Best Oklahoma Colleges & Universities

Become Team
Become Team
November 20, 2020

Oklahoma is home to 16 public universities, 12 two-year colleges, 11 private colleges and a handful of proprietary institutions and higher education centers, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Education. With so many options available, students might have trouble narrowing down their short list of potential schools. This comprehensive guide provides a well-rounded overview of colleges in Oklahoma, including factors like tuition rates, availability of financial aid, alumni salaries and the amount of student debt graduates carry. A list of college planning programs can also be found. Read on to learn more about Oklahoma colleges.

Oklahoma College Leaderboard: Rankings

The college search can be extensive and take a great deal of time. To aid in their search, students can utilize college rankings to get a better idea of which institutions might be best for them. Our rankings list of colleges in Oklahoma focuses on the characteristics that make a college stand out, including graduation rates, financial aid options and tuition cost. Aspiring students can use these rankings to get a great head start on their college search.

Rankings Methodology Minimum Qualifications
  • Located in Oklahoma
  • Public or private not-for-profit
  • Institutionally accredited
  • At least 10 total programs
Ranking Metrics
  • Median annual alumni earnings 10 years after entering the college
  • In-state tuition and fees for undergraduates
  • Student/teacher ratio
  • 6-year graduation rate
  • % of students receiving institutional financial aid (first-time, full-time undergrads)
  • Average amount of institutional aid awarded per student (first-time, full-time undergrads)
  • Availability of placement services upon completion
  • Availability of academic/career counseling services
  • Availability of employment services
  • 3-year student cohort loan default rate
Data Sources

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS): National Center for Education Statistics

Latest 'Final Release' data available as of Fall 2016 College Scorecard: U.S. Department of Education

2-Year Programs

Tulsa Community College View School Profile $ 14% 99.85 $31,200 17:1 39% N/A 15 137 Yes Yes
Western Oklahoma State College View School Profile $ 20% 99.5 $31,100 15:1 63% N/A 8 20 No Yes
Northern Oklahoma College View School Profile $ 19% 98.93 $30,400 17:1 25% N/A 4 38 Yes No
Rose State College View School Profile $ 12% 98.7 $31,400 19:1 30% N/A 8 58 Yes No
Murray State College View School Profile $ 18% 98.54 $30,500 16:1 30% N/A 2 35 Yes Yes
Oklahoma City Community College View School Profile $ 14% 98.28 $33,000 23:1 34% N/A 3 76 Yes No
Redlands Community College View School Profile $ 17% 98.27 $33,000 23:1 43% N/A 1 29 Yes Yes
Carl Albert State College View School Profile $ 23% 97.68 $25,900 23:1 32% N/A 5 34 Yes Yes
Connors State College View School Profile $ 12% 97.27 $29,800 22:1 33% N/A 1 24 No No
Eastern Oklahoma State College View School Profile $ 21% 97.05 $29,800 22:1 16% N/A 1 32 Yes Yes
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College View School Profile $ 23% 89.76 $28,600 21:1 57% N/A 4 49 No Yes
Seminole State College View School Profile $ 21% 88.24 $28,000 23:1 34% N/A 1 25 No Yes
Comanche Nation College View School Profile $ N/A 87.64 N/A 4:1 100% N/A 0 11 No No
College of the Muscogee Nation View School Profile $ 5% 86 N/A 20:1 24% N/A 0 6 No No

