Making the grade

Austin-area college near top of the class among best schools for the money

Austin college near top of the class among best schools for the money

Southwestern University campus
Southwestern University gives you your money's worth. Southwestern University/Facebook

Seven Texas colleges are at the head of the class when it comes to bang for your buck — including one in the Austin area. According to a recent report from College Factual, Southwestern University, in Georgetown, earned the No. 8 best college for your money in the Southwest.

Joining it are Austin College in Sherman in North Texas (No. 2), Texas Tech University (No. 3), St. Mary's University in San Antonio (No. 5), Texas Lutheran University in Seguin (No. 6), University of Houston (No. 7), and Trinity University in San Antonio (No. 9).

The three non-Texas colleges that joined them in the top 10?

Ranking first in the Southwest region was St. John's College in Santa Fe, followed by Oklahoma City University (No. 4) and University of Tulsa (No. 10).

To come up with the rankings, College Factual analyzed over 2,000 colleges and universities to determine which ones are best in a variety of categories, such as overall value, quality, diversity, and which schools are the best for each major.

Southwestern, a small, liberal arts located in Georgetown, earned 22 badges, and its highest-ranked major was anthropology. With an average tuition cost of $33,948 and an average of 4.1 years to graduate, St. Mary's earned the No. 8 spot in the Southwest and sixth in Texas. The study also highlighted the school's 11-to-1 faculty to student ratio, better than the national 15-to-1 average.

Southwestern grads also have a 3.7 percent loan default rate, compared to the national rate of 10.1 percent, which means students are more likely to secure employment after graduation.

In San Antonio, St. Mary's University, a Marist liberal arts school located on the city's West Side, earned 28 badges, and its highest-ranked major was business administration and marketing. With an average tuition cost of $26,726 and an average of 4.2 years to graduate, St. Mary's earned the No. 5 spot in the Southwest and third in Texas. The study also highlighted the school's 12-to-1 faculty to student ratio, better than the national 15-to-1 average.

Austin College, which landed ahead of St. Mary's at No. 2, is a small, private not-for-profit school that awarded 342 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019, the report says.

"It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at Austin College to complete their degree, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $27,662," they say. "Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Austin College is $112,861. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket."

Much larger Texas Tech University, No. 3 in the rankings, awarded 6,599 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

"You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend Texas Tech University," the report says. "The average student at Texas Tech graduates in less than 4.5 years, and it costs about $26,528 per year to attend the school. This means that the average student pays around $119,907 to get a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save."