Education is a main priority of life in the Heart of Texas!

Education has a high priority in the Heart of Texas Region and is a main focus of daily life from pre-kindergarten through post-secondary education. The basis for lifelong learning is laid in public and private primary and secondary options throughout the area. The region is the only place in the state with a community college, a university, and a Texas State Technical College campus all in the same city, which makes the region uniquely suited to bring innovative partnerships and a 360-degree approach to educating tomorrow's workforce.


Baylor University ranks among the top 2% of colleges and universities nationwide in terms of high quality core-curriculum. The Waco-area institution received an “A” in this 2020’s report from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, one of only 23 in the nation. Total undergraduate enrollment exceeds 14,000 students on a 1.000-acre campus in Waco. U.S. News and World Report ranked Baylor the #76 university in its 2021 edition of Best Colleges. The most popular majors are Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse, Biology/Biological Sciences, Accounting, Marketing and Finance.

Community Colleges and Workforce Education

Hill College is a public community college in Hillsboro accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the associate degree. Students can choose from programs in Arts & Humanities, Business & Industry, Health & Public Service, and Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM).

McLennan Community College is a public community college in Waco accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It offers Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Arts in Teaching and Associate of Applied Science degrees. The college ensures access to pathways for student success through excellent workforce and transfer programs, student services, and continuing education.

Navarro College South at Mexia is a branch of Navarro College, a two-year accredited, state-supported community college, offering associate degrees, certificates, and professional education programs to residents of Navarro, Ellis, Freestone, Limestone and Leon counties. The Navarro College Small Business Development Center provides consulting and training services designed to provide small businesses with the practical assistance needed to start, grow and prosper. The one-on-one, free consulting is for startup and existing businesses. Training covers loans and financing, financial statement analysis, marketing, accounting and record-keeping, sales, advertising, business planning and management. Further information can be tailored per individual for business growth, government contracting, exporting, market expansion and new emerging technologies.

Texas State Technical College - Waco is part of the Texas State Technical College System (TSTC), a coeducational two-year institution of higher education offering courses of study in technical vocational education. It offers occupationally oriented programs with supporting academic course work, emphasizing highly specialized advanced and emerging technical and vocational areas for certificates or associate degrees. An example of their programming is the Rapid Industry Skills & Employability (RISE) program made of short-term, skills-focused courses designed to give students the basic technical skills required for an entry-level career in areas such as accounting, basic machining, and web design. In addition, the TSTC is a partner in the Tesla START program.

PreK - 12 Education

Pre-K through secondary students find many selections from among the school districts in the Heart of Texas. The Midway Independent School District in the Waco area, serving over 8,300 students, was recently awarded an A+ score and ranked in the top 25 of public school districts in Texas by Niche. Many other schools across the region received excellent marks as well, including:

Crawford ISD (McLennan County) - A

China Spring ISD (McLennan County) - A

Lorena ISD (McLennan County) - A-

Fairfield ISD (Freestone County) - A-

Iredell ISD (Bosque County) - B+

Aquilla ISD (Hill County) - B+

Clifton ISD (Bosque County) - B

Private school opportunities are available in the region as well. Highlighting the list is Vanguard College Preparatory School in Waco, which received an A+ rating from Niche and was ranked their #337 Best Private High School in America. Other private schools to receive top marks from Niche are:

Live Oak Classical School (McLennan County - A)

Bishop Louis Reicher Catholic High School (McLennan County - A)