The establishment of affordable online colleges in Texas began late in the evolution of distance learning. Texas is known for its propensity to do things in a big way. Many years before the invention of the Internet, Texas schools offered extension courses and correspondence courses through the mail. Most of these early courses were dependent on a business necessity as corporations discovered that promoting from within produced better morale, production, and loyalty. Though the early use of distance learning did not involve the Internet, it served as an inspiration for those who desired to move up in their profession. The problem with much of these early distance learning opportunities was that they were squandered as businesses picked who amongst their employees they would support in their educational endeavors. Even with the advent of the Internet, many of the existing universities in Texas refused to expand into an online environment. The first schools to utilize the online environment were “for-profit” schools like the University of Phoenix that offered a way forward to those who were denied advancement due to a lack of a higher education in their field. It was not long before Texas schools became aware of the unlimited opportunities provided through virtual learning for those seeking economic success. The gap that existed between races had no pertinence in an online environment. Texas moved forward into the virtual field and differences between people became irrelevant as their performance online got them those crucial associates, bachelor, and master degrees. Online education in Texas moved the social needle toward diversification making it entirely possible for anyone to find and attain a college degree if they had the drive and the will to succeed.
There are many components to consider when compiling a list of the most affordable online colleges in Texas. The cost per year for tuition is only one of the many considerations when thinking about pursuing an online degree. Taking into account the reputation of the school, the expertise of its faculty, accreditation, how long the school allows for a student to pursue a given degree, and the resources the school commits to the advancement of its graduates are only some of the factors that lead to what is called the “value for your buck.” This list of ten universities in Texas that are considered the most affordable is selected from 62 universities, found at the National Center for Education Statistics, that offer online degrees in Texas, and they are ranked in order of most to least expensive. Each of these schools is regionally accredited or certified as proficient. To become certified, the courses and degrees presented by the school must satisfy the requirements set forward by the accreditation organization for the given field. For instance, for a school to become accredited in the field of education, the school must submit its courses for consideration with a recognized authority that authorizes accreditations. A school that values its students must also offer access to student financial help. The universities on this list help their students access Pell programs, Federal Student Loans, and other opportunities to lower the initial cost of education.
Ranking Low-Cost Online Texas Colleges
10. University of Houston-Downtown
The University of Houston-Downtown realized early that brick and mortar space limitations left the university no choice but to reach outside the campus to facilitate the education of minorities. The plan in 1974 was to reach as many students as possible through mail correspondence. When the Internet came along, university officials realized the opportunity would lead to greater success as an educational institution and for potential students yearning to gain access to college classes but were unable to attend physically. The University of Houston-Downtown staff champed at the bit to get started but were held back for years by University of Houston system guidelines. The university gained permission to explore Internet class opportunities through its award-winning certification courses, and, finding success, was one of the first to expand into the realm of bachelor and master degree programs. Today, the University of Houston-Downtown is a leader in online educational programming in Texas. It offers certificates of completion in AutoCAD and retail management. Its bachelor level online degrees include studies in finance, business, psychology, political science, criminal justice, and administration in various forms. Master programs extend online access to those who are already working in the fields of business management, security, and criminal justice.
9. University of Houston-Victoria
The University of Houston-Victoria campus sits on a 20-acre location with three housing units that offer rooms for 660 students to reside while attending classes. The small size of the campus and the fact that the University of Houston-Victoria is independent of the University of Houston system makes it a prominent laboratory for experimentation with online degree programs. The University of Houston-Victoria has a current enrollment of 4,300 students, most of whom are enrolled in online courses of one type or another. Victoria is one of the Texas schools to first reach out to the virtual environment to provide Certificates of Completion in various subjects. The resulting influx of students encouraged the school to expand its repertoire of online degrees to include both undergraduate and graduate opportunities. A student can pursue completely online a Bachelor of Science degree in several disciplines including, applied arts and sciences communication, criminal justice, humanities, psychology, business, and nursing. Those who are working and already have an undergraduate degree in hand can pursue a graduate degree at the University of Houston-Victoria entirely online in several areas of study. Master of Science degrees are offered in such diverse fields as publishing, computer systems, and entrepreneurial studies, Teachers have numerous opportunities to upgrade their portfolio at the University of Houston-Victoria by pursuing Master of Ed degrees in Adult and Higher Education, Curriculum and Instruction, or Special Education. The School of Business Administration offers students an adventurous opportunity to complete an MBA in Bridge Global, Bridge Strategic, Global, or Strategic formats.
