Is Studying in Texas Worth It?
Texas offers many benefits for college and university students. Find out what the state has to offer and why students choose to study in Texas.
- Texas has more than 240 colleges and universities and a thriving economy.
- Texas features a low cost of living and dynamic and diverse cities and college towns.
- Texas has extreme weather conditions, and its transportation system has challenges.
- Educational attainment in the state is below the national average.
Students have many reasons to study in Texas. In this state, learners have access to hundreds of universities and colleges, including some of the country's most affordable colleges. A diverse state, Texas offers many outdoor recreation opportunities, lively cities, and a lower than average cost of living.
Despite these incentives, Texas also has some potential drawbacks for students, including long commutes, extreme weather conditions, and fast-growing class sizes. To help you make the best decision for your future, we examine the pros and cons of Texas as a college destination.
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What Are the Pros of Studying in Texas?
Excellent Academic Programs
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Texas had 244 degree-granting institutions in 2019-2020, third-most among all states. The state has 109 public institutions, the second-most in the country. Texas is also home to 56 community colleges, the third-most of any state.
The high number of schools gives prospective students plenty of options when searching for the best colleges in Texas, best online colleges in Texas, and best community colleges in Texas. They can also choose among 88 nonprofit private colleges as of 2022, including several renowned schools.
The strong selection of colleges in Texas increases the chances that degree-seekers will find a school and program that work well for them.
Employment and Economic Opportunity
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that more than six million new jobs will be created between 2019 and 2029. The Texas Workforce Commission's (TWC) 2020 Report on Texas Growth Occupations projected the addition of approximately 1.7 million new jobs in Texas alone between 2018 and 2028.
With targeted training aiming to satisfy the growing demand for workers in the state, degree-seekers can gain access to the fastest-growing careers in Texas and the highest-paying jobs. According to the TWC, the best opportunities will be available in the technical and professional services, healthcare, and finance and insurance industries.
Texas is home to several of the best cities to work in as well. According to the BLS, the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area added nearly 200,000 nonfarm jobs in 2021, and jobs in the Austin-Round Rock region grew by 7.3%. These are some of the largest growth rates in the country.
Low Cost of Living
According to the World Population Review, Texas has a cost of living index of 91.5, lower than the national baseline of 100. With a lower cost of living than 30 other states, Texas is one of the most affordable places to live in the U.S..
The state's lower cost of living also means students from various socioeconomic backgrounds can afford school and housing costs in Texas.
Range of College Cities and Communities
Texas has several popular cities and some of the best college towns in the country, including Denton and College Station. Forty percent of the population of College Station are college students. Since 2010, Houston, Fort Worth, and Austin have been some of the fastest-growing cities in the country.
While Texas schools and communities attract students from around the world, the state also ranks in the top 10 in retaining its students after graduation, as per the Senate Joint Economic Committee. Educated citizens flock to dynamic states and cities with large metropolitan centers and thriving economies, and Texas has much to offer in these areas.
Diversity and Inclusion
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas had the largest population increase in 2021, adding more than 310,000 people. It also had the seventh-highest percentage growth, increasing its population by 1.1%. This significant population increase has helped make Texas one of the most diverse states in the nation.
This diversity transforms the state's schools and cities. Campus diversity improves learning outcomes, leading to more diverse cities with vibrant and inclusive communities. Applicants and graduates may seek out diverse locations when choosing a college as an LGTBTQ+ student or looking for a city in which to start their career.
Lifestyle and Recreation
In Texas, students have access to many recreational opportunities to strike a healthy school and life balance. According to Travel Texas, the state is home to lakes, rivers, and beaches for water lovers. Students excited about the outdoors can also visit national parks and hiking trails.
Texas' college towns host countless sporting events, arts and cultural exhibitions, and music festivals. Texas cuisine takes inspiration from many cultures. Students can enjoy Tex-Mex, barbecue, and European-inspired cuisines.
What Are the Cons of Studying in Texas?
Extreme Weather Conditions
Texans sometimes encounter extreme weather conditions. In 2021, a winter storm left millions of people without electricity. La Niña weather patterns can create extensive dryness and drought in the south, and over 130 tornadoes touch down in Texas each year on average.
Extreme weather can cause danger and disruptions for college students, including evacuations and shelter-in-place orders. Texas supports its residents in several ways, including law reforms governing the weatherization of the state's power grid and facilities and resource initiatives like Ready South Texas. Most colleges in Texas offer their own severe weather support resources as well.
Large Class Sizes
Most colleges in Texas try to limit the number of students in each class, but large student populations and continued rapid growth have led to big class sizes. For example, enrollment numbers at the University of Texas at Austin have reached all-time highs in recent years, including record numbers of underrepresented students.
