Before enrolling in an online program, students often ask a series of questions to guide their college choice. Some questions focus on tuition and fees and whether their residency will impact cost. Others want to know how to identify the best online colleges and learning options in the state, and how each school stacks up against its respective peers. This page answers these questions and more to ensure that each potential online student in Texas has the knowledge and tools they need to make the college and career decision that’s right for them.
The growth of educational technology has brought a wide range of distance learning opportunities to Texas. More and more colleges and universities are beginning to offer full courses and certificates within the online platform, and many have graduated to fully online degrees. 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 & universities provided online learning opportunities to students in 2017.
Almost every student knows the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition, at least on the surface. If you have established residency in the state for a certain period, e.g. 6 months, you qualify to pay a reduced tuition rate. However, students who have lived in the state for less than six months, or who continue to live elsewhere, usually pay a much higher cost per credit or per semester. Here’s a glance at in-state and out-of-state tuition averages in the state of Texas for the 2016-2017 school year:
In-state tuition: $5,384
Out-of-state tuition: $14,383
Source: U.S. Department of Education, 2017
Some colleges in Texas have strayed from the tuition norm, making in-state rates more widely available to those looking to enroll in degree programs or courses. This cost reduction stems from two specific changes in the higher education landscape: online learning and the mobile student. With online learning, schools may keep their online programs (and some individual courses) at the in-state rate, regardless of where their students reside. This attracts a wider range of qualified students who may or may not be able to attend classes in person. Before enrolling in an online program, it’s critical to fully understand your intended college’s or university’s payment structure to avoid potential surprises come pay day.
For students interested in hybrid programs (combinations of in-person and online classes), or who have mobile careers or nomadic lifestyles, a variety of Texas colleges offer tuition reciprocity through the Academic Common Market. This means that for qualifying programs, Texas residents pay in-state rates at any of the 1,900 undergraduate and graduate degree programs at 15 participating institutions in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
1.Online students, regardless of residency, may qualify for in-state tuition rates.
2.The Academic Common Market allows students in Texas to pay in-state tuition in 14 other states.
For federal financial aid, U.S. citizens should fill out the FAFSA application form. The sooner the better, but the ideal date to maximize your changes of receiving aid is March 15 — before the following academic year. Non-citizens must go through the Texas Application for State Financial Aid. Here the state will ask for tax records (from you and/or your parents) and school transcripts or other enrollment records. A successful application will result in student classification as a Texas resident for tuition purposes.
The state of Texas has a handful of requirements (and benefits) that everyone who plans to apply for aid should know. First, each student needs to make “satisfactory academic progress, or SAP. SAP requirements are part of Texas’s Maintain My Eligibility initiative, and include the following achievement and commitment criteria:
2.0 at the baccalaureate level and 3.0 at the master’s and doctorate levels.
At least 67% of attempted credits per semester must be completed. Class drops, withdraws, incompletes, and class repeats excluded from GPA do NOT count.
Federal aid only covers a certain amount of instruction hours: First bachelor’s (180 credit max), second bachelor’s (45), teacher certificate (60), master’s degree (104), and doctoral degree (113). All courses that exceed maximum credit load must be paid for by the student.
If your GPA or credit loads dip and are not improved by the end of spring semester, you’ll receive notification from the state through your Texas State email address. All federal aid will be withheld until grades or credit loads meet expectations. For more information on reinstatement of benefits, and for a detailed rundown on how to apply or appeal, please visit the state of Texas Maintain My Eligibility page.
A wide range of scholarships and grants exist for college-bound Texans. Unlike financial aid, these awards are usually merit- and needs-based and don’t need to be repaid after graduation. Because they can be federal, state, private, vary by amount, and even focus on a specific course of study, it’s important to research each one individually to make sure you understand the requirements before lining up your college finances. Here’s a look at the common scholarship-related questions that come in from Texas college students, and how each one pertains to the research and application process:
The good news is, many Texas students learning on campus or online have a ton of scholarships for which they can apply. The first and most important step is to find them. Start by searching through updated databases of scholarships specific to the state, including the Texas page on scholarships.com and the Texas list on collegescholarships.com.
Once you’ve found a few that fit your academic goals and desired award amount, find the list of application requirements. This usually entails a minimum GPA, filling out a formal application, writing an essay, providing work or academic samples, and potentially an interview. Also, be very mindful of the application deadline. Give yourself plenty of time to complete everything, and don’t forget to have a peer or mentor go through your materials with you before you hit SEND.
