Why go to College in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma boasts spectacular diversity in its natural and higher education landscapes. Ranked the fifth most affordable college state by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma offers prospective students a number of first-rate schools, including renowned public research universities and community colleges. Students who love flat, open countryside will also appreciate the state’s pastoral beauty, with many opportunities to explore Oklahoma’s agricultural heritage. These facts, coupled with the state’s low cost of living, make it a great location for you to start your educational journey.
Oklahoma is home to approximately 3.9 million people, which makes it the 28th most populous state in the country. Much of the population lives in or around Tulsa and Oklahoma City, where many of the state’s colleges and universities are located. There are also schools in more rural areas for students interested in small college towns.
Oklahoma is in a humid subtropical climate, which produces some interesting weather patterns including cascading summer rains and dry winter days (along with the occasional tornado). The state’s biodiversity also make it a great destination for nature lovers and students interested in fields like climatology or environmental conservation.
- Number of Higher Learning Institutions
Approximately 158 colleges and universities exist in Oklahoma, a number that includes both public and private institutions and two- and four-year schools. STEM programs and online colleges in Oklahoma are highly ranked, and the overall tuition rate is low compared to other states.
- Sporting Events
Oklahoma residents are sports fanatics. In addition to hosting national events like the Big 12 Baseball Tournament, the state boasts a lively college sports following with its universities producing top-performing basketball, softball, hockey, and football teams.
While every town and city in Oklahoma houses its own distinct culture, the state’s nightlife is concentrated around its two major cities, Tulsa and Oklahoma City. College students will find no shortage of clubs, bars, and live music venues in these vibrant urban centers.
What Options are Available for Colleges in Oklahoma?
Students who want to pursue a traditional college program will have plenty of options in Oklahoma, from large public universities to intimate private colleges. Students who live and take classes on campus are fully immersed in college life. From technologically enhanced classrooms and libraries to full-service gyms and dining halls, you’ll find the facilities and personal support you need to succeed. This hands-on academic culture enables you to build long-lasting friendships as you and your peers learn and grow together through student activities, clubs, and sports. You can also build professional relationships by attending career development and networking events all over campus.
Online schools in Oklahoma provide both affordability and flexibility. You’ll be able to create a school schedule that fits into your own busy life, while also saving money where it counts. Online students typically deal with factors that prevent them from having a traditional college experience such as working full-time, raising a family, or living far away from campus. However, since online students don’t have to pay for transportation, parking, room and board, and other miscellaneous expenses, they can reduce the overall cost of receiving an education.
Because online colleges in Oklahoma lack the structure of a traditional program, online students typically need to be self-motivated and independent. This is especially important if online students lack access to resources that are only available on campus. However, the State Regent for Higher Education has promised to provide additional support to online students, reflecting how much distance learning is being prioritized by the state. Government attention and an expanding library of resources make it a fantastic time for those who want to enroll in online colleges in Oklahoma.
Hybrid programs combine the face-to-face interactions of traditional learning with the flexibility of distance education. Many online colleges in Oklahoma follow this model, requiring students to take some courses or complete certain requirements in-person. This enables students to make connections with peers, teachers, and other professionals in their field.
Scientific, technical, and practice-oriented fields often take advantage of a hybrid format so that students can complete lab work, practicums, and related coursework. These hands-on classes allow students to conduct research and apply what they know without losing any of the advantages of a traditional college experience.’
Popular Degree Programs in Oklahoma
Oklahoma’s vast and varied landscapes make it a fantastic place for those who want to pursue careers in food science, transportation development, meteorology, and climate change. The state is also a valuable source of oil and natural gas, which leads to a high demand for engineers and those with the business acumen to manage large resource-based corporations.
These professionals work with oil and natural gas, from finding and extracting these resources to developing efficient ways to produce and distribute them. Many large petroleum companies, including Gulfport Engineering and Continental Resources, are based or have established branches in Oklahoma, making the state a great place for those in this field.
