Free Online Public Schools for Texas Students

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The state of Texas offers resident students the opportunity to take online public school courses for free. Virtual schools that offer no-cost instruction include online charter schools, statewide public programs, and private programs that receive public funding.

Online Texas Charter Schools and Public Schools

Texas has multiple options for students wishing to take free virtual courses. Some are provided through state-funded school districts, and others are provided through private academies:

  • Texas Connections Academy: A fully accredited online school, Texas Connections Academy offers courses for students in grades three through 12, including Honors and Advancement Placement courses that can be applied for college credit. The school uses LiveLesson technology to provide live teaching over the web. In addition to standard curriculum, Texas Connections Academy also offers college preparation and counseling, including SAT prep classes and assistance with the college application process.
  • Texas Online Preparatory School: Texas Online Preparatory School (TOPS) is a state-funded program run by Huntsville Independent School District. It provides personalized, tuition-free education for students in grades 3 through 12. Flexible pacing allows students with other commitments to meet their educational needs on their own schedule. Although most of the instruction is done remotely, the school organizes field trips, picnics, and other outings throughout the year to give students to chance to meet and socialize.
  • Texas Virtual Academy: Like TOPS, Texas Virtual Academy is a state-funded program. It is run by Hallsville Independent School District in northeast Texas. The school offers a traditional curriculum as well as courses in Career and Technical Education (CTE) such as computer science, web design, audio engineering, sports medicine, and accounting. Students can also take special courses through the University of Texas of the Permian Basin for both high school and college credit.
  • iUniversity Prep: Designed for students in grades five through 12, iUniversity Prep is a virtual school run by Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District. It is focused on college preparedness. Students work together with teachers and learning coaches to develop and reevaluate customized learning plans. The school encourages and helps plan extracurricular activities so that students who cannot participate in traditional education have an opportunity to meet their peers.

More information on virtual learning opportunities for Texas students is available through the Texas Virtual School Network.

About Online Schools

Most virtual schools are charter schools that receive government funding and are run by private organizations. Online charter schools are subject to fewer restrictions than traditional schools. However, they are reviewed regularly and must continue to meet state standards.

Some states also offer their own online public schools. These virtual programs generally operate from a state office or a school district. Statewide public school programs vary. Some online public schools offer a limited number of remedial or advanced courses not available in brick-and-mortar public school campuses. Others offer full online diploma programs, like those available through Texas Virtual Academy and Texas Online Preparatory School.

Choosing a School

When choosing an online public school, look for an established program that is regionally accredited and has a track record of success. Be wary of new schools that are disorganized, are unaccredited, or have been the subject of public scrutiny.