Search Programs

Best Online Colleges in Texas

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 2/7/2022

Texas is home to more than 200 institutions of higher learning, and many schools offer an array of online degrees. To help students find the best online colleges in Texas, we've ranked schools by affordability and salary potential. On this page, you'll find data-driven benefits and potential drawbacks of a given school or program to consider. We also provide an overview of online colleges in Texas, information about the cost of an online degree in the state, and potential employment opportunities for graduates. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

2021 Best Online Colleges in Texas Badge

Find an Online Degree:

Highest Salary
Salary Score: 76
Acceptance Rate: 89%
Annual Tuition: $10,620

Bottom Line:

The University of Texas-Permian Basin alumni earn a higher average salary and tend to owe significantly less in student loan debt than graduates of other programs. However, the university has relatively low graduation and retention rates compared to other schools. Students should research what the university offers in terms of online services and support.


Pros:

UT-Permian Basin's Salary Score is 76, meaning that alumni tend to earn more than graduates from the same major at other schools.
Students tend to graduate with less debt compared to other U.S. colleges, with a median debt of $16,149 per student.
Online students pay the same tuition as in-state students, regardless of where they live, making UT-Permian Basin more accessible for out-of-state students.

Cons:

This university has a graduation rate of 41%, which is lower than the median of 54% for all schools.
Top Employers:
  • Ector County ISD
  • Midland ISD
  • Pioneer Natural Resources
  • Midland College
  • Chevron
Most Affordable
Salary Score: 43
Acceptance Rate: 81%
Annual Tuition: $6,187
Out-of-State Tuition: $8,137

Bottom Line:

Midwestern State University, the most affordable Texas college with online programs, may be a good choice for students looking to save money on their education. The university’s high acceptance rate and low tuition make it an accessible option. Those looking to maximize their investment, however, may opt for a school with a higher Salary Score.


Pros:

Midwestern State University offers affordable tuition rates for both in-state ($6,187) and out-of-state ($8,137) students.
This school may be an accessible option for students, with an acceptance rate of 81%.
While all ranked schools perform well in terms of the percent of alumni working one year after college, Midwestern State is among the highest at 97%.

Cons:

Midwestern State's Salary Score of 43 is the lowest of ranked colleges in Texas, meaning alumni of a given program tend to earn less than graduates of the same programs at other schools.
This university has a graduation rate of 42%, which is lower than the median of all U.S. colleges (54%).
Top Employers:
  • United Regional Health Care System
  • Wichita Falls ISD
  • Baylor Scott & White Health
  • Texas Health Resources
  • United States Air Force
Staff Pick
Salary Score: 74
Acceptance Rate: 69%
Annual Tuition: $8,760
Out-of-State Tuition: $21,030

Bottom Line:

Texas Tech University alumni tend to have higher salaries than graduates of other schools. This, alongside a relatively high graduation rate, may indicate robust student resources and programs. The upfront cost may be challenging for some, however, as fewer students receive financial aid here than at other schools.


Pros:

Texas Tech University's Salary Score is 74, meaning that alumni of a given program tend to earn more than graduates of the same programs at other schools.
This university has a graduation rate of 60%, which is higher than the median of 54% for all U.S. colleges.
Texas Tech offers a relatively affordable rate to in-state online students, and has the highest Salary Score of schools with annual tuition rates below $9,000.

Cons:

78% of students receive financial aid, compared to a median of 96% across U.S. colleges.
Out-of-state online students pay more than double what in-state online students pay, so the cost may be less accessible for nonresidents.
Top Employers:
  • Fidelity Investments
  • USAA
  • AT&T
  • Amazon
  • Dell Technologies

Rankings Eligibility



21 Colleges Considered


Regionally or Nationally Accredited


Offers 10+ Online Bachelor's Degrees
Our Methodology
OnlineU Small Logo

Why Trust Us?