8. University of Texas Medical Branch
There are not many schools in the country with the reputation enjoyed by The University of Texas Medical Branch. The university is not only a learning center for those entering the medical field; it is also a full-fledged hospital system that deals with many of the cutting edge treatments supplied by modern technology. The ingenious way that curriculum and practice are mixed elevates the school to number 15 in the country out of the hundreds of schools that offer graduate degrees in nursing online according to US News and World Report. The university carries approximately 3,200 students, of which 872 take online classes. The online courses concentrate on two medical related fields—clinical/medical laboratory science and nursing. The vast majority of online students pursue nursing of one focus or another. The graduate degrees in nursing at The University of Texas Medical Branch include Master of Science in Nursing-Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Master of Science in Nursing-Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner, and Master of Science in Nursing-Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Each of these degrees requires a minimum of 720 hours of practicum along with the 49 credit-hours of class time.
7. University of Texas in the Permian Basin
The University of Texas in the Permian Basin is one of the most affordable online colleges in Texas. When the Internet became available, the University of Texas in the Permian Basin was among the first of the colleges in Texas to jump into the virtual realm to expand its student body. Today, the school offers several undergraduate degrees entirely online including a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management, and another in marketing, Bachelor of Arts in several fields such as political science, communication, psychology, sociology, and humanities, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology. The school moved into graduate studies in several fields as well. The purpose of online graduate studies was to allow students to attend classes at home while still in the workforce. Seeing the value of continued production in business while gaining a graduate-level business degree the school offers an MBA and a Master of Public Administration entirely online. The school considers education to be of equal importance to business and offers master degree programs in Bilingual/ESL, Educational Leadership, Special Education, and Special Education/Autism. The University supports another pillar of society by providing a Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
6. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
The Texas Tech University Health Science Center pushes a two-fold purpose that makes it not only one of the most affordable online colleges in Texas; it is also one of the most prestigious. With a focused approach to education and research, the University pledges to enrich as many health practitioners as possible and to look for new and innovative treatments for diseases and afflictions that plague humanity. To reach as many health practitioners as possible, the Health Center approached online education with an expanded degree of enthusiasm. The result is an online presence that covers a considerable area of the health care field. The school offers a step-by-step approach to the top of several health care categories. A student can advance from undergraduate student to the top of their profession through online classes at the Texas Tech University Health Science Center. Starting with undergraduate studies, a student chooses to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science, a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management, or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, RN to BSN. The school offers further specialization to established healthcare professionals through an online graduate-level degree program that provides foundations in areas like addiction counseling, clinical rehabilitation counseling, mental health counseling, and healthcare administration.
5. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas
Tucked in the friendly atmosphere of San Antonio, prospective students find one of the most affordable online colleges in Texas—The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. As so often happens with healthcare universities, this school discovered the immense advantages of offering degrees online and pursued the possibilities a feverish pace. The platform the school utilizes emits from the School of Health Professionals—a segment of the University that concentrates on outreach education. The School of Health Professionals offers several online degrees at the bachelor, master and doctoral levels. These programs are dedicated to those healthcare professionals who choose to continue to work while enriching their education. Such healthcare professionals add a dynamic to the workplace that demonstrates a complete commitment to the care of others. The School of Health Professionals welcomes ETMs and RNs with particular glee as they recognize the persistent qualities of these professionals who seek to gain more knowledge in their field. Online undergraduate degrees in emergency health and respiratory care naturally lead to a Master in Physician Assistance or a Master in Respiratory Care. Doctorates in the areas of physical therapy and occupational therapy include online classes coordinated with practical work experiences orchestrated between the school and the workplace.