Business Management and Administration
With so many commercial opportunities in Oklahoma in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, it’s no surprise that business programs flourish in Oklahoma. This field emphasizes the study of finance, accounting, and human resources and teaches students how to maintain business growth at a national and global scale.
BEST ONLINE COLLEGES IN OKLAHOMA FOR 2017
Below is a list of the best online colleges in Oklahoma. The list provides information about a school’s academic programs, requirements, and overall cost while also delving into the academic and professional resources they offer to distance learners. Picking the right school is important because it reflects a significant investment of your time, energy, and money. In addition to perusing this guide, be sure to check a school’s website or contact the admissions office to voice your questions and concerns. These representatives may even be able to guide you towards program options or financial aid you didn’t know existed.
Oral Roberts UniversityTulsa, OK
Admissions Rate 64%
Default Rate 10%
Retention Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 58%
Online Enrollment 8%
Among online colleges in Oklahoma, Oral Roberts University is known for delivering distance learners the same whole person education its on-campus students receive in Tulsa. Whole person education blends rigorous academics, community involvement, and spiritual growth with a Christ-centered worldview. ORU offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs online, including degrees in biblical literature, business administration, and Christian caregiving and counseling. Students may also pursue English language learning and special education certificates.
Applicants should submit SAT or ACT scores, high school and/or college transcripts, and a personal statement. All online students pay the same low tuition rate, regardless of state residency, and many programs award individual scholarships.
Oklahoma State University-Main CampusStillwater, OK
Admissions Rate 75%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 61%
Online Enrollment 5%
The Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University offers fully online undergraduate and graduate degrees. Online students may earn a BS in business administration in general business or management. Graduate degree options include a traditional MBA, a dental MBA, and an MS in business analytics, entrepreneurship, information assurance, or management information systems. Students may earn online graduate certificates such as business data mining, information assurance, and business sustainability. Some programs are offered asynchronously, and others have synchronous components that require students to log on at specific times.
Applicants should have a 3.0 GPA, and undergraduate applicants must submit high school transcripts and standardized test scores. Oklahoma residents pay discounted tuition.
Southwestern Christian UniversityBethany, OK
Admissions Rate 48%
Default Rate 20%
Retention Rate 57%
Graduation Rate 40%
Online Enrollment 26%
Education at Southwestern Christian University goes beyond training the mind. Guided by its Christ-centered philosophy, the university strives to educate the whole person, helping students grow both academically and spiritually. SWCU offers several online bachelor’s degrees, the most notable of which is the online bachelor's of professional leadership. This program prepares students for service leadership by examining fundamental business principles through a Christian lens. Concentrations are available in business, management, social services, and Christian leadership.
Applicants should submit high school transcripts and should have a 2.0 GPA and at least a 19 ACT score or a 900 SAT score. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same per-credit tuition rate.
Oklahoma Wesleyan UniversityBartlesville, OK
Admissions Rate 95%
Default Rate 10%
Retention Rate 53%
Graduation Rate 46%
Online Enrollment 35%
Offering training programs and bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Oklahoma Wesleyan University is one of the most versatile online colleges in Oklahoma. A cross training program and bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice, organizational management, and psychology are available fully online. Some programs are available in a hybrid format, including the STEP program and bachelor’s degrees in business administration, ministry and leadership, and RN to BS in nursing. Online courses are delivered asynchronously.
OKWU promises that tuition for core courses will not increase while the student is enrolled, and in-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition rates. Admissions requirements vary by program, but most require transcripts and evidence of academic achievement.
Southern Nazarene UniversityBethany, OK
|Default Rate 8%||Retention Rate 62%||Graduation Rate 46%||Online Enrollment 10%||
Southern Nazarene University was founded in 1899 as private Christian university geared towards the liberal arts. Today, more than 32,000 alumni hold degrees from programs at the Bethany campus and online. Although it does not offer as many distance programs as other online schools in Oklahoma, SNU's bachelor’s degree completion programs and master’s programs in sport management are known throughout the state for their quality. Online undergraduate programs include business administration, network management, and organizational leadership.
