2022 Best Colleges in Texas

Interested in pursuing a degree in the Lone Star State? BestColleges has you covered. We rank the best colleges in Texas.
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Earning an online college degree can help students achieve career goals and earn higher wages. A 2019 report published by the College Board found that the median annual salary of full-time employees with only a high school diploma was $24,900 less than full-time employees with a bachelor's degree as their highest level of education.

With one of the largest state economies in the U.S., Texas offers ample opportunities for recent graduates of online colleges in the state. Major Texan industries include manufacturing and construction. There are also growing tech spheres in big cities like Austin and Dallas.

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.

Ready to Start Your Journey?

Attending a top online school in Texas allows students to network and make connections in the state, perhaps leading to internships or job opportunities. For more information about going to college in the Lone Star State, check out our Resources for Students in Texas page.

Top Online Degree Programs in Texas


Featured Online Programs

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


Texas Employment Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment rates in Texas rose during the second half of 2021. The state stands on the leading edge of some of the fastest-growing jobs in the nation, including wind turbine service technicians, solar photovoltaic installers, and nurse practitioners.

As of 2020, Texas employed the most wind turbine service technicians and the third most nurse practitioners of any state. Additionally, solar photovoltaic installers in Texas earned the third-highest mean wages among U.S. states. Learn more about these jobs and other in-demand positions in Texas below.

5 Texas Jobs in Demand

Nurse Practitioner

  • Annual Median Salary (in Texas, May 2020): $113,800
  • Job Outlook (in Texas): 32% growth from 2018-2028

Nurse practitioners coordinate patient care and often provide primary or specialty healthcare. As advanced practice registered nurses, these professionals may work independently or with a physician. Many nurse practitioners order and perform diagnostic tests, analyze results, and give patients treatment.

Wind Turbine Service Technicians

  • Annual Median Salary (in Texas, May 2020): $52,420
  • Job Outlook (in Texas): 83% growth from 2018-2028

Wind turbine service technicians install and maintain wind turbines. These technicians must understand all wind turbine components, including the electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic systems. Wind turbine service technicians often run diagnostic tests and analyze data from wind turbines to find and fix problems.

Solar Photovoltaic Installers

  • Annual Median Salary (in Texas, May 2020): $53,440
  • Job Outlook (in U.S.): 52% growth from 2020-2030

Solar photovoltaic installers, also known as PV installers, assemble and install panels for collecting and converting solar power into electricity. PV installers work with clients to design solar power systems, including the number of panels and where to install them. These professionals may also perform maintenance and upkeep on solar power systems.

Physical Therapist Assistants

  • Annual Median Salary (in Texas, May 2020): $67,250
  • Job Outlook (in Texas): 29% job growth from 2018-2028

Physical therapy assistants, also called PTAs, work in hospitals and clinics under the supervision of physical therapists. These professionals work directly with patients, explaining and assisting with treatment plans. Physical therapy assistants may also provide patients and family members with instructions about what to do after treatment is completed.

Information Security Analysts

  • Annual Median Salary (in Texas, May 2020): $110,680
  • Job Outlook (in U.S.): 33% growth from 2020-2030

Information security analysts protect organizations from cyberattacks. These professionals perform risk assessments of computer networks and install defensive firewalls, software, and other safety measures. Information security analysts may work individually or as part of a team. They can find positions in various industries, including finance, tech, and law enforcement.

Popular Career Paths in Texas

2022 Best Accredited Colleges in Texas

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 2022 Best Colleges in Texas

Rice University

  • Houston, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad | $1,736-$2,170
Graduate | $670-$2,893

Rice University is a private, Houston-based institution that educates over 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Consistently ranked as one of the best colleges in Texas, some of Rice's most popular bachelor's degree options include engineering, exercise science, biochemistry, and computer and information sciences.

In addition to academic programs, students at Rice can access extensive student services, including wellbeing and counseling services, a disability resource center, and an office of multicultural affairs. Undergraduate applicants must hold a high school diploma or GRE certificate and submit standardized test scores.

