Texas Online Colleges & Universities – Top Online Schools for 2014

More than 450 accredited post-secondary institutions operating in Texas served an estimated 2.2 million college students in 2013. That year, the state ranked 3rd in the nation for number of colleges and 2nd for total number of students. Texas benefits from numerous award-winning college and university systems, including the University of Texas System (nine universities and six health institutions) and the Lone Star College system (eight colleges plus an online wing). From religious schools to junior or community colleges to public universities, the enticing trait of the academic landscape in Texas is the mix of degree levels and college types.

Top Cities in Texas for College Education

While the state map of Texas is dotted with numerous colleges and universities, the majority of the institutions and students reside within the larger urban areas. Below is a glance at the top higher education cities in the Lone Star state.:

Most Popular Cities for College Students (Total)

  • Houston (207,100)
  • San Antonio (158,000)
  • Austin (133,800)
  • Dallas (101,700)
  • The Woodlands (98,300)

Texas Cities with the Most Colleges (Total)

  • Houston (75)
  • San Antonio (42)
  • Dallas (41)
  • Austin (33)
  • El Paso (16)

City Profile: Dallas Colleges

Dallas is an economic titan, supporting the fourth-largest workforce in the nation, and this could be linked to its role as a giant of higher education. The greater Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area plays host to more than 150 colleges, universities, trade schools and online degree programs. There’s a Texas-sized selection of colleges, ranging from large state institutions to small, technical academies. For starters, the University of Texas at Dallas is ranked among the top 150 national universities by U.S. News & World Report. Public education options also include the Dallas County Community College District, which has served 1.5 million students since its founding in 1965.

As for medical schools and health service education, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center located in Dallas has affiliated teaching hospitals in six Texas cities. UT Southwestern comprises the School of Health Professions, the Medical School and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Another Dallas facility for medical training is the Baylor University Medical Center, with national rankings in seven adult specialties held for 21 consecutive years.

Among local private institutions is Dallas Baptist University, a small school rated 16th among the best colleges for veterans by U.S. News & World Report. Private colleges providing specialized education include The Art Institute of Dallas, National Academy of Sports Medicine, Lawyer’s Assistant School of Dallas, Court Reporting Institute and Keller Graduate School of Management. Southern Methodist University, a private research university, serves 2,000 students with degrees in law, business, theology, engineering and education.

Dallas Digitized: Online Schools and Programs

Dallas is wired, and distance education here has built a four-decade heritage. For example, the University of Texas at Dallas is ranked 4th in the nation among the 2014 best online business and MBA programs by U.S. News & World Report. UT's online business degree programs are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and the main campus location shows its connections to technology -- it's nestled on 500 acres in nearby Richardson, home of the Telecom Corridor.

The Dallas County Community College District is developing the Ready2Go online associate degree, a program offered 100 percent online, featuring eight-week classes that can be taken two at a time, building to an accelerated online degree designed for students planning to transfer to any Texas public college or university. The community college district operates the R. Jan LeCroy Center for Educational Telecommunications (LCET), a leader in courseware development for 40 years. LCET first began creating distance learning classes in 1972, moving from the television-based courses of the era to entire programs accessible via today’s mobile devices. Other schools offering online degree programs include University of North Texas, a public institution based in Denton on the northern edge of the Dallas metro area. Independent online educators range from the University of Dallas, a private Catholic school in neighboring Irving, to nationally based entities such as Argosy University, DeVry University and University of Phoenix.

City Profile: Higher Education in Houston

More than 2.15 million residents call Houston home, making it the most populous city in Texas and the fourth largest in the country. The city that locals have named “H-town” is blessed with an abundance of educational opportunities. The energy, health care and aerospace sectors of the area economy have partnered with local colleges and universities to create one of the nation’s largest hubs of technology, industry and education.

Within the city are four state universities, three community college districts, three non-sectarian private universities, two private Christian universities, three law schools, and 11 private and public health institutions. The largest institution is the University of Houston, the flagship school of the four colleges located in the city that are part of the UH system. UH has earned recognition by U.S. News & World Report among schools offering the country's best undergraduate business and engineering programs, business graduate programs and law schools. Rice University and the adjoining Texas Medical Center -- the nation’s largest such facility -- are considered among the top medical schools in the nation. U.S. News & World Report rated Rice 18th overall in universities for 2013, and the private university was ranked first in the nation for "Best Quality of Life" by The Princeton Review. For students working late, the school is founding home of the Rice Coffeehouse, a student organization that serves fair-trade, organic coffee to the greater Houston community.

Houston Distance Learning Opportunities

Whether it’s their work and family obligations, or scheduling conflicts, not all Houston residents are able to commute or relocate to attend college. For students like these, the area’s major colleges, universities and trade schools offer a range of online degree and certificate programs. Some are hybrids, requiring partial campus attendance, and many degrees can be completed entirely online. The University of Houston is ranked third in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for online graduate education. The university’s class formats include hybrid, fully online and interactive videoconferencing modalities. Adults seeking continuing education can find online programs in technology, health care, business, teaching and law through Houston Community College. Texas Woman's University, a public school with campuses in Denton, Dallas and Houston, offers nearly 30 different undergraduate and graduate degrees in blended and fully online formats.

Houston offers so many diversions for students that they have to stay focused. There’s a lively café and nightlife scene, biking and water skiing, professional sports, concerts, rodeos, Tex-Mex restaurants, nearby lakes and the Gulf of Mexico to explore.

