Online Colleges in Oklahoma
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While the Sooner State is traditionally known for its robust oil and gas industries, Oklahoma also boasts an emerging economy led by the fields of finance, technology, and healthcare. The state's numerous colleges and universities offer students an affordable education to launch their careers in one of these high-growth fields. Oklahoma's top-value educational institutions and low cost of living -- coupled with its high employment rates and diversified economy -- make it an ideal spot to pursue higher education. Students benefit from Oklahoma's Promise and other state funds that help residents pay for higher education, while the state's large Native American population can take advantage of many public and private educational resources.
Oklahoma's higher education landscape includes a generous mix of public and private schools, including community colleges, liberal arts colleges, and world-renowned research universities. Graduates of an accredited online college in Oklahoma enter a thriving job market with a competitive edge.
Job Outlook for Students With College Degrees in Oklahoma
Oklahoma's mean wage may fall below the national average, but more Oklahomans hold jobs than the national average. In addition, Oklahoma residents enjoy a much lower cost of living than most states, as affordable housing prices lead the state's budget-friendly costs. The oil and gas industries -- the traditional economic powerhouses of Oklahoma's economy -- remain strong, and now receive support from the growing finance, trade, and technology sectors. Plus, Oklahoma's strong social culture and beautiful natural environment make it a great place to live and study.
About 40% of Oklahoma's jobs require a high school diploma, but well-paying, fast-growing fields such as oil and gas engineering, nursing, finance, and human resources demand at least a bachelor's degree. These fields require educated professionals who can handle state-of-the-art technology and lead large-scale teams. Overall, Americans who hold a bachelor's degree earn 56% more than those who only have a high school education. While a college degree can be costly, the numbers show it's a worthwhile investment. Most students who graduate from a state university in Oklahoma can break even on their investment in just 3.7 years. Students who attend some of the cheapest online colleges in Oklahoma may recoup their costs in even less time.
Unemployment Rate, August 2018
Annual Mean Wage, May 2017
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Cost of Online Colleges in Oklahoma
Similar to others around the country, students at online colleges in Oklahoma want a top degree at an affordable price. Studying online, however, does not guarantee cheaper tuition. Most schools charge online and on-campus students the same rate, but public institutions often charge much less than their private counterparts. As in most states, taking Oklahoma community college online courses may prove the least expensive option for students in their first and second years. Every student's financial situations are different and a school-specific grant, living at home, or the opportunity to work while studying may overall make one school much less expensive than another.
Although online students generally pay the same tuition rate as on-campus students, distance education degrees often come with fewer fees. Online students can cut expenses by renting textbooks in electronic formats, living at home, and eliminating the college cafeteria bill. As distance education students, these learners also limit the expenses associated with a lengthy commute or on-campus housing. Plus, online students can often work part-time or full-time to help pay their tuition and living expenses while studying. And since Oklahoma's public colleges tend to be less expensive than the national average, students save money simply by choosing to study in state.
Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2018-19
|Public Two-Year||Public Four-Year|
Source: The College Board
In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition in Oklahoma
By attending a state college or university in their home state, students can almost always enjoy significant tuition discounts over their out-of-state counterparts. Since each state's residents help support higher education through taxes and fees, in-state students receive the benefits of their families and neighbors' investment. Besides, states are keen to keep their top talent close to home, so they make it easy and affordable for their students to attend accredited online colleges in Oklahoma. Usually, the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition is significant, and Oklahoma is no exception.
Oklahoma residents pay slightly more than one-third the price out-of-state students pay at public four-year schools. Both residents and non-residents, however, pay significantly less than the U.S. average to take online college courses in Oklahoma. Alternatively, private schools in Oklahoma typically charge the same amount to state residents and non-residents. However, residents may be able to take advantage of more state-sponsored financial aid at private colleges.
Average Tuition and Fees, 2018-19
|Public Two-Year||Public Four-Year|
Source: The College Board
Financial Aid in Oklahoma
Students in Oklahoma online college programs are often eligible to receive federal dollars to help pay tuition and other costs associated with earning a postsecondary degree. The U.S. government offers various kinds of aid including work-study programs, need-based grants to qualifying college students, unsubsidized and subsidized loans, loan forgiveness opportunities, and aid to military members and their families. To begin the process of obtaining federal financial aid, students need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Applicants who complete this comprehensive form do not need to submit new applications for each form of federal aid.
Residents of Oklahoma also have access to state and local aid programs. These include public and private scholarships, reduced tuition for residents, and funding for American Indian students. The state also offers loan forgiveness programs for teachers and medical staff. Primary care physicians can access the Oklahoma Medical Loan Repayment Program for up to $160,000 in loan forgiveness, while dentists can apply to the Oklahoma Dental Loan Repayment Program for forgiveness of at least $25,000 per year. Math and science teachers can take advantage of the Teacher Shortage Employment Incentive Program, which reimburses eligible student loan expenses.