The word “Best” can be subjective, mostly because each student has a unique set of academic wants and needs. One college hopeful may want a list of the best accredited online colleges in Texas, while another wants to identify the best affordable online colleges in Texas. The following ranking provides a more comprehensive view of the online college landscape in Texas, weighing multiple factors across a broader range of quality and affordability. However, it also allows everyone to dive deeper into a number of specific data points. See which online colleges in Texas made our list of the “Best” for 2017-2018, and find the institutions that excel in the areas most important to your educational and career goals.
To find the best online colleges in each state for the 2016-2017 school year, our researchers and higher education experts collected and analyzed data from every accredited postsecondary institution in the United States. The goal? To see which colleges offered the most notable balances of academic rigor, student support and affordability for online learning. The specific criteria and scoring metrics for the ranking are as follows:
Accredited public or private not-for-profit institution located in the state
Must offer at least 3 online associate degree programs (2-year schools)
Must offer at least 3 online bachelor’s degree programs (4-year schools)
Annual in-state tuition & fees below $5,000 (2-year schools)
Annual in-state tuition & fees below $25,000 (4-year schools)
In-state tuition & fees for undergraduate students
Count and breadth of online programs available
6-year graduation rate (4-year schools only)
Percentage of beginning, full-time undergrads receiving scholarship/grant aid from the college
Average amount of scholarship/grant aid students receive from the college
Availability of academic/career counseling services
Availability of job placement services for students and graduates
3-year loan default rate
AC Online Peer-Based Value (PBV)*
*PBV is a proprietary metric that compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or a similar) qualitative score. It also compares the qualitative score of the program to the score of other programs with the same (or similar) cost. In short, the PBV calculation denotes the overall value – or “bang for your buck” – of an online degree.
|Rank||University||Location||Score||Annual Tuition||# of Online Programs||Financial Aid %||Student-Teacher Ratio||Grad Rate||Credit for Experience||Placement Services||Counseling Services||University Information|
|1||The University of Texas of the Permian Basin||Odessa, TX||99.80||$5,250||24||86%||18:1||34%||No||Yes||Yes|
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin helps students meet their academic goals by offering online degree programs that can be completely when and where works best for distance learners. Online degrees can be obtained at the undergraduate and graduate levels which reflect the same credibility as on-campus courses. Course start dates are offered during six different times during the year and are typically completed in seven-and-a-half weeks. Distance learners will also have access to e-tutoring services along with course smartphone notifications that alert students of updates and notifications.
|2||University of Houston-Victoria||Victoria, TX||99.54||$5,483||30||92%||17:1||N/A||No||Yes||Yes|
Undecided students attending the University of Houston, Victoria will find that dozens of academic plans can be pursued. While traditional education has its benefits, students who find they have an exceedingly busy schedule may be interested in earning one of these degrees by completing online classes. Both bachelor’s and master’s degrees can be earned from home, reinforced only occasionally with required face-to-face meetings. UHV offers education at one of the lowest prices in the state, and all students—including distance learners—have the option to apply for numerous forms of financial aid.
|3||Southwestern Adventist University||Keene, TX||98.79||$19,460||24||99%||12:1||40%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Because earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree is a time consuming process, many students find it hard to return to school. However, an adult learner attending Southwestern Adventist University has the option to make the necessary time for their classes by completing their schoolwork in an online format. Courses are taught by the same experienced faculty that work on the SWAU campus, all of whom are prepared to build a flexible academic plan for their students. Not only are these courses available in fall and spring, but summer and winter classes are also an option for students who are looking to pick up a few extra credits.
|4||Southwestern Assemblies of God University||Waxahachie, TX||98.71||$19,450||53||73%||16:1||41%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree at a faith-based institution is made simple with Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s online learning programs. Many of these programs are also available in fast-track formats, allowing students to complete both their undergraduate and graduate studies in a fraction of the time. A variety of special scholarships and grants are also available for qualifying online students, removing the stress of having to find the money for an education. Online students may also enrich their academic with all available student services offered at the SAGU campus.