Online Colleges in Texas

The growth of educational technology has brought a wide range of distance learning opportunities to Texas. More and more colleges are beginning to offer full courses and certificates within the online platform, and many have graduated to full distance-learning degree programs. Texas Tech University, for example, has more than 50 fully online and hybrid programs available to students via its TTU Worldwide eLearning. This includes three undergraduate minors, five bachelor's degrees, 15 master's degrees, seven doctorate degrees and 20 graduate certificate or prep programs. In addition to Texas Tech, 52 other four-year Texas colleges provided online learning opportunities to students in 2013.

Tuition and Cost of Living in Texas

Students in Texas need to consider one of the most prominent elements of the college decision: the cost. Tuition, the largest and most notable cost, can vary depending on degree level, school choice and student residency status. In 2012, in-state Texas students paid an average of $9,776 per year in tuition, making Texas the 18th most affordable state in which to earn a college degree.

Fees and tuition are the main costs of pursuing a degree, but college students should not forget the cost of living (COL) associated with post-secondary education. These expenses can come in the form of room and board for on-campus students or as rent, utilities, food and so on, for those living off-campus. Texas falls at number ten in the nation for the lowest COL, with an index 9 percent below the U.S. average. Check the cities in Texas to find out more specific data as compared to the national average (100):

Urban Area Composite Index Housing Groceries Utilities Transportation Health Care Misc.
Harlingen -17.2% -24.2% -18.5% 5.6% -11.3% -4.8% -20.9%
McAllen -15.0% -22.4% -20.2% 3.1% -7.6% -2.1% -15.7%
Brownsville -14.2% -29.0% -11.4% -6.9% -5.0% -3.5% -8.6%
Wichita Falls -13.5% -16.0% -8.1% -15.6% -17.5% -5.5% -12.6%
Temple -12.6% -28.2% -16.3% 7.6% -2.1% -8.8% -7.2%
Paris -11.1% -20.0% -6.4% -12.6% -5.9% -6.0% -7.0%
Waco -11.1% -11.5% -18.2% -14.7% -2.4% -9.1% -9.5%
Lubbock -10.9% -19.6% -10.0% -25.2% -2.4% -1.7% -2.9%
Brazoria County -10.7% -24.2% -12.1% 0.8% -4.0% -4.4% -4.4%
Amarillo -10.5% -10.6% -10.1% -19.6% -7.9% -4.8% -9.2%
Round Rock -10.3% -22.0% -18.1% 7.0% -12.4% -3.4% -2.4%
El Paso -9.6% -14.0% -0.1% -11.9% -3.0% -4.6% -11.5%
Seguin -9.3% -21.5% -9.3% 3.8% -4.4% -3.1% -4.9%
Corpus Christi -9.2% -20.4% -17.6% 13.5% -6.7% -7.2% -4.0%
Odessa -9.1% -11.9% -8.8% -11.2% -6.4% -3.4% -7.6%
Fort Worth -8.9% -22.0% -10.2% 6.2% -2.4% -6.2% -3.9%
Weatherford -8.6% -20.3% -4.1% 7.4% -3.8% -6.9% -6.7%
Conroe -8.6% -19.9% -10.6% -3.9% -6.2% -5.0% -0.3%
Dallas -8.1% -29.3% -3.8% 5.5% 0.9% 3.8% 0.4%
Houston -7.8% -18.0% -14.9% -2.3% -0.8% -5.4% -0.1%
Lufkin -7.6% -16.6% -12.2% -1.3% -6.0% 5.5% -1.7%
San Angelo -7.6% -16.0% -10.7% 6.0% -2.4% -3.3% -5.1%
Nacogdoches -7.5% -16.7% -9.0% -2.3% -6.2% 2.6% -2.0%
Midland -6.8% -10.8% -10.3% -6.6% -4.3% -1.3% -3.4%
San Marcos -5.2% 0.1% -11.3% -13.2% -9.9% -7.4% -3.2%
Austin -4.5% -14.9% -10.7% 10.7% 0.2% 0.3% 0.4%
San Antonio -4.3% -4.7% -15.1% -17.2% 0.7% -0.1% 2.2%
Beaumont -4.3% -4.1% -12.9% -7.5% 0.4% -1.3% -1.9%
Tyler -3.7% -8.5% -7.3% 2.1% 0.2% -6.9% -0.7%
Plano -2.6% -14.8% 1.3% 3.9% 1.8% 2.9% 2.6%
Arlington -0.7% -10.6% -5.6% 9.9% -1.7% 5.4% 6.4%

Since a degree has become standard for so many professions, the real question most students wonder is will their degree hold value as they advance in their careers? To help answer that question, we’ve compiled a list of the top colleges in Texas when it comes to balancing tuition with lifelong earnings:

  • Rice University
  • Texas A&M – Main Campus
  • University of Texas – Austin
  • Southern Methodist University
  • University of Texas at Dallas

Funding a College Degree: Financial Aid and Scholarships

Stereotypically, the two major roadblocks to starting a degree program are time and money. While the 24-hour day won’t change, Texas students do have a few options when considering how to finance a college degree. The main options, federal aid and private scholarships, start with filing necessary paperwork: FAFSA forms for federal aid and specific applications for scholarships. In Texas, 69 percent of undergrad students were awarded financial aid from the U.S. government, ranking the state 21st in the nation.