4. Texas A&M University-Central Texas
Texas A&M University-Central Texas offers many online courses that are now considered traditional in the virtual format. The University also presides over two unique online bachelor of science degrees in the field of aviation science. The Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management prepares students to enter jobs throughout the country and beyond as managers in airport management, airport security, airport consulting, aviation insurance, or airline operations. The Professional Pilot Bachelor of Science degree prepares pilots for emergency and practical pilot operations by providing an in-depth understanding of the fundamentals of flight, meteorology, and safety procedures. The degree is the only state-sponsored professional pilot degree in the state of Texas and is presented entirely online. Other undergraduate degrees include the fields of business and nursing. Graduate degrees offered entirely online at Texas A&M University-Central Texas are Master of Science in Educational Psychology, Master of Science in Information Systems, Master of Science in Management & Leadership, and a Master of Science in Mathematics. There is also a Master of Education in Educational Leadership offered online as well as a Master of Business Administration. Texas A&M University-Central Texas is moving into a bright future as students seek an affordable online degree in Texas in fields heretofore considered unavailable in a distance-learning environment.
3. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is not only one of the most affordable online colleges in Texas; is the most prestigious cancer treatment hospital in the world. The Cancer Center offers an amalgam of online programs. Some are offered entirely online with a 12-week practicum at the end; others are hybrid programs that work in tandem with the clinics where the student works. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center offers several undergraduate degrees and one graduate-level degree online. A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Cytogenetic Technology is provided entirely online either on a full-time or part-time basis. At the end of every semester, the student attends a one-week hands-on practicum to demonstrate the effectiveness of what they have learned. Once completing the degree, students are required to complete two clinical rotations (12 weeks of work). The B.S. in Diagnostic Imaging is a hybrid course with an emphasis in either education or management. The students meet three Saturdays a month to complete mutual tasks. The B.S. in Health Care Disparities, Diversity and Advocacy is offered as a hybrid program. The Center offers one B.S. in Medical Dosimetry and another in Radiation Therapy in partnership with cancer clinics in Dallas, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico where students can complete their laboratory responsibilities while using distance-learning for academic information classes. The Master of Science in Radiation Therapy is a hybrid program for those who wish to enter into a management role. The students meet two Saturdays of every month to complete the practicum that accompanies the degree.
2. South Texas College
South Texas College is an online school that offers a rich diversity of certifications, associate degrees, and bachelor degrees. As a school that operates entirely online, South Texas College is an affordable contributor toward the education of those who seek a promotion at work or to complete some transferable courses toward a bachelor degree at another institution. Students continue to work while seeking certifications as accounting clerks, computer applications specialists in various disciplines, management assistants, payroll assistants, recruiting assistants, or to work in human resources or labor-management relations. The school also offers associate programs in accounting, anthropology, business, communication, computer science, criminal justice, education, English, Spanish, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology. Bachelor degrees that are available online at South Texas College include computer and information technologies, medical and health services management, technology management, and organizational leadership. The advantages of taking online courses at South Texas College is that the student can continue to work while attending classes online, effectively extending their school life into their work. Most students use the online opportunity provided by South Texas College to advance their careers into positions of greater responsibility and higher pay.
1. Brazosport College
Lake Jackson, Texas
Brazosport College is the most affordable online college in Texas. The students that attend Brazosport College are looking to advance their careers at the most foundational levels of society. Many of the courses taken at Brazosport College involve gaining the skills necessary to assist in health care. Programs offered online provide students with expertise in areas such as medical coding and billing, medical office management, dental assistance, or to work with health records. The college also offers an opportunity for students to prepare for college entry exams or to raise their level of skills in mathematics, writing, or reading. Fundamental classes in accounting, business, design, computer applications, and languages are also available online. The college has a diverse faculty that offer expertise in unusual subjects such as pool management and photography. Brazosport College works with those who are entering the workforce without the high-class credentials that accompany graduates with undergraduate or graduate degrees. Though the school offers courses that are transferable toward a four-year degree in many subjects, the primary purpose of Brazosport College is to produce an educated workforce to provide a competent labor force to fill those essential but unsung jobs that are so important to ensure continued prosperity.
There is a lot to say about Texas and its new persona. It was not that long ago that the Texas economy was based on ranching and oil. Today, Texas is a burgeoning dynamo of diversity in population and business. As the community becomes more diverse, the opportunities in business grow. Texas is the perfect example of what happens when a vibrant mix of cultures work together for mutual benefit. Affordable online colleges in Texas, making education at all levels a priority, are proving to be a critical lynchpin in the economic development of the state.