University of Texas at Austin
Students are matriculating in colleges and universities at unprecedented rates. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in October 2014 a reported 68.4 percent of the 2014 high school graduating class enrolled in higher education institutions across the US.
The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) is attracting a fair number of these students, which is no surprise as it is an excellent academic institution. The following are some impressive facts and figures about this preeminent public school:
- According to Money (2014), UT Austin is ranked 17th among best public colleges.
- Forbes (2014) positions UT Austin as the 19th Best Value College nationally.
- U.S. News and World Report (2014) ranks UT Austin as the 30th top global university.
- Per the Center for World-Class Universities (2014), UT Austin places 39th for academic ranking of world universities.
UT Austin’s high rankings, across different categories, stems from the exceptional academics at this school. By all standards, UT Austin is a large university. In fall 2014, there were 39,523 enrolled undergraduates, as well as 11,790 graduates. Every single state in America was represented by this student body, a testament to UT Austin’s attractiveness to students nationwide. It is hardly a regional school.
Whatever major course of study a student decides to pursue, it’s likely on offer at UT Austin. There are 119 undergraduate degree programs, more than 170 fields of study, and over 12,400 courses available overall. UT Austin is also international in scope as it offers 450 study abroad programs in 78 countries. Not only can enrolled students select from an abundance of courses, they can also travel the world to take them.
The campus life at UT Austin is dynamic, and seldom does a day pass when there isn’t an exciting event on offer. The UT Austin campus is home to more than 1,100 student organizations and caters to a wide variety of interests. Part of UT Austin’s mission is to promote creativity, and students are invited to join up with existing programs or start their own.
Arts and entertainment are particularly strong on and off campus. Austin has the distinction of being known as “The Live Music Capital of the World.” The artistic dimension of UT Austin life draws students who major in the fine arts and the performing arts, but it is also a source of ongoing entertainment for just about everyone.
Tuition and Costs
In response to a change in law in Texas, UT Austin now offers the Longhorn Fixed Tuition price plan. This tuition option is only available to new student enrollees after 2014. UT Austin also offers a traditional fixed tuition plan. The two plans differ in one important way. An eligible student who opts for the Longhorn Fixed Tuition plan will pay a set amount of tuition for all four consecutive years of academic study (Note: the rate depends on the college of enrollment within the university and the number of credit hours). However, the traditional flat rate tuition plan can change year to year.
As UT Austin is a state school, there is a difference in tuition rates for residents versus non-residents. For example, under the Longhorn Fixed Tuition price plan, in the 2014-15 academic year (fall and spring), a full-time Liberal Arts student who is a resident would pay $5,047 in tuition whereas a non-resident would pay $17,508. For this same period, a student in business would pay $5,799, if a resident, and $20,066 if a non-resident. For students who decide to matriculate at UT Austin, it will be necessary to decide which tuition plan is most suitable.
UT Austin estimates some additional costs associated with attendance for the fall and spring semesters (known as the long session). Although these numbers do not reflect any given student’s actual costs, they are the school’s best approximation: $375 for books, $745 for transportation (same for on-campus, off-campus, and commuters), and $1,410 for personal necessities.
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Direct Loans
- Federal Perkins Loan
- Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
Grants are an ideal source of aid because they do not need to be repaid. In addition to the Federal Pell Grant, eligible UT of Austin students may receive a Texas Grant, Texas Public Education Grant, or UT Grant. Similarly, scholarships are a form of gift aid. UT Austin bases its scholarship determinations on a combination of academic merit and financial need.
UT Austin requires students to make a separate application for scholarships. There are several scholarships at UT Austin, and all students who meet the application criteria for each application are encouraged to apply.
It is important to note that students do not need to make a separate application for the Top 10 Percent Scholarship Program. Completion of the FAFSA or the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA) is sufficient. The 80th Texas Legislature created this scholarship as a way to encourage top-performing students to select public colleges and universities in Texas.
Private loans are generally the last resort when financing a college education. In general, this type of loan has more restrictive repayment terms and higher interest rates compared to federal loans. The UT Austin financial aid office will likely have a list of the most popular private student loan lenders. If a student decides she will need to borrow a private loan to attend UT Austin, it will be up to her to compare the pros and cons of each lender and make a selection.
UT Austin provides traditional dormitory campus housing options for students. The university groups the residence halls into three communities: Jester, Waller Creek, and Whitis Area. Students who enroll at UT Austin for the long session (the fall and spring semester) and opt for campus housing will receive a bundled package that includes their room, meals, and internet access.
The following is a sample of the cost of residing on-campus (by room type) for the fall and semester 2015-16 year:
- $9,757 for a shared room with a community bathroom
- $10,357 for a shared room with a private or connecting bathroom
- $10,057 for a Jester East shared space with community bathroom
- $11,641 for a single room with community bathroom
- $14,126 for a premium level single room with a private or connecting bathroom
UT Austin also provides apartments for eligible undergraduates and graduate students. These apartments are likely to be low-cost compared to apartments of similar size off campus in Austin proper. For example, for 2015-16, a one-bedroom apartment ranges from $558-$588, a two-bedroom costs $638-$668, and a three-bedroom rental is $814.
Students who wish to reside in campus housing should apply for housing before the deadline. Financial aid for admitted students who indicated that they need housing will reflect these costs. In other words, it is important to understand that a financial aid package will bundle together tuition and costs such as housing. Housing is not treated separately for financial aid purposes.
In general, entering freshmen who need housing will reside on campus; however, many students move off campus as they progress in their years of study. Austin is an exciting city, of national notoriety, and its popularity can drive up the cost of living. For instance, a two-bedroom apartment in a new development in downtown Austin can cost as much as $2,500 per month.
UT Austin provides help for students who want to live off campus. The Off-Campus Housing office posts housing opportunities for students in a range of accommodations. The university also provides a helpful Housing Guide to give students tips about how to find a place and avoid bad properties as well as scams.