Beyond aid from the federal government, there exist numerous private entities that appreciate education and are willing to help Texas students fund it. These scholarships are occasionally associated with specific schools, but there are a number of companies and organizations that seek to support the Texas student population:

  • Texas Restaurant Association
  • Dixie Youth Baseball League
  • The Dallas Foundation
  • Fort Worth Scottish Rite Foundation
  • Goss-Michael Foundation
  • Hope Pierce Tartt Foundation
  • Kenneth H. Ashworth Fellowship Program
  • Lubbock Area Foundation
  • National Association of Junior Auxiliaries
  • Rebekah Assembly of Texas
  • Sid Richardson Memorial Fund
  • Texas Professional Nursing
  • Texas Classical Association

Understanding Accreditation

Public and private not-for-profit colleges and universities in Texas earn accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), a regional organization dedicated to high standards in post-secondary education. SACS vets institutions against various criteria related to curricula, faculty, teaching methods and more. Texas colleges may seek accreditation from specialized organizations, as well, including the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business, for example, maintains AACSB accreditation, which signifies ongoing quality education in business and related fields. Any student considering enrollment at a Texas university should investigate its accreditation status thoroughly.

For-profit schools often hold national accreditation instead of regional. National accreditation agencies have different criteria and, in some cases, focus solely on non-traditional institutions such as fully online schools and career colleges. In Texas, for example, for-profit schools often seek accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), in addition to any subject-specific accreditation that apply. Whether regional, national or specialized, accreditation matters. While serving as a sign of quality, it's also required to procure federal financial aid.

Conclusion

When making the decision to attend college in the state of Texas, the devil is in the details: budgetary concerns, college of choice, online vs. campus, etc. The data found in this guide should offer a good opening. The following Texas school profiles provide more specific details to augment the general information above.

Read More

Online education remains a mystery to many. Some students avoid eLearning due to a lack of information, and others because it seems like more hassle than it's worth. Before writing it off, however, read how (and why) some of the top online colleges in Texas continue to excel when it comes to distance learning -- from hybrid courses on weekends to full-fledged degree programs that use today's most cutting-edge tech.

Online Departments in Texas
  • Dallas Christian College +

    How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

    We combine the best parts of the classroom experience with the best of online learning. Our FLEXCampus allows students to choose each week whether to attend in the classroom, to attend via a fully interactive web conference, or to attend by watching the recording of the class session. FLEXCampus allows students to choose the best way to attend based on their location, schedule, and learning style.

    What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

    Our mission is “to educate and mentor,” because we believe that a great education should transform the whole person. Therefore, we integrate personal growth into the heart of our curriculum and coach students throughout their path to graduation. The FLEXCampus at Dallas Christian College makes that education available even when “life” makes it difficult to go to college.

    Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

    We are adding two new degree programs in the Spring of 2014 and will continue to add degree programs. We expect to enhance our life-coaching program to be even more personal. We expect to enhance our national accreditation with regional accreditation.

  • Lubbock Christian University +

    How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

    At Lubbock Christian University, our goal is to provide our online students with the same personalized attention a student would get in our face-to-face classes. We keep our online classes small and expect our teachers to interact personally with students throughout our courses. Students receive prompt and thorough feedback on assignments. In addition, we try to surround students with a variety of supportive services, including a personal support services coach, disability support services, an online chapel, and an online writing center. We utilize a variety of online teaching strategies and try to utilize cutting edge technology to create an interactive and innovative approach to our online learning. Our mission at Lubbock Christian University is to challenge students to think critically, to excel in their disciplines, and to model Christ.

    What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

    Our online programs are valuable to students because they prepare our students for professional advancement and for living a Christian life. Our students graduate with excellent written and oral communication skills and with the discipline-specific knowledge they need to be successful in their careers. At the same time our students also get to examine ethical dilemmas and professional situations with the mentoring of Christian professors who will help students think critically about how their Christian worldview intersects with their professional responsibilities.

    Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

    Our online programs will continue to utilize the best pedagogy and research available to develop programs that equip students to be outstanding professionals and dedicated servants of God. Our commitment to students is and will remain that they will get personalized attention and mentoring to help them develop as students and as people. We believe that the college experience should involve more than classroom learning; it should also involve developing critical thinking skills and Christian morals and principles. Whatever the technology or teaching strategies, we will continue to hold true to our values as an institution and do everything we can to provide an unrivaled experience for students.

  • Midwestern State University +

    How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

    MSU has systematically chosen programs to deliver to students online. The effort began in the Health Science fields where learners were in need of continued educational opportunities while working in their trained professions. The online programs allowed these students to continue in their employment while earning the advanced degree for skills and advancement opportunities.

    What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

    MSU is an exceptional value regardless of the methodology. However, the opportunities presented for the online students have an increased value due to access and flexibility in residence. The Health Science programs and the Adult Completion degree (BAAS) are targeted to the experienced learner with clear learning and professional objectives in mind.

    Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

    MSU will continue to choose the programs and courses developed for online delivery carefully. There are plans to expand in the professional degrees as well as increased course offerings for the students that are taking traditional campus courses. An online M.A. in Criminal Justice and an online MBA will be coming in late 2014 or early 2015.

  • Prairie View A & M University +

    How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

    The overall goal is to provide high quality programs at affordable tuition to professionals with business or non-business backgrounds interested in building their management competencies. PVAMU's COB has offered online courses for a number of years, and has offered a fully online program - the MBA - for nearly three years. Plans are underway to offer a BBA in Accounting and a BA in Management as a degree completion option.

    What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

    The PVAMU online MBA is accredited by the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Businesses (AACSB) International ensuring high quality. The AACSB has stringent requirements on faculty qualifications, admissions and student learning outcomes. The online MBA can be completed in 18 months and represents a great value given similar programs. Financial assistance and scholarships are available for the eligible students.

    Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

    We wish to significantly grow these two programs over the next five years. We want to attract more a more diverse group of students - working professionals and non-traditional students - from outside the immediate Houston area, especially from neighboring states and from other countries. We have one of the best faculty, all of them (who teach graduate courses) have doctoral degrees and many have experience in the private sector. The faculty and administrators from dean to the department head, all have personally taught online, and understand the challenges presented by the online format from the learner’s perspective.

