So the Texas Tribune on Friday published one of those public-data pieces that they do so well. This one presented a sortable list of the the average annual cost of tution and fees at public universities in Texas. When you sort the list to the find the most expensive, you discover it’s the University of Texas at Dallas.
UTD’s average annual cost ends up at $11,168. That’s 14% higher than No. 2 on the list, UT-Austin. Then there’s UT-Arlington, which is fourth-most expensive, ahead of larger schools like Texas Tech and Texas A&M. Â But why does the Dallas/Richardson branch of the University of Texas system come out on top?
I called the school’s communications department to ask and am waiting for a call back, which I was assured will be coming. In the meanwhile, I’m going to guess that with a somewhat smaller student population disproportionately enrolled in science and engineering courses (for which the school is best known and which are generally more expensive, due to extra fees, than humanities courses), UTD’s averages get tilted up higher than the other schools. Â But that’s just a guess, for now.
(Aside: All of these figures seem dirt cheap to me, even many years after I finished college. Â I attended a private university in Texas, though my school’s generous endowment allowed me to to attend at far less than the retail sticker price.)
Will report back when I get that call.
UPDATE: A spokeswoman for UT-Dallas says my guess-planation was “pretty much dead on.”
UPDATE UPDATE: I got some more specifics from UT-Dallas. Out of almost 19,000 students, more than 50 percent of them are science/tech/engineering majors. Another 30 percent are business majors.
Jump to read her more detailed response:
There’s price and then there’s value.
With regard to price, UT Dallas’ tuition position among Texas public universities is partly a result of the programs offered: mostly science, technology, engineering, math and business. Also with regard to price, please be aware that approximately 16,000 of our students will pay less than the tuition listed on the TT website, because they are continuing students and enjoy Fixed Tuition for four years. Â Only students enrolling this fall pay the amount shown on the website, and their tuition and required fees also will be fixed for four years. And UTD offers the “Comet Connection” program that allows any student enrolling in a Texas 2-year college to lock in tuition at the price in force when the student declares his or her intention to transfer to UT Dallas, which can significantly moderate the cost of an education.
With regard to value, UT Dallas has been listed among on Kiplinger’s “100 Best Values” in public universities year over year. It is priced very competitively among its peer private institutions. While the price of an education at UT Dallas has, like the average entering SAT scores of our freshmen classes, been consistently higher than most Texas public universities’, this has not discouraged growth. Â In fact, our enrollment has grown 27 percent in the past six years, and our enrollment growth last year (10 percent) was the highest in the state. We enrolled more National Merit scholars than any other Texas public university last year (53). Â Â More than 88 percent of our 2011 graduates report that they are employed or continuing their education. We believe UT Dallas offers a great return on investment, and strive to assure that it continues to do so.