27 Data
Researchers

60,000 Degrees Researched Annually

20,000 Hours Spent on Research Annually

Launching Rankings Since 2009

Meet Our Team
2021 Best Online Colleges in Texas Badge
Media Kit

If you would like a free, high quality version of any of our badges, please send a request to press@optimal.com.


Best Online Bachelor's Programs From Texas Colleges


Business

Highest Salary
Median Starting Salary: $56,415
Acceptance Rate: 47%
Annual Tuition: $11,820

Bottom Line:

LeTourneau University business majors tend to earn more, and nearly 100% of students receive financial aid. However, graduates here also tend to owe more in student loan debt compared to other colleges, so it may be a few years before alumni see a clear financial payoff.

Most Affordable
South Texas College
McAllen (and 2 others)
Median Starting Salary: $30,520
Annual Tuition: $2,610
Out-of-State Tuition: $6,000

Bottom Line:

South Texas College offers a notably low price point for a bachelor's degree in business. However, if you're looking to maximize your investment, other colleges tend to produce business alumni who earn more in their first year out of college. The university's graduation rate of 15% is significantly lower than most other colleges.

Staff Pick
Median Starting Salary: $47,260
Acceptance Rate: 89%
Annual Tuition: $10,620

Bottom Line:

The University of Texas-Permian Basin stands out as the school with the lowest median student loan debt for business alumni. Graduates also tend to earn higher salaries compared to alumni of other business programs. These strong student outcomes have earned the UT-Permian Basin business program a spot in our rankings for the last eight years in a row.


Communications

Highest Salary
Median Starting Salary: $36,674
Acceptance Rate: 89%
Annual Tuition: $10,620

Bottom Line:

At The University of Texas-Permian Basin, alumni of communications programs tend to earn more and have lower student loan debt compared to graduates of other schools. However, the university has lower graduation and retention rates compared to other schools. Students should research what student services and support are available for online study.

Most Affordable
Median Starting Salary: $27,669
Acceptance Rate: 49%
Annual Tuition: $6,252
Out-of-State Tuition: $18,522

Bottom Line:

The University of Houston-Victoria offers a low-cost degree program for Texas residents and boasts a 100% employment rate for communications alumni one year after graduating. However, alumni salaries tend to be lower compared to communications majors across schools, and UHV's graduation rate of 19% is far below average for this field.

Staff Pick

Criminal Justice

Highest Salary
Median Starting Salary: $46,087
Acceptance Rate: 99%
Annual Tuition: $13,206

Bottom Line:

Alumni of Wayland Baptist University's criminal justice program tend to earn higher salaries and owe less in student loan debt when they graduate. The degree program has also made our rankings for eight years in a row. Only one in four students graduate on time, however, and 17% fewer students are employed one year after graduation compared to the median across schools.

Most Affordable
Median Starting Salary: $31,660
Acceptance Rate: 35%
Annual Tuition: $4,500
Out-of-State Tuition: $9,000

Bottom Line:

Texas A&M University-Commerce offers an online criminal justice major at an affordable price and has a high employment rate of 99% for alumni one year out of college. The university has slightly lower graduation and retention rates compared to similar programs, which can indicate that student satisfaction or support may need improvement.

Staff Pick
Median Starting Salary: $35,382
Acceptance Rate: 74%
Annual Tuition: $10,350
Out-of-State Tuition: $22,620

Bottom Line:

Criminal justice alumni of Sam Houston State University (SHSU) tend to owe less when they graduate than is typical in this field of study. The major's graduation rate of 52% and retention rate of 76% are also higher than average for criminal justice programs, which is often seen as a measure of student success and satisfaction. SHSU has a long history of positive student outcomes, making our criminal justice rankings for seven years in a row.


Nursing

Highest Salary
Median Starting Salary: $74,405
Annual Tuition: $12,000

Bottom Line:

Graduates of the Baptist Health System School of Health Professions have a higher average starting salary than graduates of all of the other schools on our rankings at $74,405. The university also has a very high graduation rate of 90%, which can be an indicator of strong support services and student satisfaction.