4-Year Programs

Oklahoma City University View School Profile $$$$ 56% 99.77 $39,400 11:1 88% 68% 1 110 Yes Yes
University of Tulsa View School Profile $$$$ 66% 99.72 $43,200 11:1 86% 40% 2 115 Yes No
University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus View School Profile $ 66% 99.24 $46,600 18:1 61% 81% 10 178 Yes Yes
Oklahoma State University-Main Campus View School Profile $ 62% 98.22 $43,400 20:1 73% 75% 17 154 Yes Yes
Oklahoma Christian University View School Profile $$ 50% 98.05 $35,600 14:1 98% 64% 3 96 Yes No
Southern Nazarene University View School Profile $$$ 40% 98.03 $45,800 15:1 95% N/A 4 77 Yes Yes
Oklahoma Baptist University View School Profile $$$ 52% 97.78 $35,300 15:1 100% 60% 2 101 Yes No
Oklahoma Wesleyan University View School Profile $$$ 45% 97.62 $44,000 15:1 96% 63% 7 47 Yes Yes
Oral Roberts University View School Profile $$$ 51% 97.35 $34,900 16:1 100% 80% 10 147 Yes Yes
Southwestern Oklahoma State University View School Profile $ 35% 95.65 $37,000 18:1 63% 85% 7 67 Yes Yes
Northwestern Oklahoma State University View School Profile $ 31% 95.4 $36,100 14:1 60% 66% 7 41 Yes Yes
St. Gregory’s University View School Profile $$ 25% 95.22 $38,200 9:1 86% 53% 0 33 No Yes
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma View School Profile $ 41% 95.2 $30,700 12:1 79% 68% 0 24 Yes No
Northeastern State University View School Profile $ 30% 94.77 $35,000 18:1 50% 75% 6 82 Yes Yes
University of Oklahoma-Health Sciences Center View School Profile $ N/A 94.55 $46,600 8:1 N/A N/A 4 47 Yes No
Mid-America Christian University View School Profile $$ 34% 93.73 $38,900 11:1 20% N/A 15 23 No Yes
University of Central Oklahoma View School Profile $ 32% 93.45 $38,400 20:1 40% 90% 1 165 Yes No
Southeastern Oklahoma State University View School Profile $ 30% 93.4 $34,300 17:1 59% 79% 11 55 Yes No
East Central University View School Profile $ 33% 91.91 $34,500 19:1 40% 97% 1 42 Yes No
Oklahoma Panhandle State University View School Profile $ 28% 91.58 $34,400 18:1 71% 60% 1 31 No Yes
Randall University View School Profile $$ 9% 90.79 $33,400 6:1 79% 53% 2 27 No Yes
Southwestern Christian University View School Profile $$ 23% 90.49 $28,200 11:1 97% 81% 1 14 No Yes
Cameron University View School Profile $ 19% 90 $33,900 19:1 49% N/A 7 45 Yes No
Langston University View School Profile $ 27% 89.48 $28,400 18:1 12% N/A 2 32 Yes Yes
Bacone College View School Profile $$ 10% 86.54 $30,600 15:1 82% 43% 0 12 No No
Rogers State University View School Profile $ 20% 86 $32,600 19:1 35% 77% 4 17 No No

Oklahoma College Search & Compare Tool

Aside from consistent factors like tuition, students may also want to consider more specific factors, like school population, when selecting a school. Using our search tool, prospective students can search for schools based on the criteria that matters most to them and then compare the results side-by-side. This tool helps to provide a better overview of how the various colleges in Oklahoma stack up against each other.

College Outreach Programs in Oklahoma

The choice of college and major can help determine the career path a person will follow for the rest of their working life, so it is important to choose wisely. College planning programs are a great way to start out on the right foot. Programs in Oklahoma are designed to fulfill a broad list of needs, including information on financial aid, academic planning, college accessibility and helping current students successfully navigate college life. Below are a few programs in Oklahoma designed to help students reach their full potential.

Reach Higher

Reach Higher, Oklahoma's degree completion program, is designed for working adults who have already earned a number of college credit hours and want to complete their associate degree. Those who have earned at least 18 hours of credit and held a minimum 2.0 GPA are eligible for associate degree completion. Those who have earned at least 72 credit hours and the 2.0 minimum GPA are eligible for bachelor's degree completion. The goal is to provide flexible learning schedules that allow working residents to complete their degree without having to sacrifice family and work obligations.

Oklahoma's Promise

This program, meant for students in Grades 8-10 who come from low-income families, provides scholarships to help pay for college tuition. Students must meet certain academic and conduct requirements in order to retain their scholarships throughout college. The program covers the full cost of tuition at public universities and a portion of tuition at private schools.

