25 Best Value Colleges And Universities In Texas

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Best Texas Schools

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Over 1.5 million college students enrolled in colleges and universities across Texas, according to the Texas Almanac. Many of the best colleges in Texas have legacies stretching back for hundreds of years, and are only expected to grow between now and 2025. As home to some of the most ethnically mixed cities in the United States, including Houston and Dallas, learners at the top colleges in Texas have a unique opportunity to receive the education necessary to become truly global citizens. According to the Houston Chronicle, business, social sciences, history, and health (particularly in the world-renowned Texas Medical Center) rank among the top majors for Texas-based undergrads, and agriculture also stands as a popular choice. Texas is also home to some of the highest-ranked institutes of higher learning in the United States, particularly when it comes to doctoral programs.

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Our Ranking Methodology:

10 Ranking Schools in Texas

Rank School Location
1 University of Texas Austin Austin, TX
2 Rice University Houston, TX
3 University of Texas Dallas Richardson, TX
4 Prairie View A&M University Prairie View, TX
5 Texas A&M University Commerce Commerce, TX
6 Texas A&M International University Laredo, TX
7 Trinity University San Antonio, TX
8 Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX
9 Midwestern State University Wichita Falls, TX
10 University of Houston Houston, TX

Graduation Rate: This indicator refers to the percentage of students who complete their degree within 150% of normal time (six years for a typical four-year degree program). Schools that perform well in this area have a track record of keeping students engaged and successful for their entire time on campus. We weighted this category 30% of the total and retrieved the information from College Navigator.

Net Price: In order to make sure that cost was still a factor in the ranking, we also considered overall net price as an indicator. Taken from data on College Navigator, “net price” is an approximate value that refers to the average amount of money a student could expect to pay each year after taking into account tuition, room and board, living expenses, scholarship awards, and financial aid packages. We weighted this category 25% of the total.

Acceptance Rate: Academically challenging, popular universities tend to be more selective and thus have a lower acceptance rate. In order to pinpoint those colleges that boast rigorous academics and also receive a large number of applications, we considered acceptance rate – the percentage of students out of the total number of applicants who receive an acceptance letter. We retrieved this information from College Navigator and weighted it 30% of the total.

20-Year Net Return on Investment: Taken from information on the website PayScale, this statistic provides a picture of how much students can expect to make after they graduate from a particular college. More specifically, the figure is calculated by taking the average income an alumnus will make over his or her first 20 years after graduation and subtracting the amount paid in tuition. Schools with a high ROI tend to be better at preparing their students for the job market. We weighted this category only 15% because data was not available for all colleges considered.

After adding all the points, we gave each university a final score out of 200. The schools below have scores ranging from 95 to 165, and each has something different to offer in terms of its cost, quality, and reputation. No one college is perfect (which is why the scores vary so much) but this ranking offers you a premier selection of universities to help get you started on your search for an education in Texas.

  1. University of Texas Austin
    Location

    Austin, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Since 1883, University of Texas at Austin - located a short jaunt from the state capital building - has stood out as one of the top universities in the United States. With 156 undergraduate degrees and 237 graduate degrees (master's and doctorate) to choose from, aspiring enrollees have plenty of options available. There are over 1,300 organizations, 17 libraries, and four museums to keep students entertained on campus; off-campus, they can enjoy the city's world-class live music and art scenes. For the globetrotters out there, UT also offers 400 study abroad opportunities in 78 different countries.

  2. Rice University
    Location

    Houston, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in the heart of Houston near the Museum District and legendary Texas Medical Center, Rice University consistently ranks as one of the top 20 schools in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. Rice University officials recently unveiled a plan to make tuition free for students from families with incomes under $130,000 as part of an effort to make a college education more accessible to the middle and working classes. The Princeton Review praises Rice as the #1 school for race/class interaction, making it the most integrated institute of higher learning in the country.

