The Best Texas Colleges for 2017

Whether you’re graduating from high school or just looking for a change of pace, finding good colleges in Texas can involve a lot of research. You want to find educational opportunities that will give you the best chance of success in your professional life moving forward. Of course, you want to be able to find those opportunities for a reasonable fee.

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Award Emblem: Top 6 Best Colleges in Texas

Do you know which of the colleges in Texas are considered to be the cheapest colleges in Texas? Many of the best Texas colleges are offering excellent degree programs and training to give you the start you need for a new career or your first career. You can plan to add a few classes to your resume or enroll in one of the largest colleges in Texas to switch careers all together.

With the right education behind you, the choice is ultimately up to you.

AdvisoryHQ wants to help you make the right decision when it comes to finding the best colleges in Texas. We compiled these Texas college rankings to help you determine where each stood in terms of being one of the largest colleges in Texas as well as one of the cheapest colleges in Texas.

If you’ve been trying to make some decisions about where your life is headed next, let this ranking of the best Texas colleges give you the jumpstart you need.

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AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Colleges in Texas

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the colleges below to go directly to the detailed review section for that school in Texas):

Top 6 Best Colleges in Texas | Brief Comparison & Ranking

Best Texas Colleges




Austin College



$38,835 per year

Lee College


More than 9,000

As low as $1,620 for 23 credit hours

Northwest Vista College

San Antonio


From $1,806 per semester

Western Texas College



From $2,520 per year

Wharton County Junior College



From $1,395 per semester

Vernon College


More than 3,000

From $1,900 per semester

Table: Top 6 Best Texas Colleges | Above list is sorted alphabetically

What Should You Look for in the Best Texas Colleges?

When it comes to deciding among the different colleges in Texas, each prospective student likely has different criteria for the features they consider to be must-haves. Even among the best schools in Texas, there will be a variety of programs, campus life activities, and options for room and board. What are the top things that every student should be mulling over before deciding on one of these best Texas colleges?

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First, prospective students need to know what degree programs or certification courses are offered through these biggest colleges in Texas. Many of the top schools in Texas are known for two-year degree programs or occupational training specific to certain fields. They may be the cheapest colleges in Texas, but your money would be better spent on a university if they do not offer classes in your preferred field of study.

When you are weighing the academic programs, you should take a look at their enrollment size. The largest colleges in Texas can have thousands of students, which could affect the quality of your education. The student to faculty ratio should give you a great indicator of how well-staffed these colleges in Texas are, as well as how much individualized attention you may receive in a course.

The admissions rate and criteria are also large factors that play into which of the best colleges in Texas you may want to apply for. For example, some will take lower standardized test scores or look more highly at grade-point average instead of SATs.

The competition to enroll or gain a coveted spot at these best schools in Texas should also be considered.

Last but not least, many prospective students are ultimately searching for the cheapest colleges in Texas. Tuition and fees can put students into great debt, even over the course of just a two-year study program. Be aware of the overall cost to attend one of these schools in Texas before you ultimately decide to enroll.

As in all things, your personal preferences will inform the final decision on which of the best colleges in Texas you choose to enroll in. Factors like location, transportation, and campus room and board will all influence prospective students differently.

These top criteria are items that all students should consider and investigate before they enroll at any of the best Texas colleges. They could have major implications for your future, both in your career and in your finances.

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Detailed Review – Top Ranking Best Colleges in Texas

Below, please find the detailed review of each school on our list of cheapest colleges in Texas. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these largest colleges in Texas to score so highly in our selection ranking.

Austin College Review

Located just north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, Austin College has some impressive descriptors beyond being one of the best Texas colleges. Ranked as one of the largest colleges in Texas, it is also an excellent instution among liberal arts colleges in the country. According to the ranking of National Liberal Arts Colleges, Austin College made it just outside of the top 100 in spot 105.

Impressively, this school has also been ranked by Loren Pope in his signature book Colleges that Change Lives as one of the forty top schools for prospective students to consider. The schools in this book are not just top schools in Texas.

These best colleges in Texas are independent liberal arts colleges with an extraordinary history reaching back to 1849. It is affiliated and related by covenant to the Presbyterian Chuch as well. Currently, it sees a number of successful students who graduate within four years (96.8%) and find employment within their field in just one year (93%).

