I attended a lunch recently with representatives from Texas Tech University and the University of Houston. Let me start with the headline: If a student qualifies for $1,000 in merit-based financial aid from these schools (including departmental scholarships), or any public university in Texas, they will be given the IN-STATE TUITION rate when they enroll. The difference is over $10,000 per year, and can bring the cost of a college education down to below the Cal State and UC costs of tuition plus room and board. In fact, even out-of-state resident tuition plus room and board at Texas public universities is less than the annual cost of UC tuition, room and board.
Texas Tech University
While Texas Tech was founded as a technical school, it is no longer a specialized institution! Texas Tech’s goal is to increase the number of out-of-state students, and in fact California students are well-represented among the 4900 freshmen who start each fall. Located in Lubbock, Texas, Texas Tech has 33,000 students overall in 10 academic colleges, including a law school and a medical school all on the same campus. Lubbock has about 250,000 residents, so it’s bigger than Torrance but smaller than Long Beach, by population. It’s about an hour flight north of Dallas in the Texas panhandle, a few hours away from the New Mexico ski slopes.
Texas Tech has over 150 academic programs; majors and minors are listed here. The agriculture school has large endowment resources, which translate into generous scholarships. Architecture students are required to study abroad. The College of Business is one of the Forbes Top 50 and the school of Human Science boasts one of the 10 most awesome college labs by popular science magazine. Engineering is ranked in the top 100 nationally and the Honors College is a great opportunity for students to have smaller classes and closer relationships with professors.
Experiential learning and study abroad opportunities are emphasized at Texas Tech; the university owns a campus in Sevilla, Spain, as well as Tech House in Washington, DC, one block from Capitol Hill.
Texas Tech is a top law school for Hispanic students and is also well-known for having student graduate with very little debt.
University of Houston
The University of Houston is the third largest public university in Texas, with about 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students on the same campus. It’s the second most ethnically diverse institution in the country and is designated a Hispanic-serving institution (this means that at least 25% of the students identify as Hispanic).
UH has a 600-acre campus on the edge of Houston, and its location provides incredible internship opportunities for students. The Hotel and Restaurant Management program, sponsored by the Hilton Corporation and ranked #3 in the nation, is a business-based program with competitive scholarships. Students in this program are required to do internships.
UH has over 120 majors in 9 academic colleges; majors are listed here. They are known for their programs in law (#4 intellectual property law program in the country), optometry and social work. The school of business has a strong entrepreneurship program, and has the #21 ranked undergraduate business program in US News. The engineering school offers students the opportunity to collaborate with NASA and the Texas Medical Center (the largest medical center in the world), and the School of Arts & Sciences, the largest undergraduate college, has programs in American Sign Language. Students in the communications and media departments can work for Houston’s NPR station and classical music radio station, both located on the Houston campus.
University of Houston has a very active Greek life with 46 fraternities and sororities; many have their own townhouses. Students are very involved here in religious activities and sports. Faculty live in the university-owned residence halls.
I was very impressed at the opportunities that both Texas Tech and the University of Houston provide. Don’t overlook these large, sporty spirited campuses that can offer students a great education with a reasonable price tag!