There are more than 60 community colleges in Texas. There are four ways to benefit from attending a community college. One way is to complete the requirements for a two-year degree such as an Associate of Arts (A.A) or Associate of Science (A.S). The second is to take a technical training program to earn a Certificate of Completion. The third way is to take classes in adult education and for continuing education. The fourth way is to take classes that can transfer to a four-year university, which is more expensive, to save money on your bachelor’s degree.
The first three strategies are achievable simply by finding a community college that offers the classes you want to take and the degree program or training certificates you want to earn. Many community colleges are excellent choices to achieve these things. Moreover, for most adults, it is enjoyable to take a course and continue to learn something new. Even if you are an older adult, you will be welcome at these schools.
Best 5 Community Colleges in Texas
|1||Wharton County Junior College||Wharton, Texas|
|2||San Jacinto College||Pasadena, Texas|
|3||Alvin Community College||Alvin, Texas|
|4||Collin College||McKinney, Texas|
|5||Southwest Texas Junior College||Uvalde, Texas|
The fourth strategy requires checking to see if the classes you take at the community college are transferable for credits at the four-year university or college you plan to attend next.
With this strategy, a younger student can still live at home with his or her parents and transition from high school to college smoothly while saving potentially many thousands of dollars in tuition fees. There is no need to pay big prices to learn the core educational requirements that every four-year college or university requires if these requirements can be met by taking less expensive courses at a community college.
What are the best community colleges in Texas?
Some of these schools in Texas are huge and very sophisticated. The schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston areas have more than 50,000 enrollees. If you want to escape the crowds, go to a place like Midland where there are only about 5,000 enrollees.
In our rankings of community colleges in Texas, we were looking for the best value. These are the community colleges that have the best reviews from students and lower tuition costs.
Best 27 Community Colleges in Texas
Wharton County Junior College
Wharton County Junior College located in Wharton, Texas offers exceptional value for students on a fast-track. For students enrolled in academic courses, there is no charge per credit when a student takes more than 13 credits per semester. A student taking 19 credits pays the same as a student taking 13 credits. There is also no surcharge for out-of-district students to attend and the non-resident fees are low as well.
San Jacinto College
San Jacinto College located in Pasadena, Texas is one of the top ten community colleges in America. It offers the San Jac My Way program for the health and safety of students, which allows students to take classes in five ways:
- Online Anytime: Student chooses when to study online.
- Online On a Schedule: Online streaming lectures at certain times.
- Hands-On Hybrid: Online and students come to campus for in-person training in small groups.
- FLEX Campus: Online classes with in-person time with instructors, in small rotating groups.
- Face-to-Face: In-person classes with social distancing.
The tuition for this school is more than the lower-cost schools; however, you are paying for quality. The tuition is not the highest compared to some of the other schools. The student reviews gave it a B+ grade. That was the highest grade given to any school. No school got an “A” grade from the student reviews.
Alvin Community College
Alvin Community College located in Alvin, Texas offers face-to-face classes with social distancing, hybrid online classes with classroom lectures in small groups, online-only classes, and remote-learning experiences. The degrees and certificates offered include an Associate of Arts (AA), an Associate of Science (AS), a Technical Certificate (TC), and a Continuing Education Certificate (CE).
Collin College located in McKinney, Texas offers many courses that transfer to four-year schools. It has about one-third of its students who transfer out to another school to complete their bachelor’s degrees after completing the core curriculum for the basic education requirements at Collin College. It has two campuses. The Wylie Campus focuses on academics. The Technical Campus focuses on job training programs and training certificates.
Southwest Texas Junior College
Southwest Texas Junior College is a comprehensive, public college serving eleven counties in Southwest Texas. The College provides accessible, affordable, high-quality education that prepares students to successfully transfer to senior colleges and universities; enter the job market; pursue their professional and personal goals; and contribute to the economic growth of the region.