You receive a low student-to-faculty ratio at just thirteen students to every one faculty member. However, students looking for one of the largest colleges in Texas may not find what they’re searching for here. With an estimated enrollment of 1,255 students, this is not one of the largest colleges in Texas but it is one of the cheapest colleges in Texas when it comes to a private college experience.

Tuition rates are relatively low to attend this best college in Texas. You can see below for the expected tuition fees:

  • Tuition and fees for the 2017-2018 academic year: $38,835
  • Room and board: $12,334

Keep in mind that the majority of students receive scholarships and financial aid. The average amount of aid is approximately $28,745, which effectively makes this one of the cheapest colleges in Texas for those who qualify.

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Lee College Review

One of the best colleges in Texas for students who want a community college experience, Lee College has seen great growth since its first semester. Founded in 1934 in Baytown, Texas, just 177 students had enrolled in their very first semester. Fast forward to 2017, and it is now one of the largest colleges in Texas with enrollment of more than 9,000 students.

Don’t be alarmed at the high enrollment rates for these largest colleges in Texas. They still feature a student faculty ratio that remains reasonable and facilitates small classroom sizes when necessary. U.S. News and World Report places this ratio at thirteen students to one faculty member.

Their top degree programs involve mostly technological skills, such as process technology, instrumentation technology, CADD engineering technology, and welding technology. However, there are a number of other areas of study as well at these best Texas colleges.

Potential students should bear in mind that the highest offering available at these best Texas colleges is a two-year associate degree. They specialize in occupational programs with many being creditable for a bachelor’s degree.

Tuition and fees are relatively difficult to estimate, but they are certainly one of the cheapest colleges in Texas for in-district students. In-district tuition for 23 credit hours is just $1,196. For a comparison to how that stacks up with other rates, see below:

  • In-state but out of district tuition: $2,208
  • Non-resident tuition: $2,921

While this is simply for the credit hours, it does not encompass the total fees to attend this cheapest college in Texas. For the comprehensive total of fees associated with this best Texas college, see the breakdown below:

  • In-district tuition and fees: $1,620
  • In-state but out of district tuition and fees: $2,632
  • Non-resident tuition and fees: $3,345

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Northwest Vista College Review

Conveniently located in San Antonio, Northwest Vista College is one of the best colleges in Texas. In fact, it ranked at the top of the list on the 2017 BestColleges.com Texas college rankings recently.

Northwest Vista College is a part of a large chain of college campuses, many of which are considered some of the best colleges in Texas. Certainly with five different campuses as a part of this school system known as the Alamo District, they are considered one of the largest colleges in Texas. According to one source, enrollment at Northwest Vista College is projected to be around 15,965 students.

While Northwest Vista College is easily one of the biggest colleges in Texas, class size remains relatively small. The faculty aims to keep class sizes around twenty-five students each to promote higher levels in interaction and better instruction.

Students can choose from one of six distinct “Alamo Institutes” to get the education they’re hoping for from colleges in TX. The six areas encompassed within their degree programs are:

  • Creative and communication arts
  • Business and entrepreneurship
  • Health and biosciences
  • Advanced manufacturing and logistics
  • Public service
  • Science and technology

When it comes to tuition, Northwest Vista is also one of the cheapest colleges in Texas. In-district students can attend the school for the low price of just $86 per semester credit hour. Out of district and out of state students will see higher tuition rates of $233 and $453 respectively.

The full course load of 21 semester credit hours brings the tuition and fees to a more comprehensive total below:

  • In-district students: $1,806
  • Out of district students: $4,893
  • Out of state students: $9,513

Western Texas College Review

Western Texas College is a public college that offers a wide range of study options for students who want two-year programs. Students will find a beautiful campus in Snyder, Texas, where they can attend one of the cheapest colleges in Texas while still maintaining a good education.

Offering Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degree options, they also allow students to transfer their credits to a four-year university or college for application toward a bachelor’s degree program. Transference of credits from these colleges in TX to another should be verified prior to changing institutions.

