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2022 Best Colleges in the Southwest Region

229 Colleges
$46,658 Avg Salary*
46% Avg 4-Year Grad Rate*

It's not easy to decide which college to attend when you have so many options available. College Factual was founded, in part, to help students make the decision as to what would be the best school for them. Our Top Southwest Region Schools ranking is part of that endeavor.

We analyzed 229 colleges and universities across the Southwest Region to determine which were the best in terms of overall quality. Our ranking is based on over 20 objective factors, including post graduate earnings, freshman retention, and graduation rate. We steer clear of subjective measures since they don't give a clear picture when determining how one school compares to another.

See what other factors we include in our ranking methodology.

Custom Rankings

Since one ranking on its own is not enough to give you a complete understanding of your educational options, you can refine this list by location and field of study. We've also developed a number of other tools and rankings based on other factors. These other rankings highlight colleges that excel in other factors such as value or diversity as well as schools that excel in serving different groups of students such as veterans or returnings adults.

You can create your own custom comparison that focuses on the factors most important to you using our tool, College Combat. Test it out by comparing your favorite schools against others you are considering!

Top Colleges in the Southwest Region

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

Rice University

Houston, Texas

Our analysis found Rice University to be the best school for overall quality in the Southwest Region in this year’s ranking. Located in Houston, Texas, the medium-sized private not-for-profit school handed out 2,318 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

Since the school has a student-to-faculty rate of 6 to 1, those pursuing a bachelor’s degree will have more opportunities to interact with their professors. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Rice is $65,400 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Rice University

The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at The University of Texas at Austin helped the school earn the #2 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools in the Southwest Region . This large public school is located in Austin, Texas, and it awarded 15,121 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 96%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from UT Austin make an average of $58,200 per year during the early years of their career.

Read full report on The University of Texas at Austin

#3

Texas A&M University - College Station

College Station, Texas

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend Texas A&M University - College Station. The school came in at #3 in the Southwest Region on this year’s overall quality ranking. Texas A&M College Station is located in College Station, Texas and has a large student population. In 2019-2020, this school awarded 18,160 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 93%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. During the early years of their career, graduates from Texas A&M College Station make an average of $58,000 a year.

Full Texas A&M University - College Station Report

#4

Texas Christian University

Fort Worth, Texas

Out of the 229 schools in the Southwest Region that were part of this year’s ranking, Texas Christian University landed the #4 spot on the list. Texas Christian University is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in Fort Worth, Texas that handed out 2,910 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 3.4%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. During the early years of their career, graduates from TCU make an average of $52,800 a year.

Full Texas Christian University Report

The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at Southern Methodist University helped the school earn the #5 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools in the Southwest Region . SMU is located in Dallas, Texas and has a fairly large student population. In 2019-2020, this school awarded 4,059 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The student loan default rate at the school is 4.3%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from SMU make an average of $60,700 per year during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Southern Methodist University

#6

University of Arizona - Sierra Vista

Sierra Vista, Arizona

University of Arizona - Sierra Vista did quite well in the 2022 Best Colleges in the Southwest Region ranking, coming in at #6. UA Sierra Vista is located in Sierra Vista, Arizona and has a small student population. In 2019-2020, this school awarded 171 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The impressive student-to-faculty rate of 7 to 1 means that students may have more opportunities to work more closely with their professors than they would at other schools.

Read full report on University of Arizona - Sierra Vista

#7

Trinity University

San Antonio, Texas

Trinity University landed the #7 spot on the 2022 Best Colleges in the Southwest Region ranking. Trinity U is a small private not-for-profit school situated in San Antonio, Texas. It awarded 772 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 1.8%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Trinity U go into careers with an average salary of $54,900 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Trinity University

#8

El Centro College

Dallas, Texas

With a ranking of #8, El Centro College did quite well on the 2022 Best Colleges in the Southwest Region list. This large public school is located in Dallas, Texas, and it awarded 7,976 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

During the early years of their career, graduates from El Centro College make an average of $29,700 a year.

Full El Centro College Report

#9

Tarrant County College District

Fort Worth, Texas

Tarrant County College District did quite well in the 2022 Best Colleges in the Southwest Region ranking, coming in at #9. Located in Fort Worth, Texas, the large public school awarded 5,931 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2019-2020.

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Tarrant County College make an average of $34,400 per year during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Tarrant County College District

#10

Lone Star College System

The Woodlands, Texas

Lone Star College System did quite well in the 2022 Best Colleges in the Southwest Region ranking, coming in at #10.The Woodlands, Texas is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 7,681 students in 2019-2020.

During the early years of their career, graduates from North Harris Montgomery make an average of $36,200 a year.

Read More…

Collin County Community College District landed the #11 spot on the 2022 Best Colleges in the Southwest Region ranking. This large public school is located in McKinney, Texas, and it awarded 3,892 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Collin County Community College District go into careers with an average salary of $37,500 during the early years of their career.

Read More…

#12

Baylor University

Waco, Texas

Baylor University ranked #12 on this year’s Best Colleges in the Southwest Region list. This fairly large private not-for-profit school is located in Waco, Texas, and it awarded 5,151 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 88%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. During the early years of their career, graduates from Baylor make an average of $51,600 a year.

