programs. UH-Victoria is one of four independently maintained entities within the University of Houston system, which also includes campuses in Clear Lake and downtown Houston, more than 40 online programs are offered exclusively through the Victoria location. Distance students at UH-Victoria may choose from undergraduate and graduate degrees across three schools: Arts and Sciences, Business Administration and Education, Health Professions and Human Development. Though located outside of Houston in the state's Coastal bend region, UH-Victoria is among the most accessible online colleges in Texas, offering online students the same course content, faculty and study track options as their on-campus counterparts. Overall, the UH system is the largest in Houston and the third-largest in the U.S.

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9The University of Texas of the Permian Basin64.592/533.73%Odessa, TX

UTPB emphasizes a global perspective throughout its academic programs, designed for both domestic and international online students. The school offers more than 20 online bachelor's and master's degrees across arts, science, business administration, and nursing fields. Many of these undergraduate programs are offered through an accelerated eight-week format. UTPB is among the best online Texas colleges for its comprehensive selection of degrees and courses offered in conjunction with the University of Texas Online Consortium. Online and on-campus students are offered the same diverse student support resources to enhance the learning experience, including tutoring, counseling, IT services, career advising, and more.

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10The University of Texas at Tyler64.463/544.86%Tyler, TX

UT at Tyler offers more than 15 online degrees across four academic divisions: nursing and health sciences, education and psychology, arts and sciences, and business and technology. The school also offers a degree-completion program in applied arts and sciences through its professional-studies-oriented University College. Distance students have full access to academic support resources in Blackboard and through the Academic Success Center. They are provided electronic library access, IT support and online chat opportunities through the myUTTyler portal. Adding to its designation as one of the best online Texas colleges, the university is also the only one in Texas to host three distance learning campuses for students off campus.

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11Midwestern State University63.923/545.47%Wichita Falls, TX

Midwestern State emphasizes nursing and health sciences through more than 15 degrees and certificate programs offered online. Distance students complete coursework in D2L and have full access to support resources provided by the distance education division, including career management, counseling, and academic advising. The school offers a comprehensive distance education orientation course, as well as hundreds of additional support tools via the myMWSU student portal. MWSU extends a special discounted tuition rate to non-Texas residents studying online, ultimately paying only $65 more per credit than Texas residents. Midwestern's physical campus in Wichita Falls bears the unique distinction of being equal in distance to Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma City.

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12University of Texas at Arlington63.183/541.88%Arlington, TX

UTA offers more than 15 online degrees and certificates in nursing, education, and urban and public affairs majors. UTA is among the top Texas colleges online for its esteemed online programs through the College of Nursing and Health Innovation. Distance students have full access to online tutorials and technology support through the UTA Help Desk. They may also enroll in an exclusive accelerated degree-completion program through the school's Center for Distance Education. The school offers the same affordable tuition prices, per credit hour, to all students, regardless of delivery format or geographical location. In recent years, UTA has outnumbered all other Texas schools in fully distance-education students within its online programs.

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13University of Houston-Clear Lake62.773/5N/AHouston, TX

UH-Clear Lake offers more than 20 online undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates. The university is one of four independently maintained online colleges in Texas within the University of Houston system, which also includes partnering Houston-area campus locations and satellite facilities. Distance students at UH-Clear Lake may choose from undergraduate and graduate degrees across four disciplines: business, education, human science and humanities, and science and engineering. With its unique location on a wildlife and nature preserve along the upper Gulf Coast, the UH-Clear Lake campus is especially attractive to aerospace/aeronautics students due to its close proximity to NASA and the Johnson Space Center. Through Blackboard the the E-Services portal at UH-Clear Lake, distance students can access online bill-pay services, academic advising, admissions counseling, and more.

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14University of Houston62.773/548.11%Houston, TX

UH offers more than 50 online and off-campus programs, and over 300 courses online through the department of Online and Distance Education. The UH system maintains four Houston-area campus locations, as well as multiple satellite locations and a fifth transitional campus in the works. Distance students may select programs in business, arts, education, engineering, and more through more than 10 individual colleges and departments. Locations span downtown Houston, Clear Lake, and the city of Victoria, serving Houstonians all throughout the southwestern part of the state. The UH system is the largest in Houston and the third-largest in the U.S. Already among online colleges in Texas, the school recently earned the national distinction of providing the No.1 best online graduate education program, according to U.S. News and World Report

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15Sam Houston State University62.503/553.06%Huntsville, TX

Sam Houston State offers more than 40 online degrees and certificates through SHSU Online. The school has earned numerous awards and distinctions for quality and affordability among the best online colleges in Texas and the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report. Distance students engage in courses throughout fall, spring, and condensed summer terms. Support resources can be accessed through the Blackboard online learning platform as well as the Academic Success Center, which provides mentoring, academic tutoring options, and continuing education opportunities. Online students at SHSU have access to higher education resources provided by the state of Texas, including the Texas Veterans Portal, disability services, and Texas State Library and Archives Commission database.

