Sam Houston State University Review

Sam Houston State University is a public institution based in Texas that offers affordable and well-ranked undergraduate and graduate degrees in an entirely online format.

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The Good

Multiple programs with decent rankings:

Sam Houston State University makes several appearances in the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings for both bachelor’s and graduate level programs. Their online bachelor’s program comes in at number 41 out of the top 160 online programs, and three different graduate programs are highly ranked as well. The most impressive standing is the online graduate computer information and technology program which is ranked number two, and it has only been running online since 2009. The online graduate business and online graduate education programs also have decent rankings, which is pretty impressive considering the amount of competition from other schools.

Affordable tuition rates:

Exact tuition figures can quickly change from one year to another, but Sam Houston State University has one of the lowest overall tuition rates when compared to all other popular online schools. On average, tuition is several hundred dollars less per credit than other comparable online schools, adding up to a significant savings, especially for graduate level coursework. Tuition rates are set at one flat rate for both in-state and out-of-state residents, which is very beneficial to online students who live outside the state of Texas.

Military friendly:

Sam Houston State University prides itself on its namesake’s military roots, and it makes every effort to support the needs of students with military affiliation. The school offers financial aid and tuition assistance to new student, transferring, and returning veterans and dependents. Sam Houston State has a veterans resource center and a dedicated Department of Veterans Affairs counselor to handle issues and questions regarding VA benefits. Military students receive extra perks such as priority registration and special graduation honors, which makes it no surprise that the school has been honored as a G.I. Jobs Military Friendly School.

The Bad

Reputation needs improvement:

Even with decent program rankings from U.S. News & World Report, Sam Houston State University lacks recognition from other education rankings and doesn’t have the reputation or recognition of other top schools. To be fair, Sam Houston State is a smaller institution, which can understandably be lesser known and overlooked. However, outside of the recognition of their online programs, there are no other outside indicators that speak to the quality of instruction or education experience. Many times you get out of your education what you put in, so if name and reputation are not important to you, then Sam Houston State is a worthy option.

Online faculty have minimal experience:

According to the most recent numbers, faculty for the online bachelor’s program at Sam Houston State University have an average of three years of online teaching experience. Many other top online colleges have faculty with an average of 10 years’ experience teaching in an online environment. Strong faculty are vitally important in bachelor’s degree programs where students tend to be younger and often need more guidance and motivation to stick to their studies. However, instructors are expected to respond to student questions within a 24-hour timeframe so what the faculty may lack in experience, they make up for in responsiveness.

Uncertain graduation and retention rates:

Sam Houston State University does not reveal the numbers on student retention rates, graduation rates, or program-specific enrollment for each of their online programs. The lack of reporting may have to do with the fact that most of their online programs are too new to show a history of numbers related to retention or three-year graduation rates. Sam Houston State’s online graduate education program was established in 1999, but the online bachelor’s program and other online graduate programs were all established in just the last few years, and as recently as 2011. While a school is not at fault for having such new degree offerings, it’s difficult to judge just how well students are staying with those programs, and how many are actually graduating.

The Details

General Information

  • Application Fee: $45 - $100
  • Location: TX
  • Region: Southwest
  • School Type: Public
  • Term Schedule: Semester

Number of Programs

  • Online Bachelor's: 3
  • Online Graduate Business: 2
  • Online Graduate Education: 10
  • Online Graduate Engineering: None
  • Online Graduate IT: 1
  • Online Graduate Nursing: None

Tuition Rates (per credit)

  • Online Bachelor's (In-State): $195
  • Online Bachelor's (Out-of-State): $195
  • Online Doctorate (In-State): $245
  • Online Doctorate (Out-of-State): $245
  • Online Master's (In-State): $245
  • Online Master's (Out-of-State): $245
  • Online MBA (In-State): $245
  • Online MBA (Out-of-State): $245

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