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Western Texas College
Western Texas College (WTC) located in Snyder, Texas offers many degrees and certificates. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Many of the core courses are accepted as transfer credits by four-year colleges and universities. Check with a school counselor to find out what qualifies as transfer courses, for each school you think that you might attend after completing coursework at WTC.
Tarrant County College
Tarrant County College located in Fort Worth, Texas is a super-friendly environment that welcomes students of all ages from high school to senior adults for continuing education and non-credit learning experiences. High school students enjoy dual credit for some entry-level core college classes. Many classes are offered online. Veterans can use the benefits they receive under the GI Bill to pay tuition.
The Dallas College – Brookhaven Campus is located in Farmers Branch, Texas. It is popular with students. There are six other campus locations for this Dallas College school group. This school has partnerships with Texas A&M and New England College for transfer classes. It offers GED training and test preparation. There are degree and training programs, as well as ongoing education for adults and seniors.
San Antonio College
San Antonio College located in San Antonio, Texas is part of the Alamo Colleges District that includes St. Philips College, Palo Alto College Northwest Vista Colleges, and Northeast Lakeview College. The tuition is the same for all colleges in this district. Transferring between district schools or getting transfer credits from one school to another school in the system is very easy to do.
Lone Star College
Lone Star College located in The Woodlands, Texas was founded in 1973. It offers workforce certificates, associate’s degrees, and transfer credits. This is a unique college because, in addition to its two-year programs, it offers bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity, energy, manufacturing, nursing, and trade management. These programs are a very economical way to obtain a bachelor’s degree at community college prices.
Angelina College located in Lufkin, Texas is a small community college with less than 5,000 students. It offers more than 60 degree programs and training certificates. It is known for its strong athletic program with national championship teams in men’s basketball and women’s softball.
Weatherford College located in Weatherford, Texas offers many academic degrees and training certificate programs. It specializes in training students for positions in healthcare such as nursing, physical therapy, respiratory care, and radiology.
Lamar Institute of Technology
Lamar Institute of Technology located in Beaumont, Texas has a fantastic program for the unemployed and under-skilled who never attended college before. If a student qualifies, he or she can attend this school for NO COST for the first year. Over 90% of students find a job or transfer to another school after graduating.
Northwest Vista College
Northwest Vista College located in San Antonio, Texas is part of the Alamo Colleges District. In 2019, the school was selected for the top ten of nearly 1,000 community colleges in America and won the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.
Palo Alto College
Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas is another one of the schools in the popular Alamo Colleges District. It has a veterinary technician program that is one of the top 50 best vet tech programs in the country.
Laredo College located in Laredo, Texas has many degree programs. It offers a unique Homeland Security Training Program in Cyber Defense. There are also free certification courses through the Laredo CARES Program for job retraining in high-demand occupations. It has interesting specialty training programs such as learning how to fly drones.
Del Mar College
Del Mar College located in Corpus Christi, Texas gets good reviews from students for the quality of the continuing education classes. This is a superb choice for those who want to begin a teaching career with an Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT) degree. This school also offers AA, AS, and AAS degrees along with training skills and advanced technical certificates.
Victoria College located in Victoria, Texas offers AA and AS degrees. It has the Academy of Lifelong Learning for those interested in continuing education. It offers classes with many ways to attend, which include real-time remote learning, online-only coursework, hybrid online/in-person, alternating schedules with small student groups, and face-to-face classes with social distancing.
McLennan Community College
McLennan Community College located in Waco, Texas is an excellent choice for those who want to get an associate’s degree, a training certificate, or complete coursework that transfers to a four-year university.
Lee College located in Baytown, Texas offers more than 100 associate degrees and certification programs. The most popular degrees are Business Management, Process Technology, Instrumentation, and Engineering Technology. It also offers continuing education and non-credit self-improvement courses.
Vernon College located in Vernon, Texas offers many online classes that qualify for transfer credit to a four-year university. It is a modern-style college that was established in 1970 and soon thereafter became accredited. Its accreditation was reaffirmed in 2009. It also offers training programs as well as associate’s degrees in many areas.