  • Schreiner University +

    How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

    Schreiner's online students benefit from the same one-on-one attention and mentorship that its traditional face-to-face students enjoy. Technology is not a barrier to student engagement, but an enhancement.

    What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

    Most online students are seeking flexibility to fit education within their busy schedules, plus personal attention from faculty who are committed to student success. Schreiner delivers this effective combination.

    Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

    Schreiner will continue measured growth in its online courses and degree programs, ensuring the integrity and effectiveness of each student's experience.

  • South Texas College +

    How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

    South Texas College’s faculty and staff believe that learning should provide the same quality student outcomes regardless of instructional medium. With that in mind, online learning at South Texas College attempts to provide students with multiple modes of learning and assessment in a given course or program of study.

    What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

    South Texas College offers over 20 fully online certificate and degree programs. These certificates and programs are especially valuable because today’s students are “time-bound” by their family and work responsibilities. Online courses and programs allow students to continue their education while still balancing all their other responsibilities.

    Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

    In five years, South Texas College plans to provide at least 5-7 more online programs and enhance its students services provided to students. As enrollment increases, the college sees that this mode of learning will become more mainstream, and our students will greatly benefit from the opportunities that they provide.

  • Texas A & M International University +

    We have worked diligently to develop online programs, especially at the graduate level, that are regionally relevant, but have a broad national and international appeal. Examples of this are our MS in Criminal Justice, the MA in Translation and the MBA in Spanish. We think of our online programs as passport degrees to global opportunities.

    What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

    Our faculty are top-notch educators adept at online teaching. Each has substantial research expertise that also taps into our unique location, cultural confluences and the international experience that infuses our programs. These strengths, combined with our low cost and flexible entry, are proving most attractive to students.

    Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

    We will continue to build on our innovative online programs that have a regional economic impact, but can clearly be exported nationally and internationally. Our campus and programs are at an enviable crossroads of the Americas, which will continue to fuel our online programs in Spanish for Spanish-speaking countries in this Hemisphere and beyond.

  • Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi +

    How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

    Our instructors are dedicated to creating online courses that engage students in authentic activities and prepare them for problem solving and careers in the world beyond school. Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi currently offers fully online degree programs. Several core curriculum courses and hundreds of other courses are blended or fully online. Students are well supported by instructors, support services, and the Islander community. Instructors who teach online participate in professional development that ensures that their courses are well organized, rigorous, highly interactive, and engaging.

    What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

    The expertise of our instructors in their fields, as well as their dedication to their students, is what makes our programs so valuable. Instructors put a lot of time into developing rigorous, engaging courses. Those who teach online attend 24 workshops that cover best practices for online learning and how to develop authentic learning experiences. Online courses are reviewed for quality and faculty work in mentoring pairs to provide input and critical peer-review. The Center for Faculty Excellence also provides professional development experiences for faculty to support their effective teaching. Instructors and staff work in concert to clarify expectations for students, provide support they need to succeed, and provide individualized attention and feedback. With Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s online programs students find convenience, choice, and more flexible scheduling. Students are able to tailor their experience to their individual situations and learning styles. Online instruction tends to provide multimodal presentations of content that is more accessible to people with disabilities as well as to students who speak English as a foreign language. Unlike in face-to-face lectures, students can review online content as often as they need to. Many students have expressed a preference for learning online as opposed to the face-to-face classroom.

    Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

    Currently, most instructors are delivering their courses with online components. Within five years, all instructors will deliver their courses as web-enhanced, blended, or fully online. Our institution is rapidly expanding its online offerings. Within five years, we will offer many more certificate and degree programs online. We also envision many partnerships with off-campus organizations that will facilitate authentic experiences for students beyond the physical classroom.

  • The University of Texas-Pan American +

    How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

    The University of Texas-Pan American offers online graduate programs to be innovative and entrepreneurial. They provide better access to students to the great programs that we offer at UTPA. We strive to maintain a student perspective and respond to their need as far as program delivery. Some of our online programs are scheduled during the same semester period as our on-campus program whereas other programs offer an online, accelerated format that offers the same curriculum at a much faster pace. It's all about offering students several options that make sense for their own learning styles and personal obligations.

    What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

    All of the graduate programs at UTPA - online and on-campus - offer added depth to the learning experience based on extensive faculty expertise and research, some of which is focused on the unique characteristics and research on an international, border region.

    Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

    UTPA expects to consistently increase our offerings of online graduate programs in response to student demand. This growth will come from offering a second delivery format for existing programs and offering new degree programs solely online. We believe that online education will have a transformative effect on UTPA. As faculty develop new ways to consider the interaction with students, these techniques will then be transitioned to the on-campus programs.

  • University of Houston-Clear Lake +

    How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

    University of Houston – Clear Lake (UHCL) is a SACS accredited university and offers quality online programs in the fields of business, science, education and human science and humanities. Currently, the Bachelor’s programs are all completer programs. One can take the lower level courses at a community college and complete the program online by taking the upper level courses at UHCL. Online Master’s offerings at UHCL could be completed fully online. The online programs offered are affordable, career oriented and caters to the needs of a modern student population. University faculty and staff are well equipped and in tune with changing technology and pedagogy.

    What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

    Online programs at UHCL are attainable, user friendly, student centered and applicable to real life careers. A student can achieve a certificate, a bachelors or a master’s degree while working a full time job and/or raising a family. The university faculty and staff strive hard to offer quality online courses and programs by maintaining the state and national standards to make the student learning experience an excellent one. The current programs could be found in:

    http://prtl.uhcl.edu/portal/page/portal/PRV/OnlinePrograms/UHCLOnlineHome

    Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

    In the future, UHCL plans to grow fully online programs in the field of science and technology, education, leadership, and behavioral sciences. Beyond the next five years, UHCL will offer selected lower level courses online to provide yet another pathway for freshman and sophomores to take required courses to meet their program requirements.

