Texas is a big state, and it has big plans to increase its number of college graduates. Its "60x30TX" initiative aims to have at least 60 percent of the state's 25- to 34-year-olds possess certificates or degrees by 2030.

Two ways the state plans to reach this goal include making college more affordable and rapidly adding online programs — both of which can significantly improve access to higher education in Texas. Online programs allow students who struggle with distance from campuses, full-time work schedules, childcare and other challenges to complete their studies from anywhere, at times that work for them.

Take a look at this sampling of what online colleges in Texas can offer students:

  • The Lone Star State is home to 140 colleges and universities that offer online degree programs.
  • 60-plus online Texas colleges offer associate degree programs, 80-plus provide bachelor's degree programs, and 80-plus have master's degree programs.
  • More than 40 faith-based online colleges and seminaries call Texas "home."
  • Texas has one college that is entirely online: Vista College in Richardson offers online certificate, associate degree and bachelor's degree programs.
  • The UT Online Consortium, a partnership among five University of Texas institutions, enables enrolled students to enroll in online courses at any participating school, regardless of the student's "host" or primary campus.

Want to learn more about online colleges in Texas as well as Texas-focused financial aid? You're in the right place. We've done our research to develop rankings of online colleges, providing useful information to help you compare schools and programs. You can also explore grants, scholarships and loans that may be available to qualified Texas residents, as well as information on Texas' best industries and careers for ideas on where to focus your studies.

What Makes a Good Online College in Texas?

Students looking for online colleges in Texas have an important decision to make — and our rankings can help. All schools on this page are accredited by Texas-recognized agencies such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) or the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). Learn why accreditation matters at our "What is College Accreditation?" page, or at the Texas Education Agency.

Accreditation is only one of the factors that makes for a quality online college, however. An explanation of the characteristics we look at when evaluating schools, as well as why they matter, can be found in the "What Makes a Good Online College?" section of our "About Us" page.


Online Colleges in Texas for 2020-21

Our rankings allow students to compare online colleges and determine which might be the best match for their needs. To help with this comparison, we display data and descriptions of each school, demonstrating how they serve online students. We touch on topics such as overall school culture, number of online programs and variety of online resources, generating a snapshot of the best online colleges in Texas for your use. 

We used data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and our unique methodology to make this list.


Sam Houston State University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is SHSU like?

For the third year in a row, Sam Houston State University and its dozens of online degree programs rank among our best online colleges in Texas, holding its position at the top for the second year in a row. SHSU extends online offerings from the same award-winning on-campus faculty and staff that led to its Carnegie "Doctoral Research University" designation, placing it among the top seven percent of all U.S. colleges and universities.

What online programs are at SHSU?

Online students can pursue popular online programs like those in business administration, healthcare administration and criminal justice at SHSU. Students may be able to choose from bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs as well as graduate-level certificates and professional certifications. Courses are taught through a mixture of text, lectures, discussion boards, video and other course materials, delivered on a typical semester schedule through the Blackboard learning environment.

What online resources does SHSU offer?

SHSU students in online degree programs have the benefits of college services that campus-based students receive, such as career services, student success initiatives, mentoring, a writing center and more. Newly enrolled students are encouraged to meet with an academic advisor to keep them on track throughout the online learning experience. In addition, new students enrolled in a 100 percent online program may be eligible for a one-time $1,000 scholarship from SHSU.


Texas Tech University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is Texas Tech like?

Texas Tech University takes accessibility and diversity seriously. This esteemed university offers more online doctoral degree programs than any other institution in the state of Texas, is a military-friendly Purple Heart University, and has several initiatives in place that make taking online courses much easier for those with disabilities. Texas Tech even offers online course options for K-12 students and for non-degree-seeking students. Texas Tech has jumped up in our rankings this year to grab the No. 2 spot.

What online programs are at Texas Tech?

Texas Tech is on our list for a second year in a row, and that's partly because of the robust online offerings. In addition to programs you might expect, such as those in business or criminal justice, there are some unique options such as the bachelor of science in wind energy, the master of science in horticulture and the Ph.D. in special education. There are also dozens of graduate certificate programs available.