All online students students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Transfer students applying to degree completion programs must submit college and high school transcripts.
Rogers State UniversityClaremore, OK
Admissions Rate 82%
Default Rate 18%
Retention Rate 65%
Graduation Rate 27%
Online Enrollment 17%
Of all online schools in Oklahoma, Rogers State University was the first to offer online classes. RSU now offers a wide variety of associate programs and bachelor's degrees online, including programs in applied technology, computer science, business information technology, and organizational leadership. Online coursework is delivered asynchronously, with no scheduled times students must log on, but students must submit assignments by set deadlines.
RSU’s online programs are available only to Oklahoma residents. Applicants should submit high school transcripts and ACT scores. Transfer students may apply up to 45 approved credits toward an associate degree at RSU. Applicants with fewer than 24 college credits should submit ACT scores.
Southwestern Oklahoma State UniversityWeatherford, OK
Admissions Rate 92%
Default Rate 18%
Retention Rate 66%
Graduation Rate 29%
Online Enrollment 16%
Southwestern Oklahoma State University offers online undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing, allied health, and education. Instruction for all programs is asynchronous, but students are expected interact with their coursework daily.
SWOSU's online programs offer three start dates throughout the year. Incoming freshman should submit ACT scores and should have at least a 2.7 high school GPA. Transfer students should have a 1.7 GPA if they have completed fewer than 30 hours and a 2.0 GPA if they have 30 hours or more. Graduate applicants do not need to complete pre-graduate examinations. Oklahoma residents pay discounted tuition and are eligible for tuition lock, which ensures their rates will not increase.
Oklahoma Panhandle State UniversityGoodwell, OK
Admissions Rate 68%
Default Rate 17%
Retention Rate 62%
Graduation Rate 22%
Online Enrollment 16%
Oklahoma Panhandle State University’s most distinctive online program is its RN to BSN program, which is regarded as the best offered by any online school in Oklahoma. The convenient, rigorous program is accredited through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Built for the busy learner, students may complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis.
Freshman applicants should rank in the top 50% of their high school class and should have a 2.7 GPA and a 20 ACT score or 940 SAT score. Transfer applicants should submit exam scores and should have a 2.0 GPA. All applicants are automatically considered for university scholarships. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition rate.
Northwestern Oklahoma State UniversityAlva, OK
Admissions Rate 48%
Default Rate 17%
Retention Rate 53%
Graduation Rate 20%
Online Enrollment 18%
Northwestern Oklahoma State University offers online undergraduate degree programs in accounting, business administration, RN to BSN, and technical management. Recently, NWOSU began offering an online doctoral program for students who plan to pursue certification as nurse practitioners without first obtaining a master’s degree. The undergraduate business programs comprise general core and business core sequences, along with major courses and electives.
Applicants should submit high school transcripts and ACT scores. Students must complete the general core with a GPA of 2.5 or higher before moving on to business classes. Residents of California and Massachusetts are ineligible for the university’s online programs. Oklahoma residents pay discounted tuition.
Northeastern State UniversityTahlequah, OK
Admissions Rate 93%
Default Rate 18%
Retention Rate 62%
Graduation Rate 26%
Online Enrollment 13%
With three campuses in Oklahoma, NSU is the fourth-largest public institution in the state. Thanks to numerous oonline undergraduate and graduate programs, students across the country may earn degrees from NSU. Undergraduate programs include degrees in general studies, nursing, organizational leadership, Spanish education, and special education. NSU offers online graduate programs in areas such as American studies, criminal justice, higher education leadership, and nursing.
Undergraduate applicants should submit high school transcripts and ACT scores and should have a 2.7 GPA. Graduate and transfer applicants should submit college transcripts with a minimum GPA of 2.5, along with GRE, GMAT, or MAT scores. Oklahoma residents pay discounted tuition rates.