While the increased diversity offers several benefits, large classes can have drawbacks. Students may have difficulties navigating large college classrooms, be too intimidated to participate, have trouble standing out, and have less one-on-one interaction with their instructors.
The polarizing politics in Texas can create issues for students, particularly those who fall in the political minority. Some degree-seekers in the state may have a more difficult time finding like-minded students and organizations that represent their identities.
For example, colleges in Texas have been banned from teaching critical race theory, whereas controversial groups have a college presence with fewer barriers. Texas also has a campus carry law that allows gun owners to carry concealed weapons on campus, which could make some students feel unsafe.
Low Levels of Educational Attainment
With income inequality impacting educational attainment and financial need disproportionately affecting minority students, Texas' degree completion rate sits below the national average. According to the World Population Review, 30% of Texans have a bachelor's degree compared to 42% of Americans aged 25 and older.
While Austin is one of the national leaders in educated residents, McAllen, Mission, and Brownsville are at the bottom of the list. Colleges in Texas can combat this with more financial aid for undocumented students.
Learners can explore the available Texas scholarships and financial aid appeal process for additional support.
As the rapid population growth in Texas continues, the state's roads and transportation systems are under increasing pressure. The state's large size and urban sprawl can make for long commutes for students.
Public transportation does give students options, including a light-rail system, trains, and buses. Depending on what school they attend and where they live, however, students may need a car to commute reliably.
So, Is Studying in Texas Worth It?
Students can find many reasons to study in Texas. The state's natural beauty and diverse cultural attractions offer something for everyone. Learners can keep busy in metropolitan areas and cities. And students looking for a more rural lifestyle can apply to colleges in the state's smaller towns.
The sheer number of colleges in Texas allows students to find their ideal program and school. They can choose from among the most affordable colleges in Texas, compare program curriculums and faculties, or look for the student services that best support their needs.
Students who study in Texas also have access to the Texas job market, which features considerable growth in many fields, including education, healthcare, and the professional and technical services industries.
With such an enormous selection of schools, choosing the right college in Texas can be difficult. In addition to program costs, prospective students should consider travel costs and room and board. They should also look at how in-state and out-of-state tuition rates might impact them.
Frequently Asked Questions About Studying in Texas
Is Texas a good place to go to college?
Yes. Texas is a great place to go to college for many types of students. The state has nearly 250 higher education institutions, giving learners plenty of choice in their studies. Texas is also home to dynamic cities, and offers recreational activities, cultural experiences, and tasty cuisine.
Colleges in Texas position graduates to enter the state's booming workforce. The TWC projects substantial growth in many sectors, such as construction, education, healthcare, professional and technical services, and finance and insurance.
What is the average cost of tuition in Texas?
According to College for All Texans, during the 2021-2022 academic year, the average tuition in Texas is $3,018 for in-district community college students and $4,782 for out-of-district community college students. Tuition was $19,213 for resident students at public four-year schools, and $19,586 for nonresident students at public four-year schools.
Texas students can minimize costs in many ways. They may qualify for scholarships and financial aid or attend community college first and then transfer to a four-year university. Online study options may also allow students to save money, with greater flexibility to work and study at the same time.
How much does it cost to live in Texas?
According to the World Population Review, Texas has a cost of living index of 91.5, much lower than the national baseline of 100. Only 17 states have a lower cost of living. Most of the rural areas in Texas offer more affordable living spaces than the cities.
Texas comes in below the national average in all areas except for utilities. The state has second-lowest grocery costs, sixth-lowest transportation costs, and 17th-lowest housing costs.
Will I get a job after graduating from a university in Texas?
As the economy continues to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, graduates from colleges in Texas are likely to find stable, well-paying jobs. The TWC projects the addition of 1.7 million jobs in Texas between 2018 and 2028, including opportunities in many of the state's leading industries.
Degree-seekers can improve their employment odds by making use of the career services and support offered by most colleges in Texas. Students might also pursue internships and practicums to build their experience prior to graduation.
What is the cheapest university in Texas?
According to College for All Texans, the cheapest university in Texas is Texas A&M University, Central Texas, which charged residents of the state $6,627 in 2021-2022. Many other universities have tuition rates below $10,000 for residents, including Angelo State University, Midwestern State University, Sul Ross State University, Tarleton State University, and Texas Woman's University.
The most affordable college in Texas overall is Southwest Texas Junior College, which charges non-residents $1,526 in tuition. For in-district students, the cheapest college in Texas is Collin County Community College, which had a tuition rate of $1,760 as of 2021-2022.
Feature Image: Tom Werner / DigitialVision / Getty Images
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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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