Since Western Texas is one of the largest colleges in Texas, prospective students should note that they have an estimated enrollment of 2,067 students. While the enrollment is lower than that of some of the other biggest colleges in Texas, Western Texas College still has a higher student-to-faculty ratio than others. According to one source, it is approximately 27 students per faculty member.

While the tuition costs for this best school in Texas aren’t listed for the 2017 to 2018 academic year, they are posted for the previous year. There are a number of ways to consider the pricing for these cheapest colleges in Texas. However, the pricing for these colleges in TX is listed below for two semesters of fifteen hours each:

  • In-district commuter: $2,520
  • Out of district commuter: $3,660
  • In-district campus resident: $7,814
  • Out of district campus resident: $8,954

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Wharton County Junior College Review

Wharton County Junior College offers a wide selection of campuses for prospective students to choose from. With six campuses total, this is one of the biggest colleges in Texas that students should consider for a two-year program in their respective fields of study. The central campus is located within the heart of Wharton, Texas, where all of their degree and certificate programs are offered.

Founded in 1944, these top schools in Texas have grown to be one of the most highly-recognized names when it comes to the cheapest colleges in Texas. They have a high enrollment rate for their programs that comes to approximately 7,416 students. Of this number, 39% are enrolled at these colleges in Texas full-time with a student faculty ratio of 21 to one.

Half of all students plan to transfer to a four-year college after leaving Wharton County Junior College.

When you consider the areas of study found within these programs, you’ll see a few degree programs that are more frequently enrolled in than others. Apart from general studies or liberal arts, the top programs are:

  • Business Administration
  • Engineering
  • Nursing
  • Biology

Tuition and fees for this top college in Texas are very reasonable and affordable, which is why they often end up on Texas college rankings. Consider the following rates from these good colleges in Texas for one semester of fifteen credit hours:

  • In-district students: $1,395
  • Out of district students: $2,160
  • Out of state students: $2,940

Keep in mind that these tuition rates and fees do not include any financial aid or assistance. According to one source, 41% of students qualified for financial aid or scholarships with an average award being $6,935. These low fees certainly qualify them as one of the cheapest colleges in Texas.

Vernon College Review

Vernon College, much like many of the other top colleges in Texas, provides students with a great place to earn a few credits or a two-year degree. Vernon is an excellent choice among the top colleges in Texas for a variety of educational programs, one of the largest colleges in Texas, and an affordable solution to higher education.

Students who are interested in enrolling at this good college in Texas will want to consider what they are interested in studying. They can offer an Associate in Arts, Science, and Applied Science, as well as certificates of completion. Their top areas of study among students at these best Texas colleges are:

  • Liberal arts and humanities
  • Nursing
  • EMT training
  • Police and criminal science
  • Cosmetology

There are five separate learning centers with the primary campus being located within Vernon, Texas. This gives students plenty of options about how and where they would like to attend these best colleges in Texas. Vernon College has just over 3,000 students enrolled in these best colleges in Texas.

According to one source, the student-faculty ratio is approximately twelve students to every faculty member.

Tuition and fees will vary for these cheapest colleges in Texas, just as they do with all of the other candidates on our Texas college rankings. See below for more information on what one semester of twenty hours will cost in the most common scenarios:

  • In-district students: $1,900
  • Out of district students: $2,800
  • Out of state students: $4,100

These numbers do not reflect any financial aid or assistance that many of the students enrolled at these best Texas colleges receive. It is estimated that only 38.5% of all enrolled students at these largest colleges in Texas do not receive any form of financial aid or scholarship.

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Conclusion—Top 6 Best Colleges in Texas

There is no shortage of options when it comes to the best colleges in Texas. Degree programs, enrollment rates, and more can all play a huge factor in helping you to make the decision on the right colleges in Texas for you. Your personal preferences may be more important than you think.

Do you prefer going to one of the good colleges in Texas that only offers two-year degrees? Are you more interested in transferring to a four-year college or university after spending some time at one of these best Texas colleges?

Perhaps most importantly, do you need to find the cheapest colleges in Texas?

No matter where your priorities are for your higher education, these best colleges in Texas have something great to offer prospective students. Find an education that you can afford for the future with one of these cheapest colleges in Texas.

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