What online resources does Texas Tech offer?

Texas Tech students can receive robust support through the Blackboard learning system, as well as separate student support services that cover guidance on subjects from advising to financial aid. The online library has a personal librarian assigned to each subject to help students find the resources they need. Online students who reside out-of-state can also enjoy a tuition rate that is very close to the in-state residency rate, thus helping to keep educational costs down.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is UTRGV like?

Founded in 2013, the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley is a rather new entry into the higher education scene, but it is already making a big impression. In fact, it's jumped all the way to the third spot in our rankings from No. 6 last year. The robust Center for Online Learning and Teaching Technology offers dozens of accelerated online master's degree programs designed for busy students, as well as certificate and bachelor's programs.

What online programs are at UTRGV?

Most online UTRGV programs are at the master's level, and several — including business administration, health sciences and social work — offer a variety of specializations, so students have options to customize their learning experience.

The university's accelerated programs run on a seven-week class schedule. Other programs, such as the online master's of science in mathematics or the master's of education in bilingual education, work on a regular semester schedule. Both accelerated and regular programs use the Blackboard learning platform to manage assignments and foster class communication.

What online resources does UTRGV offer?

Support for online students at UTRGV is comprehensive, including technology, testing, library, writing and proctoring services. Students can take advantage of advising services while in school, as well as a career center to help them prepare for life beyond the classroom. Students may also benefit from experiential learning opportunities with aid from their Office of Engaged Scholarship & Learning (ES&L). The unique Top Hat engagement platform offers even more ways for students to connect with teachers and peers.


Texas A & M University-College Station

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is Texas A&M like?

Texas A&M makes a strong entry onto our list at No. 4 this year. This public research university, founded in 1876, is also one of the few universities in the nation to be designated a land grant, sea grant, and space grant university. It participates in NC- SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement), a voluntary agreement, that helps students from other states take online courses through Texas A&M.

What online programs are at Texas A&M?

Texas A&M offers one undergraduate and 49 graduate degree programs. In addition, 32 certificates can be earned online. Degree plans are offered through no less than 12 colleges while certificates are offered by 10. Students may be able to earn degrees as diverse as the Master of Agriculture in Poultry Science or Master of Maritime Business Administration and Logistics (MBAA) or more traditional ones like a Master of Education (M.Ed.) or a M.S. in Mathematics.

Courses may be synchronous or asynchronous depending on the field you study.

What online resources does Texas A&M offer?

Texas A&M offers all its students the same resources and support — whether they attend classes online or in person. The Academic Success Center offers tutoring and academic coaching services, while students have access to career advisors via the Career Center. Grad students receive help from the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies. Online students are eligible to earn the Aggie ring too, helping them connect with the network of TAMU alumni around the world.


Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is SAGU like?

Once known as Southwestern Bible College, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University aims to provide a Bible-based education that prepares students for their academic, professional, spiritual and cross-cultural career journeys. To that end, the curriculum for SAGU programs includes in-depth courses in theology and Bible studies. Its dedication to its mission seems to be paying off: SAGU has made the top five in our ranking list for the third year in a row.

What online programs are at SAGU?

Those looking to earn one of the online degrees in Texas can find dozens of possibilities at SAGU, ranging from online associate programs — like the A.S. in psychology or the A.A. in education — to graduate programs in divinity, theology, education, history and more. Numerous programs shine a spotlight on the school's Christian background, such as those in church ministries, religion and philosophy, biblical studies and the like. All online courses are delivered through Blackboard.

What online resources does SAGU offer?

Online students at SAGU enjoy the same services on-campus students receive, such as a comprehensive library service, student devotionals, tutoring, academic advising and workshops presented through Blackboard. Students can also earn credit for life experience; by enrolling in a three-hour course, students can earn up to 45 credit hours through demonstrations of knowledge and work experience.


LeTourneau University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is LETU like?

Styling itself as the Christian Polytechnic University, LeTourneau University welcomes students from all walks of Christianity. Their student body represented approximately 50 different denominational groups in 2018. A small but comprehensive university with a hands-on, can-do attitude, LETU has moved up from No. 7 last year to No. 6 in our rankings this year.

