12 Texas Colleges That Offer Free Tuition

Last updated on - November 5, 2023

12 Texas Colleges That Offer Free Tuition

Several four-year and two-year colleges in Texas defy the notion that "no one gets a free ride." These tuition-free colleges in Texas are breaking the mold and offering students the opportunity to pursue higher education without the burden of tuition fees. These programs primarily target students from low-income and middle-income families, providing them with the chance to receive a quality education without any financial constraints.

Unlike traditional college programs, tuition-free programs often only cover the cost of tuition itself. However, Rice University stands out as an exception, offering a program that not only covers tuition but also includes room and board. This unique opportunity is available to both Texas residents and non-residents.

While some programs are exclusively for incoming first-year students, others also accept transfer students. Without further ado, let's unveil the list of twelve (12) tuition-free programs in Texas, giving students the chance to pursue their dreams without the burden of tuition fees.

Most of the programs below are only open to incoming freshmen with a few available to transfer students. Now, drum roll please ... here is the list of twelve (12) “free tuition” programs in Texas:

1. Dallas College District | Dallas, TX

Dallas County Promise: This "free tuition" program is available to high school graduates from 65+ participating Promise High Schools in Dallas County. It covers the cost of tuition not covered by federal and state financial aid.

Students can participate in this program at any partner college. Most students are required to begin their undergraduate studies at one of Dallas College's campuses before transferring to a partner school.

However, there is an exception for students who graduate from a collegiate high school, where they can directly proceed to one of the 4-year partner colleges and take advantage of the Dallas County Promise scholarships.

Keep in mind, some 4-year partner colleges offer limited Dallas County Promise scholarships. Those colleges include The University of North Texas, Southern Methodist University, and Austin College. 


2. Rice University

Ivy covered fence of Rice University

The Rice Investment: Rice University offers some of the most generous financial aid to low- and middle-income families which includes  Rice expanded this program in 2021 and students with family income below $75,000 will now receive funds to cover tuition, fees, room, and board. While those students from families between $75,000 and $140,000 get their full tuition covered.

In addition, Rice University is also one of only a few colleges that is considered a no-loan university. This means if you are fortunate enough to be accepted and is eligible for financial aid, you will receive a financial aid package without any loans.

- Income below $75,000: free tuition, and room & board; income between $75,000 and $140,000: full tuition support; income between $140,000 and $200,000 – 50% tuition discount.
- Submit completed FAFSA and CSS Profile.
- International students are not eligible for The Rice Investment but might be eligible to apply for other need-based financial aid.


3. Texas A&M University College-Station, TX

Aggie Assurance:  (Whoop!) This "free tuition" program open to incoming freshmen and transfer students covers tuition costs for future Aggies.

- Income below $60,000: Grants and Scholarships to meet the tuition costs; income between $60,001 and $130,000: some tuition support.
- The program does not cover room and board and fees.
- Students must be eligible for the federal Pell Grant.
- Submit completed FAFSA or TASFA by April 15.

4. Texas Tech University | Lubbock, TX

Texas Tech University

Red Raider Guarantee: This free tuition plan guarantees tuition and mandatory fees (based on 30 credit hours per academic school year) to new entering freshmen and transfer students with an Associate’s degree.

- Family must have an adjusted gross income of $60,000 or below.
- Student must be enrolled full time (12 hours or more each semester – Fall/Spring only).
- Student must be Texas resident and submit a FAFSA or TASFA.
- Covers up to eight semesters of full time enrollment for freshmen and up to four semesters for transfer students.


5. University of Houston | Houston, TX

University of Houston

Cougar Promise: Guaranteed free tuition for new freshmen starting in Fall 2019.

- Students from families with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $65,000 and below: 100% free tuition; families with AGI of $65,001 to $125,000 will receive tuition support.
- Students must submit a completed FAFSA or TASFA by January 15.
- Must be an entering freshman and qualify as a Texas resident.

6. University of Texas at Dallas | Richardson, TX

University of Texas at Dallas
The Mall

Tuition Promise: The program, which offers free tuition, is open to both incoming freshmen and transfer students.

- Students from families earning $65,000 or less receive 100% free tuition.
- Students must submit a completed FAFSA or TASFA by January 15.
- Must be a Texas resident at time of admission.


7. University of Texas at Austin | Austin, TX

Texas Advance Commitment: Beginning in Fall 2020, the university will offer free tuition to students with household income of $65,000 or less. Additionally, for families earning up to $125,000, the university provides partial tuition support.

- Student from family with income up to $65,000 receive 100% free tuition.
- Student from family with income up to $125,00 receive partial tuition support.
- Must be a Texas resident and Pell Grant eligible.
- Submit a FAFSA or TASFA.
- Have demonstrated financial need.


8. Lamar University | Beaumont, TX

Lamar Promise: The Lamar Promise Program ensures that eligible Texas residents receive grant and/or scholarship assistance to cover the full in-state tuition and fees for fall and spring semesters. However, it does not cover room and board expenses.

- Students from families with an income of $40,000 or less are eligible.
- Eligibility requires qualification for a full Pell Grant.
- Dependent students as per FAFSA guidelines, and those eligible for Texas in-state tuition can apply.
- Completion of either FAFSA or TASFA is mandatory.
- The program is available for up to four years.

9. Stephen F. Austin University

Purple Promise Guarantee Program: This tuition program, known as a "last-dollar" program, covers any tuition expenses that are not already paid for by other grants and scholarships.

- Student from family with adjusted gross income of $30,000 or less based on info provided in FAFSA.
- Must be eligible for Federal Pell Grant.
- Must be Texas resident.

10. Sam Houston State University | Huntsville, TX

Bearkat Promise: Covers any mandatory tuition and fees not covered by other grants and scholarships. This program is open to freshmen and transfer students.

- Adjusted Gross Income of $40,000 or less
- Eligible to receive Federal Pell Grant
- Texas resident

11. Angelo State University | San Angelo, TX

Blue & Gold Guarantee: The program is designed to help families afford college and is considered a "last-dollar" scholarship. It covers the full tuition of Pell Grant recipients after other federal and state grants and scholarships are factored in.

- Student from a family with income of $70,000 or less.
- Must submit the FAFSA and be Pell Grant eligible
- Must be a Texas resident.

12. Midwestern State University | Wichita Falls, TX

Mustang’s Guarantee Program: Eligible new students who have never earned a Bachelor’s degree can take advantage of this program. This program is a “last-dollar” scholarship and meets tuition costs not covered by other grants and scholarships.

- Student from family with adjusted gross income of $65,000 or less.
- Student must be Texas resident and Pell Grant eligible.
- Must earn at least 12 hours at the end of fall and spring semesters.


Looking into free colleges in Texas can help lower your overall college expenses and reduce the amount of student debt you may accumulate. Even if you don't qualify for these programs, there are other financial aid and scholarship options, like merit aid, that you may be eligible for.

To find the most up-to-date information about free tuition colleges in Texas and other financial assistance options, you should contact the financial aid office at the colleges you're interested in. They can provide you with helpful information that matches your situation.

Want to learn the tips, tricks and strategies to win scholarships?

Subscribe below to receive our free Scholarship Essay Guide

The form is loading


and learn how to find and win scholarships.

The form is loading