Overview of Online Colleges in Texas
In 2007, the Texas Virtual School Network was established by the Texas Legislature to provide online learning opportunities to high school students. Since its inception in 2009, TxVSN has provided 8th through 12th grade students with state-supported online education, in collaboration with texas school districts.
In October 2010, the US Department of Education issued new program integrity regulations that declares that colleges and universities offering online programs should receive some sort of authorization from their home state. In Texas, this meant that, before online students living outside the state could enroll in a program, the schools offering said programs had to comply with a set of state-specific distance education regulations. This ensures that after a strict approval process, Texas distance learning programs are providing the best possible curriculum for students.
While Texas’s tuition fees continue to rise, costs are increasing at a slower pace than the national average. Tuition inflation rates at the state’s public four-year schools over the past 5 years increased 9%, compared to the 17% increased national average. Between 2004 and 2014, students at public two-year schools experienced a 32.2% tuition hike, while public four-year schools saw a 38.4% tuition increase during the same period. The spike in tuition costs can be partially credited to the 22.5% decrease in state funding for higher education between 2008 and 2014.
Despite increased tuition costs, enrollment at Texas institutions is on the rise. Between 2002 and 2012, Texas public institutions experienced a 31% increase in enrollment, surpassing the 19% increased national average. According to the Texas Higher Education Data, public two-year schools have seen a dip in enrollment in recent years, although enrollment increased from 2009 to 2011. Enrollment in public four-year schools steadily increased from 2009 to 2013. Texas’s public four-year schools have a 50.2% overall graduation rate, and a 74.7% first year student retention rate.
For more information on Texas’s top distance learning programs, consult our extensive school database. Find available scholarships and financial assistance tools in the “College Savings” section below.