|5||Dallas Baptist University||Dallas, TX||98.61||$23,650||36||86%||13:1||55%||No||Yes||Yes|
While many students may worry that an online education may not be as intensive as an in-class experience, Dallas Baptist University works to ensure that all distance learners receive the same attention and support as a traditional student. Online courses are offered through Blackboard, where students will be provided with all necessary readings, lectures, and assignments. An online degree earned at Dallas Baptist University will provide graduates with future career opportunities, and without having to worry about commuting to school, students will have saved a good deal on their educations.
|6||University of Houston-Downtown||Houston, TX||98.27||$5,594||39||34%||22:1||19%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Students who value meeting their personal and professional time obligations can take a closer look into the online learning programs at the University of Houston – Downtown. UHD Online gives students the opportunity to complete upper-division courses in subject areas including business, humanities, public service and interdisciplinary studies. Virtual courses at UHD are designed to provide students with the same quality education as traditional on-campus courses. Instructors are trained to teach using the online learning platform, Blackboard, and may administer exams and assignments directly through the online portal.
|7||Texas A & M University-College Station||College Station, TX||98.07||$9,685||42||54%||20:1||79%||No||Yes||Yes|
With distance and online learning programs in nine areas of study, Texas A&M University – College Station provides quality online education that may equip students to succeed in their chosen field. While most of the online degree programs are offered at the graduate level, the school also has undergraduate nursing along with multiple certificates that can be obtained online. Prospective online students are encouraged to be self-motivated learners who are able to operate a computer and are effective communicators through online mediums. Student services available for online students include access to counseling, disability and veteran resource centers.
|8||Wayland Baptist University||Plainview, TX||97.81||$12,960||42||33%||10:1||32%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Non-traditional learners who are considering enrolling in an online program may consider Wayland Baptist University’s online curricula. By providing accessible and flexible courses online, WBU hopes to encourage distance learners to pursue their academic goals with Christ-centered curricula. Online students are able to receive individual advising for academic and personal support, as well as access to the Virtual Campus Knowledgebase where they can find technical support services. Once students are registered for online classes, they are encouraged to complete a checklist for online courses to prepare them for the virtual classroom.
|9||Stephen F Austin State University||Nacogdoches, TX||97.60||$7,200||10||52%||20:1||44%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
At Stephen F. Austin State University, distance learners can choose from over two dozen degree and certificate programs that can be completed online. Online programs include areas such as nursing, education and business spread across the undergraduate, graduate and certificate levels. SFA Online programs are designed to provide more accessible academics to individuals with time and location obligations. Each online program has achieved proper accreditation for their respective fields which may ensure that students are learning the necessary skills to succeed in their area of study.
|10||Texas A & M University-Texarkana||Texarkana, TX||97.50||$6,119||3||97%||15:1||N/A||Yes||Yes||Yes|
The Distance Education program at Texas A&M University allows students to meet their academic and professional goals while fulfilling their personal time and work commitments. Possible areas of study include agriculture, dentistry, education, medical and public service. The bookstore at this institution allows distance learners to buy and sell textbooks online and access eTextbooks. A 24-hour technical support service is also available to help online students succeed in their e-courses while troubleshooting issues with student accounts. Other student resources available to online students include financial aid, disability services, and a Veteran resource and support center.