  • University of Houston-Victoria +

    How would you describe the institution's approach to online learning?

    UHV provides programs that meet the needs of working students in the Crossroads region and beyond who cannot find a way to attend face-to-face classes. Many students now take courses in online programs but also hybrid courses that have some face-to-face requirements. In effect, UHV does not make distinctions between its face-to-face and online program delivery.

    What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

    These programs are convenient for students who wish to balance work, family and education.

    Where do you see your online programs in the next five years?

    UHV views its mission as one of expansion, extending its online program inventory to meet workforce needs, while expanding program quality through new technologies and electronic pedagogy.

  • West Texas A & M University +

    How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

    West Texas A&M University’s approach to online learning is to focus on delivering high quality, up to date programs taught in a robust online environment. We seek to maintain quality instruction in the spirit of continuously improving our courses and programs.

    What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

    The focus of WTAMU’s online programs is to employ full-time faculty members who are dedicated to the long-run quality of our program offerings and to the success of our students. Our programs are characterized by achieving the highest level of accreditation available across multiple disciplines.

    Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

    Our expectation for the next five years and beyond is that WTAMU will continue to expand online program offerings and will incorporate technological advances in a way that will enhance quality in order to remain a leader in the delivery of distance education.

Known for its vast land, Texas also boasts a vast collection of online distance learning programs. Texas online colleges have some of the best degrees and certifications that students can earn completely online. Many of these degrees are the same ones issued through on-campus programs. And even more impressive, these programs are all through four-year, accredited online colleges. Online degree programs in Texas don’t skimp on curriculum, admissions requirements, or faculty, so the rigor and esteem of the online degree is not diminished but the online status. To help you in your search of the best online schools in Texas, we’ve compiled a list of the best programs and posted them below. Indexed from lowest tuition to highest, all of these online programs in Texas offer excellent higher education.

Click here to see our methodology.
1
Texas A & M University-Texarkana
Tuition and fees: $4,656 Enrollment: 1,776 Accredited: YES Website: Texas A & M University-Texarkana

Texas A&M University at Texarkana provides an online MBA to help meet students' personal and professional needs. The program is based on 36 credit hours, 27 of which are required courses and the other nine that are electives. Students need to have a minimum 2.5 GPA to apply and their online college classes include, but are not limited to, managerial finance, organizational behavior, and strategic management.

2
Sul Ross State University
Tuition and fees: $4,764 Enrollment: 2,626 Accredited: YES Website: Sul Ross State University

Sul Ross State University offers a two-year online MBA programs to students who are already working full-time in a professional career. Students use the Blackboard software system to complete their online college coursework and need to have a total of 36 graduate credit hours to complete their degree. Online curriculum is rounded out with classes in accounting, economics, finance, management, and marketing.

3
University of Houston-Downtown
Tuition and fees: $4,786 Enrollment: 16,072 Accredited: YES Website: University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown offers completion degrees enabling students to complete upper-level undergraduate work through distance learning. The curricula provided through the online college is similar to that offered on campus and the school's bachelor's degrees are available in areas such as finance, general business, management, psychology, teaching, the humanities, and many others.

4
The University of Texas at Brownsville
Tuition and fees: $4,991 Enrollment: 16,408 Accredited: YES Website: The University of Texas at Brownsville

Bachelor's and master's degrees and graduate-level certificates are among the programs offered through the University of Texas at Brownsville via distance learning. Many online college courses include Blackboard software, providing synchronous and asynchronous opportunities for learning. E-portfolios and virtual hard drives are other components of the school's distance-learning programs, which are available in areas such as business, criminal justice, nursing, and more.

5
The University of Texas-Pan American
Tuition and fees: $5,034 Enrollment: 19,069 Accredited: YES Website: The University of Texas-Pan American

The University of Texas, Pan American offers several online college programs at the graduate level to students who want to advance their career training and learn more about chosen fields. Currently, the degrees offered through distance learning include a master's degree in education, a master's degree in public administration and an MBA. The school is recognized nationally as an Hispanic-serving institution, and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

6
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin
Tuition and fees: $5,124 Enrollment: 3,778 Accredited: YES Website: The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

The University of Texas at the Permian Basin provides both single courses and full degree programs online to students wanting distance education. Its offerings include undergraduate and graduate level programming, such as a bachelor's of arts in psychology and an MBA program online. Online college students can be assured of quality and rigor in programming due to the school's Commission on Colleges Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation.

7
University of Houston-Clear Lake
Tuition and fees: $5,232 Enrollment: 5,405 Accredited: YES Website: University of Houston-Clear Lake

The University of Houston at Clear Lake has expanded its online programming since 2008 when it officially launched e-learning coursework. Students can find online bachelor's and master's degrees in areas such as criminology, finance, psychology, public service leadership and more. An online MBA is among the school's offerings as are a number of certificate programs.

8
Tarleton State University
Tuition and fees: $5,281 Enrollment: 11,719 Accredited: YES Website: Tarleton State University

Tarleton State University provides students with many ways to pursue online college learning at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Class formats include both blended and fully-online models with e-learning coursework available in areas that include business, criminal justice, human resource management, and information systems. Students will find bachelor's and masters degrees to choose from as well as certificate programs available through e-learning.

9
Texas A & M International University
Tuition and fees: $5,409 Enrollment: 7,130 Accredited: YES Website: Texas A & M International University

Texas A&M International University offers several graduate-degree options through its online college learning program, "TAMIU Online." Among these degrees are a Master's of Science in Criminal Justice, a Master's of Science in Curriculum and Instruction, and an MBA. The school, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, also includes an undergraduate RN-to-BSN degree as part of its e-learning programs.

