Online Colleges in Texas
As the largest state in the contiguous U.S., Texas has an abundance of fully and partially online postsecondary programs. The most noteworthy of the state s online offerings come from the University of Texas and Texas A M public education systems. These networks cover the entirety of the state, with nearly every campus providing students with a selection of online courses and programs.
In effect, these online public programs let students throughout Texas earn their degree online while having relatively easy access to campus resources. And while online students enroll at a specific branch, the public systems allow distance students to choose from a massive catalogue of courses run by their in-network sister schools.
Texas also has a number of smaller universities and liberal arts colleges with an equally respected selection of online offerings. But before we identify the best online colleges in Texas, let s start by looking at the state of online education and higher education as a whole in Texas today.
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A Brief Overview of Higher Education in Texas
In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that Texas had 271 degree-granting institutions, broken down as follows: 108 public, 100 for-profits and 63 nonprofits. The College Board states that 15- 16 in-state tuition and fees for four-year public schools averaged out to be $9,120; out-of-state figures were an average of $23,100 over the same time.
in 2013, Texas had 271 degree-granting institutions
- 108 public
- 63 non-profit
- 100 for-profit
As for financial aid efforts, over the last decade Texas has proved to be a national leader in the support of students in-need. In fact, 100% of all state grants awarded by Texas in 13- 14 were classified as need-based, as found in an extensive survey by the National Association of State Student Grant Aid Programs (NASSGAP).
To put that in context, 11.1% of all funds used by the state in support of higher education go to need-based grants, which amounts to $773.8 million dollars. That is the equivalent of awarding $725.17 to every undergraduate enrolled in a Texas school in 13- 14. Over the same year, Texas also awarded $98.9 million in loans and nearly $8 million for work study.
To sum all that up: Texas s higher education system is in great shape; it has a huge pool of institutions; a low and stable in-state tuition rate; and a stellar commitment to need-based aid.
The State of Online Higher Education in Texas
Texas s commitment to online programs comes in many shapes, but it is perhaps best embodied by the state s membership in the Southern Regional Education Board s Electronic Campus. This pact between the states of the southeastern U.S. (Texas being the furthest west) lets students sift through a huge directory of the region s online ed. programs. Depending on where they are enrolled, students can audit these courses, earning credits towards their degree. This is effectively the dream of online ed.; students taking the best courses as needed, regardless of location.
SREB goes one step further with its aid initiatives. Through services like the Academic Common Market/Electronic Campus and the Regional Contract Program for Health Professions, students are able to fully enroll in a selection of out-of-state programs while paying Texas s in-state tuition rates. While the selection of programs is small and the admissions criteria strict, for qualified students these are incredible opportunities. A current list of programs available to Texas residents can be found here.
As far as data on online ed. s success in Texas, consider that, in 2014, the Texas Higher Education Data program reported that 32.6% of all semester credit hours (SCH) attempted in Texas were done so via a distance learning format. Those distance formats were subdivided as follows: 48.4% were taken entirely online; 42.4% were taken face-to-face but out-of-district or off-campus; 6.62% were taken via a hybrid/blended learning format; and the final 2.6% were taken using TVs and other non-computer mediums.
The NCES estimates that 90% of fully online students enrolled in Texas courses today live in Texas. More than 75% of those students are undergrads. Online colleges in TX are here to stay.
Best Online Colleges in Texas
Below, you will find our carefully calculated rankings of the 25 best online four-year programs in Texas, consisting of a mix of elite smaller schools and the very best of the massive state school networks. Read each school profile to better understand their approach to online education and the programs they offer; review our methodology to learn how we arrived at our final 25 best online schools in Texas; and explore our other Texas resources, from our database of every Texas school to our index of popular scholarships.