Private Colleges in Texas: Full List of Schools

Considering earning a degree in Texas? Learn more about private colleges in Texas and the highest-paying careers in the Lone Star State.
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  • There are over 30 nonprofit private colleges in Texas.
  • Texas private colleges boast a variety of acceptance rates and tuition costs.
  • Thanks to a strong economy, Texas offers many career options for college graduates.
  • Financial aid can help Texas college students lower their total costs.

Texas is home to over 1 million college students. And it's easy to see why so many undergrads choose the Lone Star State. With top-ranked colleges and universities and a booming economy, Texas can be a great place to earn a degree.

If you're considering private colleges in Texas, you've got options. You could attend a research university with a small-town feel or a small liberal arts college in a major city.

Ready to find your perfect fit? We'll look at popular Texas private colleges, the cost of living, and the highest-paying Texas careers.

5 Popular Private Colleges in Texas

Here are some of the most popular choices for private colleges in Texas. We selected these schools based on their number of applicants, academic reputation, and overall prestige.

1. Rice University

  • Avg. Annual Net Price: $19,902
  • Acceptance Rate: 9%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 8,672

Attend classes next to Houston's Museum District at Rice, which ranks among the best private colleges in Texas and best universities in the country. Rice's scenic 300-acre campus has several quads, Mediterranean Revival-style buildings, and shady canopies created by thousands of trees.

With a low student-to-faculty ratio and over 50 majors, Rice offers focused attention from faculty. Join an illustrious alumni network by graduating from Rice, which counts astronauts, Rhodes Scholars, and Nobel laureates among its alums.

2. Baylor University

  • Avg. Annual Net Price: $45,988
  • Acceptance Rate: 46%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 20,709

Founded by the Republic of Texas, Baylor is Texas's oldest continuously operating university. Located on the Brazos River in Waco, Baylor sits between Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin. You can choose from over 125 majors, 80 master's programs, and nearly 50 doctoral programs here.

The Baptist university's sprawling, modern campus houses students from all 50 states and 90 countries. Baylor is also known for its Big 12 athletics programs, which include 19 varsity sports.

3. Southern Methodist University

  • Avg. Annual Net Price: $45,094
  • Acceptance Rate: 52%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 12,053

Home to the George W. Bush Presidential Center, SMU lies in the booming Texas city of Dallas. Scenic Dallas Hall gives the campus a historical feeling. And in the summer, you can escape Texas and take classes on the 423-acre satellite campus in Taos, New Mexico.

The private university offers a nonsectarian liberal arts curriculum with over 100 majors. You can also participate in SMU Abroad and take classes in another country.

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4. Texas Christian University

  • Avg. Annual Net Price: $44,190
  • Acceptance Rate: 56%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 12,273

TCU is a popular choice for those interested in Christian private colleges in Texas. The university offers nearly 120 majors and over 80 graduate programs. With a 92% first-year retention rate, the vast majority of incoming students choose to stay at TCU.

TCU's scenic campus boasts over 3,200 trees, including the oaks lining University Drive. And if you attend TCU, you'll get to cheer for the Superfrog, the university's mascot.

5. Trinity University

  • Avg. Annual Net Price: $30,038
  • Acceptance Rate: 31%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 2,692

You can choose from nearly 50 majors at Trinity, including business, tech, engineering, and social science. The private liberal arts college dates back to 1869. In 2022, 99% of students here received some sort of financial aid.

Inspired by Italian architecture, the 125-acre campus brings red-bricked buildings to San Antonio. Trinity's campus sits between the Monte Vista Historic District and downtown San Antonio. Nearby Brackenridge Park offers a lush escape from city life for students.

List of All Private Colleges in Texas

We've created a complete list of all four-year nonprofit private colleges in Texas. You can use the table below to compare data on student population, average net cost, acceptance rate, and number of applicants.

All data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). We did not include schools with fewer than 500 undergraduates.