Average Tuition
In-state
$48,330
Out-of-state
$48,330
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
98%
Admission Rate
9%
Students Enrolled
7,282
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
5% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#2 2022 Best Colleges in Texas Best Value

The University of Texas at Austin

  • Austin, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in state | $540
Undergrad, out of state | $1,835
Graduate, in state | $586
Graduate, out of state | $1,073

The University of Texas at Austin is the flagship institution of the Lone Star State's public university system. As the state's premier public institution, UT Austin ranks among the best colleges in Texas and enrolls over 50,000 students each year. Some of the school's most popular undergraduate majors include engineering, journalism, business, and communication.

First-year applicants must submit an online application along with high school transcripts, an admissions essay, and associated fees. Optional application materials include SAT/ACT scores, a resume, and letters of recommendation.

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,824
Out-of-state
$38,326
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
High
Retention Rate
96%
Admission Rate
32%
Students Enrolled
51,090
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
25% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#3 2022 Best Colleges in Texas

Trinity University

  • San Antonio, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad | $1,642
Graduate | $454-$1,800

Established in 1869, Trinity University is a private San Antonio-based institution that serves over 2,500 students each year. With over 100 majors and minors, students at Trinity can access a variety of disciplines in the social sciences, business, and the humanities. Year over year, this liberal arts institution ranks among the best colleges in Texas.

In addition to small class sizes and a prestigious reputation, Trinity provides students with extensive support through career counseling, wellness initiatives, and student accessibility services. Prospective students must submit a completed application with their high school transcripts, teacher evaluation forms, and a personal essay.

Average Tuition
In-state
$44,064
Out-of-state
$44,064
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
92%
Admission Rate
29%
Students Enrolled
2,606
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
1% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#4 2022 Best Colleges in Texas

Texas Christian University

  • Fort Worth, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad | $1,796
Graduate | $1,870

Texas Christian University is a private research institution based in Fort Worth. With an enrollment of nearly 12,000 students, TCU offers over 100 academic majors. Popular options include nursing, finance, and communications. Alongside academics, TCU has a long tradition of competition in Division I athletics.

First-time college applicants must submit an online application along with their official high school transcripts, a college essay, and counselor and teacher recommendations. Applicants can supplement their application with optional elements like SAT/ACT scores.

Average Tuition
In-state
$49,160
Out-of-state
$49,160
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Low

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Low
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
47%
Students Enrolled
11,024
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
3% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#5 2022 Best Colleges in Texas

Southern Methodist University

  • Dallas, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad | $1,834-$2,234
Graduate | $500-$2,020

Located in suburban Dallas, Southern Methodist University is a private research institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church. SMU enrolls over 12,000 students annually and advertises an 11-to-1 student-faculty ratio. Consistently ranked among the best colleges in Texas, some of the school's most popular majors include finance, marketing, and communications.

Prospective SMU undergraduates must submit an online application and fees, along with official high school transcripts and SAT/ACT scores. SMU also encourages applicants to submit an extracurricular resume highlighting work, volunteer activities, and anything else that allows their unique attributes to shine through.

Average Tuition
In-state
$50,200
Out-of-state
$50,200
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
47%
Students Enrolled
11,824
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

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.

#6 2022 Best Colleges in Texas

Baylor University

  • Waco, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad | $1,674-$2,093
Graduate | $2,093

Established in 1845, Waco's Baylor University ranks as one of the best colleges in Texas. This Christian institution offers over 140 undergraduate and graduate degrees to its 20,000-plus students. Popular academic areas include nursing, biology, accounting, and medical preparatory programs. 

Aspiring undergraduates must submit a college essay and high school transcripts as part of their application package. While not required, the school recommends that prospective learners submit a resume and two letters of recommendation.

Average Tuition
In-state
$42,842
Out-of-state
$42,842
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
45%
Students Enrolled
18,033
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#7 2022 Best Colleges in Texas Best Value

Texas A & M University-College Station

  • College Station, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad, in state | $434
Undergrad, out of state | $1,363
Graduate, in state | $892
Graduate, out of state | $1,950

Texas A&M University's College Station campus is the flagship institution of the TAMU university system. Established in 1876, this research institution holds land-, sea-, and space-grant status. It has an enrollment of nearly 73,000 students. Some of the school's most popular majors include biomedical sciences, mechanical engineering, and business administration and management.