UCanGo2

This initiative of the Oklahoma College Assistance Program helps students with every phase of the college admissions process, including planning and paying for tuition. Career interest surveys and comparisons between degrees and on-the-job training can help students decide on their educational path. Understanding graduation requirements, making campus visits and tracking grades and achievements can help students prepare for higher education. Information on grants, scholarships and loans is also provided.

Cost of College in Oklahoma: How Does It Stack Up?

How much does it cost to attend college in Oklahoma? How does that compare to the national average? Understanding the average tuition rates and the financial aid that might lower those rates can help students see the big picture of college costs. These three charts focus on what higher education costs in Oklahoma and compares that to the national average.

* Institutional aid represents grant and scholarship funds directly awarded by a postsecondary institution.

* Financial aid data represents 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Most Affordable Oklahoma Colleges

It is important to remember that tuition costs are not the bottom line. Net price is a better reflection of what a student will actually pay. Net price is the cost of tuition and other fees minus any financial aid received. To see what costs really looks like for colleges in Oklahoma, we compared the net price of these top six colleges and then put them side-by-side with the national average.

Oklahoma College Net Price vs. National Average

Average
Annual Net Price
OKLAHOMA $13,758
$18,073

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Oklahoma Colleges with Top Alumni Earnings

Many students opt for college in order to boost their employment and earning potential. Though the school a person chooses to attend does not necessarily mean they will make more or less money upon graduation, some schools do tend to produce alumni with higher wages. This section looks at the top six colleges in Oklahoma with the highest paid alumni ten years after enrollment.

Oklahoma Alumni Salaries vs. National Average

Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After Entering College
OKLAHOMA $36,671
$42,759

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Colleges in Oklahoma With Least Alumni Debt

What a graduate might make is definitely important to consider, but how much of that paycheck vanishes to pay for student debt? We looked at the colleges in Oklahoma that tend to be most affordable in the long run because they produced graduates who carry the lowest student debt in the state. We also compared those schools to the national average.

Oklahoma College Grad Debt Vs. National Average

Median Federal Student
Loan Debt After Graduation
OKLAHOMA $21,168
$23,145

Source: College Scorecard
Note: Rankings/data represent 4-year public and private nonprofit schools only.

Cost of Living for Oklahoma College Students

In addition to tuition and other costs associated with college attendance, students should look at the cost of living in the area of the school they want to attend. These living cost factors include transportation, housing, utilities and other necessities. According to Sperling Best Places, Oklahoma fortunately has a rather low cost of living when compared to the national average. To learn more, see the table below, which details the cost of living for metro areas in the state.

area composite index housing groceries utilities transportation health care misc.
Statewide Average 89% 78% 95% 95% 91% 95% 94%
Edmond 96% 94% 89% 103% 94% 95% 98%
Enid 94% 85% 96% 104% 91% 95% 98%
Lawton 91% 88% 97% 86% 96% 105% 89%
Norman 81% 67% 89% 90% 80% 87% 86%
Oklahoma City 87% 74% 91% 100% 88% 94% 92%
Tulsa 87% 65% 95% 98% 94% 94% 95%

Source: The Council for Community and Economic Research

College Accreditation in Oklahoma

Accreditation is a vitally important point to remember when choosing among Oklahoma schools. A school that earned accreditation has met the standards of a quality education, as judged by an independent accrediting body. This means that the degree received from that institution holds weight and is not simply a diploma mill or a fly-by-night operation. Oklahoma colleges are accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools of the Higher Learning Commission. In addition to seeking institutional accreditation, colleges can also opt for programmatic accreditation. This means an accrediting body has recognized the program for meeting the high standards of a quality education. Here are a few examples:

Popular College Cities in Oklahoma

Oklahoma City

The capital of Oklahoma is also the largest city, with a population of over 1.3 million in the metro area. According to Visit Oklahoma City, in 1928, prospectors discovered the Oklahoma City Oil Field, thus creating the city's most important financial resource. Today, that heritage is evident in the energy technology programs across Oklahoma City schools that prepare students to work in a variety of industries, including the oil fields.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

