9 Cheap Universities in Houston For International Students

It is widely believed that Rice University is the highest-ranked institution in Houston. But when the ranking is filtered with affordability, the university falls short because it charges twice as much tuition – if not more – compared to what most other universities in the city are setting.

So, if you are an international student with a limited budget looking to study in Houston, you need to look beyond the obvious.

We have created this list of nine cheap universities in Houston for international students to help your search: 

List of the Best, Inexpensive Universities in Houston For International Students

According to a 2019 ranking by QS on Best Student Cities, Houston claimed a spot in the top 100, ranking 12th nationally.

What this means is that you have made a good choice by selecting Houston as the place you want to travel to in pursuit of higher education because there are quite a several affordable-yet-quality options. Some of the best include:

  1. Prairie View A&M University
  2. University of Houston-Clear Lake
  3. Baylor College of Medicine
  4. Texas Southern University
  5. University of Houston
  6. Sam Houston State University
  7. Houston Baptist University
  8. Rice University
  9. University of Houston-Downtown

Being the nation’s fourth largest city, universities in Houston bustle with culture and energy, drawing from the laurel that the town has received – America’s next great global city.

One of the reasons why many international students want to further their education in a place like Huston is that the city is home to 26 Fortune 500 companies and the world’s largest medical center.

In other words, upon graduation, you are automatically positioned to take advantage of the opportunities through internships or fieldwork experiences.

Let’s review the listed Houston universities one after the other.

1. Prairie View A&M University

The first university recommendation in this article for international students looking for cheap universities in Houston is Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU).

It is a public university that has a total of 400 academic staff to service about 10,000 enrollments. The university is made up of seven colleges and one school. It has a solid history of being a black university that facilitates most academic programs, encompassing 50 bachelor’s degree majors, 37 master’s programs, and four Ph.D. programs.

If we do a comparative analysis of the tuition cost of PVAMU alongside most other cheap universities in Houston, you may see that the price is slightly higher.

However, the university still cracks the top list of inexpensive institutions in Houston because it is among the Texas A&M University System that offers around 82 percent of its students some form of financial aid such as scholarships, loans, grants, exemptions, and waivers.

 2. University of Houston-Clear Lake

The University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) is another affordable higher education for international students. It is a public university that has been operating since 1971 and offers 97 academic programs that cover 46 bachelor’s, 48 master’s, and three Ph.D. programs.

What makes the UHCL one of the best affordable is not the sticker price. If we go by the sticker tuition cost, the university fee is a little above the average tuition expense of other universities in the United States.

This university ranks as the best and most affordable for outside students, particularly its several financial aid options. International students can be awarded merit-based scholarships, need-based grants, loans, or work-study.

The presence of the university’s campus spans from Texan cities of Houston and Pasadena and comprises four academic colleges with about 750 academic staff.

 3. Baylor College of Medicine

Baylor College of Medicine is an excellent option if you prefer to enroll in a private medical college in Houston, United States, and you don’t want to strain your wallet.

Aside from being one of the most affordable universities for international students in Houston, the institution offers courses that prepare students for in-demand medical skills in the united states.

Courses offered to international students at Baylor College of Medicine include Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Nursing, and Health Sciences.

As indicated earlier, international students interested in applying at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston can expect to pay an average tuition fee of $22,546. This bill covers most charges involved in your school settling.

4. Texas Southern University

Texas Southern University has been operating since 1927 as one of the most inexpensive universities in the United States. It is particularly favorable to international students due to its high acceptance rate.

This university offers many different undergraduates, postgraduate, and doctoral subjects, including courses in Engineering, Health sciences, Medicine, Liberal arts, Business Administration, and even Social Sciences.

Despite the cheap tuition fees for domestic and international students, Texas Southern University applies a high-end quality teaching approach to prepare students for fieldwork in their respective areas of study.

With an average expense of $29,000 annually, international students are good to go studying at Texas Southern University.

 5. University of Houston

International students looking to study in affordable universities in Houston can consider undergraduate courses at the University of Houston, which is an average of $28,601 per academic year, one of the cheapest tuition expenses in the entire United States.

The University of Houston is based in Houston, Texas, United States of America, and has been operating since 1927 as a state university.

The public university has more than 40 thousand domestic and international students and offers different educational courses, including Engineering, Applied Sciences, Business Administration, Health Sciences, Medicine, and many others.

 6. Sam Houston State University

Another affordable higher education you can consider in Houston as an international student is universities owned by the Texas State University System. Sam Houston State University (SHSU) is a good example.

In this public university, over 175 academic programs at undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels are offered through its seven colleges. This university in Houston has about 600 academic staff with a reasonable enrollment of 21,000.

Looking at the annual tuition cost of studying at SHSU for international students, one can say that the expense is low compared to that at most other Texan universities, especially for programs offered to out-of-state students.

As a plus, the university offers financial aid options for students, including scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study, making it one of Houston’s cheapest options.

Sam Houston State University has its main campus at Huntsville, and the school has been awarding bachelor’s degrees since 1919.

 7. Houston Baptist University

Despite the pretty low tuition cost at Houston Baptist University, they offer high-value courses, including Catholic courses, Liberal arts, Applied Sciences, and Business Administration, among others.

International students planning to enroll at this university should be ready to shell out as low as $34,430 per academic year, and it would cover all other costs. Meanwhile, the fee may be one of the highest on this list, but compared with the average cost of studying in the United States, the price is reasonable.

The Baptist university was established in 1960 as a private university. From the course offered by the institution, you can tell that they specialize in subjects related to liberal arts and other catholic studies.

8. Rice University

On various ranking platforms, Rice university has remained in the top 10 list of cheap universities, especially for international students.

Located in Houston, United States of America, the university started operating in 1912 as a sector of the private university. Today, the institution is in liaison with eleven different residential colleges and is divided into eight departments.

The educational courses available for international students at Rice University include Engineering, Social sciences and humanities, Business, Architecture, and Natural Sciences.

 9. University of Houston-Downtown

Lastly, the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is another member of the University of Houston System that offer appealing tuition rate to international students.

The school is made up of five colleges with over 5,000 academic staff. Here, international students are offered 52 different educational programs, of which 44 lead to award in degree for undergraduates while eight is master’s degree.

The campus of the University of Houston-Downtown is 20-acre and was established in 1974. It is a public university that currently schools about 14,500 students, many of which are from other parts of the world.

The tuition fee of UHD is pretty competitive, especially when you compare it with most other universities across Houston and Texas.

Aside from the sticker price, another factor that makes the university among the cheapest in Houston is the financial assistance available to most students.

Every year, 80 percent of UHD full-time student benefit from an average of $10,000 in financial assistance. Other forms of financial aid include scholarships, grants, and loans.


As you apply for any of these cheap universities in Houston, remember that most of them would demand your academic requirements, language proficiency test results, and visa documents, which would not be requested if you weren’t an international student.

Do not be carried away by the attractive tuition rates. You also need to be aware of any specific requirements for your degree in these cheap universities to be sure that they are within your possession before making your educated choice.

It is necessary to highlight that universities in Houston do offer scholarships, financial awards, and discounts to international students.

The sad news about these financial supports is that they can be limited. Hence, only early applications on these usually stand a chance of getting accepted.

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