Education Trends in Oklahoma
Compared to the average U.S. state, Oklahoma spends more per full-time student and devotes a higher percentage of tax revenue to higher education. However, Oklahoma is below the national average in terms of adults over 25 with post-secondary degrees, with the biggest discrepancy at the graduate level. Nevertheless, through the efforts of businesses, government, and individual residents, job prospects and overall economic growth is healthy throughout the state.
|Source: SHEEO and U.S. Census|
|Postsecondary Education Spending per Full-Time Student||$7,524||$6,954|
|Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education||8.0%||5.8%|
|Percentage of adults over 25 with associate degree||7.2%||8.1%|
|Percentage of adults over 25 with bachelor’s degree||16.1%||18.5%|
|Percentage of adults over 25 with graduate degree or higher||8.0%||11.2%|
Paying for College in Oklahoma
Though the cost of living and the tuition rates in Oklahoma are lower than other parts of the U.S., the price of a college degree should still factor into your application decisions. When looking at online colleges in Oklahoma, you should weigh the benefits of enrolling against the cost of attendance, paying close attention to the financial resources and professional development opportunities offered. By planning ahead, you can minimize costs, while still attending the school that suits your needs and goals.
As previously mentioned, Oklahoma is fifth in the nation for college affordability and the numbers below reflect this fact. While public two-year programs cost slightly more than average, Oklahoma’s four-year tuition rate is roughly $1,600 below the national average, though this number excludes certain expenses such as rent, fuel, books, and other school materials.
While tuition prices in Oklahoma are very reasonable, you’ll still want to thoroughly explore funding options. To that end, you should be sure to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which allows you to apply for several forms of state and federal financial aid. Four types of financial aid exist: grants, scholarships, work-study awards, and loans. The first three are the most desirable since they don’t need to be paid back. Loans are often easy to obtain, but you should use them only as a last resort, particularly if the loans are from private lenders that charge higher interest rates.
Cost for Online Programs in Oklahoma
Regardless of whether you plan to enroll in traditional or online schools in Oklahoma, you should still fill out the FAFSA. Financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships, and loans can usually be applied to either type of program. Additionally, many colleges and universities offer incentives for online students in the form of reduced or flat-rate tuition and exclusive scholarships. For example, the Academic Common Market enables residents of the participating 16 states to attend online colleges in Oklahoma at the same price as residents. And when you consider the money saved from reduced transportation, child care, and other living costs, distance education becomes an even more viable option for many prospective students.
Cost of Living by Region
When looking at where to attend college, many students flock to major cities like San Francisco, New York, and Chicago because of popular culture and promises of economic mobility. While this trend is understandable, you should also factor in cost of living (particularly rent) and how it might negatively impact your financial situation after graduation. Oklahoma offers affordable alternatives to major metropolitan areas in other states. Even in its big cities, housing prices are low compared to elsewhere, and you’ll find no shortage of nightlife and professional opportunities.
Scholarships for Oklahoma College Students
- Oklahoma's Promise
Amount varies (dependent on college/university the student attends); must be an Oklahoma resident whose family’s income is less than $55,000.
- Carolyn Watson Opportunity Scholarship
Up to $10,000 (renewable for four years); must reside in a rural Oklahoma area and have at least a 3.5 GPA.
- Horatio Alger State Scholarship
Up to $10,000; must have at least a 2.0 GPA and be a U.S. citizen whose family makes less than $55,000 a year.
- Lee Magnon Memorial Scholarship
$2,500; must be a resident of a participating state who is studying engineering and/or science at an accredited two- or four-year school.
- Oklahoma State Board of Architecture Scholarship
$3,000; must have at least a 2.5 GPA and be enrolled in an architecture of related program at an Oklahoma college or university.
- Oklahoma Youth with Promise Scholarship
$2,000; must be a graduate of an Oklahoma high school with at least a 2.0 GPA.
- Future Teachers Scholarship
$1,500 (renewable for four years); must be an Oklahoma resident with a stellar academic record who agrees to teach in a shortage area at a state public school for three consecutive years upon graduation.
- Bank of Oklahoma Achieving New Goals Scholarship
$5,000; must be a graduating senior from an Oklahoma City public school with at least a 2.7 GPA.
