Dallas Area Colleges: Largest Public Colleges in the Dallas Area

There are at least eight public colleges and universities in the Dallas area. Read about the schools with most program variety, highest graduation rates, lowest student-faculty ratios and lowest costs to find the school for you.

School Ranking Overview

The Dallas area is home to over eight public colleges and universities, with degree offerings ranging from one and two-year certificate programs to bachelor's and even graduate degrees. This article compares seven public colleges, ranking the top three in each of the following categories:

  • Most Program Variety
  • Lowest Net Price
  • Highest Graduation Rate
  • Lowest Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Most Program Variety

Knowing what type of programs a college offers can be very important in helping a student choose a college or decide on his or her career choice. The following three public schools in Dallas offer the most program variety.

1 - The University of Texas at Dallas

Located in Richardson, The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) offers around 133 academic programs through its seven schools. Several programs at this school were ranked by U.S. News & World Report. The online Master of Business Administration program at the Naveen Jindal School of Management ranked ninth among all U.S. schools that offered online MBAs. The audiology and speech graduate programs at the School of Behavioral and Brain Science's Callier Center ranked no. 3 and no. 11, respectively.

The Princeton Review also ranked this college as one of the best values among public colleges in 2013. In 2011-2012, the most popular undergraduate programs were biology, accounting, business and computer science. The most-awarded master's degrees were business administration, accounting, computer science and electrical engineering.

2 - El Centro College

El Centro College in Dallas is a public school that's part of the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD). This school offers more than 45 programs that result in associate degrees or certificates. El Centro College is the only college in the district to offer a food & hospitality program and was the first to offer a nursing program. In 2011-2012, the college awarded 401 certificates and 769 associate degrees, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The most popular certificate programs in 2011-2012 were accounting, data processing and emergency medical technology, while the most common associate programs were registered nursing and general studies.

3 - Eastfield College

Located around 10 miles from Dallas in Mesquite, Eastfield College serves the Mesquite, Garland and East Dallas communities. This 2-year college offers around 45 academic programs in the form of certificates or associate degrees. Eastfield College also offers workforce and continuing education opportunities. For the 2011-2012 school year, the most popular areas of study for students pursuing certificates were electrical, electronic and communications engineering technology; criminal justice/safety studies; autobody collision and repair; and automotive technology. Common associate programs include general studies and business/commerce.

Lowest Net Price

Students may look at the cost of attending a college when choosing which one to attend. The NCES determines the average net cost for U.S. colleges and universities by subtracting the amount of financial aid students receive from the total cost of attendance. The three colleges listed below, which are all part of the DCCCD, offer the lowest net cost in the Dallas area as of 2010-2011.

1 - Richland College

Richland College, which is located in Dallas, is the most affordable option in the Dallas area. For 2012-2013, the annual tuition and fees were $1,350 for in-district students, $2,490 for in-state students and $3,960 for out-of-state students. The NCES noted that 38% of all students received grant or scholarship aid, with the average award amount at $3,925. Only four percent of all students received federal student loans.

2 - Mountain View College

Mountain View College in Dallas offers academic programs that lead to associate degrees or certificates. With an average net cost of $4,317, Mountain View College places second on the list. According to the NCES, annual tuition and fees for in-district students were $1,350, while in-state students paid $2,490 and out-of-state students paid $3,960. The NCES reported that 46% of all students received grant or scholarship aid averaging $4,522. The average loan amount for the five percent of students who received federal loans was $6,468.

3 - El Centro College

El Centro College's net price was $4,440. The DCCCD Scholarship Foundation offers around 250 different scholarship opportunities to eligible students. Around 3,500 students receive scholarships each year. Tuition and fees for in-district students in 2012-2013 were estimated at $1,350, while in-state learners were charged $2,490 and out-of-state students paid $3,960. The NCES reported that 47% of the students at El Centro College received grant or scholarship aid in 2010-2011, with the average award estimated at $4,412. Around eight percent of students were recipients of federal student loans, and they received an average of $6,420.

Highest Graduation Rate

When choosing a college, students may wish to check the success rate of any school they may be considering. Graduation rates are based on the number of students who complete their programs in 150% of the 'normal time'. For instance, two years would be the normal time to complete an associate degree program, and four years would be the time it takes to earn a bachelor's degree. The following three schools offered the highest graduation rates in the Dallas area as of 2011.

1 - The University of Texas at Dallas

With a graduation rate of 61%, UT Dallas has the highest graduation rate of public schools in the Dallas area. The NCES found that 25% of students who began in 2005 transferred to another school. Of those who began their studies in 2010, 83% of full-time and 68% of part-time students returned to continue their studies in 2011.

2 - Cedar Valley College

Located around 12 miles from Dallas in Lancaster, Cedar Valley College only had a graduation rate of 13%. However, the school featured a transfer-out rate of 35%, according to the NCES. The retention rate for 2010-2011 was 47% for full-time students and 36% for part-time students.

3 - Mountain View College

According to the NCES, 12% of Mountain View College students who began their studies in fall 2008 graduated within 150% of normal time, while 28% transferred to other institutions. The NCES also found that 60% of full-time students and 43% of part-time students who began in 2010 returned in 2011.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Schools with a low student-faculty ratio tend to give students more interaction with instructors and other students than schools with higher ratios. The three schools below have the lowest student-faculty ratios in the Dallas area.

1 - El Centro College

El Centro College appears yet again with a student-faculty ratio of 21:1. The school had slightly more than 500 full- and part-time instructional faculty members in fall 2011.

2 - University of Texas at Dallas

UT Dallas offers a student-faculty ratio of 22:1. In fall 2011, UT Dallas had 844 instructional faculty members and 1,043 graduate assistants. U.S. News and World Report noted that only about 22% of classes at this school had fewer than 20 students.

3 - Brookhaven College

This school in Famers Branch has a student-faculty ratio of 24:1. As of fall 2011, the school featured 128 full-time faculty members and 453 part-time members.

Dallas Area Schools at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Degrees Offered Area Ranking
Brookhaven College Farmers Branch, TX 2-year, public 1- to 2-year certificates; associate degrees 3rd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Cedar Valley College Lancaster, TX 2-year, public 1- to 2-year certificates; associate degrees 2nd Highest Graduation Rate
Eastfield College Mesquite, TX 2-year, public 1- to 2-year certificates; associate degrees 3rd Most Program Variety
El Centro College Dallas, TX 2-year, public 1- to 2-year certificates; associate degrees Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
2nd Most Program Variety
3rd Lowest Net Price
Mountain View College Dallas, TX 2-year, public 1- to 2-year certificates; associate degrees 2nd Lowest Net Price
3rd Highest Graduation Rate
Richland College Dallas, TX 2-year, public 1- to 2-year certificates; associate degrees Lowest Net Price
University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, TX 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; postbaccalaureate certificates Most Program Variety
Highest Graduation Rate
2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Rate

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