Read More…

#13

Houston Community College

Houston, Texas

Houston Community College landed the #13 spot on the 2022 Best Colleges in the Southwest Region ranking. Houston Community College is a public institution located in Houston, Texas. The school has a large population, and it awarded 5,725 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

During the early years of their career, graduates from Houston Community College make an average of $33,600 a year.

Read More…

#14

The University of Texas at Dallas

Richardson, Texas

The University of Texas at Dallas did quite well in the 2022 Best Colleges in the Southwest Region ranking, coming in at #14. Located in Richardson, Texas, the large public school handed out 8,435 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 89%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. During the early years of their career, graduates from UT Dallas make an average of $53,100 a year.

Read More…

Austin Community College District did quite well in the 2022 Best Colleges in the Southwest Region ranking, coming in at #15. Austin Community College District is a public institution located in Austin, Texas. The school has a large population, and it awarded 4,351 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Austin Community College District make an average of $35,700 per year during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Austin Community College District

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott did quite well in the 2022 Best Colleges in the Southwest Region ranking, coming in at #16. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott is a small private not-for-profit school located in Prescott, Arizona that handed out 618 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

The low student loan default rate of 4.7% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1% The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Embry-Riddle Prescott is $66,200 during the early years of their career.

Full Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott Report

#17

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, Texas

With a ranking of #17, Texas Tech University did quite well on the 2022 Best Colleges in the Southwest Region list. Texas Tech is located in Lubbock, Texas and has a large student population. In 2019-2020, this school awarded 8,767 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 87%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech make an average of $51,400 per year during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Texas Tech University

#18

Northwest Vista College

San Antonio, Texas

Northwest Vista College did quite well in the 2022 Best Colleges in the Southwest Region ranking, coming in at #18. Northwest Vista College is a public institution located in San Antonio, Texas. The school has a fairly large population, and it awarded 3,057 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Northwest Vista College go into careers with an average salary of $34,600 during the early years of their career.

Full Northwest Vista College Report

#19

University of Houston

Houston, Texas

University of Houston did quite well in the 2022 Best Colleges in the Southwest Region ranking, coming in at #19. UH is a large public school situated in Houston, Texas. It awarded 10,715 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $51,600 during the early years of their career..

Read full report on University of Houston

University of Phoenix - Arizona ranked #20 on this year’s Best Colleges in the Southwest Region list. Located in Tempe, Arizona, the large private for-profit school awarded 21,673 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2019-2020.

Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $47,100 during the early years of their career..

Read full report on University of Phoenix - Arizona

Arizona State University - Tempe did quite well in the 2022 Best Colleges in the Southwest Region ranking, coming in at #21. Located in Tempe, Arizona, the large public school awarded 19,593 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2019-2020.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 88%. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from ASU - Tempe make an average of $47,700 per year during the early years of their career.

Read More…

Cochise County Community College District came in at #22 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in the Southwest Region ranking. Located in Sierra Vista, Arizona, the small public school awarded 1,360 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2019-2020.

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Cochise College make an average of $28,500 per year during the early years of their career.

Read More…

#23

San Antonio College

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio College ranked #23 on this year’s Best Colleges in the Southwest Region list. Located in San Antonio, Texas, the fairly large public school awarded 2,966 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2019-2020.

Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $31,100 during the early years of their career..

Full San Antonio College Report

The University of Texas at Arlington ranked #24 on this year’s Best Colleges in the Southwest Region list. This large public school is located in Arlington, Texas, and it awarded 13,700 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

During the early years of their career, graduates from UT Arlington make an average of $48,700 a year.

Full The University of Texas at Arlington Report

With a ranking of #25, University of Oklahoma Norman Campus did quite well on the 2022 Best Colleges in the Southwest Region list. University of Oklahoma is a public institution located in Norman, Oklahoma. The school has a large population, and it awarded 7,195 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 4.7%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from University of Oklahoma make an average of $51,100 per year during the early years of their career.

Full University of Oklahoma Norman Campus Report

Rest of the Top 15% Best Colleges in the Southwest Region

Not only did these schools make the top 35 list, but they also landed in the top 15% of this year’s ranking:

#27

Central Texas College

Killeen, Texas
#28

Blinn College

Brenham, Texas
#29

Southwestern University

Georgetown, Texas
#30

Brazosport College

Lake Jackson, Texas
#31

University of North Texas

Denton, Texas
#32

San Jacinto Community College

Pasadena, Texas
#33

University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

#35

Texas State University

San Marcos, Texas

View Best Colleges Nationwide >

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Honorable Mentions

These schools also performed well in our Best Colleges ranking:

Rank College Location
36 Lee College Baytown, TX
37 Mesa Community College Mesa, AZ
38 GateWay Community College Phoenix, AZ
39 University of North Texas at Dallas Dallas, TX
40 Arizona State University - Skysong Scottsdale, AZ
41 University of St. Thomas Houston, TX
42 University of Tulsa Tulsa, OK
43 South Texas College McAllen, TX
44 Oklahoma City Community College Oklahoma City, OK
45 The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg, TX
46 University of Houston - Clear Lake Houston, TX

More Rankings >

Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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