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The Top Ten Schools in the Texas Public University System

The Top Ten Schools in the Texas Public University System

I have heard it said that everything is big in Texas, and that may be true to a point, but here are ten fantastic college options in Texas that do not come with a huge price tag when compared nationally to other public universities. So read on and learn about all that Texas has to offer.

There are seven university and college systems in Texas. State university systems are made up of a single legal and administrative head, but can have several institutions with their own unique identities, all supported by the state. We have reviewed schools that are part of the university systems and one that is not. Let’s get started.

10. Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas

By ThomasHorn7 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By ThomasHorn7 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Lamar has a student population of around fifteen thousand. It is part of the Texas State University System, a horizontal system with no flagship school. The city of Beaumont has about one hundred and eighteen thousand residents and is roughly thirty miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. If you are looking for warmer climates, this may be your school. Warm and humid most of the year, it has had light snow falls in the past, but mainly receives rain.

The city is ninety minutes east from Houston and twenty-five miles west of Louisiana. There are some interesting places to see in Beaumont while attending the two hundred and ninety-two-acre campus. For example, the South Texas State Fair and Rodeo is held in Beaumont, and the Gusher Marathon takes place here. Enough about that, let’s check out the college.

Lamar University is one of the fastest growing Texas college and universities. The college was named for Mirabeau Lamar, the Father of Texas Education. He arranged for land to be set aside for public schools.

There are roughly one hundred areas of study leading bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees, all with a hands-on learning emphasis. The most notable program is the engineering program, but obviously, there are many others to choose from. There are over one hundred and fifty clubs and student organizations, including twenty fraternities and sororities to choose from, and Division I sports to watch or participate in.

Regarding diversity, the student population is about 47% white, 22% African-American, 14% Hispanic, 3% Asian and 9% International.

Instate tuition, books, room, and board costs – $19,014.

Average student debt – $25,176.*

9. Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas

By Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32317655
By Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sam Houston State is part of the Texas State University System. The university motto here is “The measure of a Life is its Service.” Nice.

There are eighty bachelor’s, fifty master’s and six doctoral degrees offered in Business, Fine Arts, Education, Mathematics and Criminal Justice. It is listed as a Doctoral Research University by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. It is also classified as Community Engaged, likely due to the desire to live by the motto.

Three hundred and sixteen acres make up this campus of about twenty thousand students. There are over two hundred student organizations including sororities and fraternities, clubs, and Division I sports to join and participate in. SHSU has two large agricultural complexes with a teaching and research farm and rodeo arena.

Also on campus is a planetarium, observatory, and an 18-hole golf course. Another interesting part of SHSU is a body farm. A body farm is used for forensic research and the study of body decomposition. Could be a cool CSI type of thing, if you like that. You could be the future Dr. Mallard.

The campus is picturesque with a mix of old and modern buildings. Living on campus is required for first-year students. Definitely an interesting college option. Check it out.

Instate tuition, books, room, and board costs – $17,542.

Average student debt – $22,224.*



  1. While I loved reading all the great things about Texas Tech, the university is a Tier One instiutution

    1. This whole “countdown” reads like a promotional article for the smaller Texas colleges. A&M and Texas don’t need to advertise. 🙂

    1. Please reread the first paragraph regarding Tarleton University. The very first sentence states, “Tarleton University, a member of the Texas A & M system.”

  2. I fail to understand the omission of two of the top public universities in the nation. Ever heard of UT Austin or Texas A&M?

    1. If you reread the introductory paragraph, you will see that the article looked at schools that don’t come with a big price tag.

  3. These rankings are literal trash, not to mention hilarious regarding the fact that the actual top public Texas universities, UT Austin and Texas A&M, were both left off.

    1. Your post is ridiculous. The article is not about the top universities in the nation, but universities in Texas that have a lot to offer without the big price tag.

    2. Golly gee whillikers lern tu reed!

      It is about schools that you do not have to sell soul and sacrifice your firstborn son too widget.

  4. I believe the focus of the article was to show the variety of the state college system in Texas, particularly for people outside of the state. Obviously A&M & Texas are the biggest but so what – they are already well-known outside of the state. There are other schools in the state that are high-quality. In fact, I venture to say that there are few colleges/universities in Texas that aren’t up to snuff – private as well as public. So, you A&M and Texas folks who have their noses out of joint, just get over yourselves. Unlike what you think the sun does not rise and set over just two places in Texas.

  5. The first paragraph states, “…here are ten fantastic college options in Texas that do not come with a huge price tag… ” UT and TAMU are both outstanding universities. However, their costs are eye-watering compared to the ten schools listed.

  6. “here are ten fantastic college options in Texas that do not come with a huge price tag when compared nationally to other public universities.” For everyone whining about UTA and A&M. Paragraph one. Learn to read.

  7. Fact Check: For all those claiming that UT and A&M were excluded due to cost, please follow the link provided in the sources section. For starters, the numbers listed on this site are quite different than the ones in this article which makes me wonder where the author got their numbers. Secondly, you’ll see that the cost of both UT and A&M is comparable to many of the institutions on this list.

    The difference in cost is significant when considering out of state tuition but I’m not sure that’s the intended audience of this article based on “There is completely a school here for you, and if you’re a resident of Texas, then lucky you. Not only do you have interesting choices, but you have economical choices.”

  8. Sorry to see that UT Arlington was omitted! Our programs compare well in all areas addressed by this article.

  9. Agree with this list based on cost of education but your headline is misleading. Should be to top 10 cheapest Texas public universities. Great article though to give people options.

  10. Glad to see UNT on this list. UT-Arlington deserves to be on here, and above Tech as it is also a Tier One university.

  11. Texas Southern?! Really?! That school is forever about to lose their accreditation. That school is a mess. The campus is ugly and in dire need of updating. The law school was recently under review because their bar exam passing rate is in the toilet. What criteria was used that got this university put on the list?!


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