|11||Midwestern State University||Wichita Falls, TX||97.44||$7,752||9||65%||17:1||45%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|12||University of Houston-Clear Lake||Houston, TX||97.06||$5,802||15||N/A||16:1||N/A||No||Yes||Yes|
|13||Lubbock Christian University||Lubbock, TX||97.01||$19,600||6||91%||12:1||43%||No||Yes||Yes|
|14||Texas Woman's University||Denton, TX||96.94||$7,836||13||36%||19:1||44%||No||Yes||Yes|
|15||Sul Ross State University||Alpine, TX||96.85||$5,676||6||26%||15:1||28%||No||Yes||Yes|
|16||Texas Tech University||Lubbock, TX||96.81||$7,811||10||39%||22:1||59%||No||Yes||Yes|
|17||Our Lady of the Lake University||San Antonio, TX||96.68||$24,596||6||99%||16:1||38%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|18||The University of Texas at Arlington||Arlington, TX||96.64||$8,878||12||42%||26:1||42%||No||Yes||Yes|
|19||Angelo State University||San Angelo, TX||96.57||$6,702||3||58%||19:1||30%||No||Yes||Yes|
|20||Tarleton State University||Stephenville, TX||96.56||$6,516||6||35%||19:1||45%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|21||The University of Texas at Brownsville (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley)||Brownsville, TX||96.49||$5,282||7||7%||24:1||28%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|22||The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio||San Antonio, TX||96.48||$6,610||8||N/A||7:1||N/A||No||Yes||Yes|
|23||Lamar University||Beaumont, TX||96.47||$7,694||18||20%||22:1||33%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|24||West Texas A & M University||Canyon, TX||96.43||$6,782||6||36%||20:1||40%||No||Yes||Yes|
|25||Prairie View A & M University||Prairie View, TX||96.38||$9,461||10||35%||18:1||38%||No||Yes||Yes|
|26||The University of Texas at Tyler||Tyler, TX||96.37||$7,312||4||39%||21:1||45%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|27||Sam Houston State University||Huntsville, TX||96.26||$7,294||6||25%||21:1||53%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|28||Grace School of Theology||Conroe, TX||96.20||$4,754||3||N/A||2:1||N/A||No||Yes||Yes|
|29||University of North Texas||Denton, TX||96.02||$9,346||6||54%||23:1||50%||No||Yes||Yes|
|30||Parker University||Dallas, TX||95.66||$23,816||6||75%||16:1||N/A||No||Yes||Yes|
|31||Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center||Lubbock, TX||95.49||$8,245||8||N/A||6:1||N/A||No||Yes||Yes|
|32||Texas A & M University-Kingsville||Kingsville, TX||95.38||$7,554||3||36%||20:1||35%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|33||South Texas College||McAllen, TX||95.08||$3,590||3||1%||27:1||18%||No||Yes||Yes|
|34||Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi||Corpus Christi, TX||94.94||$7,531||4||9%||23:1||38%||No||Yes||Yes|
|35||The University of Texas Medical Branch||Galveston, TX||94.14||$6,877||3||N/A||24:1||N/A||No||Yes||Yes|
|36||Texas A & M University-Commerce||Commerce, TX||93.68||$5,892||12||52%||18:1||52%||Yes||No||Yes|
|37||Messenger College||Euless, TX||92.43||$8,878||21||36%||4:1||10%||Yes||No||Yes|
|38||Texas A & M University-Central Texas||Killeen, TX||92.38||$5,592||15||N/A||13:1||N/A||Yes||No||Yes|
|39||The University of Texas at El Paso||El Paso, TX||91.50||$7,059||7||35%||20:1||38%||No||No||Yes|
|40||University of North Texas at Dallas||Dallas, TX||91.02||$7,899||3||83%||15:1||N/A||No||No||Yes|
|41||Dallas Christian College||Dallas, TX||89.80||$15,492||12||95%||11:1||40%||Yes||No||Yes|
|42||Southwestern Christian College||Terrell, TX||87.79||$7,764||3||52%||13:1||37%||No||No||Yes|
|43||The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center||Houston, TX||87.28||$5,600||3||N/A||8:1||N/A||No||No||Yes|
|44||Amberton University||Garland, TX||87.06||$7,260||9||N/A||18:1||N/A||Yes||No||Yes|
|45||The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston||Houston, TX||86.70||$7,186||3||N/A||5:1||N/A||No||No||Yes|
|46||King's University||Southlake, TX||86.22||$9,960||3||20%||9:1||67%||Yes||No||Yes|
|47||Arlington Baptist College||Arlington, TX||86.00||$9,000||3||19%||13:1||30%||No||No||Yes|
|Rank||University||Location||Score||Annual Tuition||# of Online Programs||Financial Aid %||Student-Teacher Ratio||Grad Rate||Credit for Experience||Placement Services||Counseling Services||University Information|
|1||Frank Phillips College||Borger, TX||96.40||$3,490||45||30%||17:1||25%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Frank Phillips College offers most of their course catalog in an online format which may benefit students who are unable to attend traditional, on-campus courses. Students enrolled in online courses will access things like their assignments, exams, and discussion boards through the web-based portal, Three Rivers System. In order to keep up with the varied needs of students, the Three Rivers System also has an app that can be downloaded on most smartphones. This may not only make accessing course content more successful for both student and instructors, but can act as a reminder for upcoming deadlines.