What online programs are at LETU?

Most graduate programs are LETU are fully online, including those in healthcare administration, teacher leadership and psychology. Select undergraduate programs are also offered online, such as accounting, theology, aviation management or aviation security. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard learning platform and LetNet, the school portal, which helps students keep track of class schedules, grades and more.

What online resources does LETU offer?

Students who need a little extra help can take advantage of online tutoring in math, writing, history, business and computer science topics. Resources to help students with time management, test taking, organization and the like are also available through the Student Success Center. And students can use their TexShare Cards to access 500-plus public and college library collections across the state.


Texas Woman's University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is TWU like?

Another great school hitting our list for the third year in a row, Texas Woman's University offers a wealth of certificate and degree plans through a robust online course schedule. Founded in 1901, the university started admitting men in 1972. However, it still remains the largest university in the nation that is primarily for women.

What online programs are at TWU?

In addition to its many hybrid and completion programs, students can pursue fully online master's programs in fields such as child development, business administration, health studies and library science, among many others. Some doctoral programs are also available, such as the hybrid Ph.D. in nursing science. Courses are delivered via either Canvas or Blackboard, and some might require synchronous online meetings.

What online resources does TWU offer?

Academic advising, tutoring and full library services are strong student support staples for online learning at TWU. Among the many online resources available to students is Smarter Measure, an online tool designed to help students understand more about their learning style. The aim is to help students recognize and refine the best possible skills and habits so they can successfully tackle online courses. The CARE office offers helps students balance their personal lives and school.


The University of Texas at Arlington

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is UTA like?

Known for its diversity and its military-friendly options, the University of Texas at Arlington offers more than 700 courses and multiple degree programs that can be taken online. UTA has been offering distance education for 20-plus years. It is also a Servicemembers Opportunity College, and its resources for veterans and their families have been lauded by sources such as the Military Times.

UTA has been classified as a Carnegie Research 1 institution, putting it among an elite group of research universities in the nation.

What online programs are at UTA?

UTA makes online programs available for its students in areas such as public health, education, social work, business and more, with courses taught through the Blackboard system. This Texas university is particularly conducive to nursing students: nursing education is available at every degree level from bachelors' on up — more than a dozen different options — and certificates can be earned, too. Programs feature multiple start dates, and some may be taken in an accelerated format in the bargain.

What online resources does UTA offer?

In addition to the Center for Distance Education — which can help students with technical issues — online UTA students can take advantage online writing and tutoring services, career resources, academic videos through the library, and much more. Returning students can also benefit from Finish@UT, a unique UTA bachelor's completion initiative designed to help those who have earned some college credits but stepped away from their education for a bit.


University of North Texas

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is UNT like?

The second, and final, new entrant on our list, UNT is one of the largest public research universities in the United States. It has been classified as a Tier One research institute by the Carnegie Foundation. UNT emphasizes its ethos as a transfer-friendly school, and hosts a YouTube channel and other live events to help prospective students engage with their students and university leaders. Oklahoma residents receive special discounts on tuition at UNT.

What online programs are at UNT?

UNT offers over 80 online programs where undergraduate certificates to doctoral degrees can be earned. UNT has pioneered several study plans including the nation's first completely online master of science program in merchandising, graduate applied anthropology program, and school librarian certification program. UNT also offers accelerated graduate programs that may allow students to earn their degrees in as little as 12 months.

Classes are typically offered in 8-week formats with multiple start dates and are delivered through Canvas.

What online resources does UNT offer?

Online students have access to Microsoft Office software and OneDrive storage at no charge. Students also have remote access to UNT's physical and virtual computer labs; students with disabilities may benefit from services offered by the Adaptive Computing and Learning Lab. Other available UNT support includes online mental health counseling services and a career center that can help with placements and internships.


Lamar University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is LU like?

One of the fastest-growing schools in Texas, Lamar University is home to over 15,000 students and more than 100 programs of study. An 18:1 student-faculty ratio — even in their online programs — makes this an institution students come to when they want more personalized attention. Through LU Online, the school brings the accessibility of online learning to students across the country.

