Just as the famous song “Oklahoma” starts out, “They couldn’t pick a better time to start in life. It ain’t too early and it ain’t too late!”
Whether you’re about to graduate from high school and head off to college, or you’re an adult going back to school, now is the perfect time to pursue higher education in Oklahoma. The state is fiercely committed to higher education and helping residents earn their degrees.
Through the Complete College America (CCA) initiative, Oklahoma has set a goal to increase the number of degrees and certificates earned to 67% by 2023. To do this, they have focused on college readiness, transforming remediation, strengthening pathways to certificates and degrees, expanding adult degree completion efforts, and rewarding performance and completion. So far the state has made significant progress and surpassed benchmark goals.
Overview of Higher Education in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, there are 49 degree-granting institutions, according to a 2018-2019 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Of those, 30 are public schools, 14 are non-profit private schools, and 5 are for-profit private schools.
To attend one of the state’s 4-year public universities, the NCES indicates that residents will pay about $7,866, while non-residents will pay around $21,526. Both totals are well below the national average.
Residents who cannot find the program they’re looking for at in-state schools can also look to neighboring states. Oklahoma’s membership in the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) allows its residents to enroll in programs at schools in any of the 16 participating states and pay in-state tuition rates.
All Oklahomans, regardless of the field or school they plan to pursue, have access to OKcollegestart.org, a robust educational resource. The website helps guide students through high school planning (timelines, college prep, homework help), college planning (ACT prep, choosing a school/major, the application process), financial planning (estimators, grants and scholarships, money management), and career planning (finding a good fit, salaries, interview skills).
About Online Colleges in Oklahoma
2018 data from the NCES found that that 12.3% of students in Oklahoma were enrolled in fully online degree programs. Another 24.6% were enrolled in hybrid programs, combining both online and on-campus courses. The numbers continue to rise as colleges increase their online learning opportunities.
Today, the University of Oklahoma offers a variety of degree programs in hybrid and online formats, including bachelor’s degree programs and a dozen online graduate degree programs, and several certificates and training courses. US News and World Reports ranked OU among the Top 10 Online Bachelor’s Programs.
Rogers State University offers online associate and bachelor’s degrees in fields like liberal arts, computer science, nursing, and business. They also offer an online MBA program. Students can complete their degree programs entirely online without ever stepping foot on campus.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Oklahoma
In order to access federal, state and even some private financial aid in Oklahoma, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
You can access the application starting on October 1 of the year before you plan to attend college. It’s important to fill it out as soon as possible, since a lot of aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
In order to complete the FAFSA, you will need to answer questions about your finances and the finances of your parents (unless you’re considered independent). Your answers will be used to determine how much and what type of financial aid you are offered.
The best forms of financial aid are grants and scholarships, since these do not have to be repaid.
The state of Oklahoma provides a number of grant and scholarship programs to help supplement federal aid for its residents. Here are some of the programs available to Oklahomans:
- Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG) – Need-based aid at eligible schools
- Oklahoma Tuition Equalization Grant (OTEG) – Need-based aid at eligible schools; Family income must be $50,000 or less
- Oklahoma’s Promise – Students must apply in 8th – 10th grade; Family income must not exceed $55,000
- Academic Scholars Program – Students automatically qualify by achieving designation as National Merit Scholar, National Merit Finalist or US Presidential Scholar or by scoring at or above the 99.5 percentile on the ACT or SAT
- Regional University Baccalaureate Scholarship – For students at 11 participating universities who either have an ACT score of 30 or higher or are a National Merit Semifinalist OR Commended Student
The state also provides financial assistance to students pursuing specific career paths:
- Future Teachers Scholarship –Must maintain GPA of 2.5 or higher, and agree to teach in a shortage area in Oklahoma public schools for at least 3 years upon graduation
- Teacher Shortage Employment Incentive Program (TSEIP) – Loan reimbursement program for students who plan to teach math or science in Oklahoma
- Scholars for Excellence in Child Care – For eligible child care professionals to complete coursework in child development or early childhood
- George and Donna Nigh Public Service Scholarship – Must be enrolled in a degree program leading to a career in public service and must maintain exceptional academic achievement
- Chiropractic Education Scholarship – Student must be accepted to an accredited chiropractic school and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher
Oklahomans can also apply for private scholarships, such as these:
|Scholarship Name||Details||Scholarship amount|
|The Jimmie L. Dean Foundation Scholarship||For high school seniors who earned an ACT score of 25 or higher (17 for OSUIT students)||Up to $10,000|
|3 Point Scholarship||For high school seniors in New York/Tri-state and Tulsa area; Must have GPA of 3.0, demonstrate financial need and commitment to community service||varies|
|Innovation in Education Scholarship||For high school and college students who have designed an innovative project that makes a difference in the lives of others; Must have GPA of 3.0 or higher||$500|
|Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company of Iowa Scholarship||Must be an undergraduate student and member of the Future Farmers of America; Open to residents of certain states who are majoring in certain fields (see list)||Up to $1500|
Individual colleges and universities offer need and merit-based assistance, too. To find out more about these programs, simply contact the financial aid office at the school of your choice.
And you can find even more scholarship opportunities using search sites like Fastweb.com. Just enter some basic demographic information and you will be matched with dozens of scholarships that you might be eligible for.
List of Online Colleges in Oklahoma
|Online Colleges in Oklahoma||Location||Annual Tuition||Accreditation||Application Fee|
|Southwestern Christian University||Bethany, Oklahoma||$13,080||Regional||$0|
|Southeastern Oklahoma State University||Durant, Oklahoma||$6,450||Regional||$20|
|Cameron University||Lawton, Oklahoma||$5,970||Regional||$20|
|University of Oklahoma||Norman, Oklahoma||$10,881||Regional||$40|
|Mid-America Christian University||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma||$17,132||Regional||$25|
|Oral Roberts University||Tulsa, Oklahoma||$25,676||Regional||$35|
|University of Tulsa||Tulsa, Oklahoma||$41,509||Regional||$50|
With excellent colleges and universities, a wealth of online learning opportunities, and generous financial aid programs, it’s clear that Oklahoma has a lot to offer students.
Indeed, you will want to get your degree sooner rather than later.