|2||Western Texas College||Snyder, TX||95.53||$2,598||12||35%||17:1||57%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Western Texas College offers certificate programs along with general and continuing education courses entirely online. Students enrolled in online programs will access all course material through the online learning platform, Moodle. This portal is designed to be user-friendly and highly beneficial for online learners by offering access to technical support and troubleshooting services. Distance learners are encouraged to set-up an appointment with one of the school’s online academic advisors through email in order to verify they are on the right path for their degree program.
|3||Odessa College||Odessa, TX||95.43||$3,900||45||32%||17:1||20%||No||Yes||Yes|
Odessa College’s online campus, OC Global, provides students the ability to earn accredited associate degrees, certificates and diplomas entirely online. OC Global uses Blackboard’s Collaborate feature, which allows professors to hold online office hours; the module also has conferencing tools similar to those found in a corporate environment, so students’ online education can include hands-on learning. Students can get their two-year transfer in order to go to a four-year university or they can earn Associate degrees in subjects like computer science and accounting. OC Global also offers web-based career training programs from three to six months in length, which include industry certifications and internship opportunities.
|4||Panola College||Carthage, TX||95.18||$2,832||24||24%||18:1||20%||No||Yes||Yes|
Panola College offers entirely online degrees in subjects such as general business and health information technology and certifications for administrative assistants. Panola also offers online associate degrees in nursing and for medical lab technicians. Students who want to go into the medical profession but cannot dedicate full-time on-campus can take all of their coursework online and only need to be on-campus for clinicals and labs. These programs are accredited and allow graduates to sit for national certification exams just like comparable on-campus programs.
|5||Grayson College||Denison, TX||95.11||$2,544||15||20%||18:1||19%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
For students who are interested in online programs but do not want to sacrifice face-to-face time with professors and advisors, Grayson College’s online campus offers online video advising and conferencing using the video chat feature in Gmail. Grayson’s e-learning platform, Canvas, is a simple interface that uses Gmail, so students do not need a special orientation to start classes. Students can enroll in one of four fully online programs: criminal justice, child development, education, or general studies for transfer to a four-year university. Grayson also offers online students remote tutoring, counseling, and career services, so they receive all the same benefits as students on campus.
|6||Central Texas College||Killeen, TX||94.99||$2,790||60||13%||18:1||14%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Central Texas College offers online programs in areas such as accounting, biology, and business administration along with online associate degrees in areas such as hospitality management, guest room maintenance and menu management. Their online vocational programs also include an internship component which you can complete convenient to your location. Perhaps most unique to their online programs is their Mental Health Services department, which offers fully online associates degrees and certificates in subjects such as chemical dependency counseling and an at-risk youth specialization.
|7||Amarillo College||Amarillo, TX||94.67||$2,898||48||17%||22:1||15%||No||Yes||Yes|
Amarillo College offers five fully online associates degrees in areas such as business administration, criminal justice, general studies, psychology and radiation therapy. Though coursework may be completed online, Amarillo College also offers programs delivered through hybrid, web-enhanced, telecourse and iTV methods. Distance learning programs are designed to be beneficial to online learners by maintaining the same quality of on-campus courses. Students who experience any issues with their online platform or course may submit a request for assistance through the AskAC Help Form.
|8||Tyler Junior College||Tyler, TX||94.58||$3,762||51||17%||21:1||15%||No||Yes||Yes|
Distance learners looking to enroll in one of Tyler Junior College’s online programs will be able to comply with other time obligations while pursuing their academic goals. To get started in an online program at TJC, prospective students will be required to apply to the institution, meet testing requirements either through national examinations like the ACT/SAT or school placement services, submit transcripts, receive advising and apply for financial aid. E-students are also able to receive online tutoring by communicating through Blackboard Instant Messenger to have real-time advising sessions with their advisor.
|9||Navarro College||Corsicana, TX||94.56||$3,388||21||26%||17:1||16%||No||Yes||Yes|
Navarro College’s online campus combines several different learning portals in order to closely mirror the interpersonal interactions key to an on-campus education. Students will use Blackboard to access classes, but they also have access to Datatel’s Colleague portal, which allows students to order books, pay tuition, register for classes, and interact with advisors entirely online. Students may earn associate degrees in subjects like criminal justice, English, sociology and certificates in administrative skills. Navarro College also offers an associate degree in speech, which may prepare graduates for interpersonal communication necessary to succeed in any workplace.