What online programs are at LU?

Among the online bachelor's programs undergraduate students can pursue are industrial technology, criminal justice and nursing. LU's bachelor's program in general studies allows students to create their own multi-disciplinary plan. Their range of two dozen-plus online graduate programs includes counseling, education leadership and public health. LU students may enjoy the flexibility of multiple start dates throughout the year, as well as the option to choose between accelerated 8-week semesters or the more traditional 15-week option. Courses are delivered via the Blackboard learning system.

What online resources does LU?

Support services for LU Online students include a career center, financial advising, online student orientation and health tools, proctoring services and more. LU Learn provides in-depth tech support for online students, while those who need an extra boost may find help through the SmartThinking tutoring program. Finally, more than 2,000 scholarships may be available each year to eligible Lamar University online students.

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Affordable Online Colleges in Texas for 2019-20

Here, we present two lists of the most affordable online colleges in Texas: one for 2-year schools, and one for 4-year schools. We organized both lists based on the average in-state tuition for undergraduate students that each school reported to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Financial Aid Resources in Texas

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is uniting with the Texas state government to raise the number of degree-holding Texans. One of the ways they plan to do this is to make college more affordable for Texans through financial aid, such as grants, scholarships and loans. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board even issued a specialty license plate, contributing $22 from the sale of each plate toward scholarships for Texas students.

Karen LaQuey, director of financial aid at Wayland Baptist, explains, "Most of the aid is for students attending public colleges and universities with a couple of programs available to private colleges and universities. The State of Texas has been very supportive of higher education for U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens."

For more information on the scholarships, grants and loans available to Texans, see the resources listed below.

What grants and scholarships are available in Texas?

There is strong support for students seeking financial assistance through scholarships in the state of Texas. Learn more about the specifics of financial aid and the application process with our Ultimate Guide to Grants and our Ultimate Guide to Scholarships.

Source: Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of CollegeXpress, a division of Carnegie Dartlet. Copyright © 2020 by CollegeXpress.

Student Loans in Texas

The Lone Star State has two options for student loans. The College Access Loans are not need-based, though it's still recommended that you fill out the FAFSA. The state also offers the Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program, which becomes a loan if students do not hold up the scholarship requirements that include scholastic standards and military service.

This loan program is for Texas residents enrolled at least half-time in a certificate, associate, undergraduate, graduate or higher level degree program. The loan is offered at a fixed annual rate of 4.2%. Students must have either a co-signer or a favorable credit evaluation.


  • Application deadline: Not specified
  • Award amount: A minimum of $100 and a maximum up to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid

For more guidance on college loans, check out our Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Costs for Out-of-State Students in Texas

Tuition at Texas universities tends to cost significantly more for out-of-state students than it does for residents. Fortunately, making the Lone Star State your home for 12 months isn't the only way to upgrade to more affordable tuition costs. Here are a few established pathways to lower costs for non-resident students:

  • Competitive Scholarships: Most public universities in Texas participate in the Competitive Scholarship program, which provides aid equal to the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition for eligible students.
  • Military personnel waiver: Many Texas institutions provide a waiver that entitles active servicemembers stationed in Texas to take courses at the resident tuition rate.
  • Economic development and diversification waiver: If you move to Texas to work for a company that has recently opened offices there, you may be eligible for resident tuition rates before establishing official residency.

It's also possible for students in specific programs of study at certain institutions to reduce their out-of-state tuition to the resident rate. The University of Texas at El Paso, for example, extends resident tuition rates to out-of-state students seeking a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or a graduate degree in either systems engineering or construction management.

There are more details about tuition residency in Texas than we have space to include here, so check the College for All Texans web portal or reach out to an adviser or registrar at your online college of choice for more information.

Best Careers in Texas

EmploymentEmployment GrowthMedian High School SalaryMedian Bachelor's Salary

To earn some of the best jobs in Texas, residents need to obtain the training necessary to be successful — which, in many cases, means completing a higher education. The Lumina Foundation reports that by 2025, 60 percent of jobs will require an education beyond the high school level. However, there is currently only a 43 percent attainment rate.