10
Texas Woman’s University
Tuition and fees: $5,429 Enrollment: 9,607 Accredited: YES Website: Texas Woman’s University

Texas Women's University provides a diverse number of undergraduate and graduate learning opportunities to students who want to advance their professional knowledge. Online college degrees can be found in areas such as criminal justice, health studies, marketing, nursing, and more, and the school's offerings include hybrid and entirely-online programs in addition to e-learning completion degrees.

11
Midwestern State University
Tuition and fees: $5,648 Enrollment: 6,327 Accredited: YES Website: Midwestern State University

Midwestern State University provides a variety of online college courses and programs to help advance student learning. Its distance-learning programs include an RN-to-BSN degree in nursing, a bachelor's in radiologic sciences, and a Master's of Public Administration. The school, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, provides sundry other e-learning degrees.

12
Sam Houston State University
Tuition and fees: $5,972 Enrollment: 16,423 Accredited: YES Website: Sam Houston State University

Students attending Sam Houston State University will find a wide variety of degrees and programs available online. Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees can be found in areas such as criminal justice, instructional leadership, library science, public administration, and more. U.S. News & World report ranked the school among the best in both its 2013 'Best Online Bachelor's Programs' and 'Best Online Graduate Education.'

13
West Texas A & M University
Tuition and fees: $6,008 Enrollment: 7,284 Accredited: YES Website: West Texas A & M University

West Texas A&M University provides several graduate-level options to students who want to advance their education through online college. Programs offered include Master's of Education degrees in several areas, a Master's of Arts in Teaching and an MBA program. The school, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, indicates it provides the same level of instruction online as it does in its ground-based programs.

14
Stephen F Austin State University
Tuition and fees: $6,010 Enrollment: 12,937 Accredited: YES Website: Stephen F Austin State University

Stephen F. Austin State University offers full and partial online college degree to students who want to use distance learning to expand their knowledge. Students can find undergraduate distance-learning completion programs in education and nursing and a number of online master's degree programs also available. Individual online and hybrid e-courses help round out the sundry offerings provided at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

15
South Texas College
Tuition and fees: $6,045 Enrollment: 39,772 Accredited: YES Website: South Texas College

South Texas College provides students with opportunities to build their basic knowledge through online college. Certificates and associate degrees are among the educational offerings available online to students. Accounting, criminal justice, education, psychology, and sociology are subjects that students can pursue online and complete degrees in on their way to advancing their education.

16
Prairie View A & M University
Tuition and fees: $6,132 Enrollment: 7,687 Accredited: YES Website: Prairie View A & M University

Students at Prairie View A&M University can complete an MBA program entirely online in as little as two years or up to five. The online college program is geared toward working professionals who want to assume a leadership role as an entrepreneur or manager. The school, accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, also offers individual course available through e-learning.

17
Angelo State University
Tuition and fees: $6,211 Enrollment: 6,733 Accredited: YES Website: Angelo State University

Angelo State University offers single courses and full degree programs that can be found online through its Office of Distance Education. The university, accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, offers e-learning bachelor's and master's degrees as well as certificate programs. These online college degrees are made available through its departments of curriculum and instruction, nursing, psychology, and more.

18
Texas A & M University-Commerce
Tuition and fees: $6,283 Enrollment: 7,196 Accredited: YES Website: Texas A & M University-Commerce

Texas A&M University, Commerce provides a number of online college learning opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Many are e-learning degrees based at the master's level that fall into areas such as business administration, education, marketing, sociology, technology management, and more. Individual courses and classwork are also provided through web-based learning to provide additional choices.

19
The University of Texas at Tyler
Tuition and fees: $6,592 Enrollment: 5,991 Accredited: YES Website: The University of Texas at Tyler

The University of Texas at Tyler offers online learning through its colleges of arts and science, business and technology, nursing and health services, and others. The university, accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, provides students with a variety of master's degree options in areas such as English, nursing administration, and school counseling. A RN-to-BSN degree and doctoral degree in nursing are among students' other e-learning choices.

20
University of Houston-Victoria
Tuition and fees: $6,397 Enrollment: 4,491 Accredited: YES Website: University of Houston-Victoria

The University of Houston-Victoria offers many bachelor's and master's degrees as well as certifications through its distance-learning programs. Students can advance their learning in areas such as criminal justice, healthcare administration, management and psychology, and be assured of quality programming due to the school's Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accreditation.

21
Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi
Tuition and fees: $6,594 Enrollment: 9,089 Accredited: YES Website: Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi

Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi offers a variety of master's degrees available through e-learning to assist students wanting to advance their professional knowledge. Many of the online college degrees can be completed in a year to two, and the school's distance-learning offerings include an MBA, a Master's of Science in Elementary Education, and Master's of Science in Nursing. Individual online courses are also available.

22
Texas A & M University-Kingsville
Tuition and fees: $6,640 Enrollment: 7,782 Accredited: YES Website: Texas A & M University-Kingsville

Texas A&M University at Kingsville provides business education at the graduate level that is entirely available through online college. The school's MBA program can be completed in 24 to 30 months and is geared toward working professionals who want to advance in their career. Accreditation of the school is through the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

23
The University of Texas at El Paso
Tuition and fees: $6,869 Enrollment: 22,224 Accredited: YES Website: The University of Texas at El Paso

The University of Texas at El Paso provides an online college degree program to help students advance their creative writing skills. The program is a Master's of Fine Arts and requires students to complete 48 coursework hours and 6 thesis hours. The school notes that writers are able to complete this degree from wherever they are located in the world.