Panola College was founded in 1947 in Carthage, Texas. It is a great school to start a college career with classes that meet the core educational requirements and that can transfer to another four-year college. It offers 58 programs for vocational training, developmental studies, continuing education, and academic studies.
Amarillo College located in Amarillo, Texas has a dual-credit program where high school seniors can earn college credit by attending classes while still in high school. This school has an official Culture of Caring that focuses on student-defined needs and helps to eliminate barriers to success.
Clarendon College located in Clarendon, Texas was established in 1898. The campus is on a beautiful piece of land that is 107 acres on the western edge of the city of Clarendon. It is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and School. It offers technical courses, occupational programs, and prepares students for transfers to four-year colleges.
El Paso Community College
El Paso Community College located in El Paso, Texas is a terrific school offering AAS, AA, AAT, and AS degrees as well as a Certificate of Completion in many training programs and ongoing education programs, such as those need to re-certify for licensing within the state.
South Plains College
South Plains College located in Levelland, Texas is a well-established school that serves a very large district of a 14-county area in the southern part of Texas. Besides the campus in Levelland, it also offers programs in Lubbock and Plainview. It has accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate’s degrees and training certificates in many disciplines.
Galveston College located in Galveston, Texas has a popular nursing program approved by the State Board of Nursing to get a nursing certificate (LPN) after completing the program and taking and passing the national nursing exam. It also has a cosmetology program that is well attended by those seeking a license as a cosmetologist.
Our Ranking Methodology
To choose the best value for community colleges in Texas, we collected all the data on schools that had the best-value in tuition fees for Texas residents. Then, we organized the rankings based on the best student reviews for course quality. No school got an “A” rating for reviews. The best reviews were “B+” and the worst-reviewed one we chose for its modest tuition had a “C+” or average grade from student reviews
To qualify for the lowest tuition costs, you must be a Texas resident and live in the district of the school. The tuition for each credit ranges from $32 to $180 for Texas residents. Full-time students take 12 credits (or more) per semester. For 12 credits, the tuition in Texas ranges from $384 to $2,160 per semester.
To become a Texas resident, you need only live in the state for one year and be employed in the state for 12 consecutive months prior to enrollment. You must also be a citizen or a permanent resident of the United States.
One exceptional strategy, used by students on a limited budget, is to move to Texas, work for a year to save money for college before enrolling as a resident, and paying the low-cost tuition.
The years you spend in college are some of the most amazing and enlightening times of your life. You get to meet new people, experience a new atmosphere, and prepare yourself for a brighter future. Many people look back and say their college days were some of their fondest memories.
That said, we know that attending big-name private universities or state schools to complete a four-year degree is out of reach for some people. Some people cannot afford the expensive tuition or are wary of taking out a lot of student loans.
Luckily, there’s another option. Attending community college is an affordable way to get a certificate or associate’s degree. You can even complete general education classes and transfer those credits to a big-name school later, saving thousands on tuition costs. The best part is that there are so many options available out there, you can choose to pursue your dream or passion in an affordable, manageable way while still getting the college experience.
For this reason, we decided to find the best community colleges in the state of Texas to help ensure you get the experience as many other successful graduates. As you will see, there are a lot of opportunities for students wishing to pursue this type of education. There are many opportunities for financial assistance for those who need it as well.
Whether you are straight out of high school, still deciding what you want to do in life, or you are already in a career and feel like you’re ready for a change, a community college is a great place for you to start an education. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about attending community college in Texas.
Reasons to attend a community college in Texas
There are 63 community colleges and universities in the state of Texas. Each of these colleges offers affordable prices and open enrollment for anyone interested in attending, as long as you hold a high school diploma or GED.
These public schools enroll an average of 720,000 students every year who are looking to obtain a higher education throughout the state, more often than not an associate’s degree.
Although you wouldn’t complete your bachelor’s or Master’s programs through a community college, it is still a great place to start. Community colleges are the doorway to higher academic achievements and are a great place to get the foundational education you need to pursue advanced degrees in the future.
