Austin is the fastest growing city in the country, and home to a small, but elite selection of colleges, universities and distance-learning programs. With an unemployment rate of less than 5 percent, the capital of Texas has appeal for recent graduates, especially for high-tech fields requiring postsecondary education. Austin is home to a public university, three private nonprofit universities and a public community college.
Colleges in Austin
The largest — and only public — university in Austin is the University of Texas at Austin. Founded in 1883, it is one of the largest universities in the country. With 51,000 students and 24,000 faculty and staff, UT Austin awards 12,000 degrees every year and has an operating budget of more than $2 billion. It is a globally respected research university and the flagship institution of the University of Texas system. UT Austin is also one of the top employers in the city of Austin.
A nationally recognized two-year public institution, the Austin Community College District serves nearly 60,000 students per year through for-credit and non-credit courses. The largest higher-learning institution in Central Texas, ACCD has nine campuses and eight centers in and around Austin.
Austin also boasts three private, nonprofit four-year institutions. The largest, with a little more than 6,000 students, is Saint Edwards University. With nearly 500 full and part-time faculty and staff, more than half of the university’s classes have fewer than 20 students. Concordia University enrolls around 3,240 students. It has the most favorable student-to-faculty ratio of any university in Austin, which is 10:1. A historically black institution, Huston-Tillotson University has around a thousand students. Its 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio is tied for second with Saint Edwards.
A GLANCE AT AUSTIN’S COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
|University of Texas at Austin||Public||171 programs that can lead to bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees; undergrad business program ranked 7th in the nation|
|Saint Edwards University||Private (nonprofit)||89 programs that can lead to bachelor’s or master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates; features a dual business degree with study in Austin and France|
|Concordia University||Private (nonprofit)||Colleges of business, education, liberal arts and science; service learning, study abroad, Christian leadership|
|Hutson-Tillotson University||Private (nonprofit)||College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business and Technology, University College|
|Austin Community College District||Public||127 programs; undergrad certificates and associate degrees for specific careers or to transfer to a 4-year university|
Online Colleges in Austin
Austin Community College District provides students with access to a thorough distance-learning curriculum. From creative writing to radio, ACCD offers dozens of degrees and certificates to students who study online. The district offers online courses, hybrid courses, instructional TV and print-based courses.
The University of Texas at Austin’s University Extension program offers accelerated online coursework that can be taken any time from anywhere with an Internet connection. Although the university offers college credits, it does not award degrees online. Credits earned online can be applied toward a degree at UT Austin or at some other institutions. UT Austin encourages active military personnel to take online courses while in different geographical locations.
Explore online degree programs
Top Industries, Careers and Employers
The Chamber of Commerce refers to central Texas as “the smartest, safest and fastest-growing area in the country.” Austin also has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. Many of the city’s top employers are in the public sector. The top employers, employing more than 6,000 people, are Austin School District, City of Austin, Dell, the Federal Government, IBM Corp., Round Rock School District, Seton Healthcare Family, the State of Texas and University of Austin at Texas.
Austin provides incentives and tax breaks for companies that do business in the Texas capital. Its well-educated, relatively affluent workforce is employed in a range of sectors, with financial interests such as Visa. The economy of Austin, however, is centered around a few key industries.
- The Austin area ranks 9th in per capita patent activity, with an average of 2,500 filed each year.
- Overall manufacturing grew by 4.2 percent from 2009 to 2012, to about 51,000 employees.
- 306 high-tech manufacturing firms employ 29,700 people.
- The University of Texas consistently ranks among the top research institutions nationwide. In the past two years, it has completed $1.1 billion in sponsored research.
CREATIVE AND DIGITAL MEDIA TECHNOLOGY
More than 40,000 people in Austin metro work in the creative and digital media tech industry. Home to nationally renowned events such as Austin City Limits and SXSW Music, Film and Interactive, Austin has hosted global brands launching new products, including Twitter in 2007 and Foursquare in 2009. Among the new media companies that call Austin home are:
- Disney Interactive Studios
- Sony Online Entertainment
Austin is at the forefront of the green energy movement. More than 20,000 people are employed by 200 clean energy companies in and around Austin. Partnerships between the city, state and federal governments with the University of Texas and independent research groups have made Austin a center of green energy research and development.
Austin’s cutting-edge technology infrastructure is a natural draw for the life sciences industry. About 11,000 employees work for 190 companies in the areas of biotech, diagnostics, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, biosecurity and agribio. As a Tier 1 research university, the University of Texas at Austin drives the industry with more than $600 million in annual research funding.
Colleges & Universities in Austin
COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES IN AUSTIN
|The University of Texas at Austin||55,620||$9,794||Public|
|Saint Edwards University||6,109||$28,300||Not For Profit (Private)|
|Concordia University-Texas||3,240||$22,920||Not For Profit (Private)|
|Huston-Tillotson University||1,059||$10,396||Not For Profit (Private)|
COMMUNITY COLLEGES AND VOCATIONAL SCHOOLS IN AUSTIN
|Austin Community College District||77,953||$1,635||Public|