In order to help fuel their workforce with college graduates, Texas has implemented programs to increase workers' access to degree programs. For example, the Skills Development Fund is designed to provide customized job training to businesses through public technical and community colleges. There is also the Economic Development and Diversification In-State Tuition for Employees, which allows workers who relocated to Texas to work at a qualified business to receive in-state tuition for a degree program prior to establishing state residency.

Top Texas Industries

*Industry rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Top IndustriesEmploymentProjected GrowthAverage Salary
Oil and gas extraction5,260,80015%$74,477
Pipeline transportation3,632,21016%$78,899
Petroleum and coal products manufacturing4,805,15015%$69,492
Support activities for mining5,236,22015%$66,461
Waste management and remediation services5,478,94015%$65,167
Air transportation4,626,38015%$70,800
Rail transportation5,004,28015%$68,732
Construction of buildings6,386,20016%$62,584
Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities4,511,51013%$72,513

It's no surprise that oil and gas jobs are in abundance in the Lone Star State, since Texas has been a huge producer of black gold since the first oil boom of the 1800s. Texas is home to companies like ExxonMobil and Phillips 66, and according to USA Today, the oil and gas extraction sector employs over 90,000 people around the state.

Another booming sector in Texas is the aerospace and aviation industry, which, according to the Office of the Texas Governor, has the most air transportation workers in the country, thanks to over 1,400 airports in the state. In addition, Texas has 15 military bases, as well as NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, which create even more opportunities for aerospace and aviation professionals.

Texas has many opportunities for professionals in different sectors, but the jobs available may depend on exactly where workers live. Continue reading to learn about the best jobs that can be found in specific metropolitan areas of the state.

Best Jobs in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metro Area

Total Population
Median salary for high school grads
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
Median rent

There are several large software companies located in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area, creating many opportunities for software developers and operations research analysts to find work. Finoit Technologies, Inc., Atmo Software Development, Apptura Software and Sphinx Solutions are among some of the possible employers that may hire these professionals.

The region also houses American Airlines' and Southwest Airlines' headquarters, as well as one of the biggest airports in the nation, so it's a great place for airline pilots, copilots and flight engineers to look for jobs.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight EngineersBachelor's degree$164,500N/A
Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and TestersBachelor's degree$110,34051,370
General Internal Medicine PhysiciansDoctoral or professional degree$123,9001,540
Operations Research AnalystsBachelor's degree$87,0504,370

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Best Jobs in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX Metro Area

Total Population
Median salary for high school grads
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
Median rent

The Houston-Woodlands-Sugar Land region has several health care facilities where anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists can find employment, such as Texas Medical Center, Texas Children's Hospital and UTMB Health. Petroleum and chemical engineers may also be able to find high paying jobs in Houston. Local companies like Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Westlake Chemical and BP are among the organizations where these professionals may be able to work.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Petroleum EngineersBachelor's degree$183,19010,210
Chemical EngineersBachelor's degree$162,3304,230
Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and GeographersBachelor's degree$170,2204,370
Nurse AnesthetistsMaster's degree$172,3701,430
AnesthesiologistsDoctoral or professional degree$249,4201,270

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Best Jobs in San Antonio-New Braunfels

San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX Metro Area

Total Population
Median salary for high school grads
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
Median rent

The San Antonio-New Braunfels metropolitan area is a good place for health care professionals to work. In fact, according to the City of San Antonio, one in six residents are employed in the health care and biosciences industry. With medical facilities such as the Department of Defense Burn Center, the South Texas Medical Center and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, it's not surprising that San Antonio is a location with a lot of potential for anesthesiologists, surgeons and occupational therapists.

Operations research analysts may also benefit from the area's financial services companies, like the Bank of San Antonio, South Texas Money Management and Texas Capital Bank.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Surgeons, Except OphthalmologistsDoctoral or professional degree$212,680N/A
Health Specialties Teachers, PostsecondaryDoctoral or professional degree$59,600N/A
Operations Research AnalystsBachelor's degree$82,180960
Occupational TherapistsMaster's degree$69,8801,220

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.