2024 Best Colleges in Texas

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Updated: May 7 2024

By: Colleges of Distinction Staff

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to the best colleges in the great state of Texas. With its vast size and diverse culture, Texas has become a prime destination for students seeking a top-notch education, vibrant campuses, and a wealth of opportunities. In this guide, we have meticulously curated a selection of esteemed institutions renowned for their academic excellence, impactful research, and commitment to student success.

Texas, the second-largest state in the United States, is home to a rich educational landscape. From bustling cities like Austin, Dallas, and Houston to charming college towns like Fort Worth and Lubbock, the state offers a diverse range of locations for students to embark on their educational journey. Along with a vibrant and growing economy, Texas boasts a strong job market, providing ample internship and employment opportunities for graduates.

The colleges featured in this guide reflect the diverse academic offerings that Texas has to offer. Whether your passion lies in business, engineering, the arts, or the sciences, Texas colleges are committed to offering a well-rounded education that prepares students for success in their chosen fields.

abilene christian university logo

Abilene Christian University

Abilene, CA ‧ Christian ‧ 4-year

The ACU experience – whether on the Abilene campus, in Study Abroad programs, at education centers, or through an ACU virtual community – helps students develop intellect, grow closer to God, prepare for a meaningful career, and address global challenges with a Christian worldview.

Many backgrounds, cultures, and ethnicities are represented at ACU, where students from every state and more 40 countries live and learn together. This global community creates an opportunity for students to expand their worldview and to understand the global nature of their lives as Christians and future leaders alike. Students are stretched intellectually and are highly involved in learning through undergraduate research, the Honors College, internships, and team projects.

Acceptance rate 63%      •     Net price $28,725      •      SAT Range 1010-1220      •     Students submitting SAT scores 50%
Total Undergrad Population 5,291      •      Setting City: Midsize      •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 66%           • Retention rate 76%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 13:1

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Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas

Angelo State University

San Angelo, TX ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

Angelo State University, a member of the Texas Tech University System, is a vibrant campus community of 10,000 students, known as the Ram Fam. The Ram Fam includes students from nearly every county in Texas, over 40 states, and close to 30 countries, and Angelo State has been designated a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. 

Angelo State offers over 100 majors and concentrations through six colleges, providing educational opportunities that prepare students for successful careers or entry into graduate and professional schools. ASU also boasts an unparalleled Honors Program and Center for International Studies, giving students further opportunities to expand their education through research and study abroad. With a 21:1 student-to-faculty ratio, ASU students also have ultimate access to award-winning faculty.

Acceptance rate 78%      •      Net price $12,420      •     SAT Range 920-1120      •      Students submitting SAT scores 65%
Total Undergrad Population 10,775     •     Setting City: Small      •     Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 43%      •      Retention rate 71%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 21:1

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Dallas Baptist University

Dallas, TX ‧ Christian ‧ 4-year

Founded in 1898, Dallas Baptist University provides world-class, Christ-centered higher education to more than 5,000 students. Service-learning is integrated into each degree plan, and a culture of mentoring pervades the campus.

Students in Foundations of College Research courses, as well as some English courses, conduct research that is designed to contribute to the scholarly research in a variety of fields.

Instead of a descriptive approach to research that strictly reports on what is known, students are taught a Research Question approach. With this approach, students research a topic to determine a problem to be solved. Any subsequent papers or projects are created as a way to present findings that solve a stated research question.

Acceptance rate 99%      •      Net price $26,062      •     SAT Range 980-1200      •      Students submitting SAT scores 63%
Total Undergrad Population 4,247     •     Setting City: Large     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 56%      •      Retention rate 76%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 14:1

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Hardin-Simmons University logo

Hardin-Simmons University

Abilene, TX ‧ Christian ‧ 4-year

Academic excellence persists as a priority at Hardin-Simmons University, as it has for more than a century. Small classes taught by experienced scholars give the opportunity for interactive learning. The institution’s commitment to excellence is best illustrated through the lives of graduates who traditionally excel in any career they choose.

