Accredited Degree Programs, Scholarships and Resources for Top Schools
In Fall of 2017, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education reported a total enrollment of 199,646 post-secondary students across the state, a 2 percent decrease from the previous year. To combat this decline, and to fuel the growth of online courses and degree programs, the state’s regents created the Council for Online Learning Excellence (COLE). COLE works with Oklahoma colleges and universities to improve collaboration, provide resources, facilitate excellence in teaching and offer thought leadership in the world of hybrid and online higher education. The University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and more than a dozen others are working with COLE to give students quality and affordable online degree options. Read on to learn more.
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Best Online Colleges in Oklahoma 2020
Prospective students looking for affordable online colleges can choose from many high-quality, accredited options in Oklahoma, where in-state and private tuition cost significantly less than the national average. To make education costs even more affordable, the state offers a variety of scholarships, grants, tuition waivers, and loan forgiveness programs.
This guide covers the best online colleges in Oklahoma. We also cover financial aid opportunities, student programs and resources, and the importance of accreditation.
The University of Oklahoma's extended campus started in 1961, and it has since grown into one of the most successful extended campuses in region. The key has been OU's commitment to applying the same rigorous standards through their extended campus as they do with on-campus programs. Part of the modern extended campus is the online school, offering four unique bachelor's degree programs that can be completed in an online or hybrid format.
With 22 different online degrees offered, Oklahoma State University has one of the largest selections of online programs in Oklahoma. For undergraduate students, there are 10 degree programs offered, all of which can be completed entirely online (unless in-person clinical experience is required). To specialize their education, students can also pick from a number of online certifications, such as marketing analytics and entrepreneurship. Transfer students can also get credit accepted, reducing the time it takes to earn a degree.
Located just outside of Oklahoma City, Southern Nazarene University is a smaller school with an extensive alumni and professional network. SNU strives to innovate, something which is clear with their online school. Regular online courses only last an abbreviated 5 to 6 weeks, allowing students to jump in and out of studies to fit their schedules. Students focused on earning a bachelor's degree full-time should be able to complete their education in at least 4 years, and potentially less.
One of the top private schools in the region, Oklahoma Christian University combines Christian ethics with their global perspective, offering over 20 study abroad locations. OC also offers courses for students who want to earn their degree online. Currently, the top online program at OC is their BSN completion program. The program has courses that last 8 weeks, and eligible students can earn their degree in as little as 16 months.
The online school at Northeastern State University is comprehensive to say the least. There are over 400 courses offered in an online or blended online/in-person format, allowing students to study what they want, when they want. There are also 4 bachelor's degrees that are offered online: nursing, general studies, organizational leadership and hospitality and tourism management. Students can study these in a hybrid format if they want, but they are all entirely online ? with the exception of nursing since certification will require in-person clinical experience.
Southwestern Oklahoma State University is often recognized for their graduate programs, but their 4-year undergraduate programs command the same respect. There are 2 fully-online undergraduate degrees offered by SWOSU: an RN-BSN program and a bachelor's degree in health information management. Graduates of the health information management program often go on to become health specialists, analysts or consultants. Students who study online will work through Canvas, a popular method for educating from a distance.
With 17 different bachelor's degree options offered entirely online, Oral Roberts University has one of the most extensive online programs in Oklahoma. Along with their 4-year undergrad programs, Oral Roberts also offers certificates and minors to help students specialize their education. Everyone in the United States pays the same amount per credit hour, regardless of which state they live in, but international students will pay an adjusted rate based on the GDP per capita of their nation.
Known for its combination of quality and affordability, Northwestern Oklahoma State University is a public university that receives incredible financial support from the community. There are 4 online undergraduate options, the most unique being the bachelor's of applied arts and sciences with a focus on technical management. While in-state students pay less in tuition than out-of-state students, some out-of-state online learners can get the additional tuition waived.
