The University of Texas system actually comprises nine universities and five or six associated medical institutions and teaching hospitals, though when somebody refers simply to the University of Texas, they're usually referring to UT-Austin, which is the flagship institution. Other UT schools include
The other major public university system in Texas is the Texas A&M system. Both systems are, relatively speaking, fairly wealthy, because of the discovery some time ago of fairly large deposits of oil on University-owned lands.
UT-Austin, which I attended, has something of a chip on its shoulder concerning the issue of credibility; despite the relatively high level of prestige it has within the academic community, it's historically ranked lower than many inside the university feel it deserve on the all-important US News and World Reports list of college rankings, mostly due to high class sizes and student-to-faculty ratios.
One major selling point of the UT system is tuition, which is among the most affordable in the country. In fact, I payed a few thousand dollars less a year paying out-of-state tuition than I would have payed in in-state tuition if I'd stayed in Virginia. For Texas residents, the cost is even lower, a measly $3,000 or so a year, which is less than a tenth of what one can rack up at many private schools.
Particular areas of strength at UT-Austin are Latin American Studies, engingeering, especially (and unsurprisingly) petroleum engineering, computer science, library and information science, and the film school, which consistently vies with UCLA and NYU for best in the country. The school also boasts a once-great, but now perpetually underachieving, football team, which plays in the Big 12 Conference, though it played in the old Southwestern Conference for many years, until the SWC collapsed due to corruption in 1996.