Hardin-Simmons is a private, co-educational university located in Abilene, Texas. It was established in 1891 and is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

HSU offers more than fifty majors through its Colleges of Liberal Arts and Business as well as its Schools of Education, Music, Nursing, Theology, and Sciences and Mathematics. There are also several available undergraduate programs that lead to one of eight master’s degrees through the University’s Graduate School.

Acceptance rate 91%      •      Net price $21,567      •      SAT Range 960-1150      •      Students submitting SAT scores 52%
Total Undergrad Population 2,128      •     Setting City: Midsize      •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 55%      • Retention rate 65%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 15:1

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LeTourneau University Christian Polytechnic University in Texas

LeTourneau University

Longview, TX ‧ Christian ‧ 4-year

LeTourneau University is a private, interdenominational Christian university that was founded in 1946. Named for its founder, R.G. LeTourneau, the university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. LeTourneau offers more than 140 graduate and undergraduate programs in aviation, engineering, education, business, psychology and counseling, arts and sciences, nursing, and theology and vocation. Students enjoy the opportunity to take classes in person, online, or in a dual credit format.

Many courses include significant collaborative projects. Students participating in business courses may work to create full business plans, while engineering students participate on Senior design teams. As a part of those design teams, engineering students are given the opportunity to work with students from other engineering disciplines as well as students across campus to design and create inventions that can impact the world. LeTourneau’s theology students work together as a part of the “Loving Longview” class to engage with and make an impact in the Longview community. 

Acceptance rate 56%      •      Net price $25,661      •     SAT Range 1110-1330      •     Students submitting SAT scores 60%
Total Undergrad Population 3,122      •     Setting City: Small      •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 56%     •      Retention rate 81%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 15:1

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Lubbock Christian University in Lubbock, Texas

Lubbock Christian University

Lubbock, TX ‧ Christian ‧ 4-year

Lubbock Christian University is committed to educating leaders whose lives will have a lasting effect on their family, church, community, and jobs. Because classes are small in number, LCU can provide a wide range of enriching personal experiences.

At LCU, everything is based on faith. A student’s character is what forms a foundation for success, so LCU endeavors to prepare them to thrive in all aspects of their lives—from spiritual formation and intellectual growth to personal stewardship and leadership development.

Lubbock Christian University is a private, four-year comprehensive institution that promotes unique educational opportunities with a strategic focus on student success in four key areas: spiritual formation, intellectual growth, personal stewardship, and leadership development. Degree programs are offered for both bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees. Since its founding in 1957 with Church of Christ affiliation, the school offers academic excellence in a Christian environment to all people regardless of their denominational affiliation.

Acceptance rate 97%      •     Net price $24,745      •      SAT Range 970-1163      •      Students submitting SAT scores 39%
Total Undergrad Population 1,664      •     Setting City: Large      •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 48%      •      Retention rate 68%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 14:1

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McMurry University in Abilene, Texas

McMurry University

Abilene, TX ‧ Christian ‧ 4-year

McMurry University is guided by core values of faith, personal relationships, excellence, and service, all of which support students to become well-rounded, global leaders. McMurry offers robust research opportunities, a number of international study destinations, and a committed service-learning program. 

McMurry students are fully engaged in their coursework, going above and beyond through research and personal relationships with faculty and staff. This individualized approach to learning provides each student with a support network that ensures success in both their coursework and their extracurriculars.

Importantly, students with a passion for giving back have a home at McMurry, where community service starts as early as orientation, extending into coursework, global trips, and even a Servant Leadership minor. 

McMurry University prepares students of all disciplines to study, serve, and succeed in their personal and professional lives.

Acceptance rate 47%      •      Net price $20,963      •      SAT Range 940-1130      •      Students submitting SAT scores 57%
Total Undergrad Population 1,094     •     Setting City: Midsize     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 35%      •      Retention rate 65%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

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Southern Methodist University

Dallas, TX ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

SMU provides a great education for professionals interested in more than just their professions. It combines an expansive curriculum with core, general education requirements to ensure that students can immerse themselves in their particular interests while still benefiting from exposure to different academic disciplines. Over the last decade, SMU has reaped the benefits of explosive growth while maintaining its sense of community. SMU is large enough to offer almost unlimited opportunities and small enough for students to truly take advantage of them.