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16West Texas A&M University59.393/540.47%Canyon, TX

West Texas A & M University offers nearly 20 online degree programs in fully online and hybrid formats. Majors and minors span five primary areas of study: business administration, criminal justice, health sciences, nursing, and education. Distance programs provided through the West Texas location are directed by the Texas A & M system, the second-largest university system in the world. Support for online learning is provided by the Student Success Center and includes academic advising, counseling, and tutoring services. Online students can also seek assistance arranging internships, study-abroad opportunities, and national scholarships through advisors dedicated to distance learning. WTAMU has received consecutive awards and rankings among the best online colleges in Texas and the nation for business, MBA, veterans programs, and more, according to U.S. News and World Report.

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17Trinity University59.324/581.22%San Antonio, TX

Trinity University offers four distinct degrees online, with dozens more available at three campus locations in Deerfield, IL, South Chicago, and South Florida. The school is among the best online Texas colleges for its intensive, focused bachelor's degrees online in business, criminal justice, psychology, and Christian ministries. Distance students may also choose from a selection of distinctive online graduate courses through Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Trinity Graduate School. All academic programs at Trinity integrate core Christian values and service-based learning. Students enrolled in an online program may arrange for ministry placement within one of Trinity's many partnering faith-based institutions nationwide. Online courses are accessed through Moodle. Courses are supported by tutoring opportunities, financial aid management through iGrad online, and more. Trinity utilizes livestream technology that brings on-campus events including music concerts and chapel sessions to distance students.

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18University of Texas at El Paso56.083/5N/ATX

UTEP offers 16 degrees and certificates online through its UTEP Connect division. The school offers bachelor's and master's degrees in a number of unique majors, including an MEd with a concentration in bilingual education, a BA in security studies, and a customizable multidisciplinary studies degree. Four comprehensive degrees are available online through UTEP's own School of Nursing, including an RN to BSN option. UTEP's online programs reflect the school's history of more than 100 years among the best online colleges in Texas for U.S.-Mexico border communities, creating online degrees and certificates according to workforce demand where the El Paso campus is located. Distance students are assigned an enrollment counselor and student success advisor for the duration of their online learning experience. Comprehensive online student support is a hallmark of distance programs at UTEP, providing disability services, career guidance, tech support, tutoring, and more.

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19Remington College-Fort Worth Campus56.014/5N/AFort Worth, TX

With 16 physical locations from Ohio to Florida, Remington College offers 10 undergraduate degrees online exclusively through its Fort Worth campus. Online associate and bachelor's degrees are available in business, management, marketing, criminal justice, and paralegal majors. The school is among the best online Texas colleges for emphasizing vocational training and accelerated learning formats throughout its programs, designed to help students secure employment as soon as possible post-graduation. Remington is uniquely comprehensive in its approach to career services programs, offering students a wide range of support resources to help them prepare their resume, locate field experience opportunities, and practice mock job interviews. Online degree coursework is specifically developed to answer the demand for qualified employees in high-demand in business and legal fields in Fort Worth and across the state of Texas.

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20Tarleton State University53.783/544.66%Stephenville, TX

With four outreach locations in addition to the main campus in Stephenville, TSU's online programs reflect a variety of interests and occupations in-demand across the state of Texas. The school offers 20 online bachelor's and master's degrees in business and administration, education, health services, and more. Distance students can access online courses through Blackboard and find a range of student support resources, including tech support and financial aid assistance, through the myGateway portal. As an extended member of the Texas A & M University system, graduates of the Global Campus at Tarleton State University are afforded the same valuable and prestigious diploma as their A & M counterparts. The school is among the best online colleges in Texas for providing scholarships for teacher education. Tarleton boasts a nearly 100% placement rate for IT graduates and a 98% teacher-certification pass rate among its select technology and teacher licensure programs available online.

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21South Texas College52.641/5N/AMcAllen, TX

South Texas offers 30 online programs through its McAllen location. From business to education to social work, online associate and bachelor's degrees accommodate both students seeking their first undergraduate degree and those looking to transfer bachelor's credits toward a degree-completion program. Distance students may use Blackboard to complete courses on their computer, or download the mobile app from the South Texas website. The school is renowned among online colleges in Texas for its extensive student support and technology services, including live-chat technical and enrollment support, online advising, and comprehensive veterans benefits. STC is the state's largest higher education institution south of San Antonio, serving over 34,000 students throughout its numerous physical locations and global campus.

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22Wayland Baptist University52.573/531.98%Plainview, TX

WBU began offering online programs in 2001 to supplement its on-the-ground programs at the Plainview main campus. Today, the school has joined the ranks of online colleges in Texas offering dozens of degrees and certificates, including several graduate degrees that are offered entirely online. All WBU programs incorporate a Christian perspective and promote faith-based learning and service. Though majors span business, arts and sciences, education, and nursing, the university is unique for its Christian ministry and divinity online programs. Distance students have access to a full range of spiritual resources to support their academic endeavors at WBU. In addition to participating in online prayer groups and ministry team networks, students can pursue Wayland-sanctioned mission opportunities and local Chapel services near their geographical location.