Most Affordable
Median Starting Salary: $65,622
Annual Tuition: $6,330
Out-of-State Tuition: $14,970

Bottom Line:

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center offers the most affordable online nursing degree program. The average salary for Texas Tech nursing alumni is almost 20% higher than the median for all U.S. colleges. Students here tend to graduate with significantly less student loan debt at $12,500 per student.

Staff Pick
Median Starting Salary: $72,369
Annual Tuition: $8,497
Out-of-State Tuition: $18,313

Bottom Line:

Texas A&M University-Central Texas is one of the most affordable schools on our list for nursing programs and boasts strong student outcomes, including a 100% employment rate for graduates one year out of college. Alumni also tend to owe significantly less in student loan debt at $12,500 per student, and earn nearly $10,000 more on average than the median starting salary for nursing majors.


Psychology

Highest Salary
Median Starting Salary: $37,424
Acceptance Rate: 89%
Annual Tuition: $10,620

Bottom Line:

Psychology program graduates at the University of Texas-Permian Basin earn the highest average salary on our Texas rankings and also tend to owe less in student loan debt when they graduate. However, students should note that the graduation and employment rates for psychology alumni at this university are lower compared to other schools.

Most Affordable
Median Starting Salary: $30,988
Acceptance Rate: 49%
Annual Tuition: $6,252
Out-of-State Tuition: $18,522

Bottom Line:

The University of Houston-Victoria offers the most affordable psychology degree out of the schools on our list for Texas students, and alumni tend to owe less in student loan debt. However, UHV has a significantly low graduation rate of 19%, which can indicate that students need more support from their school to finish their degrees on time.

Staff Pick
Median Starting Salary: $32,524
Acceptance Rate: 61%
Annual Tuition: $11,254
Out-of-State Tuition: $26,524

Bottom Line:

University of Houston psychology majors earn a higher average salary compared to graduates of other psychology programs, and the liberal arts degree comes at a fairly affordable price point for Texas residents. However, 89% of UH alumni are employed one year out of college, compared to the median of 95% for psychology alumni overall.


Overview of Higher Education in Texas

College enrollment has been climbing in Texas for years. Total enrollment in the state was just over 227,000 students for the 2020-2021 year at accredited schools — approximately 93% were listed as Texas residents. Of the degree-granting institutions in Texas:

  • 103 are public colleges and universities.
  • 71 are private non-profit colleges.
  • 61 are private for-profit schools.
Graph of Texas Colleges by Type
Source: NCES

Texas features a large community college system. In fact, most transfer students to four-year universities had previously earned a general studies associate degree at one of the state's 128 two-year colleges. Overall, graduation rates at public Texas colleges are in line with the nationwide average: 39% of those entering a public college in Texas in 2014 graduated within four years, and 65% graduated within six years. Compare that to 2013 (most recent data available) NCES nationwide graduation rates of 41% and 64%, respectively.

Online Colleges in Texas

Online learning is well represented in Texas at every level — from certificates to doctoral degrees — and at both private schools and public university systems such as the University of Texas and the University of Houston. Texas colleges provide a variety of degree options through distance education, including programs in business, criminal justice, nursing, and psychology.



Online learning is well represented in Texas at every level — from certificates to doctoral degrees — and at both private schools and public university systems such as the University of Texas and the University of Houston.

Most online degree programs feature asynchronous classes, which have no live components. Students log in to a learning management platform to view lectures, post in forums, and submit coursework. Alternately, some programs feature synchronous elements such as live lectures over video, and others are designed for hybrid delivery with a mix of asynchronous work and some on-campus class meetings. These programs offer greater flexibility for students who juggle other responsibilities, and this convenience may help explain the increased popularity of online classes.

For college options in other locations, view OnlineU's best online college rankings by state or view our best online colleges by degree level.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Education in Texas

Are Online Degrees Respected?

Much of the stigma around online degrees has eroded as big-name universities have entered the online space and many on-campus students take at least some online courses. A degree earned from an accredited school is the most important credibility factor for job seekers, not the mode of course delivery. What's more, a diploma won't indicate that a student earned the degree online.

