The 10 Best College Towns In Texas For 2020


Editor's Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our 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 2020.

The 10 Best College Towns In Texas For 2020

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

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 2020

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 | Data | Photos

Canyon is a city in, and the county seat of, Randall County, Texas, United States. The population was 13,303 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Amarillo, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area. Canyon is the home of West Texas A&M University and Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, and the world-famous outdoor musical drama Texas.

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 | Data | Photos

College Station is a city in Brazos County, Texas, situated in East-Central Texas in the heart of the Brazos Valley, in the center of the region known as Texas Triangle. It is 90 miles northwest of Houston and 87 miles northeast of Austin. As of the 2010 census, College Station had a population of 93,857, which had increased to an estimated population of 117,191 as of September 2017. College Station and Bryan together make up the Bryan-College Station metropolitan area, the 14th-largest metropolitan area in Texas with 255,589 people as of 2015.

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 | Data | Photos

Stephenville is a city in and the county seat of Erath County, Texas, United States. The population was 17,123 at the 2010 census. Founded in 1856, it is home to Tarleton State University. Stephenville is among several communities that call themselves the "Cowboy Capital of the World".

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% (21st best)
Crime Rank: 39th best
More on Arlington: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Arlington is a principal city in the U.S. state of Texas, located in TarrantCounty. It is part of the Mid-Cities region of the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area, approximately 12 miles east of downtown Fort Worth and 20 miles west of downtown Dallas.

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% (51st best)
Crime Rank: 20th best
More on San Marcos: Real Estate | Data | Photos

San Marcos is a city in the U.S. state of Texas, within the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos metropolitan area. It is on the Interstate 35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio and is the seat of Hays County. Its limits extend into Caldwell and Guadalupe Counties, as well. Its population was 44,894 in 2010. In 2015 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population at 60,684

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 | Data | Photos

Austin, AWST-tin) is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County, with portions extending into Hays and Williamson counties. It is the 11th-most populous city in the United States and the 4th-most populous city in Texas. It is the fastest growing large city in the United States, the second most populous state capital after Phoenix, Arizona, and the southern-most state capital in the contiguous 48 states. As of the Census Bureau's July 1, 2016 estimate, Austin has a population of 947,890. Located in Central Texas in the foothills of Texas Hill Country, the city is home to numerous lakes, rivers, and waterways including Lady Bird Lake, Barton Springs, McKinney Falls, the Colorado River, Lake Travis, and Lake Walter E. Long. It is the cultural and economic center of the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan statistical area, which had an estimated population of 2,056,405 as of July 1, 2016.

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 | Data | Photos

Lubbock is a city in and the county seat of Lubbock County, Texas, United States. The city is located in the northwestern part of the state, a region known historically and geographically as the Llano Estacado and ecologically is part of the southern end of the High Plains. According to a 2015 Census estimate, Lubbock had a population of 252,506. making it the 83rd-most populous city in the United States of America and the 11th-most populous city in the state of Texas. The city is the economic center of the Lubbock metropolitan area, which has a projected 2020 population of 327,424.

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

Midland, TX
Overall SnackAbility
8
/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 | Data | Photos

Midland is a city in and the county seat of Midland County, Texas, United States, on the Southern Plains of the state's western area. A small portion of the city extends into Martin County.

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 | Data | Photos

Richardson is a principal city in Dallas and Collin counties in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2015 American Community Survey, the city had a total population of 106,123. Richardson is an affluent inner suburb of Dallas. It is home to The University of Texas at Dallas and the Telecom Corridor, with a high concentration of telecommunications companies. More than 5,000 businesses have operations within Richardson's 28 square miles, including many of the world's largest telecommunications/networking companies: AT&T, DirectTV, Verizon, Cisco Systems, Samsung, ZTE, MetroPCS, Texas Instruments, Qorvo, and Fujitsu. Richardson's largest employment base is provided by the insurance industry, with Blue CrossBlue Shield of Texas' headquarters located in the community along with a regional hub for GEICO, regional offices for United Healthcare, and one of State Farm Insurance's three national regional hubs.

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 | Data | Photos

McAllen is the twenty-first most populous city in Texas and the largest city in Hidalgo County, Texas, United States. It is located at the southern tip of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley and is part of the Southern United States. It is on the Rio Grande, across from the Mexican city of Reynosa, and is approximately 70 miles west of South Padre Island and the Gulf of Mexico. The 2010 United States census put the city's population at 129,877 and the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metropolitan area at 774,773. It is ranked the fifth most populated metropolitan area in the state of Texas. The Reynosa-McAllen Metropolitan Area counts a population of nearly 1.5 million.

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 2020".

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?