There are numerous reasons to choose Texas community colleges when looking to earn a two-year degree. Let us take a look at a few of them.
Earning a college degree does not come cheap. Many students find themselves drowning in student debt or working multiple jobs to get through their classes one by one.
Tuition for a community college is much cheaper than other four-year colleges or universities while still offering great education and experiences. When you are just entering the world of higher education, you want to start with the most affordable programs that will give you wiggle room if you decide it’s not right for you.
The average tuition rate hovers right around $5,000.00-$10,000 for a two-year degree in Texas, whereas the cost of a four-year University is much more expensive, averaging $15,000.00 each year. That is a total of $60,000.00 in total for a bachelor’s degree, and it does not include room and board, books and supplies, and transportation.
You can also note that, even though the tuition is much lower, community colleges also offer grants and loans, making it even easier to obtain your degree.
The number of students in community colleges depends on the location. Some offer smaller class sizes, which in turn have a lower student-to-teacher ratio. Smaller classes give each student more personalized time with their teachers, allowing them to ask more questions and work at their own pace.
Another benefit to having a smaller class size is communicating with the teacher and other students easier. Easy communication helps you create relationships and gives you more of a college experience. It also provides more opportunities to get help when you need it.
Attending college does not have to take over your entire schedule. More than half of the students attending these two-year facilities only attend part-time, which is great for working adults and parents.
Only attending a few classes a week will help you keep yourself on track without feeling overwhelmed. You can attend in-person classes throughout the week, take night classes, or enroll in classes online. These options may not be as easy to obtain when attending a private College.
Not interested in moving on to a four-year degree? If you already know what career path you want to take, many community colleges offer programs to get you certified. These courses are career-specific and will only put you in classes that teach you specifics in one area.
The typical two-year associate’s degree will start you off with a basic class load, leaving you with many options on where to focus next. Earning a certificate won’t educate you in a general fashion, allowing you to transfer credits if you change your mind. So if you choose a certificate course, make sure it is something you are passionate about doing.
Types of Certificate Courses Offered
- Personal Training
- Nursing Programs
- Teaching Assistant
- Digital Media
- Business management
The types of certificate courses offered may vary depending on the school’s location and the careers available in the area.
When attending a community college, most students are still deciding where they want to direct their education. The majority of associate degrees offered at these schools will be a broad enough topic that you can change the direction of interest as you go.
Another advantage is that all of the credits you earned will transfer to other schools if you choose to move on to higher education. Many students who know that they want to go on to get a bachelor’s degree start in a community college. After obtaining their two-year degree, they can then transfer those credits to a private college to move forward. This approach saves you a lot of money on tuition costs.
Scholarships and bursaries for students attending community colleges in Texas
It can be very hard paying for any college degree or program. Even if you are opting for a community college. That’s why there are many scholarships or grants available to students who attend colleges in Texas.
Scholarships are financial awards given to students to help them move forward in their education depending on hard work, great character, financial situations, and academic dedication. Most scholarships are given to high school students who have outstanding academic achievements or highly specialized skills in specific areas, but without funding may not be able to attend college.
Scholarships can be offered through private parties, donated in honor of alumni, or given out by groups or companies who are giving back to their communities. These awards are given to cover a chosen student’s tuition (or a portion of). They range in amounts and the students that can apply for them. Most scholarships require the recipient to hold good grades throughout their school years and excel in the academic world.
Grants are a form of financial aid funded by the government that does not need to be paid back. Grants are only given to low-income students and you have to qualify to receive them.
College Scholarships Offer to Texas Students:
This financial award is a $5,000 scholarship for students at Austin University or a college within a 40-mile radius of Austin. This scholarship is only for students studying media or related fields and is holding a 3.25 GPA or higher.
The amount given through this scholarship varies and is awarded to those who could not otherwise afford college tuition. Students must hold a 3.25 GPA average and be a Texas citizen. This scholarship is given to students majoring in science, technology, engineering, math, or business.