First-time college applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED certificate and submit a completed application. While not required, TAMU recommends that prospective students submit resumes, official test scores, and letters of recommendation.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,941
Out-of-state
$34,190
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
High
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
68,726
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#8 2022 Best Colleges in Texas

University of Dallas

  • Irving, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad | $1,444
Graduate | $1,250

The University of Dallas is home to over 2,000 students and ranks among the best colleges in Texas. Established in 1956, this Catholic institution offers various bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs. In addition to their major requirements, undergraduate degree-seekers complete core classes in areas like philosophy, literature, and theology.

Popular majors at the University of Dallas include biology, business, and English. Prospective undergrads must submit a completed application, counselor and teacher recommendations, and high school transcripts. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$39,680
Out-of-state
$39,680
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Low

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Low
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
45%
Students Enrolled
2,481
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
24% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#9 2022 Best Colleges in Texas

Southwestern University

  • Georgetown, TX
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad | $1,615

Based in Georgetown, Southwestern University is a private institution with an enrollment of fewer than 2,000 students. Founded in 1840 with roots in the Methodist church, Southwestern is the oldest university in the state and ranks among the best colleges in Texas. Popular undergraduate degrees include business, communications, and psychology.

Prospective students must submit an online application along with an application essay, an academic recommendation letter, and official high school transcripts. Southwestern has a test-optional policy and does not require applicants to submit SAT/ACT scores for admission or merit-based scholarships.

Average Tuition
In-state
$43,560
Out-of-state
$43,560
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
49%
Students Enrolled
1,511
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#10 2022 Best Colleges in Texas

LeTourneau University

  • Longview, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit
Undergrad | $380-$1,090
Graduate, out of state | $625-$800

LeTourneau University is a small Christian school based in northeast Texas. Established in 1946, this school focuses most of its academic attention on technical disciplines, including aeronautics, computer science, and engineering. LETU offers a variety of online and on-campus degrees for undergraduate and graduate students.

Interested undergraduates must submit high school transcripts. Additionally, applicants to the school's engineering program must hold a minimum 3.2 high school GPA. LeTourneau does not require the submission of SAT/ACT scores, but it will consider them as supplementary material.

Average Tuition
In-state
$30,520
Out-of-state
$30,520
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
45%
Students Enrolled
3,150
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Frequently Asked Questions About Colleges in Texas

What is the #1 college in Texas?

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The "best" college depends largely on a student's goals and preferences, but top colleges in Texas include Rice University, the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, and Texas Christian University. These schools provide excellent degree programs and offer the chance to network with many industries and businesses in Texas.

Prospective students should conduct ample research when choosing a college. Variables to consider include tuition cost, academic quality, and student services. Applicants can reach out to the admissions departments at their prospective schools to learn more about student life and expectations.

Does Texas have good colleges?

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Yes, Texas has many good colleges. Rice University, for example, ranks among one of the best schools in the country. Students can find excellent in-person and online degree programs at Texan universities that align with their career goals.

Attending school in Texas can open the door to many industries in the state, including tech, medicine, and business. Before applying to college, students should research their prospective career paths and suitable degree programs.

How many major colleges are in Texas?

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The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recognizes 148 higher education institutions in Texas, including 37 public universities, three state colleges, and 38 independent universities. Texas is also home to several technical colleges and health-related institutions.

Students can narrow their Texan college search by considering factors like tuition cost and what area of study they'd like to pursue. Each university has its own strengths and weaknesses.

What is the cheapest college in Texas?

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The cost of college depends on several factors, such as the type of institution, the type of degree, and whether a student qualifies for in-state tuition. Texas residents will typically find the cheapest tuition at community colleges or state universities.

Nonresidents can also pursue relatively cheap degrees at a Texan community college, though they may not benefit from the in-state tuition rate. However, some online programs offer in-state tuition to out-of-state students. Aspiring students can contact a school's admissions department to see if they can access in-state rates or low out-of-state tuition.

Who qualifies for free college in Texas?

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Free college in Texas — where available — is typically provided to Texas residents from low-income households. However, each university sets its own policies for free tuition. For example, as of 2020, the University of Texas at Austin provided free tuition to qualifying first-year and transfer students with household incomes of less than $65,000.

Many colleges post tuition policies on their websites. Students can also reach out to the admissions department with specific questions about tuition.

Feature Image: Danny Lehman / The Image Bank / Getty Images

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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