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Online Degree Programs in Texas


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Methodology

To be included in our ranking of the best colleges for online degree programs, all colleges had to meet the following five criteria:

  1. Be an accredited U.S. institution
  2. Offer either 2- or 4-year degree programs
  3. Have at least 1 percent of students taking at least some of their classes via distance education
  4. Be active in the 2015-16 school year
  5. Report data for all 15 specific ranking variables included in our methodology

We then ranked the remaining 2,169 colleges and universities and scored each on a 100-point scale on these specific. Our data points include:

  • The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The average amount of federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Full-time Retention rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of students participating fully or partially in distance education to total enrollment, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • No. of degree programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of students working and not enrolled 6 years after entry, College Scorecard, 2013-14
  • Open admissions policy for all or most entering first-time undergraduate-level students, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
    • Dual credit
    • Credit for life experience
    • Advanced Placement credit
    • Academic and career counseling
    • Job placement services for graduates
    • Offers credit for military training

Sources:

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2013-14, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, accessed October, 2017, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
  • 10 Things Employers Think About Your Online Degree, U.S. News & World Report, 9 January 2017, https://www.usnews.com/higher-education/online-education/slideshows/10-things-employers-think-about-your-online-degree
  • America's Top States for Business over the last 10 years, CNBC, https://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/13/best-us-states-doing-business-over-the-last-10-years.html
  • Annual Earnings of Young Adults, The Condition of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, updated April 2017, https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cba.asp
  • Distance Education - Frequently Asked Questions, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/index.cfm?objectid=E9397403-05F0-E846-3DAFD76D7616EEEB, accessed November 2017
  • Grants, Student Financial Aid and Scholarships, University of North Texas, http://financialaid.unt.edu/grants, accessed November 2017
  • Income of young adults, Fast Facts, National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=77, accessed November 2017
  • Managing the Expansion of Graduate Education in Texas, Prepared for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board by the RAND Corporation, 2017, http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/reports/PDF/9279.PDF?CFID=67122485&CFTOKEN=51445105
  • Recovery: Job Growth And Education Requirements Through 2020, Center on Education and the Workforce, Georgetown University, https://cew.georgetown.edu/?s=job+growth+projections, accessed November 2017
  • Scholarships & Financial Aid, Texas A&M University, http://financialaid.tamu.edu/, accessed November 2017
  • Texas Long-term Industry Projections, Texas Workforce Commission, http://www.tracer2.com/publication.asp?PUBLICATIONID=797, accessed November 2017
  • Texas, Best States, U.S. News & World Report, https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/texas, accessed November 2017
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Texas is home to some of the largest public and private companies in the country. The warm weather, natural beauty, and affordable cost of living make it a great place to hang your hat! With more than 200 colleges and universities, Texas, true to its reputation for all things big, offers some of the biggest opportunities for education and career growth as well.

Texas, like many other states in the country, needs more people with a college credential to meet the growing demand of the job market. Whether you're fresh out of high school, or looking to change jobs by relocating to a new place, earning an online degree in Texas may allow you to compete for higher-paying jobs in this competitive job market.

Online programs in Texas can give you the flexibility you desire to earn a college degree while still balancing work, family and other commitments. Enrolling in an an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or a doctoral degree program in any of Texas' fine online schools affords plenty of opportunities to carve your career path.

The Texas workforce is projected to grow by more than 2.5 million new jobs between 2014 and 2024 — an almost 21 percent increase. With low-skill jobs being replaced by those that require a bachelor's degree or higher, online programs may be more important than ever because of the potential they present for more people to earn a degree. By 2020, according to Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, in Texas:

  • 62 percent of all jobs will require post-secondary education
  • 33 percent of jobs will require some college, an associate degree, or a postsecondary vocational certificate
  • 21 percent of jobs will require a bachelor's degree
  • 9 percent will require a master's degree or better

Online programs in Texas can allow students the convenience of studying on their own terms. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), about 90 percent of students enrolled in fully online programs in Texas live in Texas, and about 75 percent of these are undergraduates.

With Texas being the second largest state in the country, students who don’t live near the college of their choice can still earn a degree without having to travel miles every day or move to another city just to be on campus.

For those seeking graduate degrees, universities and colleges in Texas have been increasingly providing online master's programs, particularly for fields such as nursing, physical therapy and education, according to a RAND-THECB report.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) works in collaboration with graduate and undergraduate institutes to encourage the development of online programs across the state so that more students have easier access to higher education. The THECB also ensures online degrees in Texas are aligned to high academic standards of education. The goal is to have at least 60 percent of Texans aged 25 to 34 hold associate degrees, a bachelor's, graduate or doctoral level of education by 2030.

These initiatives have made online education in Texas worth exploring for students who want a college credential but just don’t have time for a traditional, campus program.

Whether you're a fresh high school graduate, a career-changer or someone going back to school to earn a bachelor's degree, you'll want to know which online colleges are more likely to support your success as an online student.

Our ranking methodology used data from the National Center for Education Statistics. We pulled up accredited two- and four-year colleges and then focused on particular factors likely to be important to online students, such as the number of degree programs offered online, placement services for degree completers, the percentage of students working 6 years after starting their program and the percentage of students participating in distance education.

