Funded By: Texas Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Board
Audience: Students, parents, counselors
Focus: College and career prep, financial aid
Big Picture: This no-nonsense site’s professional look and wealth of resources speak directly to the idea of saving and finding money for a quality Texas education. While at times almost overwhelming in the amount of material it presents, the site gives ample detail about key Texas programs like 529 (locking in future tuition at today’s prices) and JET (equipment grants for technical colleges). Its audience is not only students and parents, but education professionals and colleges themselves—providing advice and help for both sides of the higher-education industry. Key resources include financial planning tips, a Texas college database, and recent job statistics by profession and degree.
Big Challenge Solved: Texas is big not only in size, but in programs and the help it provides for education—and this site offers a comprehensive look at those initiatives. It smartly links out for further detail to other associated sites (such as Big Future by the College Board).
Must Use: The Texas Careers for Today and Tomorrow section offers a look at current and future job trends, providing numbers in a variety of career sectors, broken out by what type of degree you need to get them.
Most Unique Tool: Under Planning Strategies, students and parents are given a virtual blueprint for how to save money for college, as well as what programs to take advantage of at key points in a student’s life—make sure to bookmark it.
Best Middle-School Student Tool: The “Save some today, borrow less tomorrow” section of Planning Strategies is aimed right at middle-schoolers, providing concise advice and resource links on studying, extracurricular pursuits, and financial planning.
Best High-School Student Tool: The site provides a handy listing of many Texas colleges—both two- and four-year—and the concise entry for each school displays admission requirements, costs, and types of financial aid available.
Protip: There’s a lot of info here, and the flow is not exactly intuitive. Try using the site’s search engine for more pointed retrieving of essential data—it’s easily accessible in the header bar from any page.