Does Texas Have Good Online Schools?

Many Texas colleges that offer online degrees feature competitive salaries upon graduation. For example, the top three Texas colleges by salary all have Salary Scores of 74 and higher, which places them relatively high in our nationwide rankings. This may mean that alumni received an education that prepared them for well-earning post-graduate careers. With a goal of ensuring online student success,Texas colleges typically offer services to distance learners, such as academic support, library and tech resources, and even career consultation services. These resources are geared toward ensuring the success of online students.

Are Online Colleges in Texas Accredited?

Many Texas colleges with online degrees are accredited at either the national or regional level. Both designations mean that a school has passed a thorough, independent examination of its educational quality, but regional accreditation is more rigorous and allows students to transfer credits more easily. Our rankings lists feature mainly regionally accredited online colleges in Texas. Applicants can check a school's accreditation status using the Department of Education's Database of Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.

Cost of Online Colleges in Texas

College is a major expense for most students, so it's important to understand the costs and how to possibly mitigate them. Here are the costs to attend a Texas college, with data from the U.S. Department of Education:

  • Texas residents at four-year public schools pay an average of $8,598 annually.
  • Nonresidents at four-year public institutions pay an average of $24,889 annually.
  • All students at four-year private schools pay an average of $36,014 annually.
  • Texas residents at public two-year schools pay an average of $2,380 annually.
  • Nonresidents at public two-year schools pay an average of $6,373 annually.

Each amount includes tuition and mandatory fees but excludes room and board. These numbers are a helpful starting point for understanding how much a degree will cost, but they aren't specific to online bachelor's degrees in Texas.


Online-specific costs aren't as widely reported, but according to our manual research of 21 Texas schools offering undergraduate degrees online, the median annual tuition is $10,350, and tuition rates range from $6,187 to $30,690 a year.


Notably, most public Texas universities charge the in-state tuition rate to full-time online students regardless of residency. These lower tuition rates favor out-of-state students who would otherwise pay a higher amount per credit to study on campus. Some private Texas colleges also charge less tuition to online students because the overhead costs per student are lower.

Students should keep in mind extra fees they'll need to pay on top of tuition, which vary by school and program. Online students usually have to pay a technology fee to cover the costs associated with data storage and learning management platforms for online courses. However, there are some costs online students can avoid, such as room and board or campus recreation fees.

Financial Aid for Online Students in Texas

To help reduce upfront costs, students can apply for financial aid from the federal government, the Texas state government, their college, or private sources. The best options are gift aid funds that don't need to be repaid, such as grants and scholarships. Although 66% of students at non-profit Texas schools receive financial aid, most of these students fund the remaining balance of their education using loans, which require repayment with interest. It's advisable to exhaust government loans before turning to private lenders, which charge higher interest rates.



66% of students at non-profit Texas schools receive financial aid.

The financial aid process begins with the Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility for federal aid. Most states and colleges use the information for the same purpose. Students with undocumented immigration status should complete the Texas Application for Student Financial Aid. Although these students can't receive federal funds, they may qualify for some state programs. All students should check with their school's financial aid office to see which programs the college participates in.

Texas provides several aid opportunities for students who demonstrate financial need. In general, state programs are reserved for state residents — including online learners — and can be renewed if the students maintain a specified GPA. Students may be eligible for the following Texas funds:

Students in a Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program can earn $10,000 off tuition and fees annually if they sign a four-year commitment to the U.S. military or branch of the Texas Guard and meet high school eligibility requirements.

Students demonstrating financial need can qualify for partial funding if they maintain a part-time job while attending a Texas college at least half-time.

This is another need-based grant for students at public Texas schools. The award amount is at the discretion of the institution that the student attends.

Texas public college students may be eligible for the TEXAS Grant Program if they demonstrate financial need. Recipients can receive up to $5,195 off tuition and fees per semester.