We believe this list of top online colleges are the best college choices, particularly for prospective students of online learning. To learn more about our methodology, view the "Methodology & Sources" section at the bottom of the page.

1
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX
Average in-state tuition
$5,472
No. of online programs
37
% of students in distance education
50%
Avg. amount of Aid
$7,494
Admissions Rate
74%
Graduation Rate
51%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
2
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, TX
Average in-state tuition
$6,432
No. of online programs
45
% of students in distance education
47%
Avg. amount of Aid
$6,868
Admissions Rate
69%
Graduation Rate
59%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
3
LeTourneau University
Longview, TX
Average in-state tuition
$28,770
No. of online programs
30
% of students in distance education
58%
Avg. amount of Aid
$15,285
Admissions Rate
47%
Graduation Rate
60%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
4
Texas Woman's University
Denton, TX
Average in-state tuition
$5,150
No. of online programs
17
% of students in distance education
58%
Avg. amount of Aid
$6,485
Admissions Rate
86%
Graduation Rate
36%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
5
Dallas Baptist University
Dallas, TX
Average in-state tuition
$26,580
No. of online programs
52
% of students in distance education
42%
Avg. amount of Aid
$10,644
Admissions Rate
39%
Graduation Rate
58%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
6
The University of Texas at Arlington
Arlington, TX
Average in-state tuition
$7,542
No. of online programs
18
% of students in distance education
50%
Avg. amount of Aid
$6,271
Admissions Rate
71%
Graduation Rate
50%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
7
Stephen F Austin State University
Nacogdoches, TX
Average in-state tuition
$5,808
No. of online programs
14
% of students in distance education
36%
Avg. amount of Aid
$7,363
Admissions Rate
65%
Graduation Rate
44%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
8
West Texas A & M University
Canyon, TX
Average in-state tuition
$5,115
No. of online programs
15
% of students in distance education
57%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,417
Admissions Rate
61%
Graduation Rate
41%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
9
University of North Texas
Denton, TX
Average in-state tuition
$8,103
No. of online programs
19
% of students in distance education
41%
Avg. amount of Aid
$7,621
Admissions Rate
72%
Graduation Rate
54%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
10
Texas A & M University-Commerce
Commerce, TX
Average in-state tuition
$4,790
No. of online programs
9
% of students in distance education
64%
Avg. amount of Aid
$7,019
Admissions Rate
35%
Graduation Rate
42%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
N/A

Patterns in degrees awarded could be indicative of the needs of the Texas workforce. For example, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, bachelor degree awards in general engineering went up by 8 percent from 2013 to 2015, whereas master's degrees in the same field shot up by more than 125 percent. According to workforce data, although the demand for engineers across the state is high, the supply of workers is only average or medium, possibly resulting in an increased demand for those who possess engineering degrees. Exploring job projections before taking a final decision could be beneficial in terms of in-state career opportunities.

Take a look at the top online degree programs in Texas based on data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

Program Name
No. of online programs
Business Administration and Management Degree, General
96
Criminal Justice/Safety Studies Degree
42
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse Degree
25
Educational Leadership and Administration Degree, General
24
General Studies Degree
23
Psychology Degree, General
22
Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies Degree, Other
22
Health/Healthcare Administration/Management Degree
21
Business/Commerce Degree, General
21
Curriculum and Instruction Degree
19

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board encourages all online courses and degrees in Texas to follow the Principles of Good Practice for Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs. Under these principles online offerings in any distance education program must focus on learning outcomes appropriate to the academic rigor and breadth of the degree awarded.

These principles ensure:

  • Appropriate interaction between online students and faculty as well as among students
  • A qualified faculty that must provide appropriate oversight of the program
  • Distance students should receive clear, complete and timely information on:
    • Curriculum
    • Assumptions about technological competence
    • Technical equipment required
    • Availability of academic support services
    • Financial aid resources, along with the costs and payment policies

Online students should ask school advisers about these "quality" factors when exploring graduate and undergraduate online programs in Texas.

To make an informed choice, students should understand the differences between online programs. Dr. Anthony Edwards, Director of Tarleton State University-Global Campus in Texas, suggests that online students ask the following questions:

  • Does the institution offer only online classes or do they offer face-to-face programs as well?
  • Does the institution offer the program you want in an online format?
  • Does the institution offer academic and career advising for distance learners?
  • Does the program require any on-campus residencies for program completion?
  • Is the institution accredited?
  • Is the program or academic college (division) accredited?

While even accredited online programs do not guarantee quality, they do provide distance students with assurance that there is oversight regarding the instruction and the online college's authority to issue degrees. When it comes to red flags to watch out for, Dr. Edwards warns students should steer clear of online schools that are not fully accredited, online colleges they have never heard of, and online learning institutions with higher-than-average costs for tuition.

According to Edwards, finding out the answers to these important questions is one of the best ways to determine which school is for you. Edwards also says students of distance education who are self-motivated and have good time management skills tend to do best in an online learning environment. Beyond those qualities, students who understand technology also tend to excel. If you're lacking in any of those areas, it might be wise to shape up before signing up for any form of online education in Texas.

