The 10 Best College Towns In Texas For 2021


Editor's Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our fourth time ranking the best college towns in Texas.
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Believe it or not, America has the best colleges in the world. It's been proven by data (and surveys) that the U.S. educational system is of the highest quality

It's actually not even close and Texas is home to a handful of them.

While we could debate which colleges within the are the 'best,' that's not the goal of this post.

Instead, ride along with us as we determine which college towns in Texas are the best.

You know, the type of places where there's energy and stimulation, but the type of place you can walk around at night. The happiest, chillest, most downright fun places where you can send your kids off to college where you won't break the bank, or worry about their well being.

Without further ado, here are the best college towns in Texas for 2021.

The 10 Best College Towns In Texas For 2021

  1. Canyon, TX
  2. College Station, TX
  3. Stephenville, TX
  4. Arlington, TX
  5. San Marcos, TX
  6. Austin, TX
  7. Lubbock, TX
  8. Midland, TX
  9. Richardson, TX
  10. McAllen, TX

While some of these may not seem like a 'real' college town per se, when you look at the numbers, it's hard to argue against.

And for those who live in Canyon, College Station and Stephenville - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where Canyon ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

Finally, if you live in Terrell, TX - it's officially the worst college town in Texas. Sorry, Terrell!

Read on to find out more or for more on Texas check out:

The 10 Best College Towns In Texas For 2021

Canyon, TX
Overall SnackAbility
8.5
/10

Population: 15,182
% Undergrad Pop.: 37.0% (3rd best)
Median Rent: $798 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 395.0% (7th best)
Crime Rank: 2nd best
More on Canyon: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: West Texas A & M University

College Station, TX
Overall SnackAbility
8
/10

Population: 110,782
% Undergrad Pop.: 32.7% (4th best)
Median Rent: $972 (32nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 417.2% (12th best)
Crime Rank: 7th best
More on College Station: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Texas A & M University-College Station, Vista College - College Station

Stephenville, TX
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 20,396
% Undergrad Pop.: 30.5% (6th best)
Median Rent: $831 (18th best)
Unemployment Rate: 435.8% (15th best)
Crime Rank: 5th best
More on Stephenville: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Tarleton State University

Arlington, TX
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 392,462
% Undergrad Pop.: 4.1% (28th best)
Median Rent: $997 (36th best)
Unemployment Rate: 493.0% (2best)
Crime Rank: 39th best
More on Arlington: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: The University of Texas at Arlington, ITT Technical Institute-Arlington, Arlington Baptist College

San Marcos, TX
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 61,751
% Undergrad Pop.: 31.4% (5th best)
Median Rent: $1,000 (37th best)
Unemployment Rate: 823.8% (5best)
Crime Rank: 20th best
More on San Marcos: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Texas State University, Total Transformation Institute of Cosmetology

Austin, TX
Overall SnackAbility
8
/10

Population: 935,755
% Undergrad Pop.: 4.6% (26th best)
Median Rent: $1,225 (52nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 394.1% (6th best)
Crime Rank: 38th best
More on Austin: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: The University of Texas at Austin, Austin Community College District, Saint Edward's University

Lubbock, TX
Overall SnackAbility
5
/10

Population: 250,415
% Undergrad Pop.: 9.0% (15th best)
Median Rent: $928 (28th best)
Unemployment Rate: 413.6% (11th best)
Crime Rank: 24th best
More on Lubbock: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Texas Tech University, Lubbock Christian University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Midland, TX
Overall SnackAbility
7.5
/10

Population: 135,134
% Undergrad Pop.: 3.6% (29th best)
Median Rent: $1,233 (54th best)
Unemployment Rate: 350.2% (3rd best)
Crime Rank: 9th best
More on Midland: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Midland College

Richardson, TX
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
8.5
/10

Population: 114,402
% Undergrad Pop.: 6.3% (20th best)
Median Rent: $1,336 (57th best)
Unemployment Rate: 391.6% (5th best)
Crime Rank: 6th best
More on Richardson: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: The University of Texas at Dallas, ITT Technical Institute-Richardson, Vista College-Online

Mcallen, TX
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
5
/10

Population: 141,597
% Undergrad Pop.: 8.0% (18th best)
Median Rent: $767 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 722.8% (47th best)
Crime Rank: 27th best
More on Mcallen: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: South Texas College, South Texas Vocational Technical Institute-McAllen, Brightwood College-McAllen

How'd we figure out the best college towns in Texas?

To crunch our data on Texas's best college towns, we had to first decide which qualities (or rankings) make sense to use in the data, and then crunch the numbers for our rankings.

First off, we firmly decided that only cities with a 4 year college should make the cut -- so there has to be at least one college granting bachelors degrees in town.

You might be surprised to hear that there are only 45 places in Texas with an institution of higher learning with that criteria.

Source of data include OpenStreetMaps, the College Scorecard, the U.S. Census, and FBI reporting data to include the following factors:

  • Students Make Up Large % of the Population
  • College-specific Factors
    • Graduation rate
    • Tuition Cost
    • Student Body Diversity
  • Town Characteristics
    • Safety
    • Affordability
    • Income and Employment Opportunities
  • Things to Do
    • Bars
    • Museums & Libraries
    • Population Density

We ranked each city across each of the criteria, with one being the best.

We rolled up the individual scores into the category and ranked them again based on the category.

Finally, we took the average rank across each category, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best College Town In Texas For 2021".

And it looks like Canyon placed Summa Cum Laude.

There You Have It -- The Best College Towns In The

If you're looking for the best college towns in Texas, you came to the right place.

These places all have great college sports programs, tons of stuff to do, and are great places to raise a family.

If you're curious, these are the worst college towns in Texas, starting with the absolute worst, Terrell:

  1. Terrell
  2. Waxahachie
  3. Seguin
  4. Prairie View
  5. Fort Worth
  6. Marshall
  7. Georgetown
  8. Garland
  9. San Antonio
  10. Longview

For more reading, check out:

45 Best College Towns In Texas

Rank City Population
1 Canyon, TX 15182
2 College Station, TX 110782
3 Stephenville, TX 20396
4 Arlington, TX 392462
5 San Marcos, TX 61751
6 Austin, TX 935755
7 Lubbock, TX 250415
8 Midland, TX 135134
9 Richardson, TX 114402
10 Mcallen, TX 141597
11 Wichita Falls, TX 104494
12 Nacogdoches, TX 33610
13 Commerce, TX 9000
14 Denton, TX 133661
15 Lake Jackson, TX 27377
16 Beaumont, TX 118632
17 Plainview, TX 20714
18 El Paso, TX 680354
19 Abilene, TX 123676
20 Edinburg, TX 94019
21 Odessa, TX 118582
22 Kerrville, TX 23216
23 Euless, TX 55047
24 San Angelo, TX 99634
25 Laredo, TX 257575
26 Brownwood, TX 18820
27 Houston, TX 2295982
28 Waco, TX 133964
29 Dallas, TX 1318806
30 Southlake, TX 30840
31 Kingsville, TX 25782
32 Tyler, TX 103721
33 Corpus Christi, TX 324692
34 Irving, TX 238637
35 Belton, TX 21123
36 Longview, TX 82256
37 San Antonio, TX 1486521
38 Garland, TX 237982
39 Georgetown, TX 66804
40 Marshall, TX 23315
41 Fort Worth, TX 855786
42 Prairie View, TX 6337
43 Seguin, TX 28357
44 Waxahachie, TX 34285
45 Terrell, TX 17378

Best College Towns By State

Enjoy The Snack?