Austin is the capital city of the state of Texas and the seat of Travis County, set in what Texans call the "hill country" in central Texas. Austin is the third largest city in Texas and the 15th largest city in the United States. It is home to several colleges and universities with varying kinds of campuses and student life.
Austin Community College
Austin Community College (ACC) is a state-operated community college with campuses around the Austin metropolitan area. It opened in 1973, and as of 2009 enrolled over 40,000 students across eight campuses with over 2,000 faculty and staff and 180 areas of academic and professional study. Tuition is scaled with the lowest rates to residents of the community college district; residents of Texas outside the Austin district pay more and out-of-state and foreign nationals pay the most tuition. High school students can opt to take early college courses through Austin Community College.
St. Edward's University
Located on a hillside overlooking the city of Austin and the surrounding Texas hill county, St. Edward's University was founded in 1885. The Reverend Edward Sorin started Saint Edward's after having founded Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana. St. Edward's is a Catholic University with 3500 undergraduates and 850 graduate students (as of 2013). NCAA Division II athletic teams include men's and women's baseball/softball, basketball, golf, soccer and tennis. US News & World Report's 2011 publication ranks St. Edwards as 21st of regional schools in the Western United States for academics, noting the school maintains a 66% acceptance rate for new applying freshmen.
Concordia University of Texas
Corcordia University of Texas was ranked 18th in the West for Regional Schools by US News & World Report's 2011 publication, which noted that 51% of applying freshmen are accepted. The student body consists of over 2500 students (as of 2013) with more than half of the students being women in four colleges: business, liberal arts,education and science. The mission statement of Concordia is "to develop Christian leaders." The university notes that student of all faiths are welcomed into Concordia where students "receive much more individual instruction and mentoring from faculty than is normal for higher education."
University of Texas
The University of Texas at Ausin, known as "UT" is a research university and the flagship of the all the University of Texas campuses. Founded in 1883, the campus has over 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students (as of 2013), consistently in the top ten of student campus populations. The University employs 16,500 faculty and staff. It is ranked 13th and 45th as best state school, and best national schools by US News & World Report's 2011 publication. The Texas Longhorns compete in a variety of college athletic programs; the annual competition with their chief rival, the Texas A&M Aggies, is one of the biggest football games in Texas.
Huston-Tillotson is traditionally considered an African-American university but has a multicultural, multiethnic and multifaith student body of nearly 1,000 students (as of fall, 2011). The university is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and the United Negro College fund, and is located on a 24-acre campus near downtown Austin. Huston–Tillotson University offers undergraduate degrees in business, education, the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, science and technology. According to US News & World Report's 2011 publication, the freshman retention rate -- a barometer of student happiness -- is 52%.
Smaller Speciality Schools
Austin is also home to many smaller or specialized centers for higher learning. Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary educates individuals to be ordained in the Christian ministry, offering master's and doctoral degrees in divinity and theology. The Austin Culinary Arts and Design School offers degree programs in media arts, design, fashion and culinary arts. For-profit Strayer University maintains a campus in Austin for working adults continuing their education and offers several degrees to its 52,000 students across the country.