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2021 Best Colleges in Texas

85 Colleges
$50,236 Avg Salary*
49% Avg 4-Year Grad Rate*

When pursuing a degree in today's world, there are many different options to choose from. College Factual has developed its Top in Texas Colleges and Universities ranking as one item you can use to help make this decision.

Our analysis looked at 85 schools in Texas to determine which ones 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

We know that one set of rankings doesn't always help you determine the best school for you, so we've created the ability to narrow your list by location and field of study as well as alternative rankings that prioritize different factors such as those of importance to veterans and returning adults or those who value diversity and value for your money.

We've created a tool called College Combat that lets you create your own customized comparisons based on the factors that matter the most to you. Test it out by comparing your favorite schools against others you are considering!

Top Colleges in Texas

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

Rice University

Houston, Texas

Rice University tops this year’s ranking as the best school in Texas for overall quality. Located in Houston, Texas, the medium-sized private not-for-profit school handed out 1,228 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The impressive student-to-faculty rate of 6 to 1 means that students may have more opportunities to work more closely with their professors than they would at other schools. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Rice go into careers with an average salary of $65,400 during the early years of their career.

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You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend The University of Texas at Austin. It ranked #2 on our 2021 Best Colleges in Texas list. This large public school is located in Austin, Texas, and it awarded 10,098 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 95%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from UT Austin go into careers with an average salary of $58,200 during the early years of their career.

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#3

Trinity University

San Antonio, Texas

A rank of #3 on our Best Colleges in Texas list means Trinity University is a great place for students working on their bachelor’s degree. Trinity U is a private not-for-profit institution located in San Antonio, Texas. The school has a small population, and it awarded 617 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Since the school has a student-to-faculty rate of 9 to 1, those pursuing a bachelor’s degree will have more opportunities to interact with their professors. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Trinity U make an average of $54,900 per year during the early years of their career.

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#4

Texas A&M University - College Station

College Station, Texas

A rank of #4 on our Best Colleges in Texas list means Texas A&M University - College Station is a great place for students working on their bachelor’s degree. Texas A&M is located in College Station, Texas and has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 13,198 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 92%. During the early years of their career, graduates from Texas A&M make an average of $58,000 a year.

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#5

Texas Christian University

Fort Worth, Texas

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Texas Christian University. It ranked #5 on our 2021 Best Colleges in Texas list. This fairly large private not-for-profit school is located in Fort Worth, Texas, and it awarded 2,447 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 3.7% 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% Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from TCU make an average of $52,800 per year during the early years of their career.

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Southern Methodist University landed the #6 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in Texas ranking. This fairly large private not-for-profit school is located in Dallas, Texas, and it awarded 1,942 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 91%. During the early years of their career, graduates from SMU make an average of $60,700 a year.

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#7

Baylor University

Waco, Texas

Baylor University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in Texas ranking, coming in at #7. Located in Waco, Texas, the fairly large private not-for-profit school awarded 3,798 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 90%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Baylor make an average of $51,600 per year during the early years of their career.

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#8

Southwestern University

Georgetown, Texas

Southwestern University came in at #8 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Texas ranking. Southwestern U is a private not-for-profit institution located in Georgetown, Texas. The school has a small population, and it awarded 375 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

With a freshman retention rate of 86%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern U is $54,000 during the early years of their career.

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The University of Texas at Dallas ranked #9 on this year’s Best Colleges in Texas list. Located in Richardson, Texas, the large public school handed out 4,225 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

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%. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from UT Dallas is $53,100 during the early years of their career.

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#10

University of Dallas

Irving, Texas

University of Dallas landed the #10 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in Texas ranking. Located in Irving, Texas, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 353 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 2.0%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $47,400 during the early years of their career..

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#11

University of Houston

Houston, Texas

University of Houston came in at #11 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Texas ranking. U of H is a large public school situated in Houston, Texas. It awarded 7,631 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 3.1% 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% Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $51,600 during the early years of their career..

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#12

University of St. Thomas

Houston, Texas

University of St. Thomas did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in Texas ranking, coming in at #12.Houston, Texas is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 329 students in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.1%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% During the early years of their career, graduates from UST make an average of $49,600 a year.

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#13

Austin College

Sherman, Texas

Austin College came in at #13 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Texas ranking. Located in Sherman, Texas, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 342 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Austin College is $48,200 during the early years of their career.

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#14

Abilene Christian University

Abilene, Texas

Abilene Christian University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in Texas ranking, coming in at #14. Abilene Christian is located in Abilene, Texas and has a medium-sized student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 844 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The low student loan default rate of 4.8% 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% During the early years of their career, graduates from Abilene Christian make an average of $43,000 a year.

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#15

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, Texas

Texas Tech University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in Texas ranking, coming in at #15. Texas Tech is located in Lubbock, Texas and has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 6,599 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech go into careers with an average salary of $51,400 during the early years of their career.

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#16

Saint Edward's University

Austin, Texas

Saint Edward’s University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in Texas ranking, coming in at #16. Located in Austin, Texas, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 1,015 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

During the early years of their career, graduates from St. Edward’s University make an average of $46,500 a year.

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#17

St. Mary's University

San Antonio, Texas

With a ranking of #17, St. Mary’s University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in Texas list. This small private not-for-profit school is located in San Antonio, Texas, and it awarded 468 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s make an average of $46,600 per year during the early years of their career.

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University of Houston - Clear Lake landed the #18 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in Texas ranking. University of Houston - Clear Lake is a medium-sized public school located in Houston, Texas that handed out 1,488 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 4.4%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from University of Houston - Clear Lake make an average of $47,900 per year during the early years of their career.

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#19

Parker University

Dallas, Texas

Parker University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in Texas ranking, coming in at #19. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Dallas, Texas, and it awarded 104 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

With a student-to-faculty rate of 7 to 1, it’s easy to see that the school is committed to helping their undergraduates succeed. During the early years of their career, graduates from Parker University make an average of $44,000 a year.

Full Parker University Report

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#20

LeTourneau University

Longview, Texas

LeTourneau University landed the #20 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in Texas ranking. LeTourneau University is a small private not-for-profit school located in Longview, Texas that handed out 416 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

During the early years of their career, graduates from LETU make an average of $48,200 a year.

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#21

Dallas Baptist University

Dallas, Texas

Dallas Baptist University came in at #21 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Texas ranking. Located in Dallas, Texas, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 719 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $43,200 during the early years of their career..

Full Dallas Baptist University Report

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#22

Texas State University

San Marcos, Texas

Texas State University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in Texas ranking, coming in at #22. This large public school is located in San Marcos, Texas, and it awarded 7,427 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

During the early years of their career, graduates from Texas State make an average of $45,700 a year.

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#23

University of North Texas

Denton, Texas

University of North Texas landed the #23 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in Texas ranking. This large public school is located in Denton, Texas, and it awarded 7,639 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

During the early years of their career, graduates from UNT make an average of $45,000 a year.

Full University of North Texas Report

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#24

Hardin - Simmons University

Abilene, Texas

Hardin - Simmons University ranked #24 on this year’s Best Colleges in Texas list. Located in Abilene, Texas, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 381 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Hardin - Simmons go into careers with an average salary of $43,300 during the early years of their career.

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#25

Texas Lutheran University

Seguin, Texas

Texas Lutheran University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in Texas ranking, coming in at #25. Located in Seguin, Texas, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 278 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

During the early years of their career, graduates from TLU make an average of $45,600 a year.

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Best Colleges in the Southwest Region

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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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