Oklahoma CityOklahoma State University-Oklahoma City Public $4,575 $34,400
This university in the heart of the city is home to over 6,700 students, most who attend part-time. The school offers one bachelor of technology degree program, as well as 32 associate degrees in applied science, nine associate in science degrees and 17 certificate programs. Some of those programs are unique and not found at any other college in the state, such as wind turbine technology, turf grass management, emergency responder administration and cardiovascular ultrasound technology.
Oklahoma CityOklahoma City Community College Public $6,944 $33,000
OCCC serves more than 28,000 students each year, making it the fourth largest college in the state. More than 2,000 degrees are granted each year in over 80 associate degree programs. In addition to associate degree programs, students can also pursue certificates; the educational offerings equal over 3,000 classes, most of which feature a student-to-faculty ratio of 20-to-1. Classes are held during the day, evening, weekend, online and as "fast track" accelerated programs, allowing for the flexibility busy students need.
Oklahoma CityOklahoma City University Private not-for-profit $25,681 $39,400
This private urban university is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The school offers more than 70 undergraduate majors, as well as 20 graduate degrees and adult studies programs for those working adults. A student-to-faculty ratio of 11-to-1, more than 80 student organizations, a diverse student body and busy athletic teams are a few benefits of the educational experience. More than 90 percent of OCU students receive some form of financial aid.
Tulsa

Tulsa is home to a thriving arts scene, and industries are booming too. Some of the top industries include aerospace, telecommunications, manufacturing, construction, high technology, education, energy, healthcare and transportation. Ten higher education institutions serve the area as well.

College Name School Type Annual Net Price Annual Median Earnings
10 Years After College

Only includes former students who received federal financial aid.

TulsaTulsa Community College Public $6,576 $31,200
Created in 1970, TCC is the largest multi-campus community college in the state, serving over 27,000 students each year. There are four full campuses serving alongside several community campuses in suburban areas. TCC offers dozens of associate degrees, certificate programs and continuing education courses. The campus has many very active student organizations, helping create a well-rounded college experience.
TulsaUniversity of Tulsa Private not-for-profit $25,702 $43,200
Founded in 1894, UT is a private university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. The freshmen retention rate is an impressive 91 percent, and 84 percent of all students receive financial assistance. In fact, UT boasts more nationally competitive scholarship winners than all other colleges in Oklahoma combined. The school offers 61 undergraduate degrees, 36 graduate degrees and 12 doctoral degrees, most with a student-to-faculty ratio of 11-to-1.
TulsaOral Roberts University Private not-for-profit $21,258 $34,900
With a strong emphasis on Christian values, ORU offers more than 65 undergraduate majors, 14 master's programs and two doctoral degrees. The most popular offerings include nursing, ministry and leadership, business administration, media and biology. Enrollment includes about 3,500 students. Students who want to enjoy student life outside of class can take advantage of more than 30 special-interest clubs and participate in a variety of short-term mission trips.

Source: College Scorecard

Resources for Prospective Oklahoma College Students

College planning can be tough, so parents and students should utilize resources to help make educated decisions about their school and financial information. These unique resources for prospective Oklahoma students can help individuals and their families prepare for that journey.

OK College Start

This comprehensive guide to colleges in Oklahoma has something for parents, students, educators, adult learners and even middle school students. Resources like scholarship information and planners are readily available.

Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan

This comprehensive plan allows parents, students and family members to fund an advantageous savings plan designed for use in paying college tuition and fees.

Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP)

The OCAP initiative focuses on filling out the FAFSA, money management, student loan repayment and other essentials for students and parents.

Oklahoma Money Matters

This personal finance education program has segments geared toward students and parents with information on topics like student loans and financial aid management.

Oklahoma State Department of Education

The higher education section of this website offers direct links to every school in the state, making it easy to keep track of the numerous colleges and their program offerings.

Online College of Oklahoma

This program connects students with over 3,200 online courses offered by 27 institutions, allowing for easier enrollment and a broad selection of online programs.

Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education

This organization, dedicated to higher education in Oklahoma, has information on a wealth of programs students can take advantage of during their college experience.

Become Team
Become Team
Contributing Writer