According to a survey by Inc. Magazine, Dallas is the hub of the country’s fastest-growing private companies. This gives SMU students tremendous opportunities for internships. For example, 80% of Lyle School of Engineering graduates complete an internship during their undergraduate careers. Students in Cox School of Business are offered internship opportunities both locally and nationally with top-ranking companies.

Acceptance rate 53%      •      Net price $41,444      •      SAT Range 1250-1450     •     Students submitting SAT scores 40%
Total Undergrad Population 12,373     •     Setting Suburb     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 81%      •     Retention rate 90%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

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St. Edward's University Logo

St. Edward’s University

Austin, TX ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Established in 1885 and located in the heart of Austin, Texas, St. Edward’s University is a private, liberal arts Catholic institution in the Holy Cross tradition. With over 90 academic programs, St. Edward’s University continues its founding tradition of academic excellence and educating the whole person.

St. Edward’s works very hard to prepare each student for post-graduate success—whether that’s entering into a career, applying for graduate school, or becoming a volunteer. In order to reach that goal, St. Edward’s provides a handful of services and resources to prepare students for post-graduate life. The university has Career and Professional Development counselors, who are available to guide student decisions and answer tough questions. St. Ed’s also hosts career and internship fairs, which allow students to begin the networking process right on campus.

Acceptance rate 91%      •      Net price $30,072
Total Undergrad Population 3,591     •     Setting City: Large     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 67%      •     Retention rate 72%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 14:1

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St. Mary’s University

San Antonio, TX ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

St. Mary’s University, founded by Marianist brothers in 1852, is the first higher education institution established in San Antonio. It offers a strong educational experience – integrating liberal arts, professional preparation, and ethical commitment. St. Mary’s students receive the value of quality programs, holistic learning, and community support – helping graduates discover what they love to do and how to apply their knowledge in meaningful ways, giving them an edge for a successful future.

With a low student-to-faculty ratio, students receive focused attention, allowing them to flourish within the challenging academic programs offered. St. Mary’s has undergraduate studies in humanities, sciences, and business, with programs for graduate, doctoral, and law degrees. There are also pre-health professional programs in medicine, dentistry, nursing, physical therapy, and public health. Students can enhance their educational experience through undergraduate research, community service, internships, and study abroad.

Acceptance rate 85%      •      Net price $18,827      •      SAT Range 1020-1220      •     Students submitting SAT scores 82%
Total Undergrad Population 3,458     •     Setting City: Large     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 59%     •      Retention rate 74%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 12:1

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Texas Christian University

Fort Worth, TX ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Texas Christian University offers many benefits of large universities, including rigorous academic programs, over 100 undergraduate majors, excellent high-tech facilities, professors who are leaders in their fields, and Division I athletics. Grounded in the liberal arts, Texas Christian University (TCU) can help individuals realize their creative potential, assuring that graduates are well prepared for professional careers.

With a teacher-scholar model that results in close mentoring relationships, the university offers university-grade experiences while maintaining many of the advantages of smaller liberal arts colleges. In the last decade, TCU has invested over $500 million in top-of-the-line facilities and in upgrading residence halls, classrooms, and laboratories. Recent facilities include the Campus Commons, four new, state-of-the-art dormitories, and a new academic building that houses the Honors College. All these fantastic new facilities surround a green space amphitheater in which students can mix and mingle. High-tech classrooms and wireless networking throughout campus provide easy, secure access to information technology resources.

Acceptance rate 48%      •      Net price $40,220      •      SAT Range 1110-1320      •      Students submitting SAT scores 39%
Total Undergrad Population 11,379     •     Setting City: Large      •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 82%      •     Retention rate 92%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 13:1

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The University of Texas at Dallas

Richardson, TX ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

The University of Texas at Dallas is a collaborative institution with a strong emphasis on research. The University offers a wide range of programs, affording students several opportunities to find their niche. UT Dallas is quickly progressing and turning out students that are well equipped to succeed.

UT Dallas recognizes co-ops and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) as existing under the umbrella, “Internship.” In all cases, students apply what they have learned in the classroom to real world experience.