24
Amberton University
Tuition and fees: $7,050 Enrollment: 493 Accredited: YES Website: Amberton University

Amberton University offers a number of bachelor's and master's degrees to students interested in online college. Students use the school's "Virtual University" to post questions and hold discussions, complete research, and explore the full range of e-learning resources. Degrees can be found in areas including, but not limited to, business administration, Christian counseling, family studies, and managerial science.

25
Texas Southern University
Tuition and fees: $7,118 Enrollment: 7,842 Accredited: YES Website: Texas Southern University

Texas Southern University provides students with several e-learning options to advance their learning at the graduate level. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and offers online master's degrees in education, justice, and public administration. Certificates in IT and e-governance, non-profits, and Homeland Security and emergency management, as well as an eMBA program are additional online college options.

26
Texas State University-San Marcos
Tuition and fees: $7,264 Enrollment: 31,799 Accredited: YES Website: Texas State University-San Marcos

Texas State University at San Marcos provides numerous opportunities for students to complete undergraduate or graduate level education partially through distance learning. Online college students can expand their knowledge in areas such as business, criminal justice, education, engineering, math, music and much more. Most distance-learning degrees are found in hybrid format, meaning both online and on-campus learning comprise the programs.

27
Texas Tech University
Tuition and fees: $7,380 Enrollment: 28,429 Accredited: YES Website: Texas Tech University

Students wanting to advance their learning can look to the online college and distance learning program available through Texas Tech University. Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees are offered through e-learning as are minor degree programs and graduate certificates. The university's extensive offerings include subjects such as architecture, general studies, horticulture, software engineering and more.

28
University of Houston
Tuition and fees: $7,513 Enrollment: 36,586 Accredited: YES Website: University of Houston

Students attending the University of Houston can find an extensive number of programs and courses available online to enhance their learning. Most e-learning, online college courses take place using Blackboard software, but programs like CourseWare and CourseCompass are used for some classes. Bachelor's and master's degrees as well as certificates are among students' e-learning options.

29
Arlington Baptist College
Tuition and fees: $7,540 Enrollment: 236 Accredited: YES Website: Arlington Baptist College

Association for Biblical Higher Education, Commission on Accreditation.

30
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Tuition and fees: $7,605 Enrollment: 1,569 Accredited: YES Website: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center provides a number of distance-learning degrees to students wanting online college education. Its schools of allied health sciences and of nursing provide a wide range of choices including a bachelor's of science in clinical services management and an RS-to-MSN degree. The school is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

31
University of North Texas
Tuition and fees: $7,989 Enrollment: 34,051 Accredited: YES Website: University of North Texas

The University of North Texas allows students to accelerate their graduate-level learning with master's degrees available through distance education. Online college courses prioritize flexibility and are available in eight-week formats and five start dates each year. Educational leadership, learning technologies, and strategic management are among the subject areas in which students can pursue online learning.

32
Lamar University
Tuition and fees: $8,076 Enrollment: 12,459 Accredited: YES Website: Lamar University

Lamar University offers diverse learning opportunities to students who want to expand their knowledge through distance education. Online college student can pursue both undergraduate and graduate degrees in areas such as the computer sciences, criminal justice, education management and more. Many e-learning classes are made available through the Blackboard software program, and the school provides an orientation to train students in its use.

33
Texas A & M University-College Station
Tuition and fees: $8,421 Enrollment: 42,053 Accredited: YES Website: Texas A & M University-College Station

Texas A&M University at College Station provides extensive advanced educational options to students who want to pursue a master's degree through distance education. E-learning degrees are available to students in subjects such as education, engineering, math and the sciences, and students can also find single online college courses and certificates to complete. Group projects, class discussion and other interactions comprise part of the online learning platform.

34
The University of Texas at Arlington
Tuition and fees: $8,878 Enrollment: 35,165 Accredited: YES Website: The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington provides students with sundry opportunities to advance their learning through distance education. Programs available in education and nursing give students the option to complete bachelor's and master's degrees or even pursue relevant certifications. The Blackboard platform is typically used in online college classes and allows for reading, discussion and student interaction.

35
The University of Texas at Dallas
Tuition and fees: $10,276 Enrollment: 13,207 Accredited: YES Website: The University of Texas at Dallas

The University of Texas at Dallas offers students several online college opportunities to advance their knowledge in targeted fields. Its distance-learning offerings include a master's of science degree in accounting and an online MBA program. Individual course offerings are also available through e-learning to help students find who are seeking course flexibility. The school offers other degree programs that are available partially online.

36
Wayland Baptist University
Tuition and fees: $11,320 Enrollment: 7,950 Accredited: YES Website: Wayland Baptist University

Wayland Baptist University provides online educational opportunities to those wanting to learn more about Christian ministry, human services, justice administration, nursing, public administration and other fields. Accreditation is through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and most courses use the Blackboard course management system. Online college degree choices are offered at the associate, bachelor's and master's levels.

37
Dallas Christian College
Tuition and fees: $13,148 Enrollment: Accredited: YES Website: Dallas Christian College

Dallas Christian College provides undergraduate learning opportunities to students interested in distance learning. Programs include a Bachelor's of Science in Practical Ministries degree and a Bachelor's of Science in Business degree with two concentration areas. Online college classes start every six weeks, and the college is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).

38
Southwestern Assemblies of God University
Tuition and fees: $15,730 Enrollment: 1,870 Accredited: YES Website: Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Southwestern Assemblies of God University provides more than 50 associate, bachelor's and master's degrees to students interested in distance learning. The majority of these are available completely online while some feature blended programming. Online college chats and video lectures complement course materials and Christian thought is a strong focus in programs that include biblical studies, psychology and social work.

