Texas State University changed its name from Southwest Texas State University two years ago. With the name change, came an attempt by the school to create a new face for itself. Southwest Texas State was known as a party school, with questionable academics and even more questionable athletics. Though it was predicted to have little effect, the name change has resulted in a change in perception for Texas State. The school has improved several of its larger baccalaureate programs, as well as adding masters programs. An unfortunate side effect, however, is an extraordinary rise in the cost of attendance.
I began at Texas State in the middle of my degree, so I attended the university for only two years. These two years happened to coincide with the first two years after the name change. I majored in studio art, initially concentrating on fiber art, but switching to painting after my first two semesters. The studio art, art education, and communication design (graphic arts) programs are very good, competing directly with University of North Texas and University of Texas in Austin for students. There are many student run organizations within the fine art majors leading to well rounded resumes for students. Several graduating seniors each year successfully get into MFA programs.
There is a new art building, the Joanne Cole Mitte building, completed about three years ago. Simultaneously, a science building was completed. Over the summer of 2006, they finished construction on the new business administration building. Over all, the majority of the buildings on campus are well maintained and fairly new. The few buildings that are older are slated for demolition in the new 10 year plan. Over all the campus needs more green space, but is generally pretty. It is a huge campus, so use of the trams and busses is sometimes necessary to get to class on time. The bus system has its limitations, but it is dependable. Parking is problematic during rush hours, but with planning it is easy to be sure to get a good spot.
I did have one recurring problem with Texas State University. Continual increases in tuition and fees. While the school is not as expensive as, for example, Texas Tech or University of Texas at Austin, it still costs more than it should. My last summer and two long semesters, the maximum amount of financial aid ($11,000 per year) available did not cover my cost of attendance. Pair this with an inconvenient and unhelpful financial aid office, and many students come into big problems with paying for school. The up side of finances in San Marcos is that jobs are typically easy to find. There are two large outlet malls about 4 miles from campus, as well as several call centers, and many restaurants.
Overall, I am happy with my choice of school in Texas State University. The art education I received there serves me well, and the teachers are passionate about their subject matter. With new buildings and a 10 year plan to improve the campus, the cost of attendance will hopefully stabilize soon. Good luck with your search for a college and in your education!