Externships involve job shadowing. When students job shadow, they get a firsthand look at what a career has to offer, as well as the demands of the job. Externships allow participants to gain industry knowledge without a long term commitment. Some of the activities one might experience during an externship include: tours of the facilities, staff meetings, and observation of customer/client interactions.

Acceptance rate 79%      •     Net price $11,185      •      SAT Range 1220-1450      •     Students submitting SAT scores 84%
Total Undergrad Population 28,669     •     Setting City: Midsize      •      Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 69%      •      Retention rate 90%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 25:1

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The University of Texas at San Antonio

San Antonio, TX ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

The University of Texas at San Antonio is a nationally recognized state research university in San Antonio, Texas, with four campus locations: Main Campus, Downtown Campus, Hemisfair Campus, and Park West Campus. Located in one of the most vibrant, fastest-growing cities in the country, UTSA actively embraces multicultural traditions while serving as a center for intellectual and creative resources.

With 60 undergraduate areas of study and over 360 student organizations, students can practice what they love to do both inside and outside of the classroom. The UTSA community is full of social interaction, cultural engagement, and service to the community, all of which shape roadrunners into well-rounded, active citizens of the community. UTSA’s top-tier education goes beyond the workplace—it sets students on the path toward becoming who they’re meant to be.

Acceptance rate 84%      •      Net price $10,934      •     SAT Range 1020-1210      •      Students submitting SAT scores 82%
Total Undergrad Population 34,742     •     Setting City: Large     •     Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 46%      •      Retention rate 78%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 27:1

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Trinity University

San Antonio, TX ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Trinity University is one of the nation’s top private undergraduate institutions. Noted for its superior academic quality, outstanding faculty, and exceptional academic resources, Trinity is committed to the intellectual, civic, and professional preparation of its students.

San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the U.S., and it is filled with cultural, athletic, and recreational opportunity. Because Trinity is so close to the downtown area, students are given amazing access to the city’s many attractions. San Antonio has museums, theme parks, the Alamo, 4 professional sports teams, The River Walk, and so much more to offer! Students are highly encouraged to take advantage of all that the city has to offer.

Trinity is highly dedicated to practices and lifestyles that promote sustainability. This dedication can be seen, not only in volunteer and service efforts, but in the curriculum as well. Ultimately, Trinity wants to reduce its global footprint and promote the benefits of sustainable practices.

Acceptance rate 34%      •      Net price $31,141     •      SAT Range 1250-1420      •      Students submitting SAT scores 69%
Total Undergrad Population 2,677     •     Setting City: Large     •     Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 79%      •      Retention rate 89%      •      Student-to-faculty ratio 9:1

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university of the incarnate word texas logo

University of the Incarnate Word

San Antonio, TX ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

The University of the Incarnate Word (UIW), founded in 1881 by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, is a private, Catholic university that grants bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

With over 90 undergraduate degrees to choose from, an small student-to-faculty ratio and $150 million in financial aid awarded annually to admitted students, UIW strives to provide students with numerous opportunities to reach their academic goals and make a positive change in the world in a multitude of ways, including community service.

UIW Cardinals are located around the world. UIW has locations throughout the beautiful city of San Antonio, in South and Central Texas, and has two campuses in Mexico and a European Study Center in Strasbourg, France.

Acceptance rate  94%    •    Net price  $21,161    •    SAT Range  920-1160    •    Students submitting SAT scores  35%
Total Undergrad Population  4,846    •    Setting  City: Midsize    •    Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year)  81%    •    Retention rate  73%    •    Student-to-faculty ratio  13:1    •    Typical debt  $27,000

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What it’s like to attend schools in Texas and other FAQ:

What are average tuition costs in Texas?

The average undergraduate tuition & fees for colleges in Texas is $8,600 for in-state students at public institutions, $24,890 for out-of-state students at public institutions, and $36,010 for students at private institutions.

Cheapest degree program in Texas

The University of Texas at San Antonio has an average net price of $10,934 making it the least expensive bachelor’s degree program in Texas that made our list.

Easiest degree program to get into in Texas

Dallas Baptist University has an acceptance rate of 99%, making it the least exclusive college on our list.

Degree program with lowest student debt in Texas

The University of Texas at Arlington has a median total debt after graduation of $18,166. This is the typical debt for a student who completed their undergraduate degree.