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23University of the Incarnate Word52.093/542.73%San Antonio, TX

University of the Incarnate Word emphasizes a liberal arts-based curriculum and five core elements throughout its academic programs: faith, innovation, truth, education, and service. The school offers nine online degrees in health sciences, nursing, psychology, and teacher leadership. Distance students in health sciences can explore these majors more extensively by adding a concentration in administration, nutrition, or general studies (for military students.) As one of the most unique online colleges in Texas for its accommodations for active-duty military and veterans, eligible students in the service can access free textbooks and a generous credit transfer policy for previous education and experience. UIW offers comprehensive academic support tools to online students, including advising and tutoring options through TriO student support. Though they are not studying on campus in San Antonio, online students have their own dedicated orientation and first-year engagement programs within the online learning system.

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24University of North Texas at Dallas51.962/5N/ADallas, TX

UNT-Dallas offers 28 undergraduate and graduate degrees online, with dozens more individual online courses available through the MyUNT database. Majors span a number of diverse fields across eight academic colleges, including applied anthropology, MBA studies, and education. Students complete coursework in Blackboard and can access support resources in the EagleConnect student portal. UNT-Dallas is especially renowned among online colleges in Texas for its comprehensive career and veterans services, providing options such as online job searching, vocational advising and access to the exclusive Texas veterans portal through the CLEAR system. Among many points of pride for the state of Texas as well as on a national stage, UNT offered the first fully online school library certification and graduate applied anthropology programs in the U.S.

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25University of Houston-Downtown51.693/519.17%Houston, TX

As one of the largest and most prominent campus entities within the University of Houston system, UH-Downtown currently offers 15 bachelor's degrees and three master's degree online. Programs are available across business, humanities and social sciences, and public service schools, as well as through the University College. Distance students have full access to a wide range of academic support tools administered through Blackboard, the IT Help Desk, and the Student Success Center. Online study tools include electronic library database access, direct links to Texas state veterans resources and financial aid information. One of four independently-operated campus locations under the University of Houston system, UHD maintains its own facilities, educational staff and resources, institutional funding, and online programs.

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More About Online Colleges in Texas

As the second largest state in both size and population, Texas has a large number of distance learners attending its 146 institutions of higher education. A total of 1,573,627 students enrolled in programs delivered entirely online in fall 2012; the second highest amount in the country. In 2011, over 528,000 students attended via community colleges, while approximately 240,000 enrolled from public, 4-year institutions. These numbers continue to rise; between 2006 and 2011, distance learning programs at public universities in Texas grew at a rate of 87%, while community college enrollment rose 58%.

State funding for education in Texas increased 4.4% in the 2014-2015 school year to reach $15.7 billion; this money contributes to the growth of online education in the state. The rate students pay for distance learning tuition can fluctuate greatly. In 2012, 72% of the districts that responded to the Legislative Budget Board survey reported unique fee charges to online learners, while 26% reported fee exemptions. Though both funding and fees change each year, distance learning continues its steady rise in popularity. As the prevalence of online college programs grows in Texas, so will the resources dedicated to bettering it.

Browse our list of the best online colleges in Texas for more insight into distance learning programs in this state.

NCES Report

Recent NCES reports show that 8.9% (139,737) of all students enrolled in Title IV institutions in Texas were in exclusively online programs.

  • 8.5% of students at four-year institutions studied entirely online
  • 10.8% of students at two-year institutions studied entirely online
  • 92.1% were living in Texas
  • 5.4% were living elsewhere in the United States
Best Online Colleges in Texas of 2016
Rank School Location
1 LeTourneau University Longview, TX
2 Dallas Baptist University Dallas, TX
3 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
4 University of North Texas Denton, TX
5 University of Houston Houston, TX
6 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
7 University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, TX
8 Northwood University - Texas Cedar Hill, TX
9 Texas Wesleyan University Fort Worth, TX
10 Texas Women's University Denton, TX
11 Texas A&M University - Commerce Commerce, TX
12 The University of Texas at Tyler Tyler, TX
13 Midwestern State University Wichita Falls, TX
14 West Texas A&M University Canyon, TX
15 Tarleton State University Stephenville, TX
16 The University of Texas of the Permian Bason Odessa, TX
17 Dallas Christian College Dallas, TX
18 Our Lady of the Lake University San Antonio, TX
19 Lubbock Christian University Lubbcok, TX
20 Wayland Baptist University Plainview, TX
21 Remington College - Dallas Campus Garland, TX
22 Concordia University - Texas Austin, TX
23 University of the Incarnate Word San Antonio, TX
24 Angelo State University San Angelo, TX
25 Texas A&M - Corpus Christi Corpus Christi, TX