  3. University of Texas Dallas
    Location

    Richardson, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    University of Texas at Dallas offers 142 academic programs, which includes bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctorates. The school opened in 1969 as part of the University of Texas system, which by then had already established itself as one of the best colleges in Texas. Unsurprising given that it was founded by the same minds behind Texas Instruments, it's best known for its engineering, science, and business programs. The faculty includes six members of the National Academies and one Nobel laureate. Located 20 miles north of downtown Dallas, the UTD campus is ideal for students who prefer suburban environments.

  4. Prairie View A&M University
    Location

    Prairie View, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Prairie View A&M University, now part of the Texas A&M system, was the first state-supported college for African-American students in Texas, and enrollment began during Reconstruction in 1878. It began as a "normal school," a designation for colleges in Texas focused on training teachers. Now, it hosts eight different schools with programs ranging from agriculture to architecture. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1, students receive extra attention from their professors. In addition to its academic legacy, Prairie View A&M is well-known for its tight-knit community, with over 150 student organizations and the #1 homecoming ranked by HBCU Digest.

  5. Texas A&M University Commerce
    Location

    Commerce, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    One of the earliest-established colleges in Texas, Texas A&M University Commerce launched as East Texas Normal College, a "normal" (aka "teacher's"), college in 1889. It became part of the Texas A&M system in 1995. Students have their pick of five different schools with over 100 graduate and 40 graduate programs available, although agriculture is the main attraction. The department plays host to a popular rodeo, and four students have advanced to compete nationally. For students with children, Texas A&M University Commerce offers an accredited, four-star Children's Learning Center that serves double duty as a childcare center and educational institution.

  6. Texas A&M International University
    Location

    Laredo, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The New York Times ranks Texas A&M International University as third in the nation for upward mobility, and Washington Monthly ranks it as number four in its list of the best American colleges for economic mobility. Located in Laredo near the Mexican border, the school commits itself to teaching students how to thrive in a global, multicultural society. Texas A&M International University originally only offered courses for juniors and seniors in the 1970s, but by 1995 began accepting freshmen and sophomores for baccalaureate degrees. One of the most unique on-campus perks is the The Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium.

  7. Trinity University
    Location

    San Antonio, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Trinity University has been a part of San Antonio history for over 150 years. With 2,430 students, this private liberal arts college has a 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio, making it ideal for learners who prefer faster, more detailed feedback from their professors. It's also an option for students who love to give back, as Tigers donate around 100,000 hours per year to community service. There are 47 majors to choose from, and each department helps carry out the school's main mission to create an ecologically sustainable campus.

  8. Southern Methodist University
    Location

    Dallas, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in Dallas, Southern Methodist University is ranked sixth in the nation for internship opportunities and thirteenth in the nation for best alumni networks, according to The Princeton Review. Forbes considers Dallas itself the top city for jobs in the United States as well, so students here are already at an advantage when beginning their careers. SMU offers 100 majors, 85 minors, and, unique among the best colleges in Texas, triple major opportunities. For American history buffs, the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which includes the Presidential Library and Museum, is located on campus.

  9. Midwestern State University
    Location

    Wichita Falls, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Wichita Falls, Texas, home of Midwestern State University, is located halfway between Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma City. Among the best colleges in Texas, MSU stands out as particularly friendly to out-of-state students, with recognition from U.S. News & World Report as one of the top American universities with the cheapest out-of-state tuition. The school is also well known for its liberal arts program, which emphasizes social justice, community service, and ecological sustainability with an eye toward the preservation of human resources.

  10. University of Houston
    Location

    Houston, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    University of Houston offers 109 majors and minors, including 105 master's programs and 46 doctoral programs, as well as 25 different research centers. It's been recognized as having the second best undergraduate program for entrepreneurs by The Princeton Review, the fifth best online graduate education program by U.S. News & World Report, 3 of the top 10 law programs by U.S. News & World Report, and one of the top engineering programs by U.S. News & World Report. UH is also notable for hosting the first master's degree in subsea engineering in the country.

Sources:
College Navigator
Pay Scale

About the Author:
Iris Stone began her writing career as a freelance writer and researcher. She now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Her work has included articles related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and careers.

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