|10||College of the Mainland||Texas City, TX||94.44||$2,973||9||27%||14:1||13%||No||Yes||Yes|
Distance learners are able to complete fully online degree programs at the associate and certificate level at the College of the Mainland. Programs are offered through asynchronous and hybrid formats. Associate degrees in criminal justice and general education may prepare students to enter a specialized profession, or provide them with the credentials to further pursue their academic goals at a four-year institution. The school recommends that students looking to enroll in online programs are independent learners who are able to effectively manage their time and assignments.
|11||Trinity Valley Community College||Athens, TX||94.34||$3,660||21||30%||20:1||23%||No||Yes||Yes|
|12||Lone Star College||The Woodlands, TX||93.69||$3,184||27||13%||18:1||11%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|13||Kilgore College||Kilgore, TX||93.37||$3,048||6||21%||17:1||17%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|14||Texas State Technical College-Waco||Waco, TX||93.33||$3,342||3||38%||13:1||24%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|15||Alvin Community College||Alvin, TX||93.26||$2,566||15||11%||17:1||12%||No||Yes||Yes|
|16||El Paso Community College||El Paso, TX||93.16||$2,094||21||3%||26:1||10%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|17||Collin College||McKinney, TX||93.05||$2,344||24||2%||26:1||11%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|18||Tarrant County College District||Fort Worth, TX||93.01||$2,064||12||11%||25:1||9%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|19||Del Mar College||Corpus Christi, TX||91.23||$3,846||3||18%||14:1||10%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|20||North Central Texas College||Gainesville, TX||91.05||$2,448||3||7%||25:1||14%||No||Yes||Yes|
|21||South Plains College||Levelland, TX||90.90||$3,143||3||20%||25:1||23%||No||Yes||Yes|
|22||Temple College||Temple, TX||90.82||$4,344||6||10%||17:1||8%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|23||Houston Community College||Houston, TX||90.13||$3,358||9||3%||22:1||11%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|24||Lamar Institute of Technology||Beaumont, TX||88.96||$4,220||3||5%||17:1||16%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Every student has different priorities when evaluating potential colleges: saving money, program quality, a spacious campus, a great career center. Because student needs can vary widely, we’ve polled students from across the state to see what’s on their mind and why. Here are three of the most popular college choice questions that came up, and the answers and info needed to make the right online college decision in Texas.
Just about every college and university in Texas accepts transfer credits. The key is figuring out if a specific class you’ve taken previously will count toward your new degree program. The state of Texas uses the Automated Transfer Equivalency (ATE) system to help students identify if a course credit is transferable and, if so, which course at their new institution it maps to. Even if there’s a clear mapping, some caveats may apply, including your grade in the previous course and whether or not your new program requires a certain number of credits earned within their department.
A number of campus-based and online colleges in Texas award credits for work and life experiences. Earning such credits usually falls within three main categories: credit by examination, credit for military training, and credit for civilian training, e.g. the police academy. Central Texas College gives students thirteen opportunities to earn academic credits from work- and life-related experiences. Texas State University offers similar benefits through its Department of Occupations, Workforce, and Leadership Studies. Here students can earn up to 24 credits toward a bachelor’s degree.
No. Many colleges outside of the state encourage Texas college students to apply for admission. Further, many offer their online students in-state tuition rates.
Start by identifying the qualities you need in a college and an online program: reputation, accreditation, affordability, attention (via student-faculty ratio), or great support services – then order them by importance. Second, find a complete list of colleges in Texas that offer online programs – the ranking on this page and the search tool below are great places to start. Once you have your list of schools, filter them by your most important data point. For example, if you’re focusing on affordable options, try circling all the schools with tuition rates under $10,000 per year – then rinse and repeat for the remainder of your desired school qualities. This should help you narrow your search down to a small handful of candidates. From there, think about physical visits or phone conversations with counselors for more info.
To get a better sense of the true landscape of online learning in Texas, we asked each of the colleges on our list to answer a few questions about what makes their programs unique. We heard back from a few of the state’s best institutions. See what they said below:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’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.
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.
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’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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 (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.
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
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.
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.
These programs are convenient for students who wish to balance work, family and education.
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’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.
These programs are convenient for students who wish to balance work, family and education.
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.