Why Choose a Public College or University in Texas?
Texas is home to 109 public institutions, second-most in the United States. Naturally, even big public schools (and college football rivals) like the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University can coexist here, where “everything is bigger.”
Roughly 667,000 students enrolled in public Texas colleges and universities in fall of 2020, especially in the state’s metroplex, central, southern, and Gulf Coast regions. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board forecasts an enrollment of more than 700,000 at public institutions in Texas in 2025.
Public colleges and universities in Texas attract students seeking nationally renowned academic programs and the quintessential college experience. While Texas is also home to the nation’s third-highest number of private colleges, its legendary public institutions offer distinguished research and agriculture programs, award-winning athletics teams, and military corps traditions.
Texas participates in the Academic Common Market at the graduate level, enabling graduate students in Texas and other participating states to enjoy reciprocal academic programs and in-state tuition rates. Texas also upholds the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement for distance programs.
Pros and Cons of Attending a Public College or University in Texas
Resident students in Texas enjoy a lower cost of living than the national average, especially for housing and groceries.
Larger enrollments and class sizes (even at small public schools) can mean less face time with instructors.
Big public schools may offer so many options that registration for preferred courses is difficult.
The prospect of navigating a sprawling university campus may overwhelm some students.
Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Colleges and Universities in Texas
As their names suggest, nonprofit and for-profit institutions differ in their financial practices. Nonprofits, which include most public colleges and universities in Texas, receive funding from the state and the federal government to cover operating expenses. This funding enables nonprofit schools to offer discounts like in-state tuition rates and federal financial aid packages to students.
For-profit schools are typically private and require higher tuition to make up for the lack of federal funding they receive. Texas is home to 63 for-profit institutions. Students enrolled in for-profit schools must rely on merit-based financial aid and loans, and they tend to accrue more student debt.
How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Public College or University in Texas?
Attending a public college or university in Texas cost an average of $8,598 in (in-state) tuition and fees in 2019-2020, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Students at public state schools spent an additional $10,112 in room and board fees that year. Out-of-state tuition and fees for public colleges and universities in Texas reached nearly $25,000 during the same period.
The average tuition and fees at a private college or university in Texas was $36,014 in 2019-2020, according to NCES. By contrast, the University of North Texas offers tuition rates as low as $50 per credit for some programs.
Residency status, along with course load, full- or part-time enrollment, and online learning options can also affect the cost of attendance.
Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree
Frequently Asked Questions About Public Colleges and Universities in Texas
How many public colleges and universities are there in Texas?
Texas houses 109 public institutions, second in the nation for the highest number of state-run four-year schools.
Public colleges and universities in Texas emphasize renowned research, agriculture, and liberal arts programs, not only in the state’s most populous cities but also through rural outreach. Texas is also home to more than 60 private, for-profit colleges.
What is the most expensive public college or university in Texas?
University of Texas at Dallas costs $14,564 in tuition and fees per year for Texas residents. Other public colleges and universities in Texas with hefty price tags include Texas A&M College Station ($13,012 in tution per year) and Texas Tech University ($11,852 per year).
Out-of-state students can expect to pay more than double the in-state tuition rate in most cases. Four-year institutions in Texas can provide generous financial aid packages. Many public state colleges and universities offer low tuition rates for online students, and some offer discounts for border-state-residents.
What is the least expensive public college or university in Texas?
AmongTexas’ least expensive public schools is the University of North Texas, with rates as low as $50 per credit for Texas residents for some programs. Midwestern State University and the University of Texas Medical Branch also offer affordable in-state tuition rates of $4,790 and roughly $5,000 per semester, respectively.
Undergraduate applicants typically submit the FAFSA for financial aid consideration. Public colleges and universities in Texas generally honor a variety of federal financial aid awards, including scholarships, grants, work-study jobs, and set and in-state tuition rates.
What is the biggest public college or university in Texas?
Texas A&M is the largest public institution in Texas and among the biggest in the United States. Texas A&M enrolls more than 60,000 students at multiple campuses throughout the state and around the world.
The University of Texas at Austin also boasts one of the largest enrollments in the state and among the top 10 largest public colleges and universities in the U.S., with a student population of nearly 52,000. The UT college system also includes multiple campus locations and programs, statewide.
Is a public college or university right for me?
Choosing a public institution in Texas is a highly personal decision.Students may consider attending a public college or university for a variety of reasons, including affordable tuition rates and financial aid, diversity of programming, and myriad student engagement opportunities.
Since a public four-year college may not suit every student, Texas also offers a variety of two-year, technical, and online programs through its public schools. Students should seek out a program to fit their individual needs with considerations for key elements like campus amenities, career development, and student support services.