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Students exploring their educational options for online colleges in Texas find plenty to look forward to in the Lone Star State. Texas boasts one of the country's largest workforces and the state's job growth ranks as the largest in the nation . Not only does the economic and workforce growth bode well for Texas students, but the changeover in the aging workforce and the increasing demands for highly skilled, educated professionals greatly benefits new graduates.
From an educational standpoint, students benefit from strong academic program options, along with some of the best online colleges in Texas. The state provides quality financial aid opportunities, including federal funding and scholarships, plus some of the nation's highest per-student funding. Texas also hosts more online students than the average state. The following information provides students with the resources and information necessary to find the best online colleges in Texas.
Job Outlook for Students with College Degrees in Texas
The data available for Texas presents a state in the midst of historic employment and growth. While the unemployment numbers come in just below the country's average, the 3.7% unemployment rate represents the state's lowest rate since 1976 . Between October 2017 and October 2018, Texas had the country's largest number of annual nonfarm job gains with nearly 385,000. These nonagricultural positions typically require well-trained, educated professionals to fill the ranks.
For graduates of the top online colleges in Texas, including online community colleges in Texas, the state's job landscape looks promising. The need for skilled and educated professionals continues to rise, and analysts project that by 2020, 21% of all Texas jobs will require a bachelor's degree at minimum. With an aging baby-boomer population leaving the workforce, many more high-skilled job openings will emerge, creating opportunities for new and future college graduates.
Unemployment Rate, August 2018
Annual Mean Wage, May 2017
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Cost of Online Colleges in Texas
The following table highlights the tuition costs for two- and four-year online colleges in Texas compared to national averages. While the tables reflect tuition costs, the prices do not factor in all costs associated with higher education, such as transportation, rent, or books. In Texas, public tuition prices for four-year programs come in almost identical to the national average. With the nation's second-largest student body , Texas's average tuition price makes higher education accessible for a large portion of students. For public two-year colleges, Texas holds the country's fifth-lowest tuition prices.
Online colleges in Texas typically cost the same as on-campus colleges. Still, many online programs provide savings in areas other than tuition, such as transportation costs, facility fees, and physical materials. Some online programs offer tuition discounts due to the decreased physical demands of the program, which decreases overall programs costs. These savings and the already low tuition costs contribute to Texas's higher-than-average online student body, as more Texas students take some online undergraduate classes than in 35 other states.
Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2018-19
|Public Two-Year||Public Four-Year|
Source: The College Board
In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition in Texas
Compared to in-state students, out-of-state students pay a premium when attending online colleges in Texas, as they do in all other states across the country. Since state residents benefit from state funding , Texas residents typically see lower tuition prices than out-of-state students. However, while Texas's in-state tuition sits slightly higher than the national average, the average out-of-state tuition rate ranks substantially lower than the national average.
This bodes well for students from other states seeking an affordable education in Texas. While online programs typically cost the same as on-campus programs for out-of-state students, some programs incentivize online study for visiting students. For instance, some schools offer flat rates for all online students regardless of where they live, providing out-of-state students with even more financial benefits to choosing online study. Some programs and schools also offer reciprocity agreements with other states, allowing residents of those states to study at decreased prices.
Average Tuition and Fees, 2018-19
|Public Two-Year||Public Four-Year|
Source: The College Board
Financial Aid in Texas
For many students across the country, financial aid makes higher education realistic and accessible. All Texas students should first apply for federal financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In addition to making students eligible for federal grants such as Pell Grants, a completed FAFSA provides supplemental information for state grants. In Texas, undergraduate students benefit from the 16th-largest financial aid state contribution per student, along with a state higher education system that provides more financial awards per student than the average state.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) provides several grant opportunities for Texas students. After completing the FAFSA, students should explore the TEA grant search directory to make the process easier. Texas also offers tuition reimbursement programs and loan forgiveness programs for various professionals, such as military personnel and teachers. These funding opportunities provide all students in Texas, online and on campus, with feasible financial aid options to make their higher education pursuits more attainable.
State Grant Aid per Full-Time Equivalent Undergraduate Student, 2016-17
Source: The College Board
Scholarships and Grants for Texas College Students
As highlighted above, the state grants available to students of online colleges in Texas provide excellent funding opportunities. Additionally, many in-state schools, organizations, and associations provide scholarships for students who demonstrate financial need, community involvement, or academic excellence. The following list outlines some of the scholarship opportunities available for students who wish to take online college courses in Texas.
Who Can Apply: Presented to students in the top 10% of their graduating class, this scholarship rewards applicants with a 3.25 GPA and those who plan to attend an accredited Texas higher education institution.