- Jimmy Raine Foundation Scholarships
$500-$5,000; must be a resident of a participating state with at least a 3.0 GPA if high school senior and 2.75 GPA if college first or second-year student.
- Hutch's Scholars Award
$2,000; must have at least a 3.0 GPA and be enrolled in a western Oklahoma or southern Kansas high school.
Can all Scholarships be Used for Online Programs?
Most forms of financial aid, including scholarships and grants, can be applied to online schools in Oklahoma. In fact, you can find many awards specifically created to help distance learners. However, certain scholarships may have criteria, such as residency requirements, that preclude online learners. Be sure to conduct your research carefully, and if you have any questions, you should feel free to contact the scholarship organization or your school’s financial aid office.
Employment Outlook in Oklahoma
Oklahoma’s unemployment rate is slightly higher than the national average, and its annual mean wage is lower. However, certain facts point to continued growth across the state. The first is the presence of high-value industries, like oil and gas production and agriculture, that take advantage of the state’s plentiful natural resources. Additionally, the State Regents for Higher Education reports that 85% of residents who graduate with a bachelor’s live and work in the state, boosting its economy and using their talents to strengthen their local communities.
|Source: BLS and BLS|
|Unemployment Rate, May 2017||4.5%||4.3%|
|Annual Mean Wage, May 2016||$42,760||$49,630|
Top Employers and Industries in Oklahoma
Top Industries in Oklahoma
- Office Administration: These professionals ensure the success of their business or organization by managing employees and maintaining information and budgets. They also work in teams to design, implement, and assess projects.
- Sales and Service: Whether in a clothing store, restaurant, or hotel, these professionals oversee the profitable exchange of goods and services through excellent customer service and efficient utilization of company resources.
- Production: Working with Oklahoma’s vast natural resources, these professionals make and distribute commercial and industrial products, from shampoo to plane engines. This line of work entails engineering know-how and the ability to operate complex machinery.
Top Employers in Oklahoma
- St. Francis Heart Hospital: 7,000 employees
- St. John Health System: 7,000 employees
- American Airlines Inc.: 6,000 employees
Accreditation for Colleges in Oklahoma
Accreditation in the U.S. is a way of ensuring that colleges maintain a certain level of academic quality. Schools can receive either national or regional accreditation. Of the two, regional accreditation is generally considered more desirable since national accreditation tends to apply to vocational and technical schools. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Education (ED), the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversees a number of regional accreditation agencies that evaluate schools across the country. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is responsible for the regional accreditation process in Oklahoma.
Distance learning programs also need to be accredited to confer valid degrees. When applying for online schools in Oklahoma, you should make sure the school is recognized by the ED, CHEA, and HLC. Accreditation will ensure your degree is recognized, that the credits you earn are transferable, and that you qualify for financial aid. Professional accreditation is another way of maintaining academic quality. For example, engineering programs are certified by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, which adds an extra layer of quality control.
Resources for Students in Oklahoma
- Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education:: This resource contains information, including the latest news, on the state of higher education in Oklahoma. You will also find links to college planning tools, financial aid programs, and career development opportunities.
- Reach Higher Oklahoma: A site specifically for working professionals who have at least 18 hours of college experience, RHO provides degree completion assistance, including scholarships that cover tuition and/or related expenses through Project Finish Line.
- Oklahoma College Start: A resource for all types of students, OCS provides a plethora of educational resources and programs including tools for the college application process and information on financial aid and career development.
- Oklahoma Gear Up: OGU caters to middle and high school students, providing them with test preparation, financial assistance (including a generous scholarship), and college admission resources. There are also tools that enable educators and families to better assist their students.
- Oklahoma College Assistance Program: This site provides educational resources for students, families, and community members relating to college preparedness and financial literacy. OCAP also offers programs that help students manage and repay loans.
- Greater Oklahoma City Chamber: This site is specifically for those who want to work and live in the Oklahoma City area. It provides information about internships, career fairs, and professional development opportunities.