State Grant Aid per Full-Time Equivalent Undergraduate Student, 2016-17
Source: The College Board
Scholarships and Grants for Oklahoma College Students
Scholarships from public and private sources can help students bridge the gap between the cost of higher education and what they can pay. Oklahoma offers several statewide scholarships, as do organizations, nonprofits, and businesses operating within the state. American Indian students can also access scholarship funds specifically for tribal members.
Who Can Apply: Members of families involved in the beef and cattle industries, especially families of Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association (OCA) or Oklahoma Junior Cattlemen's Association (OJCA) can apply.
Who Can Apply: This scholarship is awarded to one high school senior in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Recipients must demonstrate leadership skills, academic achievement, and plan to attend college within Oklahoma.
Who Can Apply: Applicants who are interested in innovative technology and how it affects human life. Students must have a 2.5 GPA or higher, submit an essay, and be enrolled in an accredited academic program.
Who Can Apply: One-Quarter enrolled members of a Federally Recognized Native American Tribe who hold a minimum GPA of 2.25, have proof of heritage, and are pursuing an undergraduate degree.
Who Can Apply: U.S. citizens who are members of a recognized tribe, enrolled in an accredited school, and carry a GPA of 2.0 or higher.
Who Can Apply: The Western Union Foundation welcomes applications from students between the ages of 18 and 26 who are seeking an undergraduate degree in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or business.
Who Can Apply: The club accepts applications from females currently majoring in a STEM subject, are Oklahoma residents, have earned at least 30 credits, and hold a 3.0 GPA or higher.
Who Can Apply: This foundation oversees more than 200 scholarships, each with its own unique structure, deadline, and selection process. For more information, interested students should contact the foundation directly.
Who Can Apply: The Tulsa Community Foundation offers about 25 different scholarships, each with its own distinct requirements for application. Oklahoma residents should contact the foundation to learn more.
Who Can Apply: Oklahoma residents enrolled in 8th, 9th, or 10th grade and whose parents' adjusted gross income falls under $55,000 per year. To maintain the scholarship, students must make satisfactory academic progress.
Amount: The amount of regular tuition at public institutions.
Best Majors for Online Students in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has long relied on oil, ranching, and aviation to support its economy; these three sectors still form the foundation of the state's job market. Experts also anticipate that jobs in oil, natural gas, finance, and transportation will continue to grow, however these fields need specialists in human resources -- along with supportive agencies such as fire control and bioscience -- to maintain their productivity. Similar to many other parts of the country, Oklahoma faces a looming shortage of nurses. An aging population and increased access to healthcare means nurses and allied health professionals can enter wide-open, high-paying fields.
Online colleges in Oklahoma offer majors that prepare graduates for these fast-growing fields. For example, nurses can start their initial licensure degrees or advance into specialized fields, while business-related professions offer degrees at all levels. Students can even earn a fire science degree online. The list below highlights just a few of the majors students can pursue.
NursingIntegral to modern healthcare, nurses provide physical and emotional support to their patients, along with fundamental medical care. Some nurses hold an associate degree, but the highest paying jobs in the profession are reserved for nurses with master's degrees or doctorates in nursing practice. Since 23% of Oklahoma's nurses are over the age of 55, graduates are poised to enter the nursing profession at a critical time.
Fire ScienceA major in fire science prepares graduates to prevent and suppress fires, as well as lead teams of firefighters. The degree prepares students to become firefighters, forest inspectors, and fire investigators. Oklahoma's mix of urban settings, rural communities, and farmland makes a well-trained firefighting and prevention team essential.
Human ResourcesHuman resources professionals handle the complex employment-related concerns of a corporation. This can include compensation and benefits, employer-labor relations, performance management, and legal issues in employment. Many human resources professionals train and develop employees in order to create a more robust and effective workforce.
Resources for Online College Students in Oklahoma
Community HigherEd: This nonprofit organization works with three specific Oklahoma colleges: Community Care College, Clary Sage College, and Oklahoma Technical College. The organization raises money to improve advocacy, fundraising, engagement, and stewardship. Students can learn more about these colleges -- and community college life in general -- through the website.
Oklahoma Independent Colleges and Universities: OICU supports and promotes accredited independent higher education in Oklahoma through research, data collection, and government relations. The coalition includes a council of presidents and a council of business officers. Students can learn about direct loans, student aid, and legislation that affects the governance, funding, and student experience at Oklahoma's non-public universities.
Oklahoma College Access Network: Supported by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, OK-CAN serves as a networking hub and an information exchange resource among member institutions. The network helps its members serve underprivileged, first-generation higher education students. Students facing barriers to college access, such as homelessness or immigration status, can also find links to assistance.
Oklahoma State Department of Education: The state department of education provides a complete list of all of Oklahoma's approved colleges, universities, technical schools, and private higher education institutions. Students can also use the site to learn about The Oklahoma Indian Education Resource, which includes scholarships and other information unique to the educational needs of American Indians.
Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education: Created by the state government to manage Oklahoma's higher education resources, the regents are responsible for governance, college assistance, college access, and the academic standards at each university in the state system. Students can use the OkCollegeStart.org website, an initiative of the regents, to learn about public higher education in Oklahoma.
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