Amount: Up to $2,000 per year
Who Can Apply: Students applying for the TEXAS Grant Program must demonstrate financial need, take a three-quarter full course load, and maintain sufficient academic progress. The award amount varies depending on the type of Texas college or university chosen.
Amount: Up to $9,050
Who Can Apply: The Urban Scholarship Fund rewards graduating high school seniors from 29 of Texas's largest cities. The award value depends on the college or university chosen, with community college students receiving the lowest amount and private university students the highest.
Amount: Up to $2,000
Who Can Apply: Available to Texas residents who demonstrate financial need and complete 30 credit hours of higher education in a state public college. Applicants must also register for Selective Service and demonstrate a nine-month expected family contribution of less than $5,609.
Who Can Apply: Awarded to graduating high school seniors in Texas who commit to reducing litter in their schools or community. Applicants, who must submit an essay highlighting their contributions, must also plan to attend one of Texas's higher education institutions.
Who Can Apply: Awarded to a Texas student demonstrating financial need, community involvement, and academic excellence, this scholarship rewards Texas's brightest young minds with financial assistance.
Who Can Apply: This scholarship rewards graduating high school seniors from the Houston area with financial assistance over four years. Applicants must boast an SAT composite score of 1,000 (or an ACT score of 21), and demonstrate academic proficiency and financial need.
Amount: $20,000 over four years
Who Can Apply: Presented by the Diamonds in the Rough Ministry, this scholarship rewards Texas females pursuing undergraduate degrees full time. Applicants must submit an essay and boast a 3.0 GPA.
Who Can Apply: The Terry Foundation presents scholarships to freshmen who demonstrate financial need, community leadership, and strong academic achievements. Applicants must also attend one of the 13 eligible affiliated universities and commit to living on residence during the first year of study.
Who Can Apply: Each Texas public institution allocates the available educational grant program funding to applicants in its own way. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and register for Selected Service.
Best Majors for Online Students in Texas
As Texas sits in the midst of strong overall employment growth , analysts project growth in many of the state's major industries. Yet, projections foresee some industries growing faster than others. For students looking to capitalize on these in-demand fields, the fact that these growing industries align with some of the country's most popular majors makes the outlook particularly positive. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, Texas's aging population signals an increased demand for trained professionals in the hospitality, education, and healthcare industries.
The state's economic shift indicates the need for more highly skilled professionals in many of these fields, including the business and financial sector. Not only do Texas's students stand to benefit from fast-growing professions, such as nursing assistants , but they also join some of the country's largest workforces and receive pay that rivals all other states. The following majors direct graduates into these large and prosperous fields in Texas. Each of these majors provides flexibility and specialization options for graduates of accredited online colleges in Texas looking to find their own niche.
EducationEducators in Texas represent one of the country's largest and highest-paid education workforces, with metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas providing meaningful opportunity and compensation. For students, in addition to great career opportunities, education provides a broad and flexible career path, a field that allows for specialization, continued education, and career growth.
BusinessSince business prepares students for a broad industry, it remains the most popular degree chosen by American students each year. Texas employs a large, well-compensated group of business professionals. As the Texas economy and workforce shifts toward a more highly skilled group, analysts project the business field will provide some of the most job openings in the state.
Nurse AssistantIn Texas, medical professionals with advanced training, such as nurse assistants , represent one of the nation's largest healthcare workforces. Medical assistants and nursing assistants appear in the state's top five most-listed positions , and these positions provide strong professional and education growth opportunities. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, analysts project that by 2024 healthcare and social services industries will grow by more than 32% in Texas.
Resources for Online College Students in Texas
Texas Education Agency : The TEA oversees all education issues in Texas, but it also provides numerous resources for students, from financial aid resources to school and student reports and data. Through the TEA, students also gain access to information on certification, accreditation, graduation, and state grants.
Texas Distance Learning Association : The TxDLA provides students, teachers, and administrators with access to information and resources regarding distance learning in Texas. The association provides members with access to scholarships and conferences, along with publications on the current state and future of distance learning in Texas.
The Texas State University System : Encompassing seven Texas institutions of higher learning, the Texas State University System doubles as a quality resource for students seeking information on state programs, financial aid, and promising careers. The state system institutions share many of the same values, administration, and resources.
Texas Higher Education Data : THED provides access to in-depth data regarding all things higher education in Texas. Students find all applications, workforce information, and reports regarding programs and institutions on THED's website. Students can learn about state initiatives for higher education and find reports on institutional success rates as well.
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board : Working to improve the state's higher education system and student outcomes, THECB advocates for better access and better opportunity for Texas students. THECB offers students numerous resources on finding the ideal program, funding options, and data on the state's institutions.
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