All Private Colleges in Texas
School Total Student Enrollment Avg. Annual Net Price Acceptance Rate Number of Applicants
Abilene Christian University 5,079 $28,978 66% 11,226
Austin College 1,182 $24,739 54% 5,192
Baylor University 20,709 $45,988 46% 40,753
Concordia University Texas 1,863 $24,761 86% 1,886
Dallas Baptist University 4,348 $27,607 91% 8,519
East Texas Baptist University 1,771 $24,169 68% 1,449
Hallmark University 876 $12,281 53% 329
Hardin-Simmons University 1,765 $22,636 88% 2,314
Houston Baptist University 4,257 $19,515 84% 10,258
Howard Payne University 838 $24,117 62% 1,233
Huston-Tillotson University 1,025 $21,069 52% 1,885
Jarvis Christian University 729 $7,365 100% N/A
LeTourneau University 3,536 $26,974 49% 3,000
Lubbock Christian University 1,596 $23,551 82% 1,070
McMurry University 1,237 $18,757 57% 2,345
Our Lady of the Lake University 2,326 $19,100 100% N/A
Paul Quinn College 938 $12,409 57% 2,048
Rice University 8,672 $19,902 9% 31,443
Schreiner University 1,193 $24,278 85% 2,202
Southern Methodist University 12,053 $45,094 52% 16,150
Southwestern Adventist University 793 $20,028 54% 1,438
Southwestern Assemblies of God University 1,794 $19,217 86% 627
Southwestern University 1,483 $31,014 45% 5,557
St. Edward's University 3,470 $27,193 85% 6,015
St. Mary's University 3,253 $21,379 86% 5,369
Stephen F. Austin State University 11,327 $13,858 90% 9,944
Texas Christian University 12,273 $44,190 56% 16,197
Texas College 642 $11,174 100% N/A
Texas Lutheran University 1,369 $21,442 92% 1,835
Texas Wesleyan University 2,578 $15,652 61% 4,622
Trinity University 2,692 $30,038 31% 11,463
University of Dallas 2,328 $27,250 59% 4,307
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor 3,575 $31,197 96% 13,001
University of St. Thomas 3,588 $19,207 97% 1,123
University of the Incarnate Word 7,305 $20,832 94% 9,625
Wayland Baptist University 2,978 $22,663 70% 1,311
Wiley College 698 $11,246 100% N/A
Source: NCES

Cost of Living in Texas

Texas is the second-most populous state, with a nearly $2 trillion economy.

In spite of that, the state has a surprisingly affordable cost of living, according to 2023 data from Bankrate. Popular cities like Dallas and Austin report costs of living in line with the national average, whereas Houston and San Antonio are more affordable.

The state's affordable cost of living can help offset the cost of attending Texas private colleges. In 2021, private colleges in Texas reported an average tuition rate of $37,450, according to NCES. That's slightly higher than the national average private college tuition rate of $32,825.

Highest-Paying Jobs in Texas

Nearly 13 million Texans work in the state, which reports an average annual pay of $57,300, according to May 2022 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The highest-paying jobs in Texas include careers in healthcare, management, engineering, and tech.

Some of these career paths require a graduate degree. For example, many of the top-paying healthcare professionals hold a doctorate. Other careers hire candidates with a bachelor's degree.

As a key player in the global oil and gas industry, Texas employs many petroleum engineers, a job that requires a bachelor's degree. Tech careers, like database architects, also report high salaries for professionals with an undergraduate degree.

Highest-Paying Jobs in Texas
Job Annual Mean Wage (May 2022)
Surgeons $338,400
Chief Executives $314,060
Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers $212,940
Nurse Anesthetists $208,940
Architectural and Engineering Managers $168,180
Lawyers $166,620
Petroleum Engineers $150,860
Database Architects $146,970
Source: BLS

Frequently Asked Questions About Private Colleges in Texas

How many private colleges are there in Texas?

There are around 50 private colleges in Texas. Some of the best-known Texas private colleges include Rice, Baylor, and Southern Methodist University.

Private four-year colleges in Texas enroll over 100,000 students. These colleges offer a variety of majors and graduate programs. You can also find liberal arts, religious, and specially designated colleges like Hispanic-serving institutions and HBCUs in Texas.

What is the most expensive private college in Texas?

Baylor reports the highest net price among Texas private colleges and universities. Undergrads can expect to spend around $46,000 a year to attend Baylor after financial aid.

While private colleges tend to cost more than public colleges, several private four-year colleges in Texas report affordable tuition rates. Wiley College, an HBCU, reports an average net price of around $11,000 per year, according to NCES.

What is the hardest private college to get into in Texas?

The hardest private college to get into in Texas is Rice. The private research university reported an acceptance rate of 9% in fall 2022. That means fewer than 1 in 10 applicants received an acceptance letter.

Many other private colleges in Texas admit a higher percentage of students. For example, Southern Methodist University admits around half of all applicants. 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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