2022 Best Colleges in Austin

Interested in attending one of the best colleges in Austin? Our ranking describes the top colleges in Texas' capital city.

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by Alison Plaut

Published on March 12, 2022 · Updated on May 16, 2022

Edited by Colin Weickmann
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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Austin, the state capital of Texas, is rich in culture, art, and educational opportunities. You'll also find museums and temples from different world cultures, historical sites, and outdoor activities.

Ranked among the Top 5 cities to live in by U.S. News and World Report, Austin has a large tech industry and strong startups. It attracts entrepreneurs across a variety of sectors. Major employers include Tesla, Amazon, and Oracle Corp.

Attending college in Austin offers opportunities to attend world-class institutions in a lively city environment. Austin, considered the live music capital of the world, is also known for its "Keep Austin Weird" campaign. For more information about going to college in the Lone Star State, check out our Resources for Students in Texas page.

Why Study in Austin?

The Greater Austin area is home to 20 colleges and universities. In addition to The University of Texas at Austin, you'll find South University in Round Rock, Southwestern University in Georgetown, and Texas State University in San Marcos.

Austin boasts a lively art and music scene and abundant outdoor spaces. Large tech companies like Dell, Apple, Facebook, Google, and IBM have Austin offices. The tech scene is so strong that Austin is nicknamed Silicon Hills.

Educational Opportunities

Home to both The University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University, the Greater Austin area had around 172,520 students enrolled in its 20 universities and colleges in 2019.

Austin Community College offers certificates and associate and bachelor's degrees, with tuition as low as $85 per credit in 2021-2022.

Other top colleges and universities in the area include Temple College, Central Texas College, Texas A&M University-Central Texas, St. Edward's University, and Concordia University Texas.

Economy

The Austin area economy is showing strong growth indicators. Unemployment was at 2.9% in December 2021, which put Austin-Round Rock in the Top 15 metropolitan areas nationwide.

The business cycle index, an indicator of economic activity, rose 5.4% in December 2021. Likewise, Austin saw payroll gains across most business sectors. Average hourly rates in the private sector have also increased.

As home to many large tech companies, Austin is likely primed to see continued growth in the coming years.

Cost of Living

According to Payscale, Austin's overall cost of living is 3% less than the national average, as of March 2022. The exception is housing prices, which are 2% higher than the national average.

Utilities and groceries are about 12% less than the national average. Transportation costs are 7% less, and medical care is about 1% less than the national average.

According to its consumer expenditure survey, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes the average annual expenditure in 2020 in the South was about $55,800.

Cultural and Community Offerings

The city of Austin boasts a lively art and music scene and a focus on cultural tourism. Visitors have plenty of options as they explore the city's art galleries and museums, performing arts spaces, and annual art events. Austin is known as the live music capital of the world.

Austin is also home to Creative Action. These community programs offer learning and community-building through art, music, theater, dance, and creative writing.

Different cultural centers in the Austin area include the Xiang Yun Temple of Fo Guang Shan, the Asian American Cultural Center, Six Square, and the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center.

Climate

Austin has a subtropical humid climate, which means it is warm for most of the year. Summers are long and hot, while winters are typically short and mild.

Average January temperatures range from 42-62 degrees. Austin can get short bursts of cold weather in winter. Snow is rare.

Summer temperatures run from April through October. In August, the hottest month, average temperatures range from 75-97 degrees. Austin gets an average of around 34 inches of rainfall spread evenly throughout the year.

Top Degree Programs in Austin

Best Online Business Administration Programs Best Online Healthcare Administration Programs Best Online RN-to-BSN Programs Best Online Web Development Programs Best Online Software Engineering Programs Best Online Master's in Mechanical Engineering Programs Best Online Master's in Computer Science Programs Best Online Master's in Psychology Programs

Featured Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Austin Employment Outlook

Austin has seen significant job growth since the spring of 2020. As of September 2021, it was the fourth major U.S. metropolitan area to surpass pre-pandemic employment levels.

Within Texas, only Dallas showed faster recovery. Unemployment in Austin has dropped from 4% in July 2021 to 2.9% in December 2021.

According to Payscale, the average annual salary in Austin is $74,000, as of February 2022. Careers in medicine, animal care, and home health or personal aide care are growing rapidly.

With a shift to sustainable energy sources, careers as wind turbine technicians and solar panel installers are projected to expand rapidly. According to the BLS, employment opportunities are projected to grow 68% for wind turbine technicians and 52% for solar panel installers in the U.S. from 2020-2030.

5 Austin Jobs in Demand for 2022

Home Health Aide

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $27,080
  • U.S. Projected Job Growth (2020-2030): 33%

Home health aides provide care and service to individuals with chronic illnesses or disabilities. Work environments vary. Common settings include patients' homes, group homes, or daytime care facilities. Physical strength to help patients with daily tasks is required. A high school diploma is often sufficient, but some positions may require an associate degree.

