College ROI

2 Dallas-area universities rank among Texas' 10 best bang-for-your-buck colleges

2 DFW universities rank among Texas' 10 top bang-for-your-buck schools

University of Texas at Dallas
UT Dallas is named the third best collegiate value in Texas. Facebook/UT Dallas

By one measure, earning a degree at the University of Texas at Dallas or University of North Texas is one of the smartest moves in the Lone Star State.

In its eighth annual ranking of colleges and university that give students the best return on their educational investment, personal finance website SmartAsset places UT Dallas (in Richardson) at No. 3 in Texas and No. 71 in the U.S. It ranks University of North Texas (in Denton) at No. 9 in Texas and No. 164 in the U.S.

They were the only two North Texas schools to make the Texas top 10.

Rice University in Houston repeats at No. 1 in Texas and No. 10 in the U.S., and it was the only Texas school to break into the national top 10.

To determine the best-value colleges and universities in each state, SmartAsset crunched data in these categories: scholarships and grants, starting salary for new graduates, tuition, living costs, and retention rate.

At UT Dallas, the numbers break down like this:

  • College tuition: $13,034
  • Student living costs: $16,252
  • Average scholarships and grants: $12,033
  • Average starting salary after graduation: $63,100
  • Student retention rate: 90 percent

And at UNT, this is the breakdown:

  • College tuition: $10,852
  • Student living costs: $13,860
  • Average scholarships and grants: $8,857
  • Average starting salary after graduation: $54,200
  • Student retention rate: 85 percent

Compare those numbers to top-ranked Rice: While the tuition ($47,350) and student living costs ($17,800) at Rice are the highest among the top 10 Texas schools on the list, the average amount of scholarships and grants ($43,615), average starting salary ($77,900), and retention rate (97 percent) also are among the highest.

According to Rice, tuition, fees, on-campus room and board, books, and personal expenses for the 2022-23 academic year add up to $74,110. That figure, which excludes financial aid, applies to a full-time, degree-seeking student living on campus.

Other Texas schools in the state’s top 10 are:

  • University of Texas at Austin, No. 2.
  • Prairie View A&M University, No. 4.
  • University of Houston, No. 5.
  • Texas A&M University-College Station, No. 6. 
  • Texas Tech University in Lubbock, No. 7.
  • LeTourneau University in Longview, No. 8.
  • Texas State University in San Marcos, No. 10.