Texas’ Educational Legacy
Texas is the 2nd largest state in the U.S. by land mass and the 2nd most populous as well. This ever-growing Lone Star State is also deeply prosperous, serving as the international headquarters for no fewer than 57 Fortune 500 companies, which ties it with California for the most in the nation. Likewise, Texas has been the leading national exporter among U.S. states for more than a decade. This growth is partially attributable to the state’s booming natural oil industry and partially attributable to its steady investment in its own universities.
Indeed, Texas is home to no fewer than 108 public colleges or universities, as well as 68 private, non-profit schools, and a staggering 101 for-profit private colleges. This amounts to the second highest population of full-time students in the nation, with nearly 1.5 million students in 2013!
Though Texas would not open the doors to its first postsecondary institution until 1860, the charter for Southwestern University would actually be issued before Texas became the 28th state in 1845. The eventual establishment of Southwestern University gave Texas its first college and its first private liberal arts institution. The school is located in the Central Texas town of Georgetown and remains affiliated with the Methodist Church that founded it.
Southwestern would initiate a tradition of excellence among the state's private institutions, perhaps best highlighted by schools such as the University of Dallas. Begun as the Holy Trinity College in 1905, the school took its present day name in 1956 and emerged as a liberal arts style institution of high repute. Indeed, in addition to ranking as U.S. News & World Report’s 14th Best College in the West, the University of Dallas enrolls a remarkable 80% of its 3000-person student body in its study abroad program.
Like just about everything else in Texas, the state does universities big. As such, it is home to no fewer than eight universities with enrollment numbers larger than 30,000 apiece. A number of these are two-year institutions. But others still, including the University of Houston, the University of North Texas, Texas A&M University, and The University of Texas at Austin, are massive four-year public universities. The last of these is the largest in Texas—which is saying a lot—as well as the fifth largest campus in the nation.
Founded in 1883 in the state’s capital city, the University of Texas is home to more than 50,000 students (a number that exceeds the total student enrollment of more than a few states), as well as more than 1000 student run organizations and, in its Big 12 Conference Longhorns, one of the nation’s most beloved football programs. The University of Texas excels in far more than size, of course, According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities, the University is the 27th best in the nation and 35th best in the world.
- See who ranks as the best college and university in Texas today.
- Four Texas universities rank among The 100 Best Universities in the World: University of Texas--Austin, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Rice University, and Texas A&M.