Veterinary Assistant or Laboratory Animal Caretaker

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $29,930
  • U.S. Projected Job Growth (2020-2030): 14%

Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers often work with veterinarians and scientists. Their responsibilities include routine care and feeding and monitoring animals. This job can be physically and/or emotionally demanding. Jobs are available in veterinary clinics, animal hospitals, and research laboratories.

Wind Turbine Technician

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $56,230
  • U.S. Projected Job Growth (2020-2030): 68%

Wind turbine technicians install, maintain, and repair wind turbines. As companies switch to alternative energy sources, this is a career that is growing significantly in the Austin area. Wind turbine technicians often work outdoors. Sometimes, they may have to work in confined spaces.

Phlebotomist

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $36,320
  • U.S. Projected Job Growth (2020-2030): 22%

Phlebotomists draw blood for medical tests, transfusions, donations, or research. These professionals may work in hospitals, clinics, research centers, blood donation centers, or doctors' offices. A high school diploma is required. Employers typically look for applicants who have earned their phlebotomist certification, which can take a year or less to complete.

Medical Assistant

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $35,850
  • U.S. Projected Job Growth (2020-2030): 18%

Medical assistants work in doctors' offices, hospitals, healthcare facilities, or clinics. Responsibilities include both administrative and clinical tasks. To become a medical assistant, a high school diploma and associate degree or nondegree award are required. This career can be a stepping stone to other medical careers, such as nurse practitioner or physician's assistant.

Popular Career Paths in Austin

Business Administration Healthcare Administration Political Science Education Nursing Sports Medicine Mechanical Engineering Computer Science

2022 Best Accredited Colleges in Austin

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

Is your school on this list? Get the BestColleges ranking seal.

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

#1 Online College in Texas

The University of Texas at Austin

School Information
Location Austin, Texas
Admission Rate 32%
Graduation Rate 86%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 25% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in state | $432
Undergrad, out of state | $1,468
Graduate, in state | $586
Graduate, out of state | $1,073 

A top-ranked research institution, the University of Texas at Austin enrolls about 52,000 students on its sprawling campus. UT Austin grants degrees through 18 colleges and schools in areas like engineering, education, the liberal arts, and business. The university also boasts top graduate programs in business, public affairs, and engineering.

As a public university, UT Austin offers a significant tuition discount for Texas residents. Prospective students have the option to submit test scores and letters of recommendation as part of their application package.

#2 Online College in Texas

Southwestern University

School Information
Location Georgetown, Texas
Admission Rate 49%
Graduation Rate 69%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad | $1,615
Graduate | N/A

The first institution of higher education in Texas, Southwestern University dates back to 1840 and ranks among the best colleges in Austin. Today, the private institution enrolls undergraduates as a Methodist-affiliated college. The undergraduate curriculum provides an interdisciplinary approach covering the humanities, fine arts, social sciences, and natural sciences.

Located north of Austin in Georgetown, Texas, the school uses a test-optional admissions policy. Prospective students must submit a letter of recommendation as part of their application.

#3 Online College in Texas

Texas State University

School Information
Location San Marcos, Texas
Admission Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 54%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in state | $307
Undergrad, out of state | $715
Graduate, in state | $357
Graduate, out of state | $765

A public institution located a short drive from Austin in San Marcos, Texas State University enrolls about 38,000 students. At Texas State, students earn bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in diverse fields like business, biology, agriculture, and education.

The university does not currently require standardized test scores for admission. Instead, applicants in the top 75% of their class receive a holistic review. Transfer students need a minimum 2.25 GPA to apply.

#4 Online College in Texas

Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest

School Information
Location Austin, Texas
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad | N/A
Graduate | $705

Located at the edge of UT Austin's campus, Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest offers a small community feel. The seminary, which dates back to 1952, educates Episcopal priests and church leaders. 

At the institution, graduate students earn degrees in fields like clinical mental health counseling, divinity, spiritual formation, and religion. These programs offer Latinx ministry, military and healthcare chaplaincy, and Latinx counseling concentrations. The admission requirements vary depending on the program.

#5 Online College in Texas

Austin Graduate School of Theology

School Information
Location Austin, Texas
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 24% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad | $525
Graduate | $899

The Lipscomb University Austin Center focuses on biblical instruction. The school's curriculum follows a Christ-centered approach. 

Academic programs include online undergraduate and in-person graduate programs. The online bachelor's degree options provide a flexible format for busy students. At the graduate level, students in the theology program strengthen their ministry and faith-based training. Graduate options include a master of divinity, master of marriage and family therapy, and MS in applied behavior analysis.