39
Lubbock Christian University
Tuition and fees: $16,870 Enrollment: 1,964 Accredited: YES Website: Lubbock Christian University

Lubbock Christian University, built on a heritage of Christian faith, awards online college degrees to students interested in advancing their knowledge. The school, accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, provides a Bachelor's of Science in Organizational Management, and Master's of Science in Human Services among its offerings.

40
Southwestern Adventist University
Tuition and fees: $17,080 Enrollment: 860 Accredited: YES Website: Southwestern Adventist University

Southwestern Adventist University provides a variety of online college degree options to students interested in distance learning. Bachelor's degrees are available through the school, accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, in areas that include elementary education, history, general studies, religious education, psychology and others.

41
Dallas Baptist University
Tuition and fees: $19,900 Enrollment: 4,399 Accredited: YES Website: Dallas Baptist University

Dallas Baptist University provides both blended and fully-online degrees to students interested in distance learning. These online college degrees, available through the associate to master's levels, also include several dual-program options. The school, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, allows for e-learning in a diverse number of areas including Christian ministries, criminal justice, psychology, sociology, and sundry others.

42
Northwood University-Texas
Tuition and fees: $20,140 Enrollment: 760 Accredited: YES Website: Northwood University-Texas

Northwood University in Texas provides students with blended learning and online college options to complete their degrees and advance their learning. The university, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, offers e-learning business administration degrees in areas such as aftermarket management, entrepreneurship, finance, management and other fields, and a master's degree in organizational leadership.

43
Schreiner University
Tuition and fees: $20,355 Enrollment: 1,252 Accredited: YES Website: Schreiner University

Schreiner University, with a Presbyterian affiliation, offers education degree and certification programs to students interested in advancing their learning with online college. Its Master's of Education allows students to seek either a teacher or principal certification as part of their web-based learning. Accreditation is through the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

44
East Texas Baptist University
Tuition and fees: $20,500 Enrollment: 1,315 Accredited: YES Website: East Texas Baptist University

East Texas Baptist University, a faith-based organization, provides students with opportunities to complete a bachelor's degree in criminal justice entirely through online college. The school, accredited through the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, includes collaboration and multiple learning strategies as part of its "ETBU Online" criminal justice programming.

45
Howard Payne University
Tuition and fees: $21,700 Enrollment: 1,257 Accredited: YES Website: Howard Payne University

Howard Payne University, based in a Christian heritage, provides online college learning through an educational leadership degree. This master's of education program is offered entirely online, but also necessitates students complete an internship, typically in the school district where they work. Students need to complete 30 credit hours in all, but do not have to do a thesis.

46
Our Lady of the Lake University-San Antonio
Tuition and fees: $22,756 Enrollment: 1,583 Accredited: YES Website: Our Lady of the Lake University-San Antonio

Our Lady of the Lake University at San Antonio offers many different degrees to students interested in online college learning. A Master's of Social Work and a Master's of Science in nursing are among the e-degrees offered. Students can also find an RN-to-BSN degree among the online choices at the the university, which is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

47
University of the Incarnate Word
Tuition and fees: $22,790 Enrollment: 7,470 Accredited: YES Website: University of the Incarnate Word

The University of the Incarnate Word puts education, faith, service and truth among its many goals in its distance-learning programming. E-degrees from the bachelor's to master's levels are offered with some even allowing for concentrations. The university, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, provides degree study in fields such as criminal justice, education, religious studies and more.

48
Concordia University-Texas
Tuition and fees: $22,920 Enrollment: 1,709 Accredited: YES Website: Concordia University-Texas

Concordia University in Texas awards numerous degrees to students who seek education through distance learning. Accreditation is through the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and online college programs include, but are not limited to, a Bachelor's of Science in Business and a Master's of Education in Differentiated instruction, as well as certifications related to education.

49
LeTourneau University
Tuition and fees: $23,590 Enrollment: 3,554 Accredited: YES Website: LeTourneau University

LeTourneau University offers accelerated learning options at the undergraduate level to students seeking distance education. Online college degrees are available in areas including the aeronautical sciences, arts and sciences, business, and education. Students can be assured of quality programs due to the university's accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

50
Abilene Christian University
Tuition and fees: $25,270 Enrollment: 3,919 Accredited: YES Website: Abilene Christian University

Abilene Christian University, emphasizing personal and spiritual growth, provides graduate-level degrees online to students who seek e-learning. The school, accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, includes a Master's of Education in Higher Education, a Master's of Science in Organizational Development, and other degrees among its online college offerings.

51
University of St Thomas
Tuition and fees: $25,300 Enrollment: 1,747 Accredited: YES Website: University of St Thomas

The University of St. Thomas offers advanced students an online master's degree program in education, which can be taken either fully online or via hybrid study (a combination of virtual and face-to-face). Requirements for the online college program include 36 graduate credits and two years of field experience.

52
University of Dallas
Tuition and fees: $31,150 Enrollment: 1,432 Accredited: YES Website: University of Dallas

The University of Dallas, a Catholic institution, provides students with the option to complete the core coursework of their degree either on campus or through e-learning with their online college. The university, accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, provides courses such as church history, moral theology, and theological reflection as web-based options.

53
Dallas Theological Seminary
Tuition and fees: N/A Enrollment: N/A Accredited: YES Website: Dallas Theological Seminary

Dallas Theological Seminary provides blended learning and fully-online degrees to students who want to advance in their Christian-based knowledge. Options include master's of arts in biblical studies and Christian leadership degrees as well as a master's in theology. The school, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, also offers similar e-courses through Chinese-language programs.