Texas residents with financial need who are seeking undergraduate or graduate degrees can apply to receive up to $3,497 a year to attend a non-profit private college in Texas. The degree must be the first of its level that the student is pursuing. Those with exceptional financial need may receive up to $5,246.

Employment Outlook for College Graduates in Texas

About 30% of Texas residents over 25 hold a bachelor's degree, which is slightly lower than the nationwide amount of 32%. This could indicate less competition for jobs in Texas than in states with more degree holders. What's more, many jobs in the state's boom industries require a bachelor's degree for entry-level employment. These industries include technology and manufacturing, aerospace and defense, information technology, petroleum refining, and energy.

Education generally pays in Texas: bachelor's degree holders earn median weekly earnings of $1,305, which is significantly higher than the $781 median earnings of those without a college education. College graduate salaries have great potential buying power in Texas, a state with the 14th-lowest cost of living in the nation. Further, unemployment rates are also lower among Texans with a bachelor's degree and even lower among those with a graduate degree.

Median weekly earnings by educational attainment (2020)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Popular Career Paths for College Graduates in Texas

Several of Texas's fastest growing occupations are also among the state's top industries for alumni of the best online colleges in Texas. Graduates can explore Texas Career Check for more information about opportunities in the state and learn more about some of the jobs available in these popular industries below.

Accountant and auditor
Median Annual Salary: $73,560
Job Outlook: 7%

Accountant and auditor roles might be a good fit for math-savvy students who study accounting or finance. Accountants analyze the finances of businesses, households, and government offices to help them understand their inflows and spending, where auditors investigate employer balance sheets to ensure compliance with legal reporting requirements. Both types of employee can improve their career prospects by earning a master's degree in accounting and a Certified Public Accountant license. These professionals make median wages of $73,560 nationwide, and the BLS expects this field to grow 7% in the 2020-2030 period.

General and operations managers
Median Annual Salary: $103,650
Job Outlook: 9%

General and operations managers lead teams of employees at private companies, government agencies, and non-profits. They ensure that operations run smoothly, plan and oversee budgets, and hire and develop new talent. These professionals commonly study business administration, management, or organizational leadership. They earn median annual wages of $103,650, and projections show the field growing by about 9% by 2030.

Elementary school teachers
Median Annual Salary: $60,940
Job Outlook: 7%

Elementary school teachers generally major in education, but because of a critical K-12 teacher shortage, Texas offers alternative certification programs for students who majored in other fields in order to fill the demand. These teachers make median yearly wages of $60,940 and can expect a 7% job growth rate through the end of the decade.

High school teachers
Median Annual Salary: $62,870
Job Outlook: 8%

High school teachers specialize in subjects such as math, science, or humanities. They tend to earn more than elementary teachers, with median yearly salaries of $62,870 in Texas. The field will likely grow 8% in the 2020-2030 period.

Registered nurses
Median Annual Salary: $75,330
Job Outlook: 9%

Registered nurses care for patients in all types of healthcare facilities. They often specialize in certain care settings or patient populations and keep their skills sharp through continuing education. Graduates can register as nurses with an associate degree, but a Bachelor of Nursing Science (BSN) degree often helps improve their marketability. RNs earn median pay of $75,330 per year and the BLS expects the field to grow at a 9% rate from 2020-2030.

This website offers school details to prospective students as an informational resource. The appearance of a school listing on this website should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the school by this site.

Related Articles

Most Affordable Online Colleges in Texas

Compare the most affordable online colleges in Texas based on manually researched tuition rates. The top school in 2021 is Midwestern State University.

By Liz Heintz | 10/4/2022

Online Nursing Programs in Texas

Browse our list of accredited online nursing programs in Texas. Learn about licensure and how to become a nurse in Texas once you've earned your degree.

By the OnlineU team | 2/23/2022

Best Online Community Colleges in Texas

These are the best community colleges in Texas offering online degrees. Compare tuitions for the top-ranked schools.

By OnlineU Staff | 2/18/2022

ADVERTISEMENT

Start Your Online College Search:

Review schools that align with your career aspirations.