#6 Online College in Texas

Saint Edward's University

School Information
Location Austin, Texas
Admission Rate 88%
Graduation Rate 64%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 5% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad | $982-$1,662
Graduate | $932-$1,610

Founded in 1885, Saint Edward's University ranks among the top colleges in Austin. Located on a hilltop campus, the private university operates as a Catholic institution. The school offers a small community feel in a major city from its campus on South Congress Avenue. 

At this Catholic school, undergraduates can major in diverse fields like entrepreneurship, art, environmental science, and medical laboratory science. The school's graduate programs include options in education, accounting, business, and counseling. Prospective students work with the admissions and financial aid teams to enroll.

#7 Online College in Texas

Concordia University Texas

School Information
Location Austin, Texas
Admission Rate 90%
Graduation Rate 49%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad | $1,120
Graduate | $600-$800

Concordia University Texas dates back to 1926. Today, the institution operates as a Christian university affiliated with the Lutheran Church. 

Undergraduates participate in the liberal arts tradition by engaging in experiential learning opportunities. The university enrolls students in business, education, health sciences, fine arts, humanities and social sciences, and natural and applied sciences departments.

Prospective students must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA. Test scores are optional, although high test scores can help applicants receive merit-based scholarships.

#8 Online College in Texas

Huston-Tillotson University

School Information
Location Austin, Texas
Admission Rate 63%
Graduation Rate 28%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad | $508
Graduate | $500-$700

A private institution located in Austin, Huston-Tillotson University is a liberal arts and sciences college. The university is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ.

Undergraduates can pursue degrees in business, education, the social sciences, the natural sciences, and technology. Applicants receive automatic admission with a 2.5 GPA or higher, and the college considers test scores optional. Those with a lower GPA can apply for regular admission.

Frequently Asked Questions About Colleges in Austin

How many colleges are in Austin? true

There are 20 universities and colleges in the Greater Austin area. The University of Texas at Austin has 18 colleges and schools covering major areas of study, such as education, medicine, natural sciences, law, and architecture.

Other colleges and universities in Austin include South University in Round Rock, Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas State University in San Marcos, Western Governors University Texas, St. Edward's University, and Austin Community College.

Specialized colleges in Austin include The Art Institute of Austin and CyberTex Institute of Technology.

Does Austin have good colleges? true

Austin has several universities and colleges with high national rankings. The University of Texas at Austin is ranked 38th nationally by U.S. News and World Report. It also has had 49 programs ranked in the Top 10, including education, earth science, geoscience, and engineering.

Texas State University also makes the national university rankings list. In addition, several Austin-area universities have regional rankings.

St. Edward's University is ranked ninth in Regional West Universities by U.S. News and World Report. Texas Lutheran University is ranked fifth. Huston-Tillotson University and Concordia University Texas are also regionally ranked.

How much does it cost to go to college in Austin? true

The true cost of college in Austin depends on the college or university, program, and residence status. For example:

In-state full-time tuition in the Moody College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin costs $11,230 for the 2021-2022 academic year. Out-of-state tuition in the same program costs $39,760. Most programs at the school have similar costs, but tuition varies.

Texas State University tuition costs an average of $11,860 for a nine-month school year for in-state students and $24,100 for out-of-state students.

As a low-cost option, Austin Community College says its tuition costs are 74% lower than other area colleges. It also says it is No. 1 for transfers to The University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University.

What is the cheapest college in Austin?

Austin has a number of affordable college options. In addition to lower costs, large universities like the University of Texas at Austin have scholarship programs that can help defray costs.

One of the cheapest colleges in Austin is Austin Community College. For 2021-2022, the cost per credit for in-district tuition is $85. Out-of-district tuition is $286 per credit. Out-of-state tuition is $353 per credit.

For large four-year universities, Texas State University was ranked as having one of the lowest online, out-of-state tuition rates in the country.

Is Austin a good place to live and study?

For 2021-2022, Austin is ranked as the fifth best place to live in the U.S., according to U.S. News and World Report. Because of positive rankings and career opportunities, Austin has seen significant growth in the last decade.

Austin ranks highly in a number of areas including educational and career opportunities, outdoor activities, and cultural events. Austin boasts festivals, museums, art galleries, and cultural events.

Lady Bird Lake, Zilker Metropolitan Park, and McKinney Falls State Park offer year-round outdoor activities.

Other financial reasons to choose Austin? Besides a low unemployment rate, Texas also has no individual state income tax.

Feature Image: Peter Tsai Photography - www.petertsaiphotography.com / Moment / Getty Images

A great town is a key aspect of many students' college experience. Read on to learn about the best college towns in Texas. Texas is one of the most affordable states for college tuition. Find the cheapest places to live in Texas and how much you can expect to spend. We've ranked the best colleges in San Antonio to help you in your college search, whether you're looking to attend on campus or online.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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