This financial package is a $12,000 scholarship awarded to high school graduates in Texas or neighboring states. This scholarship is usually awarded to hearing-impaired students or those who have other physical impairments and show an enthusiasm for education.
This $3,000 scholarship is awarded to African American Texas students studying visual arts and hold a GPA average of 2.5 or higher.
The amount awarded with this scholarship varies from case to case and is awarded to a graduating senior in the Dallas and Tarrant County parts of Texas who takes a very active role in their community and non-school extracurricular activities.
All the above scholarships and many more can be found on scholarships.com. Most colleges also offer their scholarships, and you can find information on those and how to apply on the school’s private websites.
College Grants Offered to Texas Students
Handing out $4,896 per semester this is the largest grant awarded by the State of Texas. To qualify for this grant you must be well below the poverty level, be a resident in the state of Texas, and hold a GPA average of at least 2.5 or higher.
This grant is given to students who are residents or non-residence of Texas attending a Texas State college. Given to low-income students who registered with selective services.
This grant is given to any student attending a Texas state college, whether you are a resident or non-resident. The person awarded the grant has to be attending courses for air conditioning and refrigeration, commercial truck driving, and welding.
This grant is only given to Texas residents attending at least two years of college and who are registered with selective services. The usual amount granted is $5,876.00.
To receive this $3,420.00 grant you must be a resident of Texas attending a private non-profit college, be registered with selective services, and hold at least a 2.5 GPA average.
To find and apply for any of these grants or to find out more information on applying for grants in the State of Texas, visit https://studentloanhero.com.
How to apply to a community college in Texas
Luckily most colleges offer a team of professionals to help you apply to any program you are interested in. Go to the website of the specific college you are interested in and review their course load and requirements. If you feel this may be a good fit for you, fill out the application forms, and then get help from an admissions counselor.
Each school will have its process but they will generally entail the same things. You will need to fill out an application, apply for financial aid or student loans, and choose the courses that are right for you.
Things to consider when choosing a college program
- Look for subjects you are interested in and can see yourself doing daily. Not only is getting through school going to be tough if you don’t like the topics you are learning about, but you also will not enjoy your career after you graduate.
- Look at the area where you live and try and find a vocation or degree that benefits you when you enter the workforce. Unless you are interested in moving after graduation, you should keep your studies in areas where the career is in high demand.
- You may also consider looking into the average yearly income for the profession you chose to pursue. Plan for your future budget, so you are prepared when you graduate from school.
- Try and find a school that is in a good location and that will make you happy without having to transport far from where you are staying. Making long trips daily will discourage you from attending classes.
- Always check the school’s graduation rate and success scores. You want to go to a good college where you will be getting the best education possible.
- If you choose to attend a college and live on campus, check out the dorms ahead of time and make sure the facilities are the right fit for your living conditions.
- Whether you are applying for financial aid, student loans, government grants, or any other type of funding source do it well in advance. These things can take time to get set up and to go through and you don’t want to be racing the clock.
Applying to college can seem very overwhelming, which is another reason community colleges are a better choice. Unline Private colleges and Universities, there are no admissions essays or limited acceptance and space. Most students who apply to a community college will get in. It is up to that student to be successful and graduate after that.
Types of Class Settings Offered to Students
Due to the Covid Pandemic, many students are struggling with health concerns in the classroom. So to keep students learning without jeopardizing their health or anxiety many schools are offering online education and hybrid learning.
Although many schools have reopened for on-campus learning, and are doing a fantastic job with social distancing, smaller class sizes, and other CDC recommended preventive actions, distant learning is still a very popular option for students.
By using programs, like Google meets, Zoom, and Blackboard, students can get the experience and education of a college classroom from the comfort of their own home. Taking advantage of online classes can allow students to learn at their speed and on their own time.
It’s no surprise Texas has an abundance of great community colleges, this state has a large population and needs enough schools to accommodate all students. Choosing the best college for you is a personal decision that no one can make for you. However, you should do your homework to help you decide the right fit for you and your personal needs.