Fiscally Responsible

Rice University Named the Best College Investment in Texas

Wondering where to spend your tuition dollars? This Houston university ranks No. 1 in the state.

By Brianna Benitez, Jessica Lodge, and Alexia Partouche July 6, 2022

Rice University is the best college investment in Texas, according to a recent analysis. 

We can collectively name a few things that make Houston the stellar city it is: our robust food scene, trendsetting music, and world-class fine arts. An influx of people relocating to the Bayou City recently for real estate and jobs only adds to the excitement.

Now there’s an all-new reason to place Houston on your list of places to move to: higher education. Rice University is making Houstonians proud as it claims the top spot among the best-value colleges and universities across Texas, according to the eighth annual rankings compiled by SmartAsset.

SmartAsset ranks schools across the nation based on five categories: tuition, living costs, scholarships/grants, student retention rate, and graduates’ average starting salary. The organization uses these data points to determine which schools in the US will give students the best return on their investment for a higher education. 

Rice’s numbers distinguished the school from its in-state peers across the board. The average scholarship dwarfed the rest at $43,615, balancing out the similarly high tuition costs of $47,350. While student living costs reached the highest spot by a relatively slim margin of only $164, the average starting salary beat out the rest at $77,900— $24,956 higher than the Texas average.

Top those numbers off with a 97% student retention rank, the highest in the state (tied with University of Texas at Austin), and you have the kind of numbers that will land your school not only the top spot in Texas, but No. 10 nationally, alongside schools like Stanford University at No. 5 and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at No. 1. (Among Texas universities, other Greater Houston area schools on the list included Prairie View A&M in fourth, University of Houston in fifth, and Texas A&M-College Station in sixth.) 

Rice’s value will come as no surprise to Houstonians, particularly as the university has taken steps to keep its prestigious education affordable with The Rice Investment, the school’s signature financial aid program.

“Rice University is consistently ranked as a best value in higher education and is one of America’s leading teaching and research universities,” according to Rice’s Office of Financial Aid. “By attending Rice, you will not only receive a superior education at a reasonable cost, you will also benefit from having a Rice degree long after graduation.”

While Rice University has been known to be a prestigious institution, SmartAsset’s recent ranking further enhances the school’s reputation. This ranking may attract a new wave of students to the Houston area, but we aren’t surprised that Rice University has once again put the Bayou City on the map. 

For more information about the data behind the ranking, visit SmartAssest’s website

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