Another factor to consider is the faculty of an online college. You might want to check out their experience in teaching online courses as well as the frequency of their availability for interaction with distance students. Institution-specific financial aid is another factor you might want to look at.

Texans work in a wide range of industries and careers. Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics as our resource, we derived the following careers that employ a healthy number of college graduates in the state.

Occupation
Number of Workers
(2018)
Average Salary
(2018)
Office and Administrative Support Occupations1,994,750$37,500
Sales and Related Occupations1,276,460$42,070
Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations1,161,420$23,860
Transportation and Material Moving Occupations865,690$39,770
Education, Training, and Library Occupations764,380$51,850
Production Occupations679,950$39,620
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations679,150$78,070
Construction and Extraction Occupations629,030$44,510
Business and Financial Operations Occupations595,260$77,480
Management Occupations551,410$121,360
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations520,660$46,940
Personal Care and Service Occupations416,030$23,500
Retail Salespersons396,330$26,840
Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food389,740$20,880
Computer and Mathematical Occupations364,120$90,740
Source: 2018 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Federal, state, institutional and private funds may be available to help students fund their education in the form of scholarships, grants, loans and work-study programs. Colleges and universities also generally have financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants for students, waivers and on-campus student employment opportunities. Details of these are usually available on the institution's website. Here is a list of federal and state financial aid for students in Texas.

Federal

  • Pell grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program

State

  • Texas Public Education Grant (TPEG)
  • Toward Excellence, Access, and Success (TEXAS) Grant Program
  • Senate Bill 1528

Institution-specific scholarships and grants available to Texans

  • Texas A&M University Regents Scholarship
  • Texas A&M University Texas Aggie Scholarship
  • Sam Houston State University - University Grant
  • Tarleton State University Grant
  • Texas A&M University Honored Service Scholarships
  • License Plate Insignia Scholarship
  • University of North Texas Tuition Grant
  • University of Texas at Tyler Education Affordability Grant
  • University of Texas at San Antonio Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship
  • Lamar University - HB3015 Grant for Graduate Students
  • The Tall Texan Scholarship

Generally speaking, students do not have to repay scholarships and grants. Each scholarship or grant comes with its own terms, so students need to educate themselves about the scholarship they are applying for.

Scholarship Listing

Here are a few more scholarships and grants in Texas you can read about. The financial aid options listed here are taken from recent data from Wintergreen Orchard House, a resource on scholarships and grants for higher education across the country.

Tuition Equalization Grant
No. of Awards
26,769
Deadline
February 15
Max. Award Amount
4,966
Renewable
Yes
Criteria
Applicant must be a Texas resident enrolled at a Texas college or university with financial need.
More
President's Achievement Scholarship - Tier 3
No. of Awards
200
Deadline
December 1
Max. Award Amount
1,000
Renewable
No
Criteria
Applicant must demonstrate an ability to overcome academic and socioeconomic adversity, be a Texas resident, and a graduate of a Texas high school.
More
President's Achievement Scholarship Tier 3
No. of Awards
200
Deadline
December 1
Max. Award Amount
N/A
Renewable
No
Criteria
Applicant must demonstrate an ability to overcome academic and socioeconomic adversity, be a Texas Resident, and a graduate of a Texas high school.
More
Terry Foundation Scholarship
No. of Awards
80
Deadline
December 1
Max. Award Amount
19,500
Renewable
Yes
Criteria
Applicant must demonstrate leadership and have a high SAT or ACT score. Financial need is considered.
More
Moody Scholar Program
No. of Awards
26
Deadline
December 5
Max. Award Amount
2,000
Renewable
Yes
Criteria
Applicant must have a minimum 88 average, be in the top quarter of their class, must attend college in the state of Texas and must demonstrate financial need. Applicant must be a graduate of a Galveston County high school.
More

Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-19 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.

Admission to colleges and universities usually require taking one or more tests. Here are some of the common ones that students may need to take to enroll in an undergraduate program. Test requirements may vary depending on the program and institution.

SAT: The SAT consists of four sections: Reading, Writing, Language and Math (with a calculator) and Math (without a calculator).

ACT: It contains multiple-choice tests in four areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science. Each question offers either four or five answer choices.

AP: Advanced Placement exams are taken in May each year, and a successful score could entail college credit and advanced placement in college.

CLEP: The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) allows students to earn credit for subject matter they already know through qualifying scores on any of the 33 examinations.

TSI Assessment: The TSI Assessment (TSIA) is part of the Texas Success Initiative program that helps colleges or universities understand if students are ready for college-level coursework in reading, writing and mathematics. Students who have already qualified on SAT, ACT or any statewide high school test are exempt. The same applies to those who have enrolled in a level one certificate program.

GED: The General Equivalency Development or General Equivalency Diploma (GED) measures proficiency in science, mathematics, social studies, reading and writing. It is for those who have not completed high school. Most colleges and universities consider a GED equivalent to a high school diploma which is an essential qualification for applying to any four-year degree program.


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