Sam Houston State University is the most affordable online university in Texas, and the fourth most affordable in the nation, according to a list of national rankings by AffordableCollegesOnline.org.
The rankings, released on Tuesday (July 9), identified 54 colleges across the country with distance learning options, affordable tuition and fees, and alumni who earn top dollar immediately after graduation.
With a net average yearly tuition price of $7,736 and an average starting salary of $40,300 for graduates, SHSU was ranked No. 4 behind California State University—Dominguez Hills, Nebraska’s Bellevue University, and Oklahoma’s Cameron University.
The “Most Affordable Online Colleges” list was compiled from an analysis of schools based on the following criteria: the maximum net price, for tuition and fees, must be below $15,000; the university must be a fully accredited, non-profit and four-year, degree-granting U.S. institution; graduates’ starting salaries must be at least $31,000; and the university must offer at least one course online.
SHSU offers 25 fully online programs—including three bachelor’s programs, 21 master’s programs and one doctorate—and an additional 22 online certificate programs.
“SHSU Online is pleased to receive this important recognition from AffordableCollegesOnline.Org,” said Bill Angrove, associate vice president for SHSU Online. “In addition to being ranked the fourth most affordable university offering online education in the United States, SHSU Online has been recognized two years in a row by U.S. News and World Report for having the best online programs in computer information technology, business, education and criminal justice, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
“The powerful combination of outstanding full-time faculty, a personalized learning experience, highly interactive courses, and an affordable cost make SHSU Online a great value in online education,” Angrove said.
Other Texas schools listed in the top 54 were Stephen F. Austin State (No. 29) and Lamar University (No. 36).
“Today’s mobile economy demands the widespread availability of online education, and many colleges are meeting that demand head-on,” said ACO founder Dan Schuessler. “We’ve sifted through the most complete and comprehensive data sources to find the colleges and universities offering low-cost, high quality distance learning options.”
Data collected to create the list were mined from “highly respected, authoritative” entities, including NCES, the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education; IPEDS, the primary federal source for data on colleges, universities, and technical and vocational postsecondary schools in the U.S.; the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education classification, a framework widely used in the study of higher education, both as a way to represent and control for institutional differences; and Payscale.com, the premier salary data collection organization.
“We strive to help students and their families better understand their options for obtaining a degree and, most importantly, for paying for one,” Schuessler said. “What are the most affordable options—online study, two-year, four-year, public or private colleges? What financial aid options are available and what pitfalls should you avoid? Our goal at AffordableCollegesOnline is to keep our finger on the pulse of college-related issues, the latest research, how the government is responding, and help students analyze their options.”