Often recognized as one of the top private research institutions in the area, the University of Tulsa provides higher education at all levels, including some accelerate programs. While the University of Tulsa doesn't offer any entirely online degree courses, some students take online courses to go along with on-campus classes. The majority of the online courses offered by the University of Tulsa are meant to prepare students to join the workforce after graduation.
Oklahoma Baptist University is a local leader in theological education at the highest level. Along with a variety of online master's degree programs, Oklahoma Baptist offers a variety of undergraduate degrees that can be completed online or in a hybrid format. For example, the school of Christian studies offers all of their courses in 8-week online formats, allowing students to study at their own pace and avoid commuting to campus.
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How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I'm Looking for in Oklahoma?
Students can research online schools and colleges in Oklahoma by reviewing prospective institutions' websites. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education also provides many resources and services that can help online learners find the programs they need.
How Much More Do College Grads in Oklahoma Make?
Across the country, college graduates typically earn higher salaries than professionals without a degree. In Oklahoma, college graduates make higher salaries, participate in the labor force in higher numbers, and face lower levels of unemployment than professionals without a degree.
The following table highlights median annual earnings in the U.S. by level of educational attainment. Generally, the higher the degree a student earns, the higher the salary they make.
|Degree Level||Average Tuition|
|Less than High School||$28,756|
|High School (GED)||$37,960|
Paying for Online College in Oklahoma: Tuition and Financial Aid
In-state students at public universities in Oklahoma pay about $1,400 less in tuition each year than the national average. Private colleges in Oklahoma also charge less than average. However, out-of-state students at public universities in Oklahoma pay an extra $8,226 a year compared to the national average.
Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Public Colleges and Universities
|Tuition Type||Average Tuition|
|National Avg.||$9,037(In-State); $25,657(Out-of-State)|
Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Private Colleges and Universities
|Tuition Type||Average Tuition|
Cost Considerations for Online Students in Oklahoma
The tables above do not include education expenses like room and board and cost differences for out-of-state students. The following list outlines important cost considerations for students beyond tuition.
Many schools charge a distance learning fee to online students to help pay for the cost of online course administration.
Some online colleges include electronic textbooks in the cost of tuition, while others require students to buy or rent course materials.
Distance learners should consider the technology costs necessary to complete online coursework, including computers, internet, and software programs.
Students should learn whether prospective schools offer tuition discounts to out-of-state online students. Some online programs charge all learners the same tuition rate regardless of residency.
Some online colleges require students to attend on-campus residencies. Requirements can range from one day to several weeks or more, which may include airfare, lodging, and food expenses
Qualifying for In-State Tuition in Oklahoma
To qualify for in-state tuition in Oklahoma, students typically must be financially independent adults who have lived continuously in the state for at least one year prior to the first day of class for a primary purpose other than to attend college. Oklahoma does not participate in any in-state reciprocity agreements with nearby states.
However, each school makes its own qualifications for in-state and out-of-state tuition. Students should check with prospective schools to learn about residency requirements for online learners.
Paying for College in Oklahoma: Scholarships and Financial Aid
Online college students in Oklahoma enjoy access to many financial aid opportunities, like loans, scholarships, and grants. Unlike loans, grants and scholarships do not require repayment. We cover several scholarship and grant opportunities for Oklahoma students below.
Scholarships for Oklahoma College Students
Who Can Apply: Oklahoma high school seniors who demonstrate leadership, community involvement, academic success, and pride of Oklahoma can apply for this opportunity. Students must agree to attend a college or university in Oklahoma.
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be Oklahoma residents and have an ACT score of at least 30 or be a National Merit Semifinalist or Commended student. Winners must attend one of 11 participating public universities in Oklahoma.
Amount: $3,000 plus a resident tuition waiver annually (for up to eight semesters)
Who Can Apply: Oklahoma students designated as National Merit Scholars, National Merit Finalists, or United States Presidential Scholars can apply for this opportunity. Public postsecondary institutions in Oklahoma can also nominate students for the program based on their own criteria.
Amount: $2,200-$5,500 (renewable)
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be residents of Oklahoma, nominated by the college they attend, and agree to teach in a critical teacher shortage area in an Oklahoma public school for at least three years after graduation. Full-time students receive priority.
Amount: Up to $1,500 (renewable up to four years)
Who Can Apply: Residents of Oklahoma in a full-time undergraduate program leading to a career in public service can apply for this opportunity. Applicants must demonstrate academic excellence.
Grants for Oklahoma College Students
Who Can Apply: This need-based grant supports Oklahoma residents attending eligible universities, colleges, and career technology centers in the state. Applicants can be part-time or full-time undergraduate students.
Amount: Up to $1,300
Who Can Apply: Oklahoma students in eighth, ninth, or tenth grade whose families make $55,000 a year or less qualify for this opportunity. Applicants must meet academic and student conduct requirements.
Who Can Apply: Applicants must have been in DHS custody for at least nine months between the ages of 16 and 18. They must also be Oklahoma residents and graduates of an Oklahoma high school or GED program. Students can receive the waiver until they earn a bachelor's degree or turn 26.
Amount: Resident tuition
Who Can Apply: Applicants must teach mathematics or science in Oklahoma to qualify for this opportunity. Students must fill out an application no later than the date they graduate from an Oklahoma college.
The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in Oklahoma
Prospective online students in Oklahoma should make sure to choose an accredited college. Accreditation demonstrates that a school meets high academic standards regarding faculty, curricula, student outcomes, and academic support services.
Postsecondary institutions can hold regional or national accreditation. Regional accreditation typically applies to nonprofit, degree-granting institutions, while national accreditation applies to for-profit, technical and vocational schools. Regional accreditation is generally considered the more prestigious of the two. Various independent accrediting bodies regionally accredit schools based on the school's location. The Higher Learning Commission provides regional accreditation to colleges in Oklahoma.
Programs within a school may also receive accreditation, such as business, counseling, and nursing programs. Some professions, like counseling and nursing, require individuals to graduate from an accredited program to qualify for licensure. Independent agencies, like the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, provide specialized accreditation to academic programs.
Most schools and programs include accreditation information on their websites. Students can verify accreditation status through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, which offers directories searchable by institution, program, and accreditor.
Online College and Adult Education in Oklahoma
Oklahoma offers many resources and programs for online adult learners. We cover several of these resources and opportunities in the following sections.
By the Numbers: Adult Education in Oklahoma
Adult Education Programs for Oklahoma Students
- Reach Higher
- The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education offers flexible degree-completion programs for working adults in the state. Students can learn about degrees related to Oklahoma's 100 Critical Occupations.
- Free Test Preparation
- OK College Start's website includes a section for adult learners with free practice tests for students who want to earn a GED credential, HiSET, or TASC.
- Oklahoma Works
- Oklahoma Works offers education, training, resources, and job opportunities for Oklahomans. The program coordinates work-based learning, career pathways, and Oklahoma Works one-stop centers.
Online College Resources for Oklahoma Students
Current and prospective Oklahoma students can take advantage of many resources to support their studies. The following resources offer information on financial aid, program availability, and tutoring and mentoring opportunities.
OK College StartThrough this website, students in Oklahoma can find information about college and career planning and financial aid opportunities. It also offers information for adult learners, middle school students, high school students, and college students.
Oklahoma GEAR UPThis website helps Oklahoma students and their families prepare for college. The organization offers mentoring, tutoring, ACT test preparation, and college exploration resources.
Oklahoma State Regents for Higher EducationThis website includes information about Oklahoma's 25 public colleges and universities, financial aid options, degree programs, and reports on higher education in the state.
Oklahoma College Assistance ProgramThis nonprofit organization offers student loan management, financial aid awareness, and college access services and programs to prospective learners and their parents in Oklahoma.
OneNETA digital communications initiative of Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, OneNet serves the state's